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What do I put on my resume to indicate I’ve been out of work for six months on disability due to a back injury?



Dear Donna,

I have been out of work for six months on disability due to a back injury. How do I indicate this on my resume? I want to start looking for another job.

Out on Disability

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Out on Disability,

You do not need or want to indicate your injury or the fact that you were out on disability on your resume. This is protected information under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Likewise, you should not mention this on an interview for the same reason as above. When asked why you have been out of work you can simply state, “I had personal issues that needed my attention. Those are now resolved [implying that you are now ready to get back to work]and I am ready and eager to get back to work.” Your disability counselor should be able to explain your rights to you in this regard.

The only reason you would ever need to mention a disability on an interview would be if the employer would have to make an accommodation for you on the job. Even if that were the case, it is not something to bring up in an initial. And hopefully you will be seeking work that is not physically demanding so that this will not even be an issue. Have you spoken to your current employer about doing something that doesn’t require physical work such as case management, utilization review, etc.? If your healthcare provider has deemed that you can no longer do direct patient care, your employer is supposed to offer you something suitable to your limitations (if any) if anything is available.

Read “Working with a disability” ( for additional tips
and advice.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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