February 07, 2019

Duckworth Joins Casey, Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Help People with Disabilities Find Employment


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey and four of their Senate colleagues in helping to introduce legislation to make it easier for employers to hire and retain individuals with disabilities and make workplaces more accessible. The Disability Employment Incentive Act (DEIA) will expand three existing tax credits: the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit and the Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit. The legislation was also introduced by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“Our nation is stronger when everyone can fully participate in it, and that includes having the ability to find a good-paying job,” Duckworth said. “This legislation will expand job opportunities for people with disabilities and provide employers with greater access to talented employees with deep potential. I’m proud to be working with Senator Casey to help remove barriers that prevent those with disabilities from joining the workforce.” 

While studies indicate that 60 to 80 percent of individuals with disabilities report they want to work, only 18.7 percent of people with disabilities are in the workforce according to a June 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than a third of the rate at which people without disabilities participate in the workforce. Organizations that support the bill include the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), Autism Society, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, The Arc of the United States, Paralyzed Veterans of America and United Spinal Association.

Senator Duckworth, who lost her legs and partial use of her right arm her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Iraq, is a champion for the rights for people with disabilities. In her first term as a Senator, she led efforts to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from Republican-led legislation, the ADA Education and Reform Act, which would reward businesses for failing to make their facilities accessible for people with disabilities. In March of 2018, Duckworth secured the opposition of 42 of her Senate colleagues, blocking the bill from passing in the U.S. Senate. Duckworth has also recently introduced the Exercise and Fitness for All Act to make fitness facilities across America more accessible for people with disabilities by establishing new federal guidelines to help ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunity to use fitness facilities as their able-bodied peers.