To: The National Council On Disability, The National Council on Independent Living, and the Rehabilitation Service Administration, President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
Equal Employment Opportunities For People with Disabilities
We, the undersigned, demand that: 1) Equal employment legislation be strengthened and enforced; 2) Blatant and subtle forms of employment discrimination be prosecuted; and 3) Disincentives to competitively gainful employment be removed to benefit every person with a disability.
Why is this important?
To President Obama, the U.S. Congress, the National Council on Disability, the National Council on Independent Living, and the Rehabilitation Services Administration:
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2013, 17.6 percent of persons with a disability were employed, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, the employment-population ratio for those without a disability was 64.0 percent. The employment-population ratio was little changed from 2012 to 2013 for both groups. The unemployment rate for those with a disability was 13.2 percent in 2013, higher than the rate for persons with no disability (7.1 percent). The jobless rate for persons with a disability was little changed from 2012 to 2013, while the rate for those without a disability declined.
These statistics illustrate that legislative efforts and "best practice solutions" to fully include and integrate people with disabilities into the workplace are NOT successful and discrimination and disincentives to getting a job or having a career still exists. In addition, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, 28 percent of those with disabilities ages 18 to 64 lived in poverty in 2010. Meanwhile, the poverty rate for their peers in the general population was 12.5 percent.
On October 14, 2016, thousands of people with disabilities and fellow supporters will participate in the Million Gimp March on our Nation's Capitol to demand the following:
1. That Congress or the President takes immediate steps to make gainful employment and the pursuit and achievement of a career a civil right for people with disabilities and that legislation such as the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are strengthened and vigorously and meaningfully implemented.
2. That Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay special minimum wages - wages less than the Federal minimum wage - to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed be immediately repealed at the Federal and State levels for all workers with disabilities and that an Executive Order be issued ordering that the certificates held by states and other jurisdictions be immediately made null and void.
3. That laws that make it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in hiring and in the workplace be strengthened, funded and immediately implemented.
4. That, once employed, people with disabilities be allowed to keep medical benefits such as Medicaid and Medicare, as a supplement that would cover essential items, services and long term care that private insurance does not.
5. That the asset limit for people with disabilities on Medicaid be increased from $2,000 to $50,000.
We, the undersigned, agree with and fully support these demands and call for across-the-board competitive and inclusive employment opportunity equality regardless of ability.