Obtaining employment requires education, experience, and reliable transportation. Transportation can be a barrier to job candidates with disabilities. Depending on where you live, there may be several transportation services available such as Rover, Power Transit, or discounted train and bus tickets. Even if these services are available in your area, there can still be limitations. Many services require a twenty-four-hour reservation, they offer very few travel destinations, and they only offer limited hours of operation. This can be very difficult depending on your work hours, especially if something comes up at the last minute.

Desiring more flexibility, I decided to purchase my own adapted vehicle. The process of acquiring an adapted car can be a daunting and expensive endeavor for anyone with a disability. Thankfully, many agencies and nonprofits assist individuals with disabilities in every facet of acquiring an adapted vehicle. Many organizations will only adapt relatively new cars. Fortunately, many car manufacturers and banks have special programs designed for individuals receiving SSI benefits.

In some cases, The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) will fund the needed adaptions to an already purchased vehicle if you go through their approval process, need it for transportation to and from your workplace. Once approved by OVR, you will need to visit a doctor to verify your disability and confirm the need for a modified car. Next, you will need to find a driving school or therapist that specializes in the different types of adaptations. These services can be beneficial; most programs have many variations of adaptive equipment to try so you can see which will work best for you. Then, if you’re approved and meet all these requirements, OVR will cover the cost of those modifications.

Luckily, I was able to purchase an already modified vehicle. If you can go down this avenue, OVR will calculate out the cost of the car before it was modified, to determine the cost of the modifications. This option can be very cost-effective because many adapted vehicles are only desired by people with disabilities, making it a buyers’ market.

It can be a long process. Whichever avenue you utilize, it will be well worth the independence gained. Having a car that I’m comfortable with has given me a lot more confidence.

Check out these transportation resources:

Foundation (PATF) on acquiring an adapted vehicle

Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Septa reduced fares for people with disabilities

Paratransit

Rover Transportation

By Alexa Brill

Author’s Note:

I have enjoyed my time with the #IWantToWork Campaign. My time on the campaign has been a great opportunity over the past four years. I have learned a lot and gained tremendous experience in the areas of advocacy, politics, social media, and writing. I will be moving my focus to other opportunities, but will, of course, continue to support the #IWantToWork Campaign. I think it’s a great campaign that does valuable work, advocating for the competitive, integrated employment of people with disabilities. – Alexa Brill

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