Current disability barriers in the workplace

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While attitudes towards disabled people are steadily changing, many disabled employees still face attitudinal barriers from managers and colleagues who usually feel uncomfortable or awkward talking to them because of their disability. A fear of saying something wrong or coming across as patronising, are often the cause for people avoiding those with a disability.

In our second article in our series about disability in the workplace, Progression – Transformation Enablers give us more insight into the main barriers faced by disabled employees in the workplace. Below, we’ve highlighted these barriers and highlighted how employers and co-workers should handle these barriers to make the office environment an accommodating and friendlier place for everyone.

Barrier #1: Believing someone with a disability is given an unfair advantage because of his or her disability

Managers have a duty to ensure that they hold people with disabilities to the same standards as their co-workers, even though the means of accomplishing the tasks may vary from person to person.

Barrier #2: Avoiding someone with a disability because of a belief that you may say something wrong

Think of how you interact with the rest of your co-workers who are from different cultural or religious backgrounds. Just as frequent encounters with these co-workers make it easy for you to chat to them, taking the time to get to know someone living with a disability will lessen the “How do I talk to her without saying something wrong” awkward vibe.

Barrier #3: Thinking that a disabled colleague is exceptionally courageous for pursuing a career with their disability

People living with a disability are not looking for recognition or accolades for having the ability to perform their day-to-day duties. They have simply learnt to live with their disability and adapt to their work environment by using their skills and knowledge, just like how you’ve adapted to being short, tall, strong, brunette and so on.

Barrier #4: Thinking that you need to help a disabled person with their task because of a belief that they are incapable of accomplishing them on their own.

The fact is people living with disabilities are as capable of completing their tasks as those living without any disabilities. We see it every day. A quadriplegic who can drive a car, a blind man who can tell the time, a deaf person you can play soccer, you name it.

Barrier #5: Feeling sorry for someone with a disability which often leads to patronising attitudes.

People with a disability generally don’t want pity or charity, but instead, prefer to be treated and given equal opportunities to earn their own way and live independently.

Negative attitudes towards the disabled are not the only barriers disabled people usually deal with. On the other side of the spectrum are positive attitudes. For instance, you may believe that because someone is blind he or she must have a greater sense of smell and hearing, or that someone in a wheelchair must be a great Paralympic. Not only does this attitude belittle someone’s abilities, but it often sets standards that are either too high or low for the individual who in essence, is human like you.

Breaking down attitudinal barriers

Unlike physical and systematic barriers, attitudinal barriers usually lead to illegal discrimination which cannot be easily overcome through the law. To eradicate these barriers, the best remedy is to familiarize yourself with people living with disabilities. Over time, mingling with a disabled co-worker, say at the end-year function or during coffee breaks, will allow you to build a comfortable and respectful friendship with him or her.

Physical barriers in the workplace

Section “S” of the National Buildings Regulations and Buildings Act Act sets minimum requirements that every building, including the office space, should meet. Once you’ve hired a disabled employee, every effort should be taken to ensure that the disabled person is reasonably accommodated.

If you cannot provide a work environment that caters for those living with a disability, you need to prove to the person living with the disability and those without, that the facility cannot accommodate them.

However, if a building or work station is designed correctly, it is very possible to make the office a safe, comfortable and a convenient work environment for all people.

http://www.careers24.com/career-advice/management-advice/disability-barriers-in-the-workplace-20151207

Unintentional Injuries

Injuries are not accidents – they can be prevented.  Injuries are not random, uncontrollable events, but rather predictable and preventable incidences with identifiable causes. Unintentional injuries are events that happen which are not deliberate or done with purpose. Of the 3,178 injury deaths in Alabama in 2001, 70% were due to “unintentional” injury and 30% were due to violence, or “intentional” injury. Injuries affect everyone.

Five Leading Causes of Unintentional Injury in Alabama

1. Motor Vehicle Crashes
2. Falls
3. Suffocation
4. Fire/Burn
5. Poisoning

http://www.adph.org/injuryprevention/Default.asp?id=1053

Intentional Injuries

Injuries are not accidents – they can be prevented. Injuries are not random, uncontrollable events, but rather predictable and preventable incidences with identifiable causes. Of the 3,178 injury deaths in Alabama in 2001, 70% were due to “unintentional” injury and 30% were due to violence, or “intentional” injury. Injuries affect everyone.

Intentional injuries are something you do with the purpose of hurting yourself or others. These are planned actions. Homicides and suicides are the top two intentional injuries in Alabama.

Examples of intentional injuries include the following:

http://www.adph.org/injuryprevention/Default.asp?id=1054

Disability grant

About a disability grant

If you have a physical or mental disability which makes you unfit to work for a period of longer than six months, you can apply for a disability grant.

You get a permanent disability grant if your disability will continue for more than a year and a temporary disability grant if your disability will last for a continuous period of not less than six months and not more than 12 months. A permanent disability grant does not mean you will receive the grant for life, but that it will continue for longer than 12 months.

How do you know if you qualify?

To qualify, you must:

  • be a South African citizen or permanent resident or refugee and living in South Africa at the time of application
  • be between 18 and 59 years old.
  • not be cared for in a state institution
  • have a 13-digit, bar-coded identity document (ID)
  • not earn more than R64 680 (R5 390 per month) if you are single or R 129 360 (R10 780 per month) if married.
  • not have assets worth more than R930 600 if you are single or R1 861 200 if you are married
  • undergo a medical examination where a doctor appointed by the state will assess the degree of your disability
  • bring along any previous medical records and reports when you make the application and when the assessment is done.

The doctor will complete a medical report and will forward the report to South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

The report is valid for three months from the date you are assessed.

Note: If you are under 18 and need permanent care due to your disability, your primary caregiver can apply for a Care Dependency Grant. If you don’t have an ID, you will be required to complete an affidavit and provide proof of having applied for the document from the Department of Home Affairs. If you have not applied for an ID, you must do so within three months of applying for the grant.

How much will you get?

The maximum is R1 420 per month.

How will you be paid?

A grant will be paid to you through one of the following methods:

  • cash at a specific pay point on a particular day
  • electronic deposit into your bank account, including Postbank (the bank may charge you for the service)
  • an institution not funded by the State – e.g. home for people with disabilities.

When may your grant be suspended?

The following may result in the suspension of your grant:

  • when your circumstances change
  • the outcome of a review
  • if you fail to co-operate when your grant is reviewed
  • when you commit fraud or misrepresent yourself
  • if there was a mistake when your grant was approved.

When may your grant lapse?

The grant will lapse when you:

  • pass away
  • are admitted to a state institution
  • do not claim for three consecutive months
  • are absent from the country.

Please note: If you are admitted to an institution that has a contract with the state to care for you, the grant is reduced to 25% of the maximum amount of the  grant. That will be done with effect from the 4th month following your admission to that institution. The reduced grant is re-instated immediately from the date you are discharged from the institution.

What you should do

  1. Complete a disability grant application form at your nearest South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) office in the presence of a SASSA officer.
  2. Submit the following:
    • Your 13-digit bar-coded identity document (ID). If you don’t have an ID:
      • You must complete an affidavit on a standard SASSA format in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths who is not a SASSA official.
      • You must bring a sworn statement signed by a reputable person (like a councillor, traditional leader, social worker, minister of religion or school principal) who can verify your name and age.
      • The SASSA official will take your fingerprints.
      • You will be referred to the Department of Home Affairs to apply for the ID while your application is processed. If you don’t get an ID, your grant will be suspended.
    • A medical report and functional assessment report confirming your disability.
    • Proof of marital status (if applicable).
    • Proof of residence.
    • Proof of income or dividends (if any).
    • Proof of assets, including the municipal value of your property.
    • Proof of private pension (if any).
    • Your bank statements for the past three months.
    • Refugee status permit and 13-digit refugee ID.
    • Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) document (‘blue book’) or discharge certificate from your previous employer if you were employed.
    • A copy of the will and the first and final liquidation and distribution accounts, if your spouse died within the last five years.
  3. After submitting your application you will be given a receipt to keep as proof of application.

What if your application is not approved?

  • The social security office will inform you in writing whether or not your application was successful.
  • If your grant is not approved, the social security office will state the reasons why your application was unsuccessful. You can then appeal to the Minister of Social Development in writing, explaining why you disagree.
  • Appeal within 90 days of receiving notification about the outcome of your application.

How long does it take

  • It may take up to three months to process your application.
  • If your grant is approved, you will be paid from the day you applied.

How much does it cost

The service is free.

Forms to complete

Application forms are not available online, but you can get them from your nearest (SASSA) office.

Who to contact

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)

http://www.gov.za/services/social-benefits/disability-grant

First Speaker with a disability elected for Children’s Parliament

Jeanette Chabalala, News24

 (Dan Calderwood, News24)

(Dan Calderwood, News24)

Bloemfontein – Jean-Claude Smit, 17, a deaf pupil from De La Bat School in the Western Cape, has been elected as the first Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament Speaker with a disability.The Department of Social Development described Smit’s new role in a statement as a “progressive step in the advancement of the interests and rights of people with disabilities”.

The department said this year’s Children’s Parliament, held at the Free state Legislature, will tackle issues surrounding the protection of children.

The newly minted Speaker said he wanted to use his term to help find ways to help children who face challenges at home.

 “Many children are exposed to bad things in their homes, like abuse and parents who abuse drugs and alcohol. These children then bring their experiences to school, leading to bullying, peer pressure and the formation of gangs in schools,” he said.

The Children’s Parliament sessions will end on Wednesday.

2015-10-06 22:05
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/First-Speaker-with-a-disability-elected-for-Childrens-Parliament-20151006