Living with a disability can be financially, physically and emotionally challenging. Often a disability can interfere with even the most basic day-to-day tasks—ones that most of us take for granted, like moving around the house, browsing around the grocery store, or even just getting out of bed in the morning or communicating with others. On top of these constant everyday obstacles, obtaining and maintaining steady employment remains an unfairly daunting challenge for individuals in our country living with a disability.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so we would like to do our part to help raise awareness of the unjust hardships that individuals living with disabilities have to face while seeking employment. This annual, month-long event was declared by Congress in 1945, and serves as the culmination of several disability employment advocacy efforts..
According to Diversity Inc., over 37.2 million people in the United States currently live with a disability, which is equal to 12.1% of the civilian non-institutionalized population1. Some individuals are born with disabilities, while others develop disabilities later; some become disabled gradually over time through a catastrophic illness such as multiple sclerosis, while others may become disabled suddenly through a catastrophic accident. In the United States, people ages 25 and older with a disability are half as likely to have completed high school as people without a disability, and only 16% of Americans living with a disability work full time, whereas 63% of those without a disability are successful in finding full-time employment1.
The numbers are staggering and without full-time employment, many of these individuals fall into severe financial insecurity. According to the Council of Disability Awareness, the average individual disability claim lasts 31.6 months, and one in eight workers will be disabled for five years or more during their working careers. Additionally, medical problems contributed to 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2007 (which is estimated at over 500,000 people), as well as half of all home foreclosures in 20062.
At HelpHOPELive, we realize that disabilities can place a tremendous amount of financial strain on these individuals and their families. And when a disability is caused without warning by either a debilitating disease, medical crisis or catastrophic accident, the mental and emotional burden can be just as overwhelming and seemingly impossible to deal with. Through our various community fundraising and outreach efforts, our goal is to help bring financial aid and peace of mind to those living with a disability, and help them regain a sense of independence. For more information on how we can help, or to plan your own fundraising drive, please visit our website.