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The financial effects of a disability are often devastating. In many situations, the emotional effects of disability are even worse. Many people who are unable to work feel like they are burdening their family. Additionally, for many people, their job is their identity. Some common problems include anger, especially toward family members, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts.

Many disabled individuals feel a need to reconnect with their communities and feel like they are making meaningful contributions. But with what used to be so many options available and the recent Covid-19 crisis, it is difficult to know where to start. Hopefully, this post will help.

At Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm, we are exclusively an SSA law firm. While we focus on the financial aspect of disability, specifically available financial benefits, we are not blind to the psychological effects. One way you can contribute to your community is to go to law school and become a Social Security disability lawyer and help those in your community. But even if that’s not an option, take heart. There are many others available.

Food Bank

During this Thanksgiving season, we have probably all seen news footage of long lines at food banks. That’s mostly due to economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, around 2018, many state-run programs were forced to slash their budgets, which shifted more of the load onto private charities.

These charities need volunteers almost as badly as they need donations. Disabled individuals can do both. Before you head over to help, collect donations from your neighbors. They’ll feel much better, and so will you.

Community Beautification

Fall is an ideal time to plant tree saplings and flower bulbs in neighborhood parks. Reach out to your local parks department, and they will be more than happy to connect you with an ongoing or pending beautification effort. If there is no such program in your community, it probably should have one. There must be an advocate, like you, to get things going.

Fire Prevention Activities

Emergency responders spend a significant amount of time checking smoke alarms, maintaining their station equipment, and cleaning their station facilities. Volunteers like you can assume some or most of this burden, so emergency responders can focus on what they are trained to do. This volunteering job has perks. Maybe they’ll let you pretend to drive the truck or turn on the flashing lights.

Spend Time with Veterans

Many veterans need light or moderate physical assistance, such as light housekeeping or yard work. Many other veterans need emotional support assistance, which usually involves a game of chess or being a pal and watching a few television reruns. In addition to individual volunteering, you could spearhead collection efforts for needed items or take on other larger tasks. COVID-19 might limit contact with veterans, so be flexible. That flexibility could include interfacing with veterans online via Skype or Zoom gatherings.

Winterizing Preparations

Once your own house is ready for colder weather, lend your expertise to your neighbors. That expertise could be advice or physical labor. To help you get started, the Department of Energy has provided some winterizing tips for residential dwellings. In addition to making folks more comfortable, you’ll reduce their utility bills and make their homes more marketable if they choose to sell.

Make Safety Improvements

This final area is one that is very near and dear to the hearts of many disabled individuals. Some people do not know how something as simple and unobtrusive as a bathroom handrail can change lives. Residents are physically safer, and they have much more peace of mind. The SSA’s Ticket to Work program can connect disabled individuals with families that need help like safety improvements. A disability lawyer at Heermans Law Firm can help you navigate through the system.

Knit/Crochet Infant Hats

This is a really good idea for people who are handy with knitting needles/crochet hooks and yarn, or people who want to learn how to be handy with knitting needles/crochet hooks and yarn. All newborns, especially NICU newborns, have problems regulating their own body temperatures. So, a tiny hat is essential. They can wear the clinical ones the hospital sells them or the unique and colorful ones volunteers like you lovingly and sacrificially provide. The choice is clear.


Your mentoring relationship might not be like the one between Walt Kowalski and Thao “Toad” Vang Lor, but it could be just as fulfilling, for both of you. Mentoring could be formal or informal. Reach out to community organizations that assist at-risk youth, or simply strike up a conversation with the semi-annoying kid across the street and watch yourself become their best friend.

Tutoring is much the same. Schools and neighbors are always looking for people who are willing to share their knowledge. Tutoring could also become a paid gig. Side hustles like this one might or might not affect disability claims, so be sure you consult with your disability lawyer in Memphis at Heermans Law Firm before you cash that first tutoring check. 

Plant an Extra Row

Thao found satisfaction in gardening, and many disabled individuals do the same thing. Your enjoyment is also an excellent volunteering opportunity. Plant an extra row of vegetables and donate the excess to a local food bank or a neighbor who needs or would enjoy it.


Many youth sports organizations, like community leagues and church leagues, put their programs on hold during 2020. Before they start again, probably in the spring of 2021, these groups will most likely have to rebuild their programs from the ground up. That means they will need volunteer coaches like you. You do not have to be Vince Lombardi. Most kids’ sports, which usually have the greatest need for coaches, typically just need someone to spend time with the kids and point them in the right direction down the basketball court.

These are just a few of the ways for you to give back to your community, share the benefits of your life experience with others and maybe just simply feel useful again.  If you are in the greater Memphis area or the Mid-South and would like a free disability evaluation click here or contact Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm at (901) 244-0057.

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