How to Keep Working

Arthritis is often cited as a barrier to continued employment and in fact is the leading cause of disability in the US today.  The following resources on disability accommodation and work retention have been gathered from various sources and are not meant to exhaustive.  Both individuals with arthritis and employers may find these helpful. Note that information and services offered by the U.S. government can all be found under one web site

Please click on the arrows below to explore the resources available and get an idea of how to begin looking for support.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
This government funded agency helps people and employers learn about what job accommodations could help them, or their employees, do their work better. Job accommodations are any equipment or job-related change that would help a person with a disability or health condition do their work better

Main JAN Contact and Website –
1-800-526-7234 V/TTY (español)

JAN Accommodation and Compliance Series – 
Employees with Arthritis (español)
Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact (español)

JAN Searchable Database of Accommodation Options – (español)

Employees’ Practical Guide to Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (español)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Understanding Work at Home/Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation –

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

Computer workstations e-tool – This guide was created to help employees identify simple accommodations to workstation ergonomics issues that work for each employee

OSHA en español

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Understand your employment rights as an individual with a disability, including legal options available under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Main EEOC Contact and Website –
1-800-669-6820 TTY (español)

Employee’s Rights and Responsibilities Under the Law

Employers Rights and Responsibilities Under the Law

ADA National Network/Data Centers (DBTAC)
National Network of ADA Centers (DBTAC) American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance Program. This government funded program helps people and employers find out if they, or their employees, are eligible for the ADA and whether a job accommodation is likely to be considered reasonable

1-800-949-4232 (toll free/ TTY) DBTAC Americans with Disabilities homepage (español)

One Stop Career Centers
U.S. Gov. Department of Labor Career Resource Centers offer resources to job seekers, and counseling, outreach, education, and training. Site directs job seeker to local resources. Some centers have disability navigators who advise about health/disability-related employment issues.

1-877-348-0501 TTY-87 (click español in top right corner for translation)

Public Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Government funded programs provide vocational rehabilitation services. Vocational rehabilitation is services provided by certified Rehabilitation Counselors to persons with a disability or health condition to help the person find or keep a job.  Examples of traditional services include comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of work potential; guidance and counseling to identify skills, limitations, aptitudes, adjustment problems and appropriate job goals; restorative treatment and equipment such as physical, occupational or speech therapy; skill training or education at schools, colleges, workshops, on-the-job training and supported work programs; vehicle and housing modifications; and job placement assistance including resume development, interviewing skills and job applications as well as follow-up.

To find your state’s public vocational rehabilitation program, go to

U.S. Government Department of Labor (DOL)/Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
The US Department of Labor includes Disability Resources on their website.  The affiliated Office of Disability Employment Policy links to more resources, including current programs and policy

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
1-866-4-USA-DOL, TTY: 1-877-889-5627 (español)

National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD)

National Employment Statistics – this interactive map shows national and state-level statistics on employment among persons with disabilities

Starting a Business
Specialized resources exist for individuals with disabilities who want to start their own businesses or seek self-employment

U.S. Small Business Administration (español)’s Guide to Self-Employment and Starting a Small Business

The Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation site has a section dedicated to employment resources, including accommodations, legal rights, and job searching.

Arthritis and the Workplace (español) can direct you to your local office in your state (español)

Arthritis Foundation
P.O. Box 7669,
Atlanta, GA 30357 -0669
1- 800-283-7800

Lupus Foundation
The Lupus Foundation website includes this resource page for navigating employment and disability issues

Employment, Disability, and Legal Issues

For more supports, connect with your local LF office (español)

Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.
National Office
2000 L Street, N.W., Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036

Scleroderma Foundation
Use the SF Resource Sheet below for information about Employment and Disability from this organization

Resource Fact Sheet (Find your local state chapter)

Scleroderma Foundation
300 Rosewood Drive,
Suite 105,
Danvers, MA 01923
1- 978-463-5843
1- 800-722-HOPE

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
This organization has a well-developed resource section about employment issues for persons with multiple sclerosis and much of the information applies to other chronic illnesses as well. The guide, ‘The Win-Win Approach to Reasonable Accommodation: Enhancing Productivity on Your Job’ (below) is especially useful

Resources and Support – Employment (español)

“The Win-Win Approach to Reasonable Accommodation” (español)

In addition to the resources found in other sections, use these sources to better understand your rights and responsibilities as an employer

ADA Business Connection’s resource section for employers from the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN)
A resource that helps employers hire and retain employees with disabilities, funded by the US Department of Labor.  Find resources for federal employers, contractors, and small businesses

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
Operated by the federal government, JAN is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues, working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee

Employers’ Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (español)

JAN’s Accommodation and Compliance Series, a fact sheet for employers on hiring and accommodations for workers with disabilities (español)

Training modules – JAN has developed a large database of training modules from general to specific topics.  Explore them using the site below

Office on Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP)

ODEP’s main accommodations page, with information on providing reasonable workplace accommodation (español)

Some employers provide ergonomic or other job accommodation services to their employees. These may be provided through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Learn more about EAP’s with this pamphlet from the Office on Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP)

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

Ergonomics info page – learn more about ergonomics in the workplace as it relates to musculoskeletal disorders

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

A Primer: Elements of Ergonomics Programs (Musculoskeletal) describes the basic elements of a workplace ergonomics program, including practical illustrations of ways to identify and evaluate hazards and begin identifying solutions

US Small Business Administration
The SBA’s has developed this useful Guide to Hiring People with Disabilities for use by Human Resources (español)

Working with Chronic Illness

ciCoach is a blog by Rosalind Joffe, who does chronic illness career coaching is a collection of guest bloggers on disability through

AbilityLinks is a blog featuring support on a variety of topics for job seekers

Invisible Illness Week
Invisible illness week is an ongoing campaign to bring awareness about disabilities that aren’t always apparent

World Arthritis Day
The World Arthritis Day campaign is building support and awareness for issues affecting people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases