Paying the Cost of Workplace Adaptations and Assistive Technology
Paying the Cost of Workplace Adaptations
In some cases, the employer is obligated to pay for “reasonable accommodations” and adaptations; however, it’s best for the employee to take the initiative in researching which adaptations and modifications are necessary to perform the job. Many of these changes can be inexpensive and relatively simple to implement, such as a larger monitor, and optical magnifier or better lighting at your work station.
When you present your requests to your employer, it’s important to emphasize your competence, initiative, and responsibility. Explain the problem, briefly outline the possible solutions, and describe how you arrived at your final recommendations:
- Did you consult with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor?
- Did you schedule an evaluation at a community-based vision rehabilitation center?
- Did you try out different types of adaptive equipment with a technology vendor?
- Did you arrange an equipment loan for yourself?
- Did you explore the CareerConnect Virtual Worksites for ideas?
Some adaptations can be expensive. There can be substantial initial and ongoing costs if the access software must be programmed to be compatible with the company’s proprietary software.
Although your employer may be willing to pay for any reasonable accommodations, it may be a hardship, especially if the company is small. It is possible, with the support of your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, to acquire adaptive technology and services such as installation and training through a loaner program or your local community-based vision rehabilitation center. Financial support may also be available through a Lions Club, or similar community organization. Your employer will appreciate your investigation of all potential options. Enhanced Vision, a company that develops assistive technology, has a list of resources where you may find grants to help pay for the devices you need.
As with all negotiations, it’s important that you and the employer recognize that you are both working to achieve the same goal: to make you the most effective employee you can be for the benefit of the company.