Published on May 18th, 2023
The USA is pushing forward hard with its move towards normality, between the ending of the coronavirus state of emergency and reforms on the border, debt, and trade on the way.
Among this good news is a more worrying trend – disabled people being left behind. Indeed, as USA Today highlights, the removal of the coronavirus state of emergency has left many people living with disability concerned about their ongoing health.
Further difficulties are on the immediate horizon with the prospect of the debt ceiling being allowed to pass, potentially resulting in the denial of crucial benefit payments to people living with disability.
Understanding Social Security
There are already systematic challenges involved with the submission and processing of disability-related social security claims.
When these claims go to court, as they often do, there is something of a state-to-state lottery on whether or not the claim will be successful. This is largely down to the individual legislations that each state relies on, but, nevertheless, it’s the case that you will see over an over 70% approval rate in Hawai’i, but only 47% in Missouri.
On a grander scale, the impending threat posed by the nation reaching its debt ceiling means that some disability advocates are calling for people living with disability to ‘brace’ for the potential fallout of a social security shutdown.
In a report by CBS News, interruptions in payments have been cited as a potential cause for concern. For people living with disability, it is therefore crucial that an understanding of current legislative difficulties is built.
Even as contemporary events shape the impact of legislation on people living with disability, certain other issues continue to create challenges even after years of visibility.
Key among these is accessibility in public spaces. As a recent profile by the University of Ohio rightly highlights, bus services are unable to provide effective accessibility to people living with disability across the USA, and the general level of public accessibility isn’t great, either.
Advocates call for more collaboration between lawmakers, public service providers and public planners to create a better picture.
There are also large challenges faced by disabled people in the current charge towards digitization. As the Mercury News highlights, companies throughout the USA are not offering inclusive digital content.
While this can seem like a non-issue, it does mean that people living with disability are excluded from the digital culture that forms much of modern discourse.
Furthermore, more and more services are being placed into the online arena, potentially meaning that important services are blocked from people living with disability. Concerted effort and advocacy is the only way to remedy this.
It’s not all bad news, however. Advocate voices continue to grow louder, and an easing of several social security measures means that there should be money there to help support the independence of people living with disability. More action is needed, and more visibility will never hurt, however.
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