Harder, Fitzpatrick Announce Bipartisan Bill to Get Jobs for People with Disabilities

July 26, 2019
Press Release
Eighty Percent of People with Disabilities Want to Work, But Only 18 Percent Are Employed

WASHINGTON –In honor of the 29th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)  announced the Disability Employment Incentive Act to encourage businesses to hire and retain more workers with disabilities, including veterans. The bill would incentivize the employment of people with disabilities by doubling three existing tax credits for businesses that employ disabled workers.

“People with disabilities want and deserve the same opportunities to work as everyone else, but prejudice has prevented a lot of these folks from getting a job and making the money they need to support their independence,” said Rep. Harder. “We’re proud to introduce a bipartisan bill to help open the door for more folks with disabilities to join the workforce.”

“Individuals with disabilities contribute immensely to our workforce and economy,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Incentivizing employers to hire qualified individuals with disabilities will promote growth and equity in the workplace. I am proud to introduce this legislation with Congressman Harder as we recognize the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“It is fitting that, on the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Reps. Harder and Fitzpatrick are introducing the Disability Employment Incentive Act to promote the employment of people with disabilities,” said Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. “As the Senate author of the legislation, I share their commitment to increasing employment as a means to encourage the economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities, one of the primary goals of the ADA. I look forward to working with Reps. Harder and Fitzpatrick to pass this legislation and help businesses to hire more people with disabilities.”

“The Arc supports this legislation that will encourage businesses to hire and retain individuals with disabilities in a wide variety of jobs and workplaces. Too many people with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed, despite the fact they would like to work,” said Nicole Jorwic, Senior Director of Public Policy, The Arc of the United States. “These business incentives will help them achieve that goal.”

“Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is pleased to support the Disability Employment Incentive Act (DEIA) of 2019,” said Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW, Associate Executive Director, PVA. “This legislation makes important improvements in several programs designed to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities and make their establishments accessible.  As a result, the DEIA will help millions of veterans with disabilities achieve greater levels of economic self-sufficiency and community integration.”

“One of the greatest challenges in providing services to individuals with I/DD is securing enough employers to provide meaningful employment opportunities for the individuals we support,” said Sarah Meek, Director of Legislative Affairs at ANCOR. “We believe that once employers are encouraged to increase their hiring of people with disabilities, that the retainment will follow as they experience the impressive skillset and professionalism of the disability workforce. Not only do we fully support this bill, but we will be supportive of additional efforts to simplify the tax credit process and ensure employers are optimizing the helpful tax credit incentives.”

“The Disability Employment Incentive Act (DEIA) is designed to encourage employers to hire and retain employees with disabilities,” said Alexandra Bennewith, Vice President, United Spinal Association. “With the unemployment rate for people with disabilities consistently double that of the non-disabled population, United Spinal Association thanks Rep. Harder and Rep. Fitzpatrick for introducing this bill which establishes tax credits for small and large employers to hire and retain individuals with disabilities as members of their workforce.”

Rep. Harder’s bill will double the maximum value of three existing programs, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit, and the Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit. These credits incentivize both small and large employers to hire and retain people with disabilities, as well as encouraging them to take steps to make workplaces more accessible.