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Statewide Survey of People with Disabilities in Alabama ages 18-64 conducted

Most respondents, some 80 percent, are not earning a living wage. Only 13 percent earn $15.65 per hour or more.

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The Alabama Workforce Council conducted a Statewide Survey of People with Disabilities in Alabama Aged 18-64. 

The survey was conducted by Cygnal between September 25th and October 6th, 2023, and 109 Alabama residents with a disability or other chronic condition responded to the survey. Females formed a narrow majority (51 percent) of the respondents, and 49 percent were male. Respondents lived primarily in a rural community (41 percent). 

Most respondents are unemployed (77 percent). Disability-related limitations were the primary reason for unemployment among 88 percent of unemployed respondents. Other barriers to employment include a negative workplace environment (29 percent) and a work environment that is inaccessible or lacks accommodations (33 percent).

Most respondents (80 percent) are not earning a living wage (only 13 percent earn $15.65 per hour or more). Just over half (51 percent) of the respondents earned a household income of less than $20,000. Men were more likely than women to earn a living wage. A majority of respondents (62 percent) are currently receiving Social Security benefits due to a disability; of that, 70 percent are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on age, disability, and limited income, and 39.5 percent are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) based on their disability and years of payroll taxes paid to the Social Security Administration. Men aged 50 to 64 and women over 35 are among the most likely to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; however, single households are more likely to use SNAP benefits than married households.

The most (81 percent) respondents did not receive services or accommodations through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan during their K-12 education, with 5 percent receiving services in high school and 3 percent receiving services throughout the duration of their schooling. 

Most respondents were unfamiliar with the AlabamaWorks! Program (68 percent unfamiliar/unsure). Men tend to be slightly more familiar with the program than women. Only 36 percent of the respondents have used the Alabama Career Center System.

Only 43 percent of respondents were familiar with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) offered by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS), including the 11 percent of respondents who have received services from ADRS.

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According to the Statewide Survey of Employed and Unemployed Youth in Alabama conducted in August 2023, over 24 percent of unemployed youth have an illness or disability, with 19 percent citing it as the primary reason for their unemployment. The Statewide Survey of People with Disabilities in Alabama Aged 18-64 seeks to understand the barriers that people with disabilities are facing when it comes to entering the workforce or seeking workforce training.

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