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  1. What will the Illinois workNet Center do for me as a person with a disability?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​Your local Illinois workNet Center has adaptive equipment and materials in alternative formats to accommodate a variety of disabilities. Illinois workNet Centers provide three levels of services: 1) Core services provide unassisted use of the center’s resource room where you can learn about careers, search for jobs and prepare for your job search. 2) For jobseekers who meet eligibility requirements, intensive services provide professional staff to assist in planning, conducting and succeeding in your job search. 3) Eligible jobseekers may also benefit from education and training programs to meet the requirements for work in specific industries. Intensive, education and training programs require formal application. Many Illinois workNet Centers host job clubs and fairs, career planning groups, internship and apprentice programs, and other scheduled activities throughout the year.​


  1. How do I know if I have a disability?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability as having 3 parts. An individual with a disability is a person who: 1) is substantially limited in one or more major life activities due to a physical or non-physical impairment; or 2) has a record of such an impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.  In 2008, the ADA was amended to include impairments affecting neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, lymphatic, skin and endocrine systems, among others. Major life activities include (but are not limited to): walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, sitting, standing, lifting, and reading.

  2. I just graduated college and no longer have disability or access services available; what do I do now?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​​You can call a variety of organizations for help. These include your local Center for Independent Living, DHS-DRS office, and your local Illinois workNet Center. You can find additional service providers by using the Service Finder​.

  3. What if I don't have access to my own computer or the Internet to help me find services or look for work?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​Your local Illinois workNet Center​ resource room has computers and adaptive equipment that you can use, and can help you find other locations like public libraries that may also offer Internet access. In Chicago, you can dial 311, the City of Chicago's non-emergency information system, to find people who can help you. Outside Chicago you can call the 311 service at 312-744-5000, or your local United Way.

Job Search

  1. How does my disability affect my job search?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​​You are not obligated to disclose a disability to a prospective employer. If you can meet the performance requirements of a job even though you have a disability, then your disability should not affect your search. In many cases, a person with a disability may be able to perform the functions of a job with an accommodation. Accommodations may include adaptive equipment, flexible working hours, or other adjustments to a workplace or work process. Prospective employers should consider your ability to do the job with a reasonable accommodation. If you believe you can perform the functions of a job with a reasonable accommodation, you can learn about the types of accommodations that may help you at the online Job Accommodation Network, and discuss these with the prospective employer.

  2. Should I consider financial planning in my job search?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​​Yes. Financial planning is critical to your long-term financial health. People with disabilities may face barriers to employment that impact financial success. Many of these barriers can be confronted through a sound asset development plan.  In addition to securing any financial assistance for which you may qualify, an Asset Development plan will help you to become financially “literate”, avoid consumer fraud, realize tax benefits, and establish your credit worthiness. You can find out more about asset development planning at your local Illinois workNet Center​.

  3. What is an Employment Network?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​​An employment network is an employment services provider that has been approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help disability income beneficiaries become employed. An Employment Network receives payments from the SSA to help a beneficiary become self-sufficient. In Illinois, all DHS-DRS offices are Employment Networks, as are some Illinois workNet Centers. You can also find a directory of Employment Networks online on Ticket to Work's website.

  4. What is Ticket to Work?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​​If you are an SSA disability income beneficiary, then you hold a “Ticket to Work”, which offers people with disabilities an opportunity through a continuum of work incentives to achieve greater independence. As a ticket holder, you can choose a variety of employment services that will help you to obtain access to meaningful employment.

  5. When in the application process is it best to disclose my disability? In my cover letter, resume, or later in the interview process?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    Individuals are not required to disclose information regarding their disability while going through a job hiring processes. However, many experts advise individuals to disclose information regarding their disability if it will impact their job performance, as this will help to create openness and a positive working relationship. Each individual and situation is different and may call for different processes of disclosure. Typically individuals wait till the last interview before disclosing information related to an illness or disability. It's ultimately an ethical decision that experts say must be made individually.

    For more information check out our Illinois workNet article Living with a Disability - Preparing and Searching for Jobs.


  1. What if I want to start my own business?
    Audience: Person with a Disability

    ​​Start off using the resources on Illinois workNet for Starting a Business. Once you have reviewed the information, you should contact a Small Business Development Center or Illinois Entrepreneurship Center. DHS-DRS can assist individuals with ideas and/or certification as a Person with a Disability owned Business Enterprise. The Illinois Assistive Technology Program​ can also help new business owners through low-cost loans.