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INTRODUCTION

Today many HR Professionals struggle when it comes to dealing with employees who become disabled while working and want to continue working in their current capacity or at some reduced level. It is never easy to understand the complex world of insurance, worker rights, government regulations, worker interactions, and reactions to people with disabilities. This e-book has be written to explore these complex issues and suggest philosophies and informational links that will help you to understand how you can retain the quality worker you had before they became disabled, and create a win-win situation for both the company and your employee.

It is extremely important for people who are becoming and who are disabled to take primary responsibility for becoming an Expert Patient; for learning how to become proficient in Chronic Disease Self-Management; and, for insisting that their health care support team practice what is called "patient-centered" healthcare.

People with disabilities are responsible for learning as much about their condition and its symptom impairment impacts on their normal daily living activities so that they can become more empowered to accomplish whatever they set out to do (i.e., apply for, and receive, reasonable accommodations within their workplace), thereby increasing the quality of their life. This will also allow you their employer to better understand what their true capabilities and limitations will be on a daily basis. As we all know, disabled does not mean unabled.

Nothing you are about to read in this book is a “secret”; it has been designed to turn the employee with the disability into your partner in this “reasonable accommodation” process, with the resulting outcome being beneficial for both the company and the employee with the disability.

The most important lesson for you, the HR professional/employer, is understanding that if an employee comes to you and asks for “reasonable accommodations” without having done the homework necessary to equip themselves as a partner with you in this process, your chances for a successful outcome is severly decreased. Your employee must have a pesonal plan on how they are going to handle their disability and understand that they are responsible for its (the plan’s) development. DisabilityKey has developed an e- book designed to help employees understand their responsibilities and step-by-step instructions on how to complete it. The following section has been copied directly from the employee e-book, “I’m Disabled Not Unabled!” and describes, in general terms, the steps necessary for the individual to accomplish in developing their individual plan.

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