Did you know there are many organizations out there whose mission is to help those with disabilities navigate life? It’s true! An abundance of resources are available to help with nearly every aspect of daily living for those with disabilities and their families. Here’s a list you can use to help you learn how to adapt to the world around you with a disability and live a productive, happy, and active life in the process.
Social Security Disability
If you’re unable to work because of your disability or were recently injured in a way that resulted in a disability, then you need to file for social security disability benefits, especially if your injury also accrued court fees and keeps you from working. In order to receive these benefits, you must first qualify under the guidelines of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA determines if you qualify based on a few factors. These include:
- Your current employment status: Disability payments provided by the SSA are for people who cannot work enough to support themselves due to their disability. If you are currently working and making more than their income threshold, you may not qualify.
- The severity of your condition:The condition that is disabling you must be severe enough to restrict you from working.
- You have a conditioned recognized by the SSA: Not all medical conditions qualify for disability insurance. Their listing of impairments will help you determine if your condition makes the cut.
The process to apply for disability benefits can be a long one, so you may want to find a lawyer who can help determine if you qualify and represent you if you are denied. If you need help finding other government benefits for which you may be eligible, take a look at the government’s free website. It can assist you in discovering benefits you may qualify for.
If you have a disability and are still able to work, then you might need to find work more suitable for your condition or discover ways to adapt your current workplace to fit your needs. There are several organizations out there that can help you with this. They include:
- Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Every state has a VR agency to provide services and support that help disabled people prepare themselves for a new career.
- Job Accommodations Network (JAN): This free service provides guidance for navigating the workplace for those with disabilities, including services that help make you more employable and help employers understand the value of hiring those with disabilities.
- AbilityJobs and JobAccess: This resource posts jobs to help people with disabilities find employment. You can also upload your resume for employers to find.
- National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult (NCWD): This organization helps people find work and helps employers understand how to make accommodations for those with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Living independently is important for those with disabilities, but assistive devices and rehabilitation equipment can be expensive. In lieu of your own personal Daddy Warbucks, there are resources available to help you navigate the world of independent living. These include:
- AbleData: This website provides information about rehabilitation equipment and assistive technology products.
- National Council on Independent Living (NCIL): This is an association of nonprofit corporations that runs councils in each state to help disabled people understand their rights under the law.
- National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC): This online gateway provides a bevy of information about advocacy, employment, technology, education and financial assistance for those with disabilities.
- National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD): This resource center helps people with disabilities improve their health by participating in social and physical activities.
Find an Advocate
Finding someone to help advocate for you is essential. You may require help with finding housing, healthcare services, and more. A social worker is a great advocate to have in your corner whether you’re disabled from work or are currently living in a nursing home to help you access the care you’re entitled to, as well as introduce you to programs or other assistance you may not even know exist such as:
- Aquatic therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Animal therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Physical therapy
You can find a social worker through the Administration for Community Living, which can also assist in locating local organizations to help you become a more active member of the community, which is not a bad thing for the community or for you!
Living with disabilities day to day presents many challenges. Even tasks that seem simple can be complicated if you require assistance in completing them. Assistive technology can help make all the tasks of daily living easier. It’s estimated that 6.8 million people with disabilities use some sort of assistive device to help them live more independently.
You can find out more information about assistive technology with these resources:
- net: This free online database allows you to search for devices based on vendor, activity, and function.
- State Technology Act Projects: The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) administers the Assistive Technology Act of 2004. It provides statewide programs to help people with disabilities find technology-related assistance. Go to the website to find your state’s AT program.
Just because you’re living with a disability doesn’t mean you can’t be active. If you want to travel or participate in sports, there are resources available to those with disabilities to help navigate these areas. Explore:
- Department of the Interior Office of Accessibility: If you want to explore the wonders of the country’s national parks, this online portal can assist you with general information about accessibility and park programs to help you plan your visit.
- Disabled Sports USA: This organization provides recreation and sports activities to adults and children with disabilities. There are chapters in all 50 states.
Navigating the world with a disability can be difficult, but with the right resources and information, you can tackle any obstacles that get in your way!
Author Info: Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.