Crowe & Shanahan
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Never imagined you could become disabled?

Being disabled is a complex issue. Some people are born with disabling conditions while others suffer an accident, injury or illness that leaves them disabled. Many have objected to using terms like "disabled person," as it makes their disability their most significant feature.

And while many disabled want the world to see the person and not just the disability, if you have become disabled later in life, you may recognize and be frustrated by issues raised by your disability. You understand now how many problems a person with disabilities encounters and that the issues that you may have previously ignored or simply not noticed are not just matters of semantics.

When the Americans with Disability Act was passed back in 1990, you may have dismissed it and thought it was no big deal. It may have seemed an unnecessary expense. After all, you didn't need a ramp, and the building never had them before? Why add them now?

But in the 26 years since then, maybe you suffered a stroke, illness or accident that has left you confined to a wheelchair. Now, when you visit a store, bank or office building, you see those steps as an insurmountable obstacle and ramps are invaluable to allowing you to go about your day.

In the same way, you may have looked upon Social Security Disability (SSD) as something for "other people." Now that you are one of "those people," you recognize the valuable contribution that it makes to your life. It does not provide you with something additional, but simply helps level the playing field.

No one ever expects to become disabled and you may see laws like the ADA or SSDI as luxuries and to some degree unnecessary. But should you suffer a disabling condition, these benefits, whether physical accommodations or financial benefits, provided by these laws becomes much more apparent and vitally important.

Source: npr.com, "SayTheWord," Barbara J. King, February 25, 2016

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