January 21, 2019

Thousands of People with Disabilities Devastated by Loss of Income and Disruption in Work Routine; New Legislative Bills Would Require Back Pay for Contract Employees

VIENNA, VA (January 21, 2019) – SourceAmerica®, an AbilityOne® authorized enterprise, is urging congressional leaders and the president to provide back pay to the more than 2,000 people with disabilities that are employed by members of SourceAmerica's nationwide nonprofit network through the federal AbilityOne® Program. People with disabilities play an essential role in helping federal customers meet their mission and deliver services and products to the American people. Many AbilityOne contract employees support U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, NASA and federal facilities across the nation, all of which have been affected by the partial government shutdown.

"SourceAmerica's nonprofit network and AbilityOne contract employees are not eligible for back pay, unlike federal employees who will be reimbursed once the government reopens," said SourceAmerica Chief Operating Officer Steven Krotonsky. "For many people with disabilities, having a job is among the most important aspects of their lives and they are being forgotten in this discussion."

At this time, these AbilityOne contract employees, including wounded warriors and veterans with disabilities within the SourceAmerica nonprofit network, are directly impacted, mostly by being told not to report to work. This number is growing every day. The lack of a paycheck means bills and rent may go unpaid so individuals can afford to feed their families. Some are without health insurance as well, leading to acute problems for employees or their family members who require medication, especially for chronic conditions.

SourceAmerica has been working with both the Senate and the House of Representatives throughout the shutdown toward legislation to provide back pay to contract employees, including AbilityOne employees with disabilities. We are encouraged that both chambers have now introduced bills, which would cover many of these hard-working Americans.

"No one 'wins' in a government shutdown, and SourceAmerica's nonprofit network and AbilityOne contract employees are being overlooked," said Krotonsky. "There have been nine federal employee furloughs as a result of federal government shutdowns in the past 37 years. Government employees have always received back pay, while AbilityOne contract employees have never been equally compensated. These AbilityOne contractors work side by side with their federal counterparts, motivated by the same goals of public service. They deserve to be treated the same as their federal counterparts regarding back pay."

About SourceAmerica:
Established in 1974, SourceAmerica creates job opportunities for a skilled and dedicated workforce of people with significant disabilities. SourceAmerica is the vital link between the federal government and private sector organizations that procure the products and services provided by this exceptional workforce via a network of more than 750 community-based nonprofits. Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, SourceAmerica provides its nonprofit agency network with business development, contract management, legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful nonprofit management. Visit SourceAmerica.org to learn more, or follow us on Facebook (@SourceAmerica), Twitter (@SourceAmericaUS) and LinkedIn (@SourceAmerica).