Networking & Disability

Good day everyone. I am a newbie to the group. My name is Dave Churney and I am currently trying to look for a job in federal government and/or just a job in this economy. I have two questions for everyone and they deal with networking and disability.

It is great to find groups like this to share issues and just want to thank Steve for letting me know about this group. As we all know, now a days, networking is a key to finding new resources and can be fun learning about new people. I just found an old school make through talking with connections that I have made on twitter. I hope that I can find some networks on here, if it be personal or business.

Question, when you fill out an application on line for a federal job and you get to the area concerning disabilities, what do you check when you do have a disability? I ask this because I do have a disability and I have always heard that it could hinder a job search if you marked it yes. We all know that people are not suppose to discriminate against disabilities, but it does happen.

My disability is a stutter in my speech. And for those of you that are still young enough to remember Mel Tellis, mine is not that bad. People think that if I stutter with my speech, that I stutter with my heart and soul.

So to end with this blog, I just want to ask those of you in this group that has any experience in this, to drop me a note. Or if you know of any jobs out there, please let me know. And if you know of anything I can do, please let me know.

It is hard when you get mentally and verbally abuse by a boss at a job where you were at for almost nine years.

Thanks and feel free to drop me a line.


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Actually in the government sector, there are special hiring programs for people with disabilities so I think they ask you as they have an easier chance hiring you. I think the key is just to find a good fit. I’ve worked with a range of people in the federal gov’t with a range of disabilities (blind, special needs, etc). They all did a great job but the organization also worked to find them a good fit and give them the tools they needed.


I was forced to retire from the military with a disability , but, I have yet to receive a decision from the V.A so I can’t claim the 10 % or larger untill I receive that. I have filled out over 30 job applications on with not Responce. So I have been out of work since Aug 2008. And have had no luck in Texas as well finding a job . I have one bad leg, can’t climb well, can’t Kneel , and can’t lift a lot of weight. so I have not had a lot of luck getting a job either

William Topaz

Dave and Maggie: Finding a job – in or out of government is tough … and it’s only going to get worse over the next 18-36 months. And many of the lost jobs will never come back. It’s going to be a bad situation not just for people with disabilities but for other constituencies as well. It’s probably the worst time in history for a prisoner to be released; re-entry will be almost impossible which means the rate of recidivism will go even higher.

For many people, the answer may be to start your own business. It does not necessarily have to take a lot of capital. And especially for anyone with any form of disability, there are a large number of “virtual” or home-based opportunities. Our nonprofit organization, through our website ( offers a free online course. You might want to check it out just to stimulate your thinking about another alternative.


Mr. Topaz,
Thank you for your information.

I think the problem that is bothering me the most, and it is probably bothering Maggie also, is not finding and getting a job, weather it is federal or not, but the disability discrimination that we may face. I do not really think I do have a disability if you really want to know the truth…probably because I understand it and is so use to it by now. I have had jobs cancel right in front of my face, due to my speech. Yes, I have reported some to EEOC, but most companies we say that it was cancel due to budget cuts and then you see the job open back up a few months down the road.

I do have a small consulting business, which I have had for about two years, but all but one client had to drop my services do to budget cuts. I truly understand the reasoning behind it. And I would try other home base jobs, but finding a job, is a job in itself. Having applied to over 1500 hundred jobs in the last 12 months, well I think you can understand what I mean.

Thanks again and I hope to talk to you soon.


I’m a big fan of the book Brazen Careerist. They give really practical advice on getting a job – from resume to interviewing.

And I agree that you face disability discrimination and it’s really horrible but I’d also suggest looking to develop creative ways of trying to prevent it from happening. While not the same, I’ve often been discriminated due to my age (late 20s but look even younger). In an interview or meetings or exec presentations, I’ve been asked multiple times “how old are you?” in a condescending tone – which is completely inappropriate and violates numerous discrimination rules.

But I have a series of jokes/lines I use when people ask that, so I disarm them and make them feel comfortable. For example, “Well, I’m older than the founder of Facebook and younger than Buffett. But obviously I’m no billionaire.” Or a witty one-liner back “Old enough to know those penny loafers you are wearing went out of style in the 80s (just made that one up)”

Just a thought. But I’m no expert. And I know it’s really tough out there.


I got some good lines also when people ask some of those off the walls questions. Now days, you got to have some of those up your sleeve to get by, to show people that you know what you are doing. I have had a lot of interviews and I am grateful for the ones that I been one.

I will take any comments and/or suggestions that any of GovLoop members gives out.

Sharon Ballard

HI Dave,

It is always disheartening to hear that you and anyone is being discriminated against. It does not feel good when you are treated differenlty from others!

I have never worked for the federal governement, etc., so I can’t advise you on the application. I can say that when I did part time work as a seasonal clerk for the IRS when that question comes up and you check yes, then you are directed to a list of disabilities that a person would indicate. This goes with what Steve said that it is supposed to be a way to find the best fit for you. However, you may need to really zone in on what your skills are and what do you like doing. You say you are looking for a job, any job, I know it is hard out here but what do you like to do! I think if you concentrate on that and what skills you have, you will indeed find that job that is right for you, be it in the federal government or else where.

Also, in my opinion, honesty is always the best policy. This way the employer knows and if they contact you they are interested in you and your skills. This also helps to avoid surprise attacks.

Believe me I know how you feel! Thinking that they won’t hired you because of this and that, well chances are if an employer makes inappropriate comments that’s not the employer you want to work for anyway.

This only my opinion, I’m not expert either, but I’ve been there and honesty is the best policy.

Good luck with your job search! (CNN earlier today interview a woman who just lost her job with no notice. Maybe check out that interview and also CNN was posting available jobs from companies on their website.

Haig Evans-Kavaldjian

Most cabinet-level agencies also have an Office of Civil Rights or the equivalent which advocates for disabled federal employees.

Paulette Neal-Allen

Dave, my husband is a 100% disabled veteran, and you’re right. Though they’re not SUPPOSED to discriminate, they sure seem to. How else can you explain the fact that hubby has come in the “top choice” over and over again, but as soon as he shows up for the interview in his wheelchair, they lose interest? It sounds like you have the same issue, that as soon as they talk to you, they lose interest.

Hrumph. I wish I could help, but all I can really do is say I can understand your frustration and wish you luck.


Thanks Paulette. I have talked with any and all offices and disability groups for help, and they tell me just start at the beginning of the circle, and you are at the beginning of the circle. Please thank your husband for his service time.

Well I finally had enough one day last week. Had a voice mail on telephone, saying that my background fitted their needs and would I be interested in consulting work. I called backed within like 10 minutes of the call. The job had been posted nationally and for months. Somehow the job just got cancel. I final just needed to say something to someone and I told the guy…” I may have a speech problem as you can hear, but the stutter is in my voice and not in my heart and soul. If you know anything about people with disability, they excel in other things due to the disability.”

Lindsey L Williams


Within your post, I believe I read that you have tried joining the military and were unsuccessful. My question is whether or not you tried joining as a full-time solder on active duty, or as a member of the Reserves or National Guard (Regardless of branch) where you perform military duty once per month? Within an active duty capacity, depending upon the position, what you explain may be true.

However, if you have not done so, you may take a look at entering the Reserves or National Guard where you perform military duty once per month. If your goal is to get in the military first, and then move around within the system, it is a good idea to apply for an administrative position.

In this capacity you may be able to make the argument that you are not performing within a combat environment, nor are you using a radio to communicate movement plans, or relay any sensitive information. If you are successful gaining entry into the Reserves or National Guard, you will then be on track to government employment.

I am sure there are other options. This is one option that I have seen successful in the past. Being a disabled veteran, I can understand how you feel.

For Example: Inquire about MOS 42A with the Army. Here is what is listed under this job skill identifier:

MOS 42A Human Resource Specialist

Advanced/Specialized and Other Certifications

Soldiers in MOS 42A may also be interested in the following certifications. These certifications may require additional education, training or experience. For information about the general requirements for these certifications from the certifying boards, use the links below.

Project Management Institute