8 Tips for Hiring Veterans with Disabilities

Guest Blog
By: Amy Klimek

When looking for skilled workers to grow your business, consider hiring a veteran. Nearly 1 million vets are out of work in the US despite having training and abilities that make them valuable additions to any workforce. Many veterans return from duty with disabilities, but don’t let these challenges prevent you from including them in your place of business. Get informed with these tips for hiring a disabled vet.

Use Available Resources
There are many resources for veterans looking for work and those who wish to hire them. Find potential employees through websites such as the Department of Labor’s One Stop Career Center or the Wounded Warrior Project. Hire Heroes USA also works to match qualified veterans with employers seeking specific skills.

Understand the Challenges
Disabled veterans deal with both physical and mental challenges. Some may have visible disabilities such as lost limbs while others have suffered traumatic brain injury or deal with post-traumatic stress. Make sure that you understand the needs of people with these conditions before hiring a disabled vet. Doing your research fosters understanding and reduces the fear and uncertainty that many employers struggle with when faced with the idea of hiring disabled workers. Know that disabilities don’t always remain the same; conditions may get better or worse over time, and it’s important to be prepared to work with challenges that arise in the future.

Recognize Strengths
Don’t let the societal view of disabilities as limitations cloud your judgment when hiring a vet. As an employer, you should look at what potential employees can do rather than assuming what they can’t. In fact, veterans are likely to be better workers than many other applicants you come across. They know how to listen and follow directions, work well under pressure, have experience working in team settings and have valuable leadership training. Whether or not they have a college education, veterans possess a wealth of knowledge that can’t be found in the civilian workforce.

Look for Unique Abilities
It’s not always easy to understand how military training translates to civilian job skills. Make use of resources such as O*NET Online to help you figure out which talents the veterans you’re looking to hire can bring to your company. You’ll discover a wealth of unique training and abilities that help your business to grow. Veterans also bring a great deal of life experience to any job, including an understanding of other cultures and the ability to work with diverse groups of people.

Know the Tax Laws
You may be able to get tax incentives should you choose to hire a disabled veteran. While this shouldn’t be the driving force behind your decision, provisions such as the Work Opportunity Credit, Disabled Access Credit and Returning Heroes Tax Credit can help cover the cost of necessary accommodations. These credits are meant to help employers include disabled veterans on their teams and to encourage vets to get back into the workforce.

Understand Affirmative Action
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibit employers from discriminating against potential hires on the basis of physical or mental challenges. However, it’s not considered discriminatory to give preference to a qualified individual with a disability over someone who isn’t disabled. If you’re looking specifically to hire disabled veterans, affirmative action laws allow you to say so in your employment advertising and make choosing these workers a top priority.

Make Appropriate Accommodations
Some disabled workers require accommodations to make the workplace more accessible. The Job Accommodation Network can give you resources to ensure that the proper changes are made. You may need to consider:
• Flexible scheduling or part-time hours
• Specialized training to help vets work within their abilities
• Offering the option to work from home
• Other jobs employees can switch to should their conditions require it

Whether physical or situational, many of these accommodations may be covered by tax breaks and other financial incentives so you can put them in place without worrying about budget.

Create an Inclusive Environment
Not all employees know how to act around someone with a disability. Make sure that everyone understands that the veterans you hire are qualified, competent and hard-working just like the rest of the workforce. They deserve the same level of respect as every other member of your team and shouldn’t be singled out or put on the spot due to their disabilities.

Disabled veterans have a lot to offer employers who are willing to work with their physical and mental challenges. You don’t have to worry about limitations; veterans are resilient, hard-working people with a desire to work and a strong ability to adapt to new situations. Having veterans on your workforce not only brings special skills to your company but also improves your community by employing people in need.

amy k


Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

About Russ Hovendick

My name is Russ Hovendick and my life has centered on helping others. To me there is no greater fulfillment than being able to play a part in positively impacting an individual's life. Connect with Russ on Google+

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