Know How Much Youre Comfortable Sharing
Exactly how much information you share is another aspect of disability disclosure thats personal. If youre wary of this conversation, dont feel pressured to dive into all of the nitty gritty details of your disability and exactly why you need certain accommodationsthats not necessary.
Leary says shes typically as vague as possible. If I had to explain my disability for any reason Id intentionally not tell them all the details. The exception would be in workplaces or with employers who have proven themselves to be very keen on disability rights, she says.
You don’t need to disclose everything about yourself, and I would advise you to only share whats relevant for success on the job, adds Li. For example, you might eventually need to disclose that youre a wheelchair user, but that doesnt mean you need to share why you require the wheelchair.
What youre comfortable with might also change as you move through your career.
When I was younger, I was under the radar, says Merrill. I never disclosed my hearing impairment and folks probably imagined that I just had a slight speech impediment. Now that I have a hearing dog which I bring to work every day, it’s a little hard not to disclose my disability. I’m out and proud and I want to be a successful role model for others.
It’s More Important To Focus On Saying As Much As You Can About Your Disability
What an individual filing for disability should worry about is what they should say while filling out their disability paperwork, rather than what they should not say. The outcome of many disability claims depends upon how well an individual’s disability paperwork is completed. Disability decisions are based upon a lot of information, and the main source for that information is the disability paperwork provided by the claimant at their initial Social Security disability interview . Giving a detailed account of your condition, medical history, and work activity can allow a disability claims examiner or administrative law judge to make a favorable determination in your Social Security disability claim.
How To Bring Up Your Disability At Your Interview
Raising the issue of your disability can be beneficial because you can address the situation proactively. Remember to keep your disability in perspective by following these tips:
- Focus on the job. You want to first discuss your qualifications for the job. Your main focus should be what you can do, your education, your experience, and why you should be hired.
- Keep your disability in perspective. Dont focus on your disability more than you have to. When discussing the need for an accommodation, focus on its simplicitymany accommodations do not require the employer to do muchand how effective and productive it will allow you to be in the job you are applying for.
- Show your disability as strength. Turn your disability into a positive by showing how it has made you a better employee. For example, has it helped you develop more discipline and a better work ethic? Focus on what it has taught you about life and your abilities because it most likely has.
- Stay calm. If you are asked an inappropriate question, stay calm and steer the conversation back to what is acceptable. While you ultimately may not want the position, use the interview as an opportunity to tactfully educate the interviewer.
Be Specific About Your Symptoms And Limitations
Specific answers give an ALJ a clear picture of your impairment. For example, if you suffer from back problems and the ALJ asks you to describe the pain, use descriptive words like “burning,” “tingling,” “aching,” “shooting,” or “dull.” Also clearly describe the location of any pain. This will help paint a picture in the ALJ’s mind about your disability and how it affects you. It will also help the ALJ know if your symptoms are consistent with the recognized symptoms of your medical condition, which can help your credibility.
You must also be specific when describing your limitations. For example, if the ALJ asks you how long you can sit, don’t say “for just a little while,” state “30 minutes,” or “one hour,” or however long it is you can sit without pain. If the ALJ asks whether you can drive and you are in fact able to drive short distances , a good answer would be “I can drive to my doctor’s office, which is about 3 miles away.”
I Cant Work Because No One Will Hire Me
Too often individuals apply for Social Security Disability benefits because they have lost their job. This program is not meant to be a substitute for unemployment benefits. The Social Security disability program is in place to assist individuals who are either physically or mentally unable to maintain full-time employment on a regular and consistent basis. Social Security does not care what the job market is like. They dont care how difficult it is for you to find a job. They simply care if you could perform the job functions required. I know this sounds harsh, but again, this program is meant as disability insurance. It is not meant to be used for unemployment benefits.
The better answer to the question, Why cant you work? would be to focus on what physical or mental conditions actually prevent you from completing job tasks. Oftentimes individuals struggling with a condition will push themselves to continue working. Then they will either be fired or let go because of their inability to complete the job. At your hearing be honest about this. If you are let go from your past work, that, in and of itself, is supportive evidence for your inability to maintain employment on a regular and consistent basis. So what you should focus on at your hearing is that while, yes, you were let go from your job, even if you were given another position tomorrow you would not be able to complete the job due to xy and z.
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Has Your Medical Condition Changed Or Improved
If your condition has improved, be honest about that fact. Explain what has improved and what hasnt. Improved is a real open ended term. Changed is the same. Changed could mean that your condition has declined. Again, be honest. Dont be afraid to explain what its like suffering from your medical condition. Nobody likes to be called a complainer, but this is one time to not down-play your pain, your fatigue or other symptoms that makes working difficult or impossible.
If You Havent Been Asked Should You Still Advise The Employer About Your Disability
This decision is entirely up to you. But you must be aware that if you decide not tell to your employer and you encounter issues later on when trying to perform your job role, you may not be protected by the Equality Act.
Furthermore, if your employer was unaware of your disability, they can’t be deemed to have acted in a discriminatory fashion towards you.
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Never Use The Following Words During An Exit Interview
As your mother always said, Hate is a strong word. Its also an easy word to fall back on if you are harboring ill will against the company or soon-to-be ex-boss. Nonetheless, if you can bear providing useful feedback, dont use this word.
Go into the exit interview with a calm demeanor. Allow reason to reign rather than a propensity to seek any type of pay back. For the sake of your colleagues who continue to work at the organization, allow HR to gather information about why you are leaving.
Just as you do with job interviews, study potential questions they may ask and have thoughtful replies. A practiced answer is a non-emotional answer. Make it a goal to always maintain your respect and dignity.
John is the worst co-worker I have ever had. Sally is the worst supervisor on the face of the earth. Throughout human history, Katherine is by far the worst owner to ever have lived.
If you are trying to burn a bridge, feel free to start with the word worst, and watch how quickly things unravel. If you should ever need a reference , strike worst from your active vocabulary for the duration of the exit interview.
You may feel that on questions is a wise decision, but it does not help the interviewer. It smacks of uncooperativeness and provides HR with a reason to think you are concealing some truth.
Once again, professionalism must be maintained during an exit interview. Pleading the fifth does not help anyone.
First A Few Etiquette Basics
Relax! Remember that a person who has a disability is a personlike anyone else. If you don’t know what to do or say, allow the person who has a disability to help put you at ease.
Assume nothing. If you have a question about what to do, how to do it, what language or terminology to use, what assistance to offer, ask the person with the disability. That person should be your first and best resource, and he or she shares responsibility to make others aware when assistance is required.
When talking or writing about persons with disabilities, emphasize the person, not the disability. For example, a person is not an epileptic but rather a person who has epilepsy. Avoid labeling people with the name of a condition or as part of a disability group.
Treat each person as an individual, with unique needs, talents and abilities. Just because a person has a disability, does not mean his or her needs are the same as anyone else with that same disability.
Remember this: the greatest obstacle that people with disabilities face in life can be the negative attitude of others!
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How To Answer The Alj At Your Hearing
No matter what question the ALJ asks at your hearing, you need to make sure that your responses do a few main things. Most important is that you directly answer your ALJ’s questions about your case to the best of your abilities.
You may also have questions about aspects of your case that might be regarded negatively by the ALJ.
Don’t panic, be honest, and make sure that you’ve gone over your case for these types of facts.
A disability attorney can help you sort out these facts and make sure your case is presented with all the details about your case accounted for.
Interviewing A Person With Speech Disorder
Give your whole attention when talking to a person who has a speech disorder.
Ask short questions that require short answers or a nod of the head. Do not pretend to understand if you do not. Try rephrasing what you wish to communicate, or ask the person to repeat what you do not understand. Do not raise your voice. Most people with a speech disorder can hear and understand.
Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting. Avoid the temptation to complete sentences for the person.
Repeat back the interviewees statements to confirm that you understood them. Another technique is to rephrase the interviewees comments in the form of a question. The persons response will help guide you to understanding precisely what they intended to say. Remember that open-ended questions are usually more appropriate and productive than closed-ended questions.
Example:”You were a tax accountant in ABC Company for seven years. Is that correct?” .
Open-ended question:“Tell me more about your seven years of experience as a tax accountant for ABC what were your most interesting challenges?”
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Youre Not Required To Disclose Any Disabilities
You are not required to mention disability in your resume or even in a job interview. Thatâs right! The Americans with Disabilities Act protects your right to not disclose that information–and employers canât ask about disabilities either. So, why include details that are irrelevant to the job if you are not required to do so?
It is your legal right to not disclose your disability. However, that doesn’t mean you have to lie to protect yourself. As Jennifer points out:
Often, there will be a question on the job application about requesting accommodation. If this question is present, always answer truthfully.
If/when the hiring manager asks about the accommodation need, keep the conversation positive and focused on what you can do, not the limitation. Carrying the attitude of ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ will encourage the hiring manager that you and their company will strike a positive balance together.
If The Person You Are Interviewing Is Deaf Or Hearing Impaired:
- Ask the person to choose a place to sit where he or she will be comfortable.
- Speak directly to the person being interviewed. If he or she reads lips, speak at a normal rate while facing the person and be sure to keep your hands away from your mouth. Do not exaggerate your lip movements, but speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact.
- If the interviewee is using an interpreter, do not address the interpreter. It is commonplace for the interpreter to be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee. Interpreters only facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview. Also, keep in mind that just because someone uses a sign language interpreter during the interview does not mean that he or she will require an interpreter at all times to do their work.
- Do not shout. A deaf person cannot hear you and if the interviewee is using an assistive listening device, you may actually hurt his or her ears.
- If an interpreter is not present and if the person is reading lips and something is not clear, it is ok to write notes back and forth.
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If The Person Being Interviewed Has Speech
- Phrase questions so that they can be answered with short responses.
- Give your total attention to the person. Dont be afraid to ask for clarification if necessary.
- Do not complete the persons thoughts for them. Be patient and wait for the entire response.
- Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Repeat what you understand and the persons reactions will clue you in and guide you to understanding.
- Speak with a normal tone of voice. Most speech-impaired persons can hear and understand without difficulty.
What Will Happen At My Disability Interview
Applying for government benefits can be complicated, frustrating, and, yes, even a little scary. Your application must be complete, and you need to provide supporting evidence. However, when you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, theres another step: your disability interview. Understanding what will happen at a disability interview may help you prepare for it and make it just a little less frightening.
After submitting your application, the Social Security Administration will contact you to set up a disability interview. Interviews may be conducted by telephone or in person. This is not like a court hearing, but is just a meeting between you and an SSA caseworker or representative. Remember, its just part of the application process.
What happens during the actual disability interview, though?
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Discussing Access To Work
If you will need adjustments or support at work, mention Access to Work. This is a government grant scheme which can help your employer assess your needs and provide funding for these. This can help but it can be a long process. Mentioning Access to Work shows you’ve done your research and can reassure the employer that support and funding is available.
Access to Work can cover some travel costs to work if you are unable to use public transport.
If the interviewer asks for more information, you can direct them towards the official government website.
What Happens During A Social Security Disability Or Ssi Application Interview
- What is your your social security number?
- Where you were born?
- What is your current address?
- What is your date of birth?
- What are the the names of your parents?
Providing information about the Medical History and Work historyWhen the claim involves SSIForm 3368
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Difference Between Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits And Supplemental Security Income Benefits
The SSA runs both programs, and the medical requirements are the same for both, although the two programs are very different.
Social Security will pay SSDI benefits to you and sometimes to members of your family if you qualify medically and have worked either for a business or yourself and paid Social Security taxes. Under the SSA requirement, you earn one credit for each $1,320 of wages. You need to have earned 40 credits, 20 of which must have come in the last 10 years. Younger disabled workers require fewer credits.
SSI provides benefits that are based on financial need, which is the best bet for anyone who has not earned enough credits or paid enough in Social Security taxes to qualify for SSDI. A means test is involved in determining eligibility:
- You cannot have more than $2,000 in assets individually or $3,000 in a couple.
- You need to be earning less than $1,180 per month.
We will explain more about the information that is needed for the SSDI interview and the SSI interview below. We will also tell you about the additional information that you need to produce during an SSI interview.