Harder Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Businesses Hire Disabled Workers

June 8, 2021
Press Release
Eighty Percent of People with Disabilities Want to Work, But Only 18 Percent Are Employed

WASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) reintroduced the bipartisan Disability Employment Incentive Act to encourage businesses to hire and retain more workers with disabilities, including veterans. Presently, despite 80% of Americans with disabilities wanting to work, only 18% are actually employed. The bill would incentivize the employment of people with disabilities by doubling three existing tax credits for businesses that employ disabled workers. The doubled tax credits could save businesses who hire people with disabilities more than $10,000 per year.


“If we’re really going to recover from this pandemic, we need to make it easier for folks to work and for businesses to hire those new employees,” said Rep. Harder. “This bill is a win-win for our workers and our businesses. It’ll provide thousands of dollars in new tax credits for our businesses while opening up new opportunities for folks with disabilities to land the stable, good paying jobs they’re looking for.”


“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 need for increased access to equal employment opportunities for disabled Americans.”


Paralyzed Veterans of America Associate Executive Director of Government Relations Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW said “Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is pleased to support the reintroduction of the Disability Employment Incentive Act (DEIA). PVA is the nation's only congressionally-chartered veterans service organization solely dedicated to representing veterans with spinal cord injuries and/or diseases. Many of our members, as well as the disabled veteran clients served by PVA's vocational rehabilitation program, regularly confront barriers to employment that hamper their ability to achieve economic independence.”


United Spinal Association Vice President, Government Relations Alexandra Bennewith, said, “United Spinal Association is grateful to Representatives Harder and Fitzpatrick for re-introducing the Disability Employment Incentive Act which incentivizes the employment of people with disabilities resulting in providing more people with disabilities including veterans with disabilities who want to work, a path to enhanced independence and self-sufficiency.”


“Given the toll that the pandemic took on employment rates for people with disabilities, The Arc is extremely supportive of this legislation that will provide incentives to businesses to hire and retain individuals with disabilities in a wide variety of jobs and workplaces. Too many people with disabilities remain unemployed or underemployed, despite the fact they would like to work,” said Arc of the United States Senior Director of Public Policy Nicole Jorwic. 


“Especially considering the ways the U.S. labor market has been impacted by COVID-19, it’s now more important than ever that we do all we can to ensure employment opportunities are accessible to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said American Network of Community Options and Resources Senior Director of Legislative Affairs Sarah Meek. “For that reason, we applaud Representative Harder for championing tax incentives for businesses that engage in inclusive hiring practices by introducing the Disability Employment Incentive Act.”


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.