Living in the US with a disability or chronic illness is staggeringly expensive for the vast majority of disabled folks- to truly understand how expensive, let’s review some numbers: According to Dr. Zachary Morris, et.al., they “estimate that a household containing an adult with a work disability requires, on average, … an additional $18,322 a year for a household at the median income level to obtain the same standard of living as a comparable household without a member with a disability.”* When we note that, according to the Disability Compendium, disabled individuals live at a poverty rate of 25.9% in the US (compared to 11.4% of their non-disabled peers)**- this cost becomes even more staggering to consider. And of course, when an individual with a disability does not have the mobility aids they need- they are likely to face even more challenges when accessing employment. The cost of a mobility aid varies significantly, from around $70 for a budget rollator, to over $700 for a high-quality rollator. Wheelchairs start at around $150 and can go well into the thousands for a custom wheelchair. Every individual deserves to navigate the world safely and comfortably, regardless of their disability or ambulation needs. By
Social Model of Disability
If you are someone who is disabled, in any capacity, it is likely that you or those around you have viewed your disability in the context of the medical model of disability. The medical model of disability, in essence, views the disabled person as the “problem”. Their body is not up to the standard of able-bodied folks and does not function in the way that society expects it to. According to an overview of the medical model of disability by the University of Oregon1 , with the medical model of disability, “Disability is a deficiency or abnormality” and “The agent of remedy is the professional who affects the arrangements between the individual and society”. Discussing the social model of disability is incredibly important. It goes without saying that the medical model of disability can be very isolating for the disabled individual and can evoke a lot of challenging feelings. The medical model can lead us to believing that it is our body that is the problem, that we need to be fixed to be worthy. It makes sense that that view of our body can have a very negative impact on our overall wellbeing and mental health. According to an
How do you know if you are physically disabled?
Please see disclaimer at the end for information about the social model of disability. This is a question that is much more complex than you may expect, for a variety of reasons. Many people assume that to be physically disabled, you must be receiving government benefits related to your disability (such as social security disability insurance or SSDI). This is not the case. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) via the Center for Disease Control (CDC)1, disability is defined as: “1) Impairment in a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning; examples of impairments include loss of a limb, loss of vision or memory loss. 2) Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem solving. 3) Participation restrictions in normal daily activities, such as working, engaging in social and recreational activities, and obtaining health care and preventive services.” That said- for the purpose of this, we will be working more under the medical model of disability. Disability essentially means that your functioning is limited due to health condition(s) or injury. This can be long-term or short-term, static or dynamic. Some examples of this include: With all of these, and any disability, it is important to remember