Tips for Brain Injury Survivors Returning to Work
Zac Bradley, MS, CRC, NCC, post-acute vocational specialist at Shepherd Center, shares his tips for brain injury survivors returning to work.
Written by Zac Bradley, MS, CRC, NCC, post-acute vocational specialist at Shepherd Center
Due to lasting effects of a brain injury, there are unknowns about returning to work. The good news is: with the right support and planning, many people do successfully get back to work. Here are some tips I'd recommend.
- Talk to your doctor about returning to work.
- Know your interests and skills, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.
- Be knowledgeable of how the symptoms of your brain injury may affect you at work.
- Set realistic expectations for return to work.
- Be familiar with how working may affect your benefits (Social Security or long-term disability).
Looking For a Job
- Look for jobs you are qualified for based on education, training, work, experience, skills or licenses.
- Thoroughly search job descriptions to determine if the work setting and duties are suitable for you.
- Understanding your disability benefits and disability symptoms will help you determine if you should work part-time or full-time.
- Consider the type of accommodations you may need to do the job that interests you.
Disclosing Your Brain Injury
- Disclosing your disability is a choice. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) states that you only have to disclose your disability if you need a reasonable accommodation(s).
- It is OK to disclose you have a disability, if asked, on an application. There's no need to address disability on your resume or cover letter (exception: If the job is disability-specific, it may be an advantage to list your disability on your cover letter).
- When you disclose, just provide basic information about your condition, your limitations and the accommodations you may need.
- Talk positively about your disability by sharing how you accomplish work tasks despite your challenges.
- It is better to disclose your disability and request accommodations before job performance suffers or other problems occur.
- Job Accommodation Network
- ADA National Network
- If you receive Social Security benefits, visit the Ticket-to-Work website at choosework.ssa.gov to learn how to return to work with help from community resources.
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, multiple amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. Ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals for rehabilitation and the best in the Southeast, Shepherd Center treats more than 850 inpatients and 7,600 outpatients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.