National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Yokota Air Base, Japan -- National Disablility Employment Awareness Month is October and this year’s theme is, “Inclusion Drives Diversity.” America’s workers with disabilities contribute to the nation in various ways and this is a time to recognize them.
According to a 2010 study by the U.S Census Bureau, 56.7M people in the U.S. have a disability, which is nearly one in five individuals.
NDEAM’s history dates back to 1945, when President Harry S. Truman approved a Congressional resolution declaring the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was dropped to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, the federal legislature expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM.
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA aimed at eliminating discrimination towards people with disabilities in the workplace, public areas and by government entities.
As of 2015, 9.46% of U.S. federal civilian employees have disabilities ranging from sensory, physical or mental conditions according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the ADA has created opportunities for tens of thousands of working-age veterans who have been wounded in action or have suffered injuries or illnesses related to their service in the U.S. military.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has overseas representatives such as Jeff Farrar, VA overseas military service coordinator. Farrar’s office is located at the United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka, but he regularly travels to bases across Japan to assist individuals with their benefits.
“If someone has any disabilities that occurred while in service and they are separating from the military, they can come to the VA for compensation for that disability and also for treatment at the hospital,” said Farrar.
Members of Team Yokota can find more information about disability recourses by contacting the Airman & Family Reediness Center or the Transition Assistant Program manager on base at DSN: 225-8725.