Social Income based on Disability in Bulgaria

Every day in a very small country situated in Eastern Europe, many deaf people including with various disabilities face social disparity with discriminatory form within governmental level for social income while are unemployed. The country in which I will talk here is Bulgaria. The story of this particular issue applies to my personal life with my deafness including my friend with his deafness and usher syndrome. In receiving social income from the government while unemployed, many deaf people including with their various disabilities often get rejected for only one reason. The reason is that they are raised to speak truly fluently on all level even they do not hear well or at all in which the government does not recognize them fully to be part of the disability group due to having hearing aids, eye glasses/lenses and assistive devices in regard of their type of disability. Showing all the paperwork for applying in getting social income and the necessary services for people with disabilities for better lifestyle with the governmental help, government continues do not recognize them to be part of the group of people with disability as they only judge the performance of each individual candidate in how well they do in the equivalence of one hearing person. This kind of discriminatory form being projected within the governmental level most definitely impacts the people of disabilities especially the deafness, deaf-disabled and those who are blind/slightly blind. It is in a big time to impact and bring a huge blow toward them while the UN CRPD states that States meaning the governments shall reaffirm that all persons with disabilities have the right to a full recognition everywhere as persons before the law.

Speech oralism is powerful tool that deaf schools often provide in teaching deaf children to learn speaking fluently without a frustration to have while no sign language is being taught to them at all. It was highly believed at deaf high school that speech oralism will be best served for all deaf people including with the various disability an equal access with the hearing people. The main issue is pity overseen medically to interpret that people who are deaf are incapable to integrate equally within the social sphere without speech oralism. Being disabled with deafness is viewed as a disease with a deep pity. In all years of deaf people’s life including with their various disabilities have undergone with intensive speech therapy from very early age in which it gives them having a deep hardship inflicting psychological pressures to speak fluently. Having no exposure of sign language at deaf high school due to that all teachers/parents did not believe sign language will be a good help to integrate them equally in the society altogether with the hearing people. In all times, deaf students including with their various disabilities have to do the double work to learn in lip-reading and in speaking fluently on equal basis even they do not hear at all or hear well while using hearing aid/cochlear implants. My story including my friend’s story fit in this circumstance. My deafness as well as my friend’s deafness including with his usher syndrome been living within us all of our life since the birth despite of that we wear hearing aids everyday in order to hear better and to see better. Having hearing aid to wear on daily basis for communication access, it is still considered for us to be deaf as it is the true identity we have since birth. The reason of having considered us to be deaf as its own identity is thus to represent in fact that the hearing aids do not always help us to navigate well with the hearing people in quiet/noise area even via the phone. We will always be deaf as well as with his usher syndrome in which for both cases do not offer any improvement medically to be viewed. Hardship we did produce in having a perfect speech in speaking fluently and to lip read really well as a hearing person thus does not make us for not being considered as part of people with disabilities within the governmental level even among the society. Even though with the hearing aids, we keep to miss out the spoken communication with hearing people and we are not accessible at all in understanding the radios including the TV without captioning being provided. It applies to people with cochlear implants however all have different level of responses to hear the speech, the noises and the level of understanding fluently without frustration the spoken communication with hearing people. So for the overall point, we are most definitely to be part of the people with disabilities and the government in Bulgaria needs to recognize that with total awareness.

Many countries based on international law even with their local law for disability rights have recognized the deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and deaf-disabled people to be part of people with disabilities and most certainly receive social income equally from the government while are unemployed. The countries that apply in this model are the US, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and many more. Why Bulgaria does not follow their example? Is it fair for all of us that Bulgarian government call us for not enough disabled due to that we as deaf people speak and lip-read fluently while we do not hear well or at all? I say the answer “NO”.  The rejection to receive when facing the discriminatory form within the governmental level toward deaf people including with their kind of disability can speak well and lip-read fluently while are considered to be part of disability group does not represent to have equality a with true diversity at all. An awareness, a better legal interpretation/a law to represent in recognizing the individual candidate with their own disability for social and legal protection within the governmental level and educational understanding for recognizing individually the kind of disability as whole without a judgement being used are the main keys we all shall implement in bringing the advocacy work.  The advocacy work shall bring all voices of people who have experienced/faced such discriminatory form for not providing the social norm of safeguarding them within governmental level to have the right in receiving social income while are unemployed.

Loophole of Americans with Disability Act within my life

In the 21st Century, deaf people with all kinds of disabilities continue to struggle with hardships to gain and be on equal basis to get all kinds of opportunities for a decent career job. US is well equipped with all kinds of resources to provide via career center in all universities for internships/career jobs in all kinds of fields for all citizens/non-citizens with green card/special work visa no matter the race, religions, sex, culture, disability and age. There are universities to be well equipped to offer all that for deaf people with all kinds of disabilities with total access to American Sign Language interpretation/accommodation setting. Even though the whole country is offered to them the necessary resources for employment opportunities via the Vocational Rehabilitation Centers for people with disabilities. Of course, there are many minuses and pluses we all are facing in this reality even though with the disability rights law proscribed in the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). These minuses and pluses apply as well as for my experiences with the struggle in gaining a prospect with career job position at any NGOs, government agencies, companies and Inter-governmental Organizations- IGOs. Even though these mentioned two acts do not ideally support in promoting and in safeguarding the equality for all between disabled and non-disabled persons with the recognition to have inclusion with true respect. Fighting for this cause along with the ADA/ADAAA, we as part of the deaf community with all kinds of disabilities need to voice with ideas, advocacy strategies, solutions with policy analysis in how we can achieve that total goal as it is being done to show tremendous success with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD) on the international level.

The loophole of ADA/ADAAA for my personal experiences in seeking employment opportunities made an impact toward my disability which is deafness. Throughout my years after completing my Bachelors and completing in attending the studies for my Masters, I only had a good success in gaining internship opportunities. In reality, internships are more related with learning to gain new skills and build experiences without earning any meaningful financial support for living style. The toughest part for the deaf people with all various disabilities in fact are facing the challenges to compete well in financially to survive and in proving their essential abilities/skills no matter the differences of disabled/non-disabled at the workforce with total success. With internship/voluntary experiences are total plus for the resume to demonstrate even for the cover letter, however an obstacle is presented when it comes for an interview. Many employers often would not know whether the interviewee is disabled or non-disabled to the fact that candidates often do not disclose it due to the fear of getting rejected for an interview. The protection clause for discrimination law as stated in ADA/ADAAA in fact support to promote in preventing all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities including the requirement to provide access to the interpreting services/accommodations. Companies, NGOs, IGOs and governmental agencies although know the mentioned provision for anti-discrimination laws and reasonable accommodations in the ADA/ADAAA do exist however many ignored to respect it in a valuable way. About half of the deaf people including with their disabilities attend the interviews with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters while the rest attend it without being presented with access to ASL interpreting services. Some also have received rejections for not being able to get the reasonable accommodation with the ASL interpretation for a job interview due to insufficient financial support that companies, NGOs, IGOs and governmental agencies were not able to secure or provide for. Most of the times on daily basis I go in searching for job positions that interest me to meeting my true qualifications and by applying with my resume/cover letters, I have received several interviews. The span in searching and receiving interviews plus getting at last a career job took me within 5-7 years. The rejections to receive within these years were a blow toward me. In taking for so long to get the employment opportunity in my life, the ADA/ADAAA with a lawsuit would not in most cases help me to recognize that loss of time. The point is that there are no possibilities to know and to proving with evidence including via witnesses that these companies, NGOs, IGOs and governmental agencies did make discriminatory behaviors in hiring process based on their decision in regard of people’s various disabilities. There are almost no employment cases made with a success for any NGOs, companies, governmental agencies and IGOs do admit officially the discrimination matters due to a reason that many will make up various reasons to explain their hiring decisions.

Yes, we do feel powerless when the struggles and obstacles occurs in our everyday lives. However, we have a powerful voice in which is to bring deep awareness about disability rights related to inclusion, equality and diversity. At all cost can and must demonstrate via social media and transnational activism with the abilities all deaf people to be included with various disabilities in which makes a total contribution with a big plus to the society and have a true benefit for economic profit. The suggestion I have is that the companies such as NGOs, governmental agencies and IGOs shall work together through education with training to learn, to accept, and to understand better with various abilities of people with disabilities while they apply all kinds of job positions in different fields, and via congressional level including via social media and transnational activism to demonstrate in improving the employment law for all people with disabilities. This is to include in having a total equality, inclusion and diversity at the workforce. Lastly, to conclude is to provide a law with total compliance for all workforce in all places that people with disabilities shall and must be included to work in a total diversity with the non-disabled no matter what.

The Backlash of Americans with Disabilities Act

The enactment of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and ADA Amendments Act of 2008 by Congress was tailored for a goal to achieve in total elimination of discrimination for all people with disabilities in the US. A dramatic difference for those of us who live with disabilities has been shown however the barriers regarding of equality and inclusion continue to exist. The Constitutional Law in regard of Equal Protection Clause for people with disabilities is not well served to provide the equality and inclusion for all on one same level within all societies including the Equal Employment Opportunity act of 1972. The only thing we see is the Civil Rights Law 1964 and Rehabilitation Act 1973 and both have been supportive for providing a tremendous success for total accessibility of services for all people with disabilities. In viewing these two for everyday life especially for me at the employment level even for the deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, deaf disabled and deaf with mental disorders continue to face barriers in which prevent to achieve equally the employment goals. It is not to say that all of those mentioned are unemployed however some have found a success in various ways. Competition, challenges and the pure understanding of disability for total ability are main cores we all face with struggles and frustration to overcome. The litigation with claims to be filled for lawsuit in regard of ADA/ADAAA based on employment, health care and educational setting issues continue to be surfaced with little success or with no success. Many in regard of employment for barriers/oppression including with discrimination felt to be stagnant while they are fighting to get in a total recognition of equality, inclusion and diversity among one whole society with their own abilities.

About 17.9% of people with disabilities in generality were employed in the US as stated in year of 2016 by the US Department of Labor. On the brighter side, fewer than 40% of only deaf people with all kinds of disabilities work full time job, accordingly to the analyzes in 2016 provided by Yang-Tang Institute at Cornell University. The picture of these figures showing the differences are appalling. United States of America has everything to offer – a good educational system at universities and lots of opportunities for all type of careers made available for everyone without be based on race, immigration status with green card/special job visa, religion, sex, disability, cultures and age. The ADA/ADAAA sounds to be opportunistic to offer protection for all types of discrimination for all people with disabilities. My questionable mark brings to criticize for the point in how these acts are not able to prevent well the discrimination related with employment issues and the elimination of barriers/oppression for deaf people with all kinds of disabilities at the workforce. The challenges that these two acts pose are in the scope of judicial interpretation to have for the meaning of the term of “disability” to apply for statutory purpose instead of focusing on individual rights/needs and the idea of providing protection against discrimination in which it is intended to be limited due to the facts many companies give lots of excuses with their reasonable purposes in regard of not willing to provide financial claims or be opportunistic in securing for the future to have a total recognition of equality and inclusion. Companies often point to the facts that those with disabilities do not meet their criteria and in that view they do not see to be in discriminatory fact. Accordingly to Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf thus mentions that proving discrimination for a deaf person can be extremely difficult. Many deaf people with various disabilities and hard of hearing people often get interviewed by companies for a job and be provided with access to interpreting services/accommodations, however most won’t consider in hiring these people in regard of their abilities and their educational/professional qualifications. The employment discrimination cases to achieve is very tough due to that companies will always continue to make up many reasons as they can in explaining their hiring decisions.

Laws are there and companies/NGOs/governments will follow as it is in these two acts no matter what. The provision, the language and its own interpretations in a limited version simply direct that no one shall ever discriminate based on all forms of disabilities and must provide reasonable accommodations without any problems. In this loophole to apply for my personal experiences and for those deaf people with all various disabilities facing the struggles to find a decent career job in the long run with hardships. To this point, we always must continue to fight in the hardest way possible even that ADA/ADAAA is not fully effective to support in providing and in recognizing the equality and inclusion at employment sector in the US. Deaf people, deaf-blind, deaf-disabled, deaf with mental disorders and hard of hearing will be always behind with the non-disabled people to achieve tremendously well. Awareness for the rights of deaf individuals with all disabilities are to show and share positive benefits providing for society on economic levels and to bring our recognition on equal basis. These are the main keys we all can do and fight for via social media, via transnational activism, via employment/educational sector and via governmental level. Be the fierce advocate and be in total activism to fight for in improving the ADA/ADAAA. It is the only way we all shall voice to bring on governmental level altogether with congressmen, lawyers, academics and advocates.