JUNE 14, 1960
NEW YORK—Not long ago a study brought to my attention is one being carried on by the Bureau of Applied Social Research in Columbia University. One of the problems of particular interest is a study of workmen's compensation beneficiaries.
These people are receiving workmen's compensation and are under medical care for injuries received. In many cases they have had a rather difficult time, not only with their injuries but in getting their claims for compensation recognized. And, of course, they are naturally worried should anything occur that would make them uncertain as to what would happen to them in the future.
It is important, however, in the medical picture, that there should be more knowledge given directly by the beneficiaries in order that they themselves may be helped in various ways.
The study is being financed by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Office of Rehabilitation, headed by Miss Mary Sweitzer, and it will extend over a three-year period ending in 1962.
Other studies that have been made show that many employers do not care to hire disabled job applicants—even if it can be demonstrated that these applicants can perform adequately the work required.
Therefore, the ultimate aim of the present study is to get employers to employ people who have been handicapped. It is hoped that there will be an increase in the hiring of the disabled, rather than putting them on relief.
The people conducting the study need case histories from impaired workers who would tell of their employment and job experiences subsequent to their recovery and re-entry into the labor market. For this purpose the study group is interviewing nearly 2,000 men in the New York metropolitan area who have received serious and permanent injuries while on the job. Most of these people were injured approximately five years ago, and in the questionnaire being sent to them there are questions concerning their present work status, questions about jobs held at the time of their accidents and some concerning their present working or unemployed status, and these questions—for the good of the study—must be answered honestly and fairly by those to whom they are sent.
No one knows exactly how many such disabled persons there are in the United States, but it is thought that the number runs into the millions. More knowledge of the situation might certainly help those presently employed to obtain better jobs and also help others to overcome some of the difficulties that are now encountered.
The answers that are given to the research group on the questionnaires are being kept in complete confidence. Only mass statistics will be published, so no one should fear that personal knowledge will be made public.
It is hoped, therefore, that the injured or handicapped people who are being interviewed will cooperate fully in order to benefit not only themselves but many others who may suffer the same fate and find it difficult to get jobs.