When recovering from a traumatic brain injury and attempting to become employed some suggestions are:
- Find ways to improve your endurance by a regular exercise program.
- Become involved in community activities in order to make certain you are active. One way to do this is to join a traumatic brain injury support group at your local state Brain Injury Association.
- Keep focused on rehabilitation activities and therapies which will help improve your energy level.
- Watch all of the symptoms you are having and if they are a barrier to becoming employed then contact your treating physician and therapist.
- Each state has a vocational rehabilitation program that the local state Brain Injury Association can connect you with.
In Rhode Island we have the Department of Human Services, Office of Rehabilitation Services located at www.ors.ri.gov/. This site has all of the state rehabilitation offices and can assist a traumatic brain injury victim in becoming employed. They will assist in retraining, on the job training, testing, work simulation and many other services.
The United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides programs to help employers hire and retain people with disabilities. These include:
- The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) - A nationwide network to aid in hiring people with disabilities.
- The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities - A national database of qualified students and recent graduates with disabilities available to work.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace. The ADA requires employers to do job accommodations (a reasonable adjustment to the work environment that makes it possible for the person with a disability to perform job duties).
If employment is not an option because of your injury then Social Security Disability (SSD) or other forms of state disability or private disability insurance can be explored. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) you would need to have a sufficient amount of work history meaning that you would have worked a sufficient amount of quarters to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). If you do not qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) and have no other source of income you could apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a form of federal disability not requiring working quarters. In Rhode Island we also have Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) for people with a work history that are unable to work because of injuries or disabilities. In addition, any private form of disability insurance you have through the work place or on your own consisting of short term disability (STD) or long term disability (LTD) should be explored if you cannot work.