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Federal contracting jobs may benefit disabled workers in Georgia

Readers in Augusta, Georgia might not associate their home state as a hub of federal contracting activity. Yet in 2011, over $9 billion was spent in federal contracts in Georgia. Nationwide, approximately 200,000 federal contracting and subcontracting companies hire about 20 percent of the country’s workforce. That amounts to about $700 billion a year in contract work.

The Labor Department recently announced its publication of final rules applicable to those federal contracting companies. Under the new requirements, disabled workers should comprise 7 percent of their employees. Officials hope the new rules will empower more disabled workers -- perhaps even those individuals receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits -- to consider returning to work.

Of course, the spectrum of impairments presented by disabling diseases and conditions under the SSDI program is extremely broad. At the most extreme end, the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program expedites disability claim processing for individuals with terminal illnesses. At the other end of the impairment spectrum are disabilities that may be work prohibitive, at least under existing conditions. However, with the right medical treatment and employer-provided reasonable work accommodations, it’s possible that some individuals could return to the workplace.

 An attorney that specializes in SSDI and other disability benefits programs might be able to offer advice on how disabled individuals can explore work opportunities without endangering their existing SSDI payments. Today’s story suggests that contracting work might be one possible avenue of inquiry. For those individuals who may have lost their job because of an illness or impairment, an attorney may be able to provide assistance in the application process.

Source:  online.wjs.com, “Hiring Rules Help Veterans, Disabled,” Melnie Trottman, Aug. 27, 2013

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