After a spinal cord injury, you may want to get back to everyday life. This would mean finding a career path that is fulfilling and rewarding. Work is essential for everyone not only because it pays the bills and provides you with health insurance, but also because of the sense of belonging to a community and interacting with your peers.
While it can be scary to get back out there an interview, there are many resources available to you that can help you obtain a new career and succeed in it.
Vocational Rehabilitation programs are also a great resource available to you. Simply put, professional rehabilitation programs help people with disabilities gain employment. Taking part in these programs will help you identify areas of interest and skills.
Some even teach necessary skills and suggest education that you will need to obtain a new position. There are a wide variety of programs available. Some are paid for by your private insurance while others are state funded.
After you find a plan that you like, the first step will be an assessment. This will help the counselor evaluate your skills, work history, interest, and limitations. They can gather this information with surveys, interviews, tests, medical history, and work history.
Self-Employment/ Work from Home
There are many jobs that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Depending on the level of your spinal cord injury, this can be a great way to work as part of a team without the restrictions of the workplace environment.
With a laptop and internet, you can dial in and get to work. Many jobs are flexible with your hours so you can work when you are comfortable.
On the flip side, if you have a more entrepreneurial spirit, you may want to consider beginning your own business. You might offer consultation services, have products to sell or start your own blog, and monetize it.
There are infinite possibilities with a little motivation and some hard work.
Education plays a significant roll in finding employment after spinal cord injuries. Education level is often a serious consideration when prospective employers are interviewing multiple candidates.
Furthering your level of expertise in your field will undoubtedly help you to stand out in the crowd. Certifications in different trades such as web development and cloud-based technologies are great areas to look into, as there are more jobs open than there are qualified candidates to fill them. This also means a higher level of pay for entry-level positions.
It is the responsibility of the workplace to make reasonable accommodations for people protected under the ADA. This may include modifying your desk if you are in a wheelchair or accommodating breaks or seating for people with spinal cord injuries. It can even mean adjusting schedules for doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and more.
Employment Not Possible
In some cases, it is just not possible to find a position. This could be because the area you live in has limited job openings or it can be because of limitations you are not able to find employment that will cover all of your living expenses. If you find yourself in this situation, you can apply for disability benefits. Your rehabilitation counselor can help get you started.
Under the Social Security Administration, you can receive benefits if you are unable to perform “substantial and gainful” work activity that is expected to last a year or longer. There are two ways that you can apply for Social Security Benefits, long term disability is an insurance program that is funded by your payroll taxes. Application for this is based on your own employment and tax history.
The second way to apply is through a Supplemental Security Income. This option is for people with disabilities that have a low income and are still unable to work.
Having a spinal cord injury is a life-changing event. By adopting some changes, you may be able to get back into the workforce and have a long and fulfilling career. Take advantage of all the programs and resources available to you. Participating in vocational rehabilitation is crucial to building the skills you need to re-enter your career or begin a new one. Counselors will offer excellent advice and help guide you through the whole process making it less challenging. Talk with your healthcare provider for more information on finding the right counselor for you.
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