Persons With A Disability: Barriers to Employment, Types of Assistance, and other Labor-Related Issues Technical Note

Technical Note

   The data in this release were collected through a supplement to the 
May 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS, which is conducted 
by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is 
a monthly survey of about 60,000 eligible households that provides 
information on the labor force status, demographics, and other 
characteristics of the nation's civilian noninstitutional population 
age 16 and over. The May 2012 supplement was designed to gather data 
in several specific areas related to the employment situation of 
persons with disabilities. The collection of these data was sponsored 
by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment 
   Information in this release will be made available to sensory-
impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200, 
Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Definitions and concepts from the monthly CPS

Disability status. The monthly CPS uses a set of six questions to
identify persons with disabilities. In the CPS, persons are classified
as having a disability if there is a response of "yes" to any of these
questions. Persons who respond "no" to all of these questions are
classified as having no disability. The disability questions are as

   This month we want to learn about people who have physical, mental,
   or emotional conditions that cause serious difficulty with their daily
   activities. Please answer for household members who are 15 years old
   or over.
     --Is anyone deaf or does anyone have serious difficulty hearing?
     --Is anyone blind or does anyone have serious difficulty seeing
       even when wearing glasses?
     --Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone
       have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making
     --Does anyone have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
     --Does anyone have difficulty dressing or bathing?
     --Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone
       have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's
       office or shopping?

   The CPS questions for identifying individuals with disabilities are
only asked of household members who are age 15 and older. Each of the
questions ask the respondent whether anyone in the household has the
condition described, and if the respondent replies "yes," they are
then asked to identify everyone in the household who has the condition.
Labor force measures from the CPS are tabulated for persons age 16 and
older. More information on the disability questions and the merits and
limitations of the CPS disability data is available on the BLS Web site

Labor force status. Employed persons are all those who, during the 
survey reference week, (a) did any work at all as paid employees; 
(b) worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; 
or (c) worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in a family memberís 
business. Persons who were temporarily absent from their jobs because 
of illness, vacation, labor dispute, or another reason also are counted 
as employed.
   Unemployed persons are those who had no employment during the reference 
week, were available for work at that time, and had made specific efforts 
to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the 
reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from 
which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be 
classified as unemployed.
   Civilian labor force comprises all persons classified as employed
or unemployed.
   Unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a
percent of the civilian labor force.
   Not in the labor force includes all persons who are not classified
as employed or unemployed.
   Not employed includes persons who were unemployed or not in the
labor force.

   Additional information on the concepts and methodology of the CPS is
available on the Internet at

Selected questions and concepts from the May 2012 supplement

Barriers to employment. This information was obtained from responses to a 
question asked of persons with a disability who were not employed (that is, 
either unemployed or not in the labor force). Respondents were classified
as having a barrier to employment if they answered "yes" to one or more of
the response options in the following question.

   The purpose of this next question is to identify barriers to employment
   faced by persons with difficulties. Do you consider any of the following 
   a barrier to employment for you?
     1. Lack of education or training
     2. Lack of job counseling
     3. Lack of transportation
     4. Loss of government assistance
     5. Need for special features at the job
     6. Employer or coworker attitudes
     7. Your difficulty (hearing/seeing/concentrating, remembering, or
        making decisions/walking or climbing stairs/dressing or bathing/doing
        errands alone)
     8. Other

Prior work experience. This information was obtained from answers to the 
following question, which was asked of persons with a disability who were 
not employed and had not already reported working before.

   Have you ever worked for pay at a job or business?
     1. Yes
     2. No

Career assistance. Persons with a disability were asked the following
question to determine whether they had received certain types of career
assistance. Individuals could give multiple responses.

   The purpose of this next question is to find out if you have taken
   advantage of any of the following sources that help people prepare for 
   work or advance on the job. In the past 5 years, have you received 
   assistance from:
     1. Vocational Rehabilitation Centers
     2. One-Stop Career Centers
     3. Ticket to Work program
     4. Assistive Technology Act program
     5. Center for Independent Living for individuals with disabilities
     6. Client Assistance Program
     7. Any other employment assistance program

Financial assistance. This information was obtained from responses to two 
questions. All persons were asked the following question and could give 
multiple responses.

   There are a variety of programs designed to provide financial assistance 
   to people. In the past year did you receive assistance from any of the 
   following programs?
     1. Workers' Compensation
     2. Social Security Disability Income
     3. Supplemental Security Income
     4. Veterans Disability Compensation
     5. Disability insurance payments
     6. Other disability payments
     7. Medicaid
     8. Medicare
     9. Other program

   The following question was asked only of persons who indicated in the above
question that they received assistance from one or more programs.

   Some financial assistance programs include limitations on the amount of 
   work you can do. Did this program cause you to work less than you would 
     1. Yes
     2. No

Level of disability-related difficulty in completing work duties.  This 
information was obtained from answers to the following question, which was 
asked of employed persons with a disability. 

   Previously, you mentioned that you had difficulty (hearing/seeing/
   concentrating, remembering, or making decisions/walking or climbing stairs/
   dressing or bathing/doing errands alone). How has this difficulty affected 
   your ability to complete current work duties? Would you say this has caused 
   no difficulty, a little difficulty, moderate difficulty, or severe difficulty?
     1. No difficulty
     2. A little difficulty
     3. Moderate difficulty
     4. Severe difficulty

Requested changes at the current workplace. This information was obtained
from answers to two questions. The first, asked of all employed persons, was
as follows.

   Have you ever requested any change in your current workplace to help you
   do your job better?  For example, changes in work policies, equipment, or
     1. Yes
     2. No

   The following question was asked only of persons who responded "yes" to the
above question. Individuals could identify multiple changes.

   What changes did you request?
     1. New or modified equipment
     2. Physical changes to the workplace
     3. Policy changes to the workplace
     4. Changes in work tasks, job structure, or schedule
     5. Changes in communication or information sharing
     6. Changes to comply with religious beliefs
     7. Accommodations for family or personal obligations
     8. Training
     9. Other changes

Typical commute to work. This information was obtained from responses
to the following question, which was asked of all employed persons. 
Individuals could identify multiple commuting methods.

   How do you typically commute to work?
     1.  Bus
     2.  Specialized bus or van service for people with disabilities
     3.  Train/subway
     4.  Taxi
     5.  Own vehicle
     6.  Passenger in a friend or family member's car
     7.  Carpool
     8.  Bicycle
     9.  Walk
     10. Other
     11. Work from home

Work at home. This information was obtained from two questions. First,
persons who answered "work from home" to the question regarding their
typical commute to work were included among those who work at home. In
addition, the following question was asked of all remaining employed

   Do you do any work at home for your job or business?
     1. Yes
     2. No

Flexible work hours. All employed persons were asked the following
question to determine whether they have flexible work hours at their
current job.

   Do you have flexible work hours that allow you to vary or make changes
   in the time you begin and end work?
     1. Yes
     2. No

Temporary jobs. All employed persons were asked the following question
to determine if their jobs were temporary.

   Some people are in temporary jobs that last only for a limited time or
   until the completion of a project. Is your job temporary?
     1. Yes
     2. No

Reliability of the estimates

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling
error. When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there
is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the true population
values they represent. The component of this difference that occurs because
samples differ by chance is known as sampling error, and its variability
is measured by the standard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent
chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will
differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value
because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the
90-percent level of confidence.
   The monthly CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling
error can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment
of the population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in
the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct
information, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data.
   Additional information on the reliability of data from the CPS and estimating
standard errors is available at

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Last Modified Date: July 15, 2016