Start a Disability Policy Social Work Career

Wheelchair DetailWhat Is a Disability Policy Social Worker?

Imagine yourself as a disabled individual. Now, imagine that you are denied something such as housing or employment, simply because of your disability. Although it’s unfair and unjust, this type of thing still happens even in today’s modern and more accepting world.

Discrimination against disabled individuals might happen in several areas of their lives. For example, because of their limited abilities, disabled individuals might be denied some of the following opportunities:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Parenting
  • Benefits
Along with the above discrimination, disabled individuals might also find it difficult - or nearly impossible - to go places non-disabled individuals can. One example of this is wheelchair inaccessible areas. Individuals in wheelchairs often find it very difficult to gain access to certain areas without wheelchair ramps or elevators.

In an effort to squelch discrimination against disabled individuals, however, the United States passed the American Disabilities Act of 1990. This act was an attempt to enable disabled individuals to have many of the same opportunities as the average American. This act, for instance, made it illegal for organizations and businesses to deny disabled individuals certain opportunities because of their disabilities. Under this act, many government and public buildings must be acceptable to those with disabilities.

Despite the laws and policies against discriminating against disabled individuals, however, disabled individuals still face discrimination each and every day. Because of this, disabled individuals still need someone to represent them and fight for their rights.

In most instances, disability policy workers do just that. These professionals act as advocates for disabled individuals and fight for their civil rights. They might do such things as lobby for new laws concerning the rights of disabled individuals, create public awareness programs, or outline discrimination policies for businesses and governments. In short, disability policy workers work for and with disabled individuals to overcome discrimination and other obstacles that hinder their civil rights.

Why Do We Need Disability Policy Workers?

Every person in the world should be able to have access to certain basic opportunities. For instance, we should all have the opportunity to work in jobs we’re qualified for, live in places that we can afford, and eat at restaurants we want to eat at.

Some disabled individuals, however, may find that they don’t have enough opportunities as some other people, simply because other people believe they aren’t capable. In order to “level the playing field”, so to speak, disability policy workers work to eliminate discrimination against disabled individuals.

By doing away with this type of discrimination, disability policy workers enable disabled individuals to enjoy the same opportunities as other people. This helps disabled individuals live more fulfilling and independent lives.

What Do Disability Policy Workers Do?

Disability policy workers might have a number of different duties, depending on where they work and their specialties. These professionals might also focus on particular areas that may be of concern to disabled individuals, such as employment, housing, health care, or accessibility.

Some disability policy workers might create brand new policies pertaining to individuals with disabilities. For example, they might create policies for corporations that employ or cater to disabled individuals. This might include information pertaining to such things as the hiring of disabled individuals or how disabled individuals are to be treated. In some cases, disability policy workers might also help update or change existing policies as well.

Disability policy workers that are interested in either law or politics can also work to get laws pertaining to disabled individuals passed. They might lobby to pass certain laws, or they might even help create and write the laws themselves.

As a disability policy worker, you can also choose to work as an advocate for disabled individuals. They might investigate discrimination cases, for instance, or help disabled individuals file discrimination lawsuits.

Where Do Disability Policy Workers Find Employment?

Many disability policy workers find employment with government offices at the local, state, or federal levels. They might also be able to find employment in public and private organizations that cater to disabled individuals as well as with non-profit groups.

Businesses and corporations might also hire disability policy workers to help create and update policies and handbooks pertaining to help ensure the fair treatment of disabled employees or consumers.

What Are the Education Requirements for a Disability Policy Work Career?

 Social Work Licenses
Education Requirements Education Length Available Programs
LBSW (License Bachelor's Social Work) Bachelor's  4 Years Online or Campus
LMSW (Licensed Master's Social Worker) Master's  6 Years Online or Campus
LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) Master's +3200 Clinical Hours 7-8 Years Online or Campus

In order to start a disability policy work career, most individuals earn a bachelor’s degree in social work or public policy. During your education, you should also concentrate on disability studies.

Although some individuals may be able to find entry level positions with a bachelor’s degree, many disability policy workers go on to earn master’s degrees in social work as well.

What Is the Salary for a Disability Policy Social Worker?

There is no specific information on disability policy social workers and their salaries, so the information is limited and broad at best. For the purposes of being as accurate as possible, disability policy social workers will be lumped into the category of "other social workers". According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, disability policy social workers earned an annual average salary of $58,410 and $28.09 average hourly wage as of May of 2014. The top 10 percent of the profession made more than $80,000.