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Employee Benefits for Individuals with Disabilities: The Effect of Race and Gender

Lustig, D.C. & Strauser, D. (2004). Employee benefits for individuals with disabilities: The effect of race and gender. Journal of Rehabilitation, 70 (2), 38-46.

Article Summary

Just as employee benefits, i.e. health care coverage, vacation, retirement, are important aspects of a job for workers in the mainstream of society, so too are these important considerations for employees with disabilities. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether access to normal employee benefits is related to either the gender, race, or presence of a disability. Health insurance costs, in particular, continue to increase causing employers to provide lesser coverage, increase out-of-pocket costs to employees, or drop their health care altogether.

Another alternative of concern is decreased willingness by employers to hire individuals with disabilities, because they may have greater health care needs. Since individuals with disabilities tend to earn less than an average of $7/hour, they are less likely to be offered health insurance as an employment benefit; and when it is offered, they are less likely to be able to afford the out-of-pocket costs.

The authors posed the following questions in the current study:

  1. Do Caucasian and non-Caucasian workers with disabilities have different access to employee benefits?
  2. Do Caucasian workers with/without disabilities have varying access to employee benefits?
  3. Do non-Caucasian workers with/without disabilities have varying access to employee benefits?
  4. Do male and female workers vary as to their access to employee benefits?
  5. Do male workers with/without disabilities have varying access to employee benefits?
  6. Do female with/without disabilities workers vary as to their access to employee benefits?
The results of this study indicated the following:
  1. Caucasian and non-Caucasian workers had comparable access to employee benefits.
  2. Workers with disabilities, regardless of race, had less access to employee benefits at small and medium/large employers than did those without disabilities.
  3. Male and female workers with disabilities had similar access to employee benefits.
  4. Male and female workers with disabilities had less access to employee benefits at small and medium/large employers than did those without disabilities.