Research Summary

Priority Employment Concerns Identified by Americans with MS Residing in Rural Areas: Results of a National Survey

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A Quick Look

Rural residents with multiple sclerosis (MS) face additional barriers to vocational rehabilitation. MS is a chronic and generally progressive illness in which the individual’s ability to continue working decreases as the illness progresses. VR can provide educational and training services that inform clients about how to obtain workplace accommodations.

Key Findings

  • Researchers received responses from 414 rural residents with MS. The sample of 414 rural residents with MS was 78% female. The average age of respondents was 54.83.
  • About one-third (36.1%) of the sample was employed.
  • More than one-third (39.9%) of employed respondents were using workplace accommodations.
  • Respondents reported that they had confusion about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Respondents reported that they were unsure how to approach discussing their disability with their employer.

Putting It Into Practice

  • Counselors can support clients with MS by providing relevant information about the ACA and the ADA.
  • Counselors can outline employer health insurance protections as outlined by the ACA.
  • Counselors can assist clients with MS by affirming that the purpose of the ADA is to assist with workplace accommodations.

Learn More


Rumrill, P.D., Strauser, D.R., Li, J., Roessler, R.T., Chan, F., Bishop, M.L., Leslie, M., & Frain, M. (2019). Priority employment concerns identified by Americans with MS residing in rural areas: Results of a national survey. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 51, 21-31. DOI: 10.3233/JVR-191022.

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