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Monday, January 21, 2019

The Shutdown Hurts People with Disabilities

According to a 2016 report by the Official of Personnel Management (OPM) there are over 173,000 federal employees with disabilities across all different categories of disabilities. When you include veterans with service-connected disabilities, that number rises to over a quarter million employees. That means federal employees with disabilities represent 14.41 percent of the overall workforce while fully 19 percent of veterans with service-connected disabilities work for the federal government.
There are over 14,000 employees with disabilities at the Department of Homeland Security, around 8,000 at DOJ and a similar number at Agriculture. The Department of Transportation employs over 5,000 workers with disabilities while Commerce is also home to around 2,700 workers with disabilities. To varying degrees, all of them are being hurt by the continuing government shutdown.

In addition to federal employees being furloughed, hundreds of thousands of contractors with disabilities are also impacted. For contractors, even when the government reopens, they will probably not receive any back pay whatsoever. Among those contractors are over 2,000 employees with disabilities working in the AbilityOne Program with significant disabilities directly impacted by the partial shutdown.