Physical, mental, or other disabilities affect about 61 million Americans with a large number coming from the Memphis Metro area, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi . A significant number of these individuals are also eligible for the services of Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm. Social Security Disability provides financial benefits, even possible back pay benefits which can often be substantial. However, no matter how big the check is, it doesn’t ensure that the individual will live happily ever after. At most, it helps ensure the individual will live a happier life if they are able to also balance some other very important factors.
At the Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm, our Social Security disability attorneys help children, adults, and families obtain the financial resources they need to live their lives with added ease and security. We also empower our clients to overcome some common non-financial disability obstacles as well as provide community and organization resource information. When the Heermans Law Firm combines these things together, to help disabled individuals live their best lives possible, we have fulfilled our mission: Changing lives of the disabled and their families for the better!
We’ll start with this barrier, and not just because this word starts with “a.” Attitudinal barriers are the most common disability barrier. Furthermore, attitudinal barriers are foundational; they affect the very core of our being and the way that we live. Other prejudices are built on this one. If disabled individuals address poor attitudes, other barriers often fall like a line of dominoes.
Some people stereotype disabled individuals. They assume that disabled individuals have a poor quality of life and/or they are unhealthy because of their disabilities. Disability stigma is closely related to stereotyping. Although these items are less frequent today, many people still see disabilities as personal tragedies, something that must be cured or prevented, as a punishment for wrongdoing, or as an indication of the lack of ability to behave as expected in society.
Once upon a time, a deaf secretary worked in a Social Security disability law office where I was practicing in my early days, just out of law school. She didn’t want people to make a big deal about her disability, but she also didn’t want to be ignored. This can be a difficult middle ground to achieve for both the disabled and the co-workers. Fortunately, an attitude of inclusivity was established in our office and this worked very well to bring about cooperation. If you’re having problems fitting in with people because of their attitudes, we respectfully suggest you try to find your own middle ground and you will draw in those that can resonate with you.
All disabled people deal with bad attitudes from others at one time or another. People with hearing, speaking, understanding, reading, and/or writing disabilities often have communication issues. Examples in many offices and social settings include:
- No available large print material versions,
- No Braille version for people who use screen readers,
- Uncaptioned videos, and
- Technical language, long sentences, and words with many syllables that represent barriers to understanding for people with cognitive impairments.
If communication barriers exist in your everyday world, as a disabled person, you do have the power to overcome them. Sharing your concerns and frustrations with others will draw attention to your situation and eventually, management or other people in power will get the message. Change may be slow but if you bring value to the team, change will happen in your favor. Remember, everyone has “their own superpower”…don’t be shy to express yours.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has removed many physical barriers in everyday life. But many others remain, especially in private residences and offices too small to fall under the ADA’s purview.
Sometimes, the burden is on disabled people to break new ground. Don’t assume that just because you use a cane you cannot climb a flight of stairs. If other people see you struggling with a physical barrier, they may get the idea to make some physical changes. Generally, the best ideas people have are the ones they come up with themselves.
Frankly, policy barriers are often related to a lack of knowledge about the law. Pretty much everyone knows about the ADA and its key provisions. Other federal laws in this area include:
- Rehabilitation Act (1973): This law specifically prohibits disability discrimination among federal contractors. It also includes affirmative action provisions. Contractors are only compliant with this law if at least 7 percent of their workforces are disabled individuals.
- Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014): The follow up to the Rehabilitation Act connects disabled workers with employers looking for highly-skilled individuals. WIOA also made some changes to state and government-run employment agencies.
- Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (1974): VEVRAA is like the Rehabilitation Act for Vietnam veterans. Additionally, recent updates require employers to post available jobs with their local state employment service, so covered veterans can get priority access to the job listings.
Individuals with disabilities also may be protected by state anti-discrimination laws, many of which are more stringent than these and other federal laws.
Many public health and other organizations have programs and schedules designed by non-disabled people for non-disabled people. In addition to inconvenient schedules, common issues include lack of proper equipment, insufficient time for individual appointments, and poor communication with patients or patrons.
If you experience programmatic discrimination, it’s usually a bad idea to post a passive-aggressive video on social media. Instead, approach the internal human resources department or someone in charge of personnel, hiring, or agency manager with your concerns. If that person doesn’t take action, then you might take additional steps and reach out to your local advocacy agencies or state level oversight agencies.
Most of the obstacles in this area are statistical. For example, disabled individuals are more than twice as likely to be unemployed or not have finished high school. Unfortunately, there’s not much any individual or disability lawyer can do to change this social environment. But, any individual can still be proud of their individuality and sometimes Self Sovereignty is the loudest voice of all in overcoming social barriers.
Many cities and counties are minimally ADA compliant. They only have one or two buses capable of accommodating disabled people. Additionally, public roads might not be accessible for people who cannot drive fast because of cognitive, visual, or other impairments.
But, the goal of the ADA and other similar laws wasn’t to add additional costs to local governments. Instead, these laws are designed to help disabled individuals integrate into society. If the transportation infrastructure in your community doesn’t accomplish that goal, it most likely falls short of federal requirements.
For more information about the social security benefits process, or if your claim has been denied, contact the disability lawyers serving Memphis and the surrounding area at the Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm. You can find out more by filling out the FREE disability evaluation form. Our lawyers will review your information and contact you to discuss your personal situation. Call or text 24/7 at (901) 244-0057. More value added FREE information can be found in our online article library.
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