Navigating Job Relocation with Limited Mobility: Tips for Job Seekers With Disabilities

The above picture is of a man sitting in his wheelchair outside and smiling.

Navigating Job Relocation with Limited Mobility: Tips for Job Seekers With Disabilities

Just over 21% of people living with disabilities were employed in 2022. This percentage is low compared to the 65% of people without disabilities who were employed in the same year.

We can attribute the difference to the fact that a lot of companies aren’t set up to support employees living with a range of disabilities. Also, the lack of resources and support for workers with disabilities seems to take certain jobs off the table, like those that require relocation.

However, acknowledging the potential obstacles in the process will help you prepare for them. And in preparing for them, you can ensure they don’t stop you from moving to pursue better job opportunities.

Let’s explore some of the unique challenges you might face when relocating for a job as a person living with a disability and how to overcome them.

Finding the Right Work Environment

As mentioned above, there are many workplaces out there that can’t accommodate the needs of people living with different disabilities as they deserve. It isn’t common to find workplaces that go beyond adhering to the laws that protect employees with disabilities.

But they’re out there if you do the work to find them. Make sure that relocating is worthwhile by securing a job that provides the right work environment for you.

At the very least, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. “These modifications enable an individual with a disability to have an equal opportunity not only to get a job, but successfully perform their job tasks to the same extent as people without disabilities,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

If you need accommodations, identify yourself as a person with a disability to your hiring manager and start a discussion about your needs. Strive to secure a position in the right work environment before you move.

Choosing the Best Place to Relocate

You need to find the best place to relocate much like you did with finding the best place to work. Identify what you need in a home considering your accessibility needs. Determine what you want in a neighborhood. Consider where your new job is located as well.

Then, work with a real estate agent to find the best home, apartment, or condo based on your needs. It’s best to visit the place in person ahead of relocating to ensure it’s right for you. This will require extra planning if you’re moving across state lines. But it’s especially important in this regard.

If you secure a position before you move, you may be able to ask your new employer to assist you with finding a new home and some of the other costs associated with relocating.

 A relocation package, for example, helps make different aspects of relocating easier. The company connects you with a packing and moving service. They may also help you sell your current home and provide you with temporary housing until you find something permanent. This is huge for employees with disabilities because as mentioned above, it can be hard to find a home that accommodates all of your unique needs.

Set up a time with your new employer to have a phone discussion about a relocation package or if they reimburse any relocation expenses. Let them know what you need, even if they say they don’t offer assistance of this sort. You’d be surprised at how many employers are willing to compromise and help. 

Guaranteeing Reliable Transportation

13.4 million Americans aged 18 to 64 and 11.2 million aged 65 and older self-reported travel-limiting disabilities. Getting to where they need to go is challenging, if doable at all. So, they have to stay home more often than not. 

If this is your experience but you’re still set on relocating for a job, you must find a way to successfully navigate what hinders you from traveling.

For example, if you had access to an accessible car with the modifications needed to accommodate your disability, you’d be able to drive it to your new home and back and forth to work when you get there.

Evaluate your needs first, like if you use a wheelchair and whether you prefer side or rear vehicle entry. After that, decide on a new, used, or certified pre-owned vehicle with your budget and accessibility needs in mind.

Then, price out the modifications you need. For instance, an emergency brake extension will cost you $20-$50. A power-operated lift could cost you upwards of $3000. And a manually operated ramp will range from $125-$600.

You’ll also want to educate yourself on the process of implementing your modifications from start to finish to gauge how long it will take. You want your car to be ready to go when you’re ready to relocate. So, starting modifications early enough is essential.

Prioritize reliable transportation so that relocating and getting to your new job is seamless.

The Move Itself

The move itself might be hardest on a person living with a disability. There’s just so much involved, including:

     Decluttering and packing;

     Unpacking once you get to your new place;

     Getting the keys to your new place;

     Hiring movers or asking family and friends to help;

     Turning on utilities and internet at your new place.

If you have limited mobility, in particular, getting the above and all else involved with moving done can be frustrating. You can’t lift heavy boxes or move things without risking injury. If you’re using a wheelchair or another mobility aid, the chaotic, everything-is-everywhere-moving environment isn’t safe or maneuverable.

Moving with limited mobility is much easier when you plan for your accessibility needs, first and foremost. Decluttering and downsizing are helpful too. You won’t have to pack and haul as many boxes when you narrow your things down to solely what you need, reducing the strain on your body.


Hire help for your move as well. You can’t do it all. So, don’t try to. Hire movers who can help you with packing, transporting, and unpacking your belongings.


When you’re living with a disability, relocating for a job may not seem feasible. There may be obstacles, but they don’t have to stand between you and a good job opportunity. Prepare for the process with your disability and unique needs at the forefront.