Friday, June 3, 2011

Veterans with Disabilities Struggling

One thing that I have come to realize over the past few years is that it is difficult to get a job as a veteran with a disability.  When I got out of the Army five years ago, I did not have a college degree, and my only work experience was working in the back room of a Best Buy.  I could not go back to that job because of the physical requirements, and it has been very hard to find a job that I could enjoy that I could also physically do.  I have a lot of skills that I can put to good use, but in today's market most jobs require a degree, or are too physically demanding for many with physical disabilities.

Even to work behind a cash register, most employers make it a requirement that the worker can lift 50 lbs consistantly, and to me that is descrimination.  The Americans With Disabilities Act makes discrimination of physically disabled people illegal, and requires employers to make appropriate changes in order to compensate for their disabled employee.  In the case of a caheer having to lift 50 lbs, an appropriate change would be to not require that the employee do lifting, and that they stay at the register.  It is sad for me to see that there are plenty of good people with little experience that cannot find a suitable job, or that they have to take a job that will hurt them physically just to survive.

I hope that the VA takes into account when they are rating people for Individual Unemployability that it is so hard to find a job that allows for people with even minor physical disabilities.  We should also be working with our government to do away with the "loophole" that emplyers have found requiring that employees be able to lift a certain amount of weight.  I understand that it is difficult to employ somebody that cannot do all of the functions you wish, but it is the law that you have to make reasonable accomodations.  For any employer that is reading this, put yourself in the shoes of a disabled veteran who is looking for work.  Try to realize how difficult it is for that person to find work, and think of all of the benefits there are to working with a veteran with leadership skills.

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