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 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
- 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
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 (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
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.
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”.
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
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
Strategies for Overcoming Barriers to Employment
Goal Setting for Job Retention and Advancement
Resolving Conflict for Job Success
To access the webinars and quizzes, visit the our
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:
Ask for a reasonable accommodation before your job
performance is affected and you are in danger of being let go.
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.
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.
Consider a lateral move or team projects. While you won’t
be paid more for these things, they can increase your skill set, including
Consider all of your past work experience, not just your
experience in your current position when attempting to advance into a better
For more information, take the Goal Setting for Job Retention and Advancement webinar,
part of the Essential Workplace Skills Webinar Series.
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
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'
Homeownership for Individuals with Disabilities
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
For more information on all of these asset development
tools, refer to the Asset