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Job market tough for intellectually disabled

Adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the United States may have a difficult time working, and those that are able to work struggle to find a job. Despite government programs that are supposed to help people with disabilities find and stay employed, many adults with disabilities end up working in low-paying and dead-end jobs. 

In the U.S., 34 percent of adults with intellectual disabilities are working, according to a survey by the Special Olympics. They reported that only a total of 44 percent of intellectually disabled adults are either working or looking for work in the country, compared to 83 percent of adults without disabilities. 

The survey found that 28 percent of adults with intellectual disabilities have never been employed. Individuals that do work are usually only able to find part-time positions and their wages are lower than what workers without disabilities make. An interesting finding from the survey was that 62 percent disabled people who do work in a competitive position have worked there for three years or longer, which shows that many people with disabilities can find a job and stay employed. 

Conditions considered to be intellectual disabilities include Down Syndrome and autism. Many people with an intellectual disability have an IQ of 75 or less, which makes it more difficult to manage certain skills like counting money or using public transportation. This can make it difficult for individuals with intellectual disabilities to work but government programs are supposed to be helping these individuals. 

Opinions about hiring people with intellectual disabilities need to change too. Many companies have already started hiring more intellectually disabled people but disability advocates hope more companies will make an effort to hire disabled workers in the future. 

Disabled Americans often struggle with finding a job or one that pays enough or provides enough hours to afford their monthly living expenses. Individuals with disabilities should be aware of how Social Security Disability may be able to help them. Disabled individuals should apply for SSDI benefits to see if they are eligible for monthly benefits. 

Source: AZ Central, "Intellectually disabled in the U.S. struggling to find work," Sam Hananel, Feb. 17, 2014

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