From New London to Los Angeles and beyond, the world has shut down to contain and fight the COVID-19 virus. The global lockdown has upended life for billions who now find themselves isolated in their homes.
While the isolation of self-quarantine and the anxiety of worrying about the illness that could lead to death is an alien experience for most people, it is for many disabled people a way of life that is not entirely new. Many who are unable to work because of injury or illness are excluded from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
A recent article pointed out that even when those with disabilities can continue working, the odds of continuing their careers are long. After all, “people of working age with disabilities have an employment rate that is 28.6 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities” the author stated, adding that only 4 percent of companies offer positions inclusive of disability.
It is almost impossible to find anything positive about the pandemic. Still, Americans have largely shown their best in dealing with the virus, going out of their way to protect not only themselves but to protect friends, family members, colleagues, customers and strangers.
We’ve seen businesses responding quickly to the virus, implementing home-work systems and customer-protection measures to keep us all safer. (Here at Suisman Shapiro, we provide essential legal services via electronic communications that keep us in touch with clients while keeping them and our staff safe.)
The swift business adaptations have hopefully shown many CEOs and managers that companies can make simple accommodations that would successfully include valuable, productive workers who happen to have disabilities.
Of course, for those whose disabilities make them unable to continue working, no accommodations or adaptations will change their situations. They must instead turn to a social safety net, such as Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Obtaining those benefits is a complicated process. However, requiring the disabled to complete and submit extensive and detailed applications and then gain approval from the Social Security Administration.
In many cases, applications are rejected. Appeals include revised applications and a hearing before an administrative law judge.
An attorney experienced in SSD appeals can guide you through the complex legal process and obtain for you needed medical records and physician statements, prepare you for the hearing and represent you before the administrative law judge.