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Senator Bob Casey announces $177 million to phase out low wages for disabled workers

According to a press release, thousands of people with disabilities are being paid less than the minimum wage, some can even be paid as little as a few cents an hour
Credit: WPMT

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Education is awarding 14 states $177 million for workers with disabilities. 

Approximately $13,943,300 million was awarded to the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The money is intended for states to begin phasing out the practice of paying people with disabilities subminimum wages and encourage the creation of inclusive jobs for people with disabilities. 

According to a press release, thousands of people with disabilities are being paid less than the minimum wage, some can even be paid as little as a few cents an hour. 

“Many people with disabilities are being paid below the minimum wage without the possibility of gaining new skills or moving to a job that pays a higher wage. This is incompatible with the promise of our nation: to provide every American with the opportunity to earn fair wages and achieve financial independence,” said Senator Casey. 

According to the Department of Labor, an estimated 100,000 people in the United States are paid subminimum wage. 

A 2020 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report found that between 2017 and 2018, the average wage of a person with a disability working under such certificates was only $3.34 per hour—less than half of the federal minimum wage.

“This funding will begin to phase out subminimum wage employment in 14 states while protecting the jobs of people with disabilities," said Senator Casey. 

Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment (SWTCIE) grants were awarded to states' vocational rehabilitation agencies for a transition to competitive employment and integrated workplaces. A full list of awarded states and their respected amounts is as follows: 

-Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitiation- $13,943,300.47

-Iowa: Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services- $13,875,048.55

-Georgia: Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Vocational Rehabilitation- $3,729,740.00

-Illinois: Illinois Department of Human Services- $13,943,946.00

-Texas: Texas Workforce Commission: Vocational Rehabilitation- $13,341,599.00

-Minnesota: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: Vocational Rehabilitation Services- $13,000,000.00

-California: California Department of Rehabilitation- $13,943,946.00

-Ohio: Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities: Vocational Rehabilitation- $8,973,845.79

-Connecticut: Connecticut State Department of Aging and Disability Service, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services- $13,943,946.00

-North Carolina: North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation- $13,852,567.00

-Virginia: Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services- $13,829,686.58

-New York: New York State Education Department, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services, Vocational Rehabilitation- $13,943,946.00

-Florida: Florida Department of Education: Vocational Rehabilitation- $13,151,555.99

-Indiana: Indiana Family and Social Services Administration: Disability and Rehabilitation Services- $13,935,839.00

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