Saturday, November 1st, 2014

The Obameter

Launch educational initiative for employers on tax benefits of hiring employees with disabilities


"The tax code already contains several provisions designed to encourage employers to hire employees with disabilities, including the Disabled Access Tax Credit, a Tax Deduction for Architectural and Transportation Barrier Removal, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Yet, very few employers actually take advantage of these credits. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will launch an aggressive effort to educate employers about these tax benefits so that more employers use them to hire greater numbers of employees with disabilities."

Updates

Numbers of individuals certified has increased

In the past two and half years, the Obama administration has promoted hiring workers with disabilities, including educating employers about the tax benefits that can accrue from hiring them.

"Looking at the list of people eligible for certification, it certainly has increased," said Lara H. Schwartz, vice president for external affairs of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio said that more employers are taking advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a federal tax credit incentive of up to $9,000 for employers who hire disabled workers. According to Fillichio, 914,491 individuals were eligible for certification in fiscal year 2010, up from 692,421 in fiscal 2008.

The Labor Department provides information for employers and seeks their views about administration of the tax credit online. It also has funded the Guide to Hiring Incentives that outlines three tax benefits available at www.disability.gov.

As with providing information about best practices for recruiting, hiring and accommodating workers with disabilities, Schwartz said that in the case of educating employers about the tax benefits, the Obama administration has conducted "tangible and useful outreach." We rate this a Promise Kept.

Sources:

E-mail exchange with U.S. Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio.

Telephone interview with Lara H. Schwartz, vice president for external affairs of the American Association of People with Disabilities

White House begins series of sessions with employers about hiring people with disabilities

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that his administration would "launch an aggressive effort" to educate employers about how they could receive tax benefits by hiring workers with disabilities.
 
On Nov. 3, 2009, staffers from the White House Office of Public Engagement held two meetings in Chicago at Disabilityworks, a public-private partnership focusing on employment for people with disabilities that operates under the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the Chamber of Commerce, the attendees included McDonald"s, Walgreens, Quaker Oats/PepsiCo Chicago, Harris Bank, Northern Trust, Aon and Rush University Medical Center. The White House said that educational efforts on behalf of these tax benefits was discussed at the meetings.
 
The White House said that similar meetings are expected in other locations.
 
In addition, on Oct. 5, 2009, the White House announced that the Justice Department would release a video "that will identify and respond to a number of common myths held by employers about workers with disabilities."
 
These developments sound to us like progress toward keeping this promise. We rate it In the Works.

Sources:

The White House, "President Obama Announces New Initiatives During National Disability Employment Awareness Month" ( news release ), Oct. 5, 2009