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The Road to Work and Independence

By Michelle McHenry-Edrington, Non-Attorney Advocacy Coordinator

So you have a disability, and you want to remain or become as independent as you can. Maybe you want to go to school and get a job that turns into a career.

First of all, I can imagine that most people in your life have taken away or diminished your hopes and dreams regarding work and independence. Your dreams of living how you choose and being the best you can be are still yours to hope for and dream.

I want you to know that hope lives in your heart, and dreams reside in your mind. I am sharing this information with you because I want you to understand that people and family may quote laws, regulations, and every why not, they can think of to deter you from your wants and dreams. It is our personal responsibility to ask to be told about possibilities, not probabilities.

Okay, let’s make a plan to begin your employment journey. Be aware that this journey will not be without disappointment and frustration.

  • Think about what you want to do and research if there is a need for the job.
  • Be very honest with yourself regarding what your body and mind can do.
  • Have a list of about three jobs that you would love. Make sure that these are jobs that you will like and not just jobs that you can do. I have personally learned that just because you can do a job does not mean that it is what you should be doing.
  • Decide what you are willing to do to get the job or education that you want.
  • Design a timeline for yourself so that you can track your progress.
  • Think about any roadblocks that you might encounter.
  • Be sure of who will support you and how they will support you. This is not strictly financial but includes a trusted person to turn to during times of frustration and disappointment.
  • Confirm how much income you can earn and not have it interfere with any benefits that you may have.
  • The most important thing that you can do at this time is to know if you are physically and mentally ready to get into the game of employment.

This concludes part 1 of the road to employment. Complete these first steps, and we will begin part 2.

FYI, don’t try to remember your responses and thoughts because you can’t/won’t. Make a hard copy and included any questions that you might have along the way.

Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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