October was Disability Employment Month. At a time when hiring a skilled, and experienced prospective employee who happens to have a disability is too often overlooked, employers may be uninformed about incentives for hiring a person with a disability. First, it’s a win-win that enriches a business and its workforce by adding diversity and raising awareness about being part of a corporation or business with an inclusive policy toward its work force.

Employers may hesitate to hire a qualified worker with great skills, work experience and recommendations because the prospective employee has a disability. Workers with disabilities frequently face this difficulty. Employers needn’t hesitate. The IRS offers significant incentives to encourage hiring of qualified employees who happen to have a disability. Without covering all the IRS incentives, tax credits up to 40% of the worker’s wages, depending on whether the worker is full or part time, are available (please consult your tax accountant for details). The amount of incentive will vary according to the target group (such as veterans who have recently left the military).

In addition, there is a Disabled Access Credit available through the IRS which mitigates the cost of updating a small business facility in order to accommodate those with disabliities. For larger businesses there is the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction that helps cover costs of removing barriers for those with mobility challenges (this includes both persons who are disabled and, or elderly).

Vocational rehabilitation services and agencies assist employers in rehabilitation technology for established employees who become disabled. State programs that provide financial support for “Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work” programs, and injury preventions programs are other resources available to employers. The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation knowns as “The NET” is particularly useful in assisting employers (https://www.csavr.org/the-net).

In any community there are those who are chronically unemployed, and too often it’s the qualified worker with a disability. Employers can be part of enriching their community and their own standing in the community and industry by familiarizing themselves and availing themselves of the numerous resources that support employing workers with a disability.

Dee Cappelli, Commissioner

Santa Monica Disability Commission


Kenney, Dave. EfficientHire.com. “Are There Tax Incentives for Hiring People with Disabilities, June 10, 2018

IRS (irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/tax-benefits-for-businesses-who-have-employees-with-disabilities)

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (csavr.org/the-net)

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