Any time is a perfect time to get involved in disability advocacy and awareness. According to statistics gathered by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every four US adults has been diagnosed with a physical or psychological disability. By also considering those who haven’t received an official medical diagnosis, that’s roughly around 26% of US adults.
In light of March being Disability Awareness month, Grundy Disability Group has constructed a short guide on how you can support those facing a disability in the United States.
What Is Disability Advocacy?
Regardless of a person’s disability status, this type of advocacy focuses on spreading awareness and defending the rights of people with disabilities. There are plenty of ways to become involved in disability advocacy within your community, workplace, and household.
These can include
Educating Yourself: If you or a member of your community have been recently diagnosed with a chronic condition, you need to teach yourself about it. This includes any misconceptions you might have initially had about a specific disease or disorder. Acknowledging that you’ve had and are working on a new mindset that challenges those misconceptions is a great place to build empathy.
Acknowledging That Disabilities Look Different For Everyone: Not every disability is going to be physically visible or presented publicly. One key part of empathy with disability advocacy comes with the understanding that a person working alongside you or enjoying tea at a local cafe might have an invisible disability. Knowing this can help expand your empathy to greater heights as a disability advocate and lead to wider acceptance in your community.
Speaking To Your Local Government Officials: These elected individuals have the power to make your community more accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities. From advocating for wheelchair accessibility to expanding affordable mental health services, speaking to these officials as an informed disability advocate can help expand resources in your community.
Helping Loved Ones Apply For Disability Assistance
Many adults can treat their disability through medication, medical devices, and other accommodations that allow them to work. Others are not able to do so but can receive government assistance to take care of themselves.
Unfortunately, the disability application process is tedious and seemingly ruthless, given the amount of evidence needed to prove their medical condition. As a loved one of a friend or family member that is looking to apply for social security disability benefits, there are plenty of ways you can help:
Listen To Them – As important as it is to offer encouragement and a positive outlook on the claims process, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is incredibly frustrating. Sometimes your loved one might need to vent or express their fears, frustrations and emotions about the process. Being there for them by simply listening, can offer more support than you might think.
Offer To Cook, Clean, Or Provide Transportation – Dealing with a chronic medical condition day-in and day-out can be physically and emotionally draining. Simply offering to help conduct basic life tasks or provide transportation to someone who is limited by their disability, can ease the stress and burdens they’re facing.
Advocate For Them – While not required, detailed testimonials from caregivers, friends, family members and coworkers can help strengthen a person’s disability claim. If your friend or loved one wants to apply for disability benefits, but is having trouble locating legal assistance, you can also offer to help them find a good lawyer.
If you or a loved one needs help filing their disability claim, reach out to our legal team with Grundy Disability Group. From communicating with an administrative law judge to filing additional evidence for an appeal, our disability law firm will do everything in our power to ensure your claim gets approved.