Working and Job Searching During COVID-19
IF YOU ARE AN ESSENTIAL WORKER
First of all, thank you for your essential work during the pandemic!
Your job has probably changed due to the pandemic. You may need to learn new tasks and safety procedures. If you need a new reasonable accommodation because of the changes, you can talk to your employer. A good resource for learning about accommodations is Job Accommodation Network (askjan.org).
If you work with a job coach, talk to them about whether they will support you in-person, using technology, or both. You can talk to them about how you could use technology to help you at your job. Some people may need more job coach hours because they need a little help to learn new tasks or to get emotional support. Talk to your Vocational Rehabilitation counselor and/or Division of Developmental Disabilities case manager/support coordinator if you need more help.
IF YOU ARE WORKING FROM HOME
Working from home can be a big change. You may have to deal with new distractions, or use new types of technology. If you need a new reasonable accommodation, talk with your employer. You can visit Job Accommodation Network’s website (askjan.org) to learn about accommodations. Some people may need to use assistive technology (AT) at home. If you work with Vocational Rehabilitation, you can talk to your counselor about this. A good resource for learning about AT is Arizona Technology Access Program (https://aztap.org/).
IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED
You may have the option to apply for unemployment benefits from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. You can learn about eligibility here: https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual/eligibility-unemployment-insurance-benefits
You can apply for unemployment here:
If you receive any benefits, such as SSI or AHCCCS, be sure to report any changes to your income. You may want to learn more about benefits and working. You can visit Disability Benefits 101’s website: https://az.db101.org/. You may also be able to work with a benefits counselor. You can learn about Ability 360’s Benefits 2 Work program here: https://ability360.org/b2w/
If you have an open case with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), contact your counselor if you lose your job, your hours are reduced, or you are furloughed. You can discuss your options for next steps. If your VR case was recently closed (less than a year ago), you may be able to get some services (called post-employment services) from VR without reapplying. At any time, you can re-apply for services from Vocational Rehabilitation if you need help getting, keeping, or regaining a job. You can learn more about Vocational Rehabilitation at https://des.az.gov/vr
If you work with Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), you can also contact your case manager/service coordinator to ask about help related to employment. You can get different supports from both VR and DDD.
No matter what your employment situation is, it’s a good time to reach out to your support network. Wishing you and your families well during this difficult time