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Supporting workers with disabilities

Workers with disabilities Blog
Marzo 28, 2024
Here are resources that may be helpful for workers with disabilities and their employers, along with ways the WA Cares Fund will help these workers in the future.

According to data from the American Community Survey, 43% of Washingtonians ages 18 to 64 with disabilities are employed – a total of 215,324 workers statewide. These workers may need or benefit from additional support in the workplace or at home.


Long-term services and supports


Long-term care isn’t just for older adults – it covers a broad range of needs and situations. For people of all ages who have a disability, long-term services and supports can be essential tools for staying self-sufficient.


“For me, long-term care is extra support that allows me to remain independent. In fact, I don’t think I would have the amount of independence I have now if I didn’t have a caregiver,” says Sawyer, a Kittitas County resident who became disabled after a spinal cord injury. Sawyer gets a few hours of care each day for things like showering, dressing and medication management – help that helps keep her in the workforce. 


Other supports like home modifications, transportation and adaptive equipment can also make a big difference for workers with disabilities. All of these services will be covered by WA Cares in the future.


Many workers with disabilities who meet contribution requirements will become eligible for WA Cares benefits when they become available in July 2026. In fact, the program’s actuarial analysis suggests workers with disabilities will make up the majority of projected first-year beneficiaries.


In the future, many Washingtonians who become disabled while they are still working will be able to access benefits through WA Cares. While WA Cares may not cover all the care workers with disabilities need over their lifetime, WA Cares will provide immediate relief and time to plan for future care costs – especially for younger workers who don’t have savings or private insurance policies to pay for long-term care.


Some workers with disabilities may also qualify for the Apple Health for Workers with Disabilities (HWD) Program, which may cover health care and long-term care services.


Employment and other resources


Several groups within the Department of Social and Health Services provide employment support. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation helps people with disabilities prepare for and secure employment. The Developmental Disabilities Administration provides employment and day services for people with developmental disabilities. The Home and Community Services Division, which is home to Medicaid long-term care services, offers supported employment services to help their clients who want to work.


The Governor's Committee on Disability Issues & Employment also maintains a statewide and national resource list relevant to a wide range of disabilities and covering many different types of supports.


The Northwest ADA Center offers toolkits with information and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, including state, regional and national resources for people with disabilities and employers.


The national Job Accommodation Network (JAN) helps workers with disabilities explore ideas for accommodation and tips for negotiation with their employers. JAN also provides a workplace accommodation toolkit and free consultation for employers.