Opening Doors for Work

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Historically, persons with disabilities have been on the receiving end of change, having no control over what services they receive, such as what accommodations are made available for education or employment. Today, thanks to the self-advocacy movement, people with disabilities are creating change—equal rights and equal participation.

Employment advocacy is all about reaching and teaching people with disabilities, families, employers, agencies, and others about creating job opportunities and employment supports for people with disabilities in their communities.

This may include

  • Understanding your employment rights.
  • Learning about job accommodations.
  • Educating employers about the value of hiring workers with disabilities.
  • Learning self-advocacy and communication skills.
  • Learning about laws that support employment for people with disabilities and how to influence and change policies to encourage working.
  • Making a plan for your employment goals.

The Disability Law Center mission is to enforce and strengthen laws that protect the opportunities, choices and legal rights of people with disabilities in Utah. This includes access to services, programs and facilities, employment, housing, transportation and voting. Specifically for employment, the Disability Law Center provides a fact sheet "Your employment rights and how to protect them" (doc) (pdf).

Working and earning an income can also impact Social Security. For further information on how work effects your benefits, learn more about the Benefit's Planning Assistance and Outreach program.

The PABSS Program

The Disability Law Center is also home to the PABSS (new page Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security). This federally funded program provides assistance to people who receive either SSI (Social Security Income) and/or SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) and want to go back to work. For further information contact

Disability Law Center
205 North 400 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Voice: (801) 363-1347
TTY: 1-800-550-4182

People First

People First is one of many groups under the national umbrella of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (S.A.B.E). As members affiliated with S.A.B.E. People First works to ensure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same opportunities decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends; and to learn from their mistakes.

People First is an organization run by and for people with developmental disabilities. Members learn how to speak for themselves and others. They develop, learn and build decision-making skills about what is important in their own lives. They also educate people in the community to understand that people with disabilities have the same citizen rights and responsibilities as others. For more information in Utah, contact the Program Manager at the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council.

Utah Developmental Disabilities Council
155 S. 300 W., Suite 100
Salt Lake City UT 84101
Phone: (801) 533-3965
Fax: (801) 533-3968
Toll Free in Utah: 800-333-8824
Language Line: (801) 533-4636
TDD: 711