Tag Archives: Disabilities

Income at Risk: Quarterly Unemployment Rate for People with Disabilities Climbs along with SSDI Claims, Reports Allsup


Belleville, Ill. (Vocus) October 26, 2010

During the third quarter of 2010, unemployment rates for people with disabilities climbed to their highest quarterly rate in a year and continued to outpace the unemployment rate for other workers, according to a quarterly study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that for the third quarter of 2010, people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate 67.7 percent higher than people with no disabilities. Specifically, the unemployment rate for the third quarter averaged 15.6 percent for people with disabilities, compared to 9.3 percent for people with no disabilities, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk also shows that during the third quarter of 2010, the number of people with disabilities unable to work and applying for SSDI climbed to 764,902, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to third quarter 2009. Year-to-date, more than 2.25 million people have filed disability claims. Nearly 1.8 million SSDI claims are pending with an average cumulative wait time of more than 850 days, based on Allsups analysis of the Social Security disability backlog.

The number of people filing for disability claims has doubled compared to 2001, said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. Contributing factors include both the aging population and the high unemployment rate. Some people with disabilities are never able to return to work after a layoff.

According to Gada, people applying for SSDI need to understand the importance of acting quickly to secure benefits. Someone who is qualified needs to apply as soon as possible given the backlog and to ensure they meet certain qualification restrictions, Gada said. They also need to plan financially for what likely will be a significantly reduced income.

Understanding SSDI Benefits

People unable to work due to a severe disability need to understand the specific financial resources available to them — and their families — under the SSDI program. SSDI is a mandatory, tax-funded, federal insurance program designed to provide individuals with income if they are unable to work for 12 months or longer because of a severe disability, or if they have a terminal condition.

Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. As a result, peoples SSDI benefits are calculated using their earnings history. Because someones work history varies depending on age and life experiences — benefits can vary widely by age and gender.

Allsup outlines the following considerations when planning for the financial future:


Regular monthly income: SSDI is a regular monthly payment and usually provides annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increases (though none for 2010 or 2011).

In September, the average monthly benefit for a person qualifying for SSDI was approximately $ 1,066. But specific benefit amounts can vary greatly. For example, the average September monthly benefit for men was above average at $ 1,190, while womens monthly benefit was $ 929. Age also plays a significant factor as the chart shows below:

Age — Average Amount* (overall) — Average Amount* (male) — Average Amount* (female)

30 — $ 750 — $ 767 — $ 730

40 — $ 896 — $ 938 — $ 852

50 — $ 1,019 — $ 1,110 — $ 921

60 — $ 1,181 — $ 1,348 — $ 988

64 — $ 1,203 — $ 1,404 — $ 967

*Figures rounded to the nearest dollar.

Source: Social Security Administration, as of June 30, 2010

Spouse and dependent benefits: A spouse and dependents of someone receiving SSDI benefits also may be eligible for benefits. The average monthly benefit for a spouse in September was $ 287, with men receiving $ 239 on average, and women receiving $ 289 on average. To be eligible, the spouse (or former spouse if the marriage lasted at least 10 years) must have a child under age 16 or a child with disabilities, or be at least 62 years old. With regard to children, there are different categories of dependents and the payment amount varies. According to the SSA, the average September monthly benefit to a dependent child was $ 318.

Keep in mind that individuals can find an estimate of their benefits by examining their Social Security statement, which the Social Security Administration (SSA) mails out on an annual basis.

The SSA recently announced there will not be a COLA for a second consecutive year, so benefit amounts will continue to hold steady in 2011. There has been little fluctuation in the average monthly benefits since the start of 2009, Gada said.

In addition to monthly income and dependent benefits, SSDI also includes provisions for protecting future retirement benefits, the opportunity for extended COBRA benefits, eligibility for Medicare 24 months after a persons date of entitlement to SSDI cash benefits, as well as prescription drug coverage.

Its important that people apply as soon as they are eligible and make certain they are receiving all the benefits that apply in their circumstances, Gada emphasized.

If you have questions about SSDI eligibility for you or someone you know, please contact the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 279-4357 for a free evaluation of your situation.

Allsup also provides free financial planning tools to help people better manage their finances while awaiting SSDI benefits at http://www.allsup.com/personal-finance . Medicare plan selection services also are available through the Allsup Medicare Advisor

Income at Risk: Unemployment Rates Rise Sharply for People with Disabilities, Allsup Finds


Belleville, Ill. (PRWEB) October 20, 2011

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities has climbed for the fourth consecutive quarter to reach the highest rate since tracking began in 2008, according to a study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that people with disabilities experienced an unemployment rate more than 85 percent higher than the rate for people with no disabilities for the third quarter of 2011. Specifically, the unemployment rate averaged 16.3 percent for people with disabilities, compared with 8.8 percent for people with no disabilities. These figures are based on non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The quarterly rate hasnt been this high since reporting of the disability unemployment rate began in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk shows that 737,468 people with disabilities applied for SSDI during the third quarter of 2011, down 3 percent from the previous quarter. Year-to-date, nearly 2.22 million people have filed disability claims, compared with nearly 2.23 million applicants by the same time last year. Since the fourth quarter of 2007, when the recession began, more than 10.8 million people have applied for SSDI. Nearly 1.8 million SSDI claims are pending with an average cumulative wait time of more than 800 days, based on Allsups analysis of the Social Security disability backlog.

Disability applications have increased significantly over the past few years, said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. The economy is one factor, with some people with disabilities never able to return to work after a layoff. Another factor is the aging population, with most baby boomers now in their late 40s to early 60s, Gada said. The average SSDI applicant is nearly 53 years old.

Some people with disabilities who are unable to work may put off applying for SSDI, and older individuals may simply wait to age into Social Security retirement benefits. Either of these actions, however, can result in a serious financial impact, both now and in the future.

People who are qualified need to understand the SSDI process, apply as soon as possible and prepare themselves and their families for the likelihood of living on a significantly reduced income, Gada cautioned.

Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits

SSDI is a mandatory, tax-funded federal insurance program providing individuals with financial resources if they are unable to work for 12 months or longer because of a severe disability, or if they have a terminal condition. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible. Social Security disability benefits are calculated using the persons earnings history.

Allsup outlines several financial benefits to those who qualify for SSDI:

The Arc Brings Issues Facing People with Disabilities to the White House, President Obama Tells Disability Community Ive Got Your Back

Washington, DC (PRWEB) February 10, 2012

Today, 150 leaders of The Arc from across the country met with a variety of senior White House officials at a Community Leaders Briefing to ask questions and discuss issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The session, held just for The Arc, included an unannounced visit from President Barack Obama. The President spoke of his commitment to people with disabilities saying, Ive got your back.

This surprise appearance by the President of the United States was the highlight of the day for many attendees, along with the opportunity to interact with high level government officials about how they can support people with I/DD to live in the community. Over the course of the day, leaders of chapters of The Arc were briefed on topics ranging from Medicaid to education to community living and employment for people with I/DD. Many of the speakers, including President Obama, referenced the impact advocates made during budget negotiations to protect Medicaid, and encouraged The Arc and others to continue these efforts.

Another unannounced speaker was White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, who reiterated the Presidents opposition to turning Medicaid into a block grant. He also took questions from the audience, including Barbara Coppens, a member of the national board of directors of The Arc and a self-advocate who took the opportunity to speak about the importance of self-advocacy by people with disabilities.

I tell other self-advocates youve got to get out there and advocate for yourself because you cant rely on other people to make change for you, said Coppens to Chief of Staff Jack Lew.

The day was organized by Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, who kicked off the agenda by welcoming guests and speaking about employment issues. The Arc heard from Cecilia Mu

The Arc Reacts to The National Council on Disabilitys Disturbing Report on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 03, 2012

The National Council on Disabilitys new comprehensive report on the rights of parents who have disabilities reveals startling statistics showing how vulnerable these parents are to losing their children via the court system. According to their research, more than 4 million parents6 percent of American mothers and fathershave a disability. Yet their rights are often in jeopardy – the rate at which children are taken from parents who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) is between 40% and 80%.

This report uncovers the heartbreaking reality for too many families across the country parents with disabilities are treated unjustly when it comes to their rights as parents, and far too many families are broken apart by outdated and discriminatory practices, said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The National Council on Disabilitys report provides a comprehensive review of the barriers and discrimination people with disabilities – including I/DD, psychiatric disabilities, sensory disabilities, and physical disabilities – experience when they are creating and maintaining families. Two-thirds of dependency statutes allow the court to reach the determination that a parent is unfit on the basis of the parents disability. In every state, disability may be considered when determining the best interest of a child for purposes of a custody determination in family or dependency court. The National Council on Disability wrote: People with disabilities are the only distinct group that struggles to maintain custody of its children.

In positive news, a chapter of The Arc was particularly highlighted by the National Council on Disability for their good work in this area. The United Arc of Franklin and Hampshire Counties in Greenfield, Massachusetts runs a program called The Positive Parenting Resource Center which provides services and support to families headed by parents with I/DD, including one-on-one support, education groups, mentoring, and more.

The report highlights twenty findings, makes numerous recommendations, and provides examples of how laws in Kansas and Idaho have been changed to protect the rights of parents with disabilities.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways that we can improve the lives of parents with disabilities, illustrated by The United Arc of Franklin and Hampshire Counties and other organizations across the country. Now we must put pressure on decision makers to enact the changes necessary that protect parental rights, before more families are impacted by decisions that discriminate against disability, said Berns.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editors Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.







New Comic Book Helps Teens and Adults with Disabilities Stop Abuse, Bullying and Violence


San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) November 26, 2012

The Fullpower Safety Comics book helps people with disabilities learn to protect themselves from abuse, bullying and violence. The book is the latest in the Safety Comics series from Kidpower.org, a nonprofit leader in personal safety and confidence building education and services. The newest Safety Comics book makes learning personal safety skills accessible and fun for teens and adults with intellectual disabilities or limited literacy skills.

We have found that comics engage people of all ages and abilities, by being both entertaining and giving important information, says author Irene van der Zande, executive director and founder of Kidpower. The Fullpower Safety Comics helps teens and adults, including those with limited reading or spoken language abilities, learn and practice physical and social skills to help keep them safe from bullying, abuse and other violence.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s most recent studies on Crimes Against People with Disabilities show that teens and adults with a disability experienced violence and abuse at close to twice the rate of those without a disability in 2010. The study also notes that people with a cognitive disability had the highest rate of violent victimization.

Educators and therapists use the Fullpower Safety Comics to teach students and patients how to build personal safety awareness and skills. “Many of my clients are teens and adults with developmental disabilities who have already experienced bullying, abuse, or other violence, says John Luna Sparks, a licensed clinical social worker in Oakland, CA. I use the Fullpower Safety Comics even with those who can only read just a little. The entertaining illustrations,

Tools for Parents of Children with Disabilities, including Video-Modeling and Community Support, Now Available Online from YourSpecialEducationRights.Com.

Sherman, CT (PRWEB) May 20, 2013

Attorney Jennifer Laviano and Special Education Advocate Julie Swanson, having spent their professional careers securing appropriate special education services and protecting the Civil Rights of students, announce the launch of http://www.YourSpecialEducationRights.com (YSER), a free online resource for parents. Developed with Mazzarella Media, an Emmy-award winning educational content provider in Southington, CT, YSER is the first and only online social community to provide video-based training and an online social support network comprised exclusively of parents of children who have disabilities.

With a constantly-updated series of engaging videos, designed to help parents recognize and model appropriate responses to roadblocks put forth by public school administrators when special education services are requested, YSER gives parents powerful tools and guidance to effectively advocate for their childs education. Parents who take advantage of YSERs online membership are able to learn about their legal rights in a practical, user-friendly format.

Whats more, YSER features a robust online community, plus up-to-the-minute blogs by Jen and Julie and live WebShows featuring a variety of disability experts where members can engage with Jen, Julie and fellow YSER fans to learn even more about how to support their childs educational needs. In just the last six weeks, almost 350 parents have joined, with new members added every day.

Given that May is Mental Health Awareness month, the timing for YSER’s official online launch couldn’t be better, and was kicked off with a WebShow on May 15th entitled “The Intersection of Special Education and Mental Health.” The need for the site is clear and growing: the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that as many as 20% of American children have a mental disorder including autism. And in 2009, the U.S. Department of Education reported that about 5.8 million of the nations schoolchildren, ages 6 to 21, receive special education services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). But for many of these children appropriate services are being routinely denied.

So many parents tell me that nobody at the school is listening, says Julie Swanson, Special Education Advocate and YSER co-founder. It can be intimidating to attend an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting when you arent an expert in the laws. How can you advocate effectively for your child? Were here with YSER to empower parents with the tools and information they need to feel prepared for that next IEP meeting.

YSER co-founder and special education attorney Jennifer Laviano agrees: One of the hardest things for me to hear from parents is that their lack of knowledge resulted in a lack of service for their child, she explains. Julie and I are absolutely convinced that the outcomes for kids whose parents know their rightsand whose parents can speak from a position of authority about their childs rights and needsare far better than for kids whose parents are uninformed.

That explains Jen and Julies primary motivation to launch YSER. Securing an appropriate education for your childand getting your child the services he or she needsshouldnt be something reserved only for the wealthy,” says Jen, “and parents shouldnt have to risk financial ruin to fight for their childrens rights. We launched YSER so that parents of any income could access appropriate resources to help them do right by their child.

To learn more about YSER, visit YourSpecialEducationRights.com, or call Barbara Distinti, the YSER media contact, at (203) 545-3465.

ABOUT JENNIFER LAVIANO

Attorney Jennifer Laviano is in private practice in Connecticut. Ms. Laviano is the Chair of the Board of Directors of COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, the leading national voice for the Civil Rights of students who require special education. Her representation of children with special needs encompasses the full spectrum of advocacy under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), from attendance at IEP Team meetings and Mediation, to zealous and experienced litigation in Due Process Hearings and Federal Court. Ms. Laviano is a regular presenter, both locally and nationally, on the subject of the special legal rights of children with disabilities and their entitlement to receive a Free and Appropriate Education, and writes the popular blog http://www.SpecialEdJustice.com.

ABOUT JULIE SWANSON

Julie Swanson is in private practice as a special education advocate in Connecticut. After her son was diagnosed with autism, Ms. Swanson decided to change careers and returned to school to obtain an additional degree as a Disability Specialist. Her practice is exclusively dedicated to helping parents of children with disabilities obtain appropriate special education services. Ms. Swanson’s website http://www.yourspecialchild.com is dedicated to the everyday needs of children who have autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities.

ABOUT MAZZARELLA MEDIA

For nearly 30 years, Mazzarella Media has been at the cutting edge of high quality video production. This Emmy-award winning firm provides its clients complete production solutions, from story concept, production logistics and high end post-production to multiple format delivery options. Communicating complex ideas into clear, concise visual media is the hallmark of a Mazzarella Media video production. To find out more about Mazzarella Media, visit http://mazz.com/.







NAELA Commends Reps. Thompson and Pallone for Protecting the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities


Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 23, 2013

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) supports Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in their dedication to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. On Thursday, May 23, Rep. Thompson introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 2123). Rep. Pallone joined the fight as the lead Democratic sponsor of the bill.

With Release of Flagship Report, UNICEF Says Children with Disabilities Ignored, Abused, and Face Discrimination

NEW YORK, NY (PRWEB) May 30, 2013

Children with disabilities are the least likely to receive health care or go to school, according to UNICEFs 2013 State of the Worlds Children report, released today. They are among the most vulnerable to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly if they are hidden or put in institutionsas many are because of social stigma or the economic cost of raising them.

The combined result is that children with disabilities are among the most marginalized people in the world. Children living in poverty are among the least likely to attend their local school or clinic, but those who live in poverty and also have a disability are even less likely to do so. Children with disabilities are at a much greater risk of malnutrition and face difficulties accessing clean drinking water, basic sanitation, and other essential services. Gender is a key factor, as girls with disabilities are less likely than boys to receive food and care.

In addition, children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence, and in many countries, they are significantly more likely to experience abuse at home. According to the annual flagship report, girls with disabilities are routinely subjected to forced sterilization or abortion. To read UNICEFs State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities report, visit: http://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/

Today, all across the developing world, children with disabilities are being discriminated against, denied access to an education, abused, and even forced into servitudegross violations of their rights. Our world will be a better place when all children, everywhere, can live out their dreams and contribute their many talents to society, said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

About one third of the worlds countries, including the United States, have failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report urges governments to ratify and implement the Convention, to keep their promises to guarantee the equal rights of all their citizensincluding their most excluded and vulnerable childrenand to support families so that they can meet the higher costs of caring for children with disabilities.

There is little accurate data on the number of children with disabilities, what disabilities these children have and how disabilities affect their lives. As a result, few governments have a dependable guide for allocating resources to support and assist children with disabilities and their families.

For many children with disabilities, exclusion begins in the first days of life with their birth going unregistered. Lacking official recognition, they are cut off from the social services and legal protections that are crucial to their survival and prospects. Their marginalization only increases with discrimination.

For children with disabilities to count, they must be countedat birth, at school and in life, said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

The report lays out how societies can include children with disabilities because when they play a full part in society, everyone benefits. It calls for measures to fight discrimination among the general public, decision-makers and providers of such essential services as schooling and health care. It states that more efforts to support integration of children with disabilities would help tackle the discrimination that pushes them further into the margins of society. For instance, inclusive education broadens the horizons of all children even as it presents opportunities for children with disabilities to fulfill their ambitions. The report also emphasizes the importance of involving children and adolescents with disabilities by consulting them on the design and evaluation of programs and services for them.

“When you see the disability before the child, it is not only wrong for the child, but it deprives society of all that child has to offer,” said Lake. Their loss is society’s loss; their gain is society’s gain.

Children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if society focused on what those children can achieve, rather than on what they cannot do. Concentrating on the abilities and potential of children with disabilities would create benefits for society as a whole, says the report.

For broadcasters, b-roll and other video material on children with disabilities is available at: http://weshare.unicef.org/SOWC2013Media

About UNICEF

The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve childrens lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEFs work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit http://www.unicefusa.org.

For more information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur(at)unicefusa(dot)org

Andrea Sioris, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, asioris(at)unicefusa(dot)org







The Government Shutdown Was it a Precursor for Things to Come for Individuals with Special Needs and Disabilities?


Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) October 24, 2013

When it comes to having a disability or special need, life can have its challenges. When that disability does not allow an individual to support themselves, financially and even with daily life skills, help is needed on many fronts. For most individuals with a disability or special need, there are government programs that assist them with services that allow them to function in society. These services can range from a small monthly income, medical care, support on the job (to help them complete their job effectively), home supports that allow them to live at home and not in an institution, therapy to improve themselves so they can live more independently, and transportation, and more.

The income and the services that are received are mostly state and federally funded, and when the federal funds stop, the states are not able to make up the difference. For instance, Catawba County in North Carolina reports, 96% of our budget is either state or federal revenue. (see Article) The services that were cut in this county and throughout communities in the United States were those impacting our most fragile citizens such as:


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which includes Child Protective Services, Foster Care Services and Electing County/ Work First cash payments and administration

Social Services Block Grants, which includes Child Welfare Services including Foster Care and Adoptions, Adult Protective Services/Guardianship Services and Adult Day Care

Child Care Development Fund, which includes Child Care Subsidy and administrative services

Community Services Block Grants, which include Community Action Agency/Poverty Prevention

Home and Community Care Block Grants, which include Adult Day Care, In-Home Aide and Senior Transportation and Nutrition, and serves approximately 850 citizens per month

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Individuals with Special Needs and Disabilities are served by almost every services area that was cut or reduced due to the shutdown in the government, states Ryan Platt, Founder of A Special Needs Plan. As our country moves forward and continues to wrestle with our fiscal challenges, I am concerned that the citizens who will be the most hurt are the ones that do not have the ability to do it all on their own. This will only add more pressure to the parents and siblings of those with special needs to ensure they have a plan, and are leaving enough resources so their loved one is less and less dependent on funding from a government that is continually in financial flux.

Families with loved one with Special Needs have fought for over 60 years to have their children, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles afforded the same opportunities that anyone else has in our country. Yes, it may be true they need some additional help in order to grab those opportunities; however, the concern is if that help is reduced or cut, what will happen to the growing population of those with Special Needs?

More About A Special Needs Plan:

A Special Needs Plan was founded in 2006 as a special needs planning advisory firm. They offer special needs planning educational products, planning consultations to families, as well as educational workshops and seminars for families, organizations, and financial professionals. They are on a Million Family Mission to reach one million families with accurate and credible information, as well as offering advisory services to families across the country. A Special Needs Plan is passionate about helping to alleviate the anxiety surrounding special needs planning and transform that feeling of anxiety into a sense of empowerment, so that families are able to provide for their loved one with special needs, while at the same time provide for the whole family. To learn more, visit aspecialneedsplan.com or specialneedsknowledge.org.