​JOB SEEKERS

You're Working, Now What?

​Congratulations – you’ve got a job! Securing and maintaining employment can be a fulfilling experience. This section helps you to take full advantage of your opportunity with information on your rights and responsibilities, as well as tools and resources on disclosure, accommodations, retention, advancement, and more.

Disclosure

Disclosure is telling someone (in this case, your employer) something that they did not know about you, such as having a disability. The decision to disclose is personal, and you have the right to disclose or not disclose.

If you make the decision to disclose to your employer, there are things to keep in mind about what kind of information you want to tell. Think about how your disability affects your ability to do your job, and the environment, supports, and services you will need to do your job. Be prepared to provide medical documentation of your disability.

There are several points in the employment process when you could disclose your disability. You will need to disclose in order to receive an accommodation.

  • Before the interview: If you need an accommodation for the interview, you will need to disclose to the employer prior to the interview.
  • During the interview: Talking to the employer about your disability at the interview will let them know what supports and services you need to do the job. Make sure you talk about your skills and give examples of what you will need to do the job.
  • After you have been offered a job: If you need an accommodation to do the job you are offered, you will need to tell your employer.
  • While you are working: Now that you are working, you might realize that you need an accommodation. In order for the employer to give you the accommodation, you must disclose.
Remember it may not be necessary to disclose every detail of your disability, only the information that relates to your job functions and performance.

For more information on this topic, please read the Disclosure​ fact sheet.


Reasonable Accommodations 

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that allows an individual with a disability to fully participate in all employment related activities. Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations that allow qualified employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs.

It is your responsibility to request a reasonable accommodation. See the Disclosure section above for more information on disclosing your disability to your employer.

You should never have to pay for an accommodation. The employer pays for the accommodation unless it creates an undue hardship. Undue hardship means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense.

When you are requesting a reasonable accommodation, it is important to engage in a conversation with your employer. Understand the essential functions, fundamental job duties of your position, and how the accommodations you are requesting will allow you to perform those duties. Present your employer with resources about reasonable accommodations and options of accommodations that will meet your needs. Resources that may be helpful for your employer include:

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology (AT) is a tool or machine that helps you live or work more on your own. Examples of assistive technology include screen magnifiers, accessible media players, TTYs, voice recognition software, specialized keyboards, and more.

The Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP) teaches people about using assistive technology. MD TAP can also show you AT machines and tools to help you find the one that best meets your needs. Because the cost of AT may be more than you can afford, MD TAP and MDOD run the Assistive Technology Guaranteed Loan Program. This program gives low-interest loans to people who live in Maryland. Loan amounts range from $500 to $3,000 and can be used to buy many kinds of AT. For more information on MD TAP and the Assistive Technology Guaranteed Loan Program, visit www.mdtap.org or call (800) 832-4827, TTY (866) 881-7488.


Rights & Responsibilities

As an employee, there are laws that protect you from discrimination in the workplace. By the same token, it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive a reasonable accommodation.  You should never have to pay for an accommodation. The employer pays for accommodations, unless it creates an undue hardship.

  • After the Job Offer

    • After the employer offers you the job, the employer might ask you disability-related questions and/or request a medical exam. This is okay as long as it is asked of all new employees in similar jobs. The employer may not take back the job offer because a medical exam reveals a disability.

    • It is up to you to request reasonable accommodations if you are eligible and need them. The employer does not have to provide the specific accommodation requested. It is a good idea to learn about different accommodations that would enable you to perform the essential functions of the job and to offer suggestions to your employer. These sites are a good place to start:

  • On the Job

    • A reasonable accommodation may be requested at any time. If you acquire a disability after you are hired, or if your disability affects the way you perform your job, you should let your supervisor know. However​, ideally you would disclose a need for an accommodation before it affects your performance. It is your​​​ responsibility to request an accommodation.

    • Accommodations are not limited to only your job functions. Your place of business should provide accessible break rooms, cafeterias, restrooms, and transportation (if it is company-provided).

    • Your employer may offer health insurance that excludes coverage of pre-existing conditions. If the insurance offered to all employees does not cover all of your medical expenses, the company does not have to obtain additional coverage for you.

      • Are you eligible for the Employed Individuals with Disabilities (EID) Program? Visit the EID​ website for more information. 

    • If you acquire a disability after you are hired for instance, your employer is allowed to offer to place you in a different job if it is determined that there is no other way for you to perform the essential functions of the job.

For more information on this topic, please read the fact sheet titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities”.


Worker’s Compensation

If you are injured while working, the state provides Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation covers partial replacement of lost wages due to your injury, payment for medical and vocational rehabilitation costs, and coverage for some occupational diseases. There are five types of coverage, based on the severity of your work-related injury: temporary and permanent total disability benefits, temporary and permanent partial disability benefits, and serious disability benefits. If you receive SSI or SSDI, these payments will be affected by Workers’ Compensation. However, no matter severity, eligibility, or effect on Social Security benefits, anyone who has been injured on the job is encouraged to apply for Workers’ Compensation. To learn more about or to apply for Workers’ Compensation, please visit www.wcc.state.md.us, the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s website, or call 1-800-492-0479 (410-864-5100 locally).


Essential Workplace Skills Webinar Series

Harford Community College and the Maryland Department of Disabilities created a 7-part webinar series on Essential Workplace Skills for individuals with disabilities. Each webinar has a corresponding quiz. If you pass the quiz, you can receive a certificate of successful completion. The following are the titles of the webinars:

  • Communication of Accommodation Concerns

  • Effective Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • Human Resources, Your Supervisor, and You: Parts 1 and 2

  • Strategies for Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success

  • Goal Setting for Job Retention and Advancement

  • Resolving Conflict for Job Success

To access the webinars and quizzes, visit the our webinar website.


Retention & Advancement

The road to appropriate, permanent employment does not stop once you get the job. Once you are employed, there are a few guidelines you should follow to ensure that you retain your job and move into positions with more responsibility and higher pay:

  1. Ask for a reasonable accommodation before your job performance is affected and you are in danger of being let go.

  2. Have an employment plan. This can be established by you and a job counselor or you and your employer. Know what you need to do to move into a higher position or one with more responsibility.

  3. If your employer offers education reimbursement or free training, consider taking them up one their offer. You may also want to consider substituting some of your work week for education.

  4. Consider a lateral move or team projects. While you won’t be paid more for these things, they can increase your skill set, including problem-solving skills.

  5. Consider all of your past work experience, not just your experience in your current position when attempting to advance into a better job.

For more information, take the Goal Setting for Job Retention and Advancement webinar​, part of the Essential Workplace Skills Webinar Series.


Asset Development

Employment is one way that an individual can become financially independent, but it also vital to acquire assets that build value over time. This is known as asset development, which means obtaining resources that increase in value, such as a home. Such assets can provide money in case of emergency, additional income for retirement, and an inheritance to pass along to children and/or grandchildren. Below are examples of asset building tools.

Individual Development Account (IDA)

One tool to achieve financial independence is the Individual Development Account (IDA). The IDA is a matched savings account for people with low incomes. At this time, there are five IDAs operating in Maryland, available to residents of Allegany, Calvert, Cecil, Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, or Washington Counties.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit for people who have low to moderate incomes and work for pay. The EITC can reduce the amount you pay in taxes and could give you a refund. There are certain income limits an individual must meet to be eligible for the EITC. The IRS has developed a web-based tool to help an individual find out if he or she can claim EITC, how much his or her credit will be, and if his or her child is a qualifying child. To access this tool, visit the IRS' website.

Homeownership for Individuals with Disabilities Program

The Homeownership for Individuals with Disabilities Program provides very low interest mortgages for Marylanders with disabilities who meet the income eligibility requirements. The benefits of this program include no down payment required, more relaxed credit requirements, only $500 due at closing and it may be gifted, and the term of the mortgage is 40 years. Visit the Department of Housing & Community Development’s website for more information.

For more information on all of these asset development tools, refer to the Asset Development​.