How do I get a job with a physical disability?

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alien842
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04 Oct 2008, 1:45 pm

I need advice. I've tried everything but nothing's really working and it's getting to a point where if I don't find a job in the next month, I'll be homeless.

I have a cranial nerve/Vagus nerve disorder and faint when I'm on my feet. It happens constantly, and I only get around 30 seconds of warning symptoms before I faint. It's so bad that my pulse has even stopped temporarily a couple times. I'm okay as long as I sit down as soon as I feel it coming on.

Here's the problem. I have almost no job experience and can't get work doing anything but being a cashier or waitress, or other jobs that require being on your feet the entire time. I've embellished my resume as much as I can and sent it to dozens of receptionist/secretary type jobs. ANYTHING where I can sit down. Nobody even responds to me, or of they do, they say I don't have enough experience. I tried telemarketing jobs, but they didn't want me either because I've never done that.

I've tried internet and home jobs, and been scammed. The only legit one made me about $30 after 6 months.

I've tried call centers, but nothing was available.

I've been to every disability clinic in 3 seperate states, and they were all worthless, despite the fact that I have doctor's documentation of it. And now I don't have insurance or time to see another doctor. I need to work to pay my bills NOW.

I've tried applying for cashier/waitress jobs and showing my doctor's notes, asking if I could sit down in between customers. And I never heard back from them. Nobody will hire me!

I'm getting scared. The last time I had a cashier job, I fainted halfway through the first day in front of all the customers and my coworkers, and it was humiliating. And the managers were upset that I didn't tell them, but what could I have done? They wouldn't have hired me if I did.

I need to pay my bills! Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm out of ideas right now, but maybe someone knows something I haven't thought of yet.



KaliMa
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04 Oct 2008, 3:16 pm

I worked for awhile at a call center. They took my resume and said they had nothing at the time, but within a few weeks they called me; you might have the same thing if you let them put you on the waiting list. The place I worked they always had a training class going; as soon as one finished they hired more people to start the next one. It was a sit-down job, but it was annoying because you didn't have an assigned seat, you sat at a different desk every time so you couldn't leave anything at work. I really enjoyed the work, though. I don't have a problem with talking on the phone like some people on here do.

Also, after I became disabled I got on social security disability. When I applied they asked if I needed SSI to cover my expenses until they decided on the disability claim. If you live in the US you might want to try that route.

Also, since I became disabled I can't walk 1/2 block before needing to sit down. Do you use a walker with a seat? They have walkers with four wheels, which move much easier than the kind you pick up with every step, and you can buy a padded bench seat for them for about $30US at easycomforts.com. I got my walker, which came with an attached seat, at amazon.com for 100.07, including shipping, but the kind without a seat is cheaper. There is a service organization that takes in used medical stuff like walkers and then gives them away. I don't remember if it was the Lions Club or some other one, but I heard about it from a physical therapist at the hospital I was diagnosed in. Maybe the PT department in your local hospital can tell you what service organization it is. I'm sure people turn in walkers with seats (rollators) frequently.

Again, if you live in the US, have you tried foodstamps to make your little bit of $ go further?

Hope one of these thoughts helps you-good luck!



alien842
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04 Oct 2008, 4:47 pm

How did you get the call center job? Was it online or in person?

I'm going to have to try for food stamps. I'll be able to use whatever help I can. I'll look into disability. The only problem is I'm not sure it'll be enough to survive off of, and sometimes they won't let you get disability and look for a job at the same time. I definitely need a job to stay in the apartment I'm in. It was the only decent neighborhood and I'd be scared to live anywhere else.

I don't have any trouble walking, as long as I can sit down at will. It's only standing and not being able to sit down whenever I need to. It's all neurological, so I look normal and healthy on the outside.

It's just so cruel that all minimum wage jobs require you to stand. Any cashier could do their job just as well on a f*****g stool or chair. And food servers could have a bench or chairs in the kitchen to sit on in between customers. Maybe I should try and start some sort of workers rights group once this is all sorted out and I'm not worried about paying my bills anymore.



alien842
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04 Oct 2008, 5:03 pm

Update: I can't get food stamps. I have too much money in my bank account to qualify in the county I live in, even though almost all of it was given as a grant for college. I guess I'll never get to go back to school, though...



KaliMa
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04 Oct 2008, 7:10 pm

I got the call center job by answering an ad, I don't remember if it was online or in the paper, I was doing both at the time, for a temp job. The call center I was hired at would first hire people as temps, then after 3 months offered a permanent job to people who were not problems (like absenteeism, etc).

The person at SS who interviewed me for my disability asked if I needed money to tide me over while they decided on my claim; I had too much in my retirement savings (anything over $2000 is too much for most forms of assistance I've looked into) or else I could have gotten SSI to cover the time I had to wait. My SSDI check is $969 a month (I worked from 1979 til 2007 but I don't know If I qualified for this amount of disability before 2007), which with Section 8 and foodstamps and heating oil assistance should be sufficient, I hope. I don't have any credit card or other debt, though, or else it might not be enough.

I can walk OK except the MS makes me a bit off-balance occasionally. I use the walker mainly as a place to sit down whenever I need it. I also look perfectly healthy, but because of the walker people are very helpful and considerate to me now, where before they were often jerks.

Oh, BTW, I just ate at IHOP today with my brother. The cashier had a stool to sit on, so some places are not so bad. You're right, though, there is no reason a cashier should have to stand up all day.



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04 Oct 2008, 10:33 pm

You could request a stool at the register or ask if it would be ok to bring your own stool, I've seen a few cashiers at grocery stores sitting on stools before. Apply as cashier at bookstores or at a mall that has stalls(our malls have stalls in the halls, they all have seats) or ....hmmm, some oil change places have seats for cashiers.


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just-me
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04 Oct 2008, 11:49 pm

The food stamp office has emergency cash assistence if you qualify. also there are certain churches that will pay your bills to let you keep your house /apartment . that do a one time only payment.

This is in the usa, if you live here.



KaliMa
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05 Oct 2008, 10:41 am

I just read mikebw's answer and it made me think of something. If you can get a job without letting them know about your problem, under the Americans With Disabilities Act (I looked at your past posts and saw you were living in CA, so I assume you're still in the US now) they would have to make reasonable accomodations like providing a stool. Although they might be able to fire you if they can prove you lied to them, I don't think they can legally ask about your health/medical condition in the first place.

I once got a job as a cashier in a supermarket by showing up and asking if there was any work. I was interviewed on the spot and we were standing up the whole time, so I don't know if you'll be able to be interviewed sitting down to conceal your condition, though.



alien842
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05 Oct 2008, 9:14 pm

KaliMa wrote:
I just read mikebw's answer and it made me think of something. If you can get a job without letting them know about your problem, under the Americans With Disabilities Act (I looked at your past posts and saw you were living in CA, so I assume you're still in the US now) they would have to make reasonable accomodations like providing a stool. Although they might be able to fire you if they can prove you lied to them, I don't think they can legally ask about your health/medical condition in the first place.

I once got a job as a cashier in a supermarket by showing up and asking if there was any work. I was interviewed on the spot and we were standing up the whole time, so I don't know if you'll be able to be interviewed sitting down to conceal your condition, though.


This might be the answer I was looking for! I just chewcked the Disibility Act and I think I can get a job without telling them first. I'm not sure because of the legal jargon, but I just sent an email to the office, asking about the details. And I found the address of the closest local office. I can call them tomorrow and set up an appointment. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll work out.



KaliMa
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06 Oct 2008, 5:08 am

Glad to hear you have a plan! Here in MA we have a government office called the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) that helps the disabled find work, and offers some types of training. They have a program where they work with the community colleges to come up with 4-16 week training programs for the disabled, for instance. Their web address, in case you're curious, is www.ma.gov/mrc. Maybe when you go to this appointment you could ask what services are available where you are. There should be something, although when I went to www.ca.gov I didn't see anything that seemed right. If you haven't checked there already, maybe you should make sure there's nothing there you like. I hope there is good help for you where you are like there is here in MA.



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06 Oct 2008, 5:35 am

I just looked online at the utah state website (just wondering if every state has www.whatever_state.gov as their website) and I stumbled on a service of the federal government at www.abilityone.gov and searched for jobs with the federal government in CA for disabled people. The only one that sounded like a sit-down job was a phone switchboard operator in Martinez for the VA. I worked for an answering service overnights (if it seems I've worked everywhere you're right. I've had a lot of trouble hanging on to jobs. The longest one was 5 years, but that was quite a feat for me.) Have you considered an answering service? The only requirement was typing over 35 or 40 WPM, I forget which. If you work afternoons or overnights you could still go to school days, and on the 11pm-7am shift the place I worked was dead and I was the only person in the place so I could have done homework at work. Just a thought.



alien842
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07 Oct 2008, 5:35 pm

I've tried answering services, but they wanted someone with experience too.

If all else fails, I'm considering working for a maid service or cleaning hotel rooms. I could at least work by mysekf so that if I felt like fainting, I'd be able to sit down for a second without getting in trouble for it. And I'd be moving around a lot, which I can handle doing a little longer than standing in one place. I guess they don't require exerience as much as a more professional job would.

And I could also look at driving jobs. I have a valid license and clean record. The only problem is I don't have a car, but if they provided a company van or car, then that might be an option.



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07 Oct 2008, 6:12 pm

Try registering with temporary staff agencies for call centre work?

It's sometimes easier to get temporary work to boost your CV and then it can lead to permanent jobs.

Also, you say you have "a cranial nerve/Vagus nerve disorder and faint when I'm on my feet," and I'm not wanting to fob you off here, but are there any forums like wrongplanet.net specifically for people with your other medical condition?

Just wondering, because other people with that condition might be better able to advise you what kind of jobs they've been able to do, and what help and assistance you might be able to get.



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07 Oct 2008, 10:00 pm

sell movie tickets.

or rip them.

theaters hire people with disabilities all the time


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alien842
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08 Oct 2008, 12:37 pm

886 wrote:
sell movie tickets.

or rip them.

theaters hire people with disabilities all the time


Not here. Even the ticket rippers have to stand up.



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08 Oct 2008, 6:20 pm

Just because everyone who rips your ticket is standing up, does not mean that it is mandatory or required for the job in any way.

Seriously, you will only find as much as you're willing to see. As was mentioned before, the ADA requires employers to allow for things such as a stool to sit on if the employee's disability requires it.

And yes, I do have a physical disability, so I do, in fact, know what I'm talking about. On top of having Asperger's, I was born with a bone disease, called osteogenesis imperfecta. I look normal (well, as normal as any aspie :) ), but my bones literally break like glass. For the most part, if I happen to trip and fall, I'll end up breaking a bone. At the moment, I have two broken toes on my right foot, which I broke last week, and a broken thumb on my right hand, which I broke yesterday.

Despite all of this, I somehow found a way to work as a lifeguard and a swim instructor for 8 years. One day, I broke my foot when I jumped off of the lifeguard tower into the shallow end of the pool, but I swallowed the pain and didn't let anyone know what I had done, because I was so embarrassed. I was afraid to let anyone at work know about my disability. A few years into the job, I finally told one of my managers about it and it made absolutely no difference in how she, or anyone else viewed me.

I worked for three months as a fabricator in a costuming shop that makes most of the costumes and character heads for Disney. When I told them about it, they were willing to accommodate me and help me out, but I ended up quitting because, by that point, I'd developed stress fractures on my knuckles from using a dremel (a small electric rotary tool) all day.

Nowadays, I work in special effects. It can include some hard labor, but my bosses are pretty understanding, and they trust me when I tell them I can't do something. The only injury that I've had since I started working in this industry is a broken back (compression fractures on 2 vertebrae), which I got while I was carrying my make-up case and two other boxes to my car on the way to set one morning, as I collapsed in the parking lot of my apartment. Even with that, I showed up to work about a half hour late and worked a 12-hour set day, before getting an x-ray the next day and having my doctor tell me that I had two crushed vertebrae.

I'm also working towards my license as a registered nurse. I know it's still a physical job, but I'm not willing to let my own doubts rule what I will allow myself to do in life.

I hope that I don't come off as being harsh here. It just seems like you're letting your worries, about what might possibly happen, hold you back from a lot of possible work opportunities.