Finding a Job When You Have a Physical Disability

Coming to terms with a permanent disability following a car crash or injury in the workplace can be hard, to say the least. Living with a disability brings a whole new set of worries and challenges to face on a daily basis.

If you are entitled to claim for compensation, you may be in the middle of the compensation claims process with your legal team, but there are other concerns to face.

You may have had to stop work as you know it following the incident, and you’ll most likely be very concerned about finding and retaining another job with similar rewards and fulfilment.

Job hunting in Cairns can be challenging at the best of times, and it’s quite likely that this will be even more difficult with a newly acquired disability or injury.

Luckily in today’s diverse job market, there is a wealth of options open to you, and there is every chance that you will find a suitable opportunity that matches your skill set.

How to find the best opportunities for you

An excellent place to start is to assess your physical ability as this will help determine the sort of jobs that will be compatible with your needs. Things to consider are your ability to stand, walk, type, lift objects of various weights, etc.

When you are starting out on your job search, it is advisable to use a number of different techniques, such as classified ads, personal contacts and even disability support. The internet can be your best friend! You will find many job posts and placement services online as well as the Government site, Jobactive, which will point you in the direction of appropriate work.

Research is key

Once you have started to identify opportunities that appeal to you, it can be a good idea to research the companies in question to establish if their workplace and ethos are accommodating and supportive to people with disabilities. This is a good point to find out about a potential employer’s experience, background and future goals – there are disability support organisations that can help you skill up for specific roles.

Think about working from home

Perhaps it’s a case that a home based job will be more suitable for you in your new situation. These days, technology makes it entirely feasible to conduct any number of roles from home. Workers can be just as productive without the hassles and inconveniences of getting to an office. You may also find that your home is best equipped for you and your physical requirements.

Working from home will usually only require a good internet connection and a suitable computer, you could even decide that you can freelance from home as opposed to being employed by one organisation. This way you’re the boss and stay in control of your workload.


It is crucial to be aware of some of the most common obstacles that you may come across when looking for a job:

Discrimination and misconceptions.

Discrimination, sadly, is still a fact of life, even though there are anti-discrimination laws in Australia. Employers also may have misconceptions about your physical abilities and disability. You may have to work harder to reassure them that you are the man/ woman for the job. It is important not to let this mentally shake you and that you stay strong despite any such attitudes that you encounter. 

Family and friends.

The help and love of those closest to you have no doubt been invaluable since your injury, but with the best of intentions, they can be very protective. There may be suggestions that you shouldn’t go back to working life but it’s essential that you are assertive about what you want or need to do.


You may find that job hunting proves to be a more expensive exercise for you depending on your transport requirements and physical ability. Once you have secured a job, there is the modification of your working area to consider as well as your daily commute.

The Good News

Luckily there are numerous programs, funds, and agencies that can assist you in your search and experience after. Here are some to investigate:‍

  • Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE)
  • Disability Employment Services (DES).
  • Employee Assistance Fund (EAF)
  • Mobility AssistanceWork Assist

Cairns Injury Lawyers is part of the Preston Law Group, one of Regional Queensland’s largest law practices.

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