Though most people who get Social Security disability benefits no longer work, many still do. Social Security allows disability beneficiaries to work part-time and still get their monthly payment. So, if you are disabled but working, what should you tell your boss about your condition?
The Issues Start Even Before The Job Does
The New York Times recently published an article dealing with this topic. The issue begins even before a disabled person gets a job. For example, should the disabled applicant tell the employer during the job interview about her disability? This could prompt the would-be employer to offer accommodations.
Or, it could eliminate the chance of the disabled person being hired at all.
Once a disabled person has her job, the problems don't end. The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against the disabled. But, most employers can find a way to stay within the letter of the law while still not giving the disabled all the support they need.
Then there is the privacy issue. The disabled are entitled, like anyone else, to not disclose every aspect of their lives. But, they might have to in order to explain such things as frequent bathroom breaks.
Things To Keep In Mind When Discussing Disability With Your Employer
If you decide to tell your employer about your disability, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, accommodations only have to permit you to actually do the job. Employers are not required to let you work fewer hours or days than other employees.
When you do talk to your employer about your disability, be prepared to explain what accommodations you need and why you can still do the job. The Job Accommodation Network is a great resource for preparing to speak with your boss about your disability.
Don't Wait Too Long To Have The Discussion
Ultimately, the decision to reveal a disability to an employer is a personal one, with no right or wrong approach in every case. If your disability is starting to interfere with your job performance, it is probably best to come clean before you face disciplinary action. Waiting too long could make it easier for an employer to fire you.
You may find that disclosing your disability provides a great sense of relief. Hiding any secret is stressful. You may also discover your coworkers are happy to help in any way they can.
Have you talked to your boss about your disability? What was the result? Let me know.