How Can You Return to Work With a Spinal Cord Injury?

Workers in Michigan who suffer from spinal cord injuries may feel like returning to work is next to impossible, which adds to all the other life changes they have to consider. For those who want to return to work, there are numerous accommodations that employers can, and are required, to make to assist the employee in coming back and earning an income again. The services and support are provided in a number of ways.

According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, employees are protected from discrimination by the ADA. This means that potential employers cannot refuse hire only because of the disability, and that current employers must make reasonable accommodations to the position, office and/or work space. 

Vocational rehabilitation programs are available for those who need to learn new skills or need support to go through the hiring process. Depending on the situation, these programs may be available through workers’ compensation, private insurance, social security disability insurance or the Veterans Administration.

The University of Colorado School of Medicine discusses the types of accommodations an employer may be required to offer for employees with a spinal cord injury or other disability. These include:

  • Part-time schedules or a change in the working hours
  • Providing accessibility such as wheelchair ramps or raising the height of a desk
  • Offering necessary leave
  • Providing close, reserved parking
  • Providing assistants for tasks related to the position
  • Letting the employee use services or equipment that is not provided by the employer
  • Special software or computers
  • Changing how the job is performed