Articles, Newsletters, Podcasts, and Video

Flipping the Script on Audio Description – More Than One

By T.Reid / 2021-07-28
Posted in

Alyscia Cunningham is an author, photographer and film maker. Her latest book and documentary “I Am More Than My Hair” explores women’s hairloss. One of the subjects of the book and documentary is Marguerite Woods. Through this relationship, Alyscia became aware of the lack of access to the arts among Blind and Disabled people. It […]



How Crazy Ex Girlfriend led to me being diagnosed with BPD at age 28

By chroniccampaigner / 2021-06-01
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Alt text: Photo of Sophia, a white woman with black hair and hazel/ green eyes. One of her fingers is next to her mouth and her hand resting on her face with a sad and worried expression on her face. She has been crying. She is wearing a brown


A Season for Honoring Ourselves

By T.Reid / 2021-05-26
Posted in

To conclude this first season of the podcast which fully focused on those adjusting to blindness, I share a few thoughts from guests featured so far in 2021. Some of these comments were not included in the original episodes. This episode also includes some of what’s in store for the next season beginning in July. […]



#DisabledAnd – How a social media campaign is challenging societal misconceptions of being disabled

By chroniccampaigner / 2021-05-17
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Alt-text: Photo of Sophia a white woman with brown and red hair wearing a blue and green geometric print dress and holding a red cane. She is looking at the camera with pride. In the background is a computer and desk and layered over the photo is a sunset


Smashing Disability Stigma with Blindish Latina, Catarina Rivera

By T.Reid / 2021-04-28
Posted in

Catarina Rivera grew up Deaf. By the time she was comfortable not only using hearing aids but with herself as well, she received a diagnosis; she was going Blind. She just so happened to be getting ready to leave home for college. Today, she has a Master’s in Public Health and is using her platform, […]



The Power of Friends Talking: Pramit Bhargava, Louie and More

By T.Reid / 2021-03-10
Posted in

There is power in conversation. A real friend can not only make you feel better by listening, but every now and then, they say something that affects you. Some times it lifts you up. other times it may not feel so good, but it’s meant to empower. Occasionally, it can even spark an idea. Pramit […]



What is a Disability Benefits Planner?

By Meriah Nichols Talks About Disability / 2021-02-19
Posted in

This is about what a Disability Benefits Planner is.

We at Unpacking Disability are NOT disability benefits planners. We are only taking information that we know from personal experience or research and pulling it together for you.

To subscribe to only the Social Security, ABLE, Medicaid and other benefits-related posts, click here

If you want to hear this read, click the link below.

What Is a Disability Planner?

A Disability Benefits Planner is a trained professional who can help you understand and manage your disability benefits. A Disability Benefits Planner  does NOT work FOR Social Security Administration.

The reason why a Disability Benefits Planner  is important is because our benefits are intricate and complicated. A Disability Benefits Planner has studied the tapestry that our benefits system is woven of, and they know which threads can help people in a particular situation “get ahead” or do more with their benefits. They are always aware of the threads that, when pulled, can unravel the whole piece. They know what type of what you have and what that even means, and how to apply it to what and if that and that happens, wherefore dost thou go.

In other words, they can:

give advice on the type of benefits you receive
let you know how much money you can make without getting penalized
what types of programs there are out there to help you pay for things that are not possible with just SSI/SSDI
navigate employment programs
understand the parameters of Medicaid/Medicare
help you with ABLE, and Special Needs Trusts
and more

A good Disability Benefits Planner is worth their weight in gold.

The Benefits System is a complex beast they have mastered, made their own, and are showing us how to ride.

But it’s very important to remember that an inexperienced Disability Benefits Planner or one who doesn’t know their stuff can mess you up in profound ways, like BAD, REALLY REALLY BAD. If they give you bad advice on something as crucial as your medical coverage, savings or disability benefits, it can take years (and deep pockets) to recover from.

Therefore, you need to know that not all Benefits Planners are created equal. There is a real mixed batch out there, and it is absolutely crucial that you do your homework on what kind of Disability Benefits Planner you are connecting with.

Researching Your Potential Benefits Planner

Questions to ask while researching your Planner:

What is their reputation like in local disability networks?
Have you seen them on LinkedIn? Poke around online to see their connections
Did you meet and do an initial interview with them?
Find out where their certification is from
How long they have been been working as a Disability Benefits Planner?
How many clients they have successfully helped, in what degree (what complexity)?
Do they have testimonials? (take this with a grain of salt though, unless/until the word-of-mouth testimonials stack up so high you can’t see the other side)


Following a Planner’s advice can radically transform your life for good or for bad, so you want to make sure you are transforming it in the direction you want to go.

What is a Disability Benefits Planner?

If you’d like to download the PDF of this post, just click here or the button below.

Social Security & Systems Resources Related Posts

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI
It Happened to Me: Reporting Income with SSDI!
How to Get SSI for My Child with a Disability
What is a Disability Benefits Planner?

The post What is a Disability Benefits Planner? appeared first on Meriah Nichols: Unpacking Disability.


Action Alert! Tell Your Senators We Need Emergency HCBS Funding in the Next COVID-19 Relief Bill!

By AAPD_admin / 2021-02-16
Posted in

February 17, 2021

Tell Your Senators We Need Emergency HCBS Funding in the Next COVID-19 Relief Bill! 

Many disabled people rely on home and community-based services (HCBS) to live in the community. Now, at a time when COVID-19 is rapidly spreading, these services are more critical than ever as they keep people with disabilities out of institutions, where the virus is spreading at devastating rates. The disability community needs emergency funding for Medicaid home and community-based services. That funding has not been included in any of the COVID relief legislation passed since the beginning of the pandemic, but we must change that. 

Congress is putting together the next COVID-19 relief package now, and the House of Representatives has already included emergency HCBS funding in their version of the COVID relief package. Now we need the Senate to do the same. We’re asking you to participate in our week of action, and ask your Senators to make sure the final COVID-19 relief bill includes the funding our community needs. Here’s how you can participate:

Take Action

Call your Senators! 

You can call your senator and use this script: 

Hello! My name is [your full name], and I am from [city]. I’m calling to ask Senator [Name] to make sure the Senate’s COVID relief package includes emergency funding for Medicaid home and community-based services.

Home and community-based services funded by Medicaid allow people with disabilities like [me/ my family member/ my friends/ my neighbor/ etc.] to continue living safely at home. These services keep people with disabilities out of institutions, where COVID-19 is currently killing thousands. Because of the pandemic, community-based service providers are struggling to stay open, and without emergency funds, some will be forced to close. 

The House has already included emergency funding for Medicaid home- and community-based services in their COVID relief bill. We just need the Senate to include it too. This funding is a life and death issue for disabled [residents of your state]. Can I count on Senator [Name] to stand up for people with disabilities by making sure that funding is in the Senate bill?

Need help making calls? Check out our proxy calling system: 

Want to help make calls for other people? Send an email to with your name and preferred email.

Email your Senators! 

Contacting Congress provides unique links to email your Senators directly. You can use the same script you did while calling.

Engage your Senators on Social Media! 

Tweet your Senators – find their Twitter handles here.

Sample Social Media Posts:

Take action TODAY to protect the disability community during COVID-19:  #MedicaidCantWait

The Senate emergency COVID-19 relief funding includes NO funding for community-based services — services that many people with disabilities rely on to stay out of institutions, where COVID-19 is spreading. Take action TODAY. #MedicaidCantWait #HCBS

The Senate is refusing to include #HCBS funding in the new COVID-19 relief package. Don’t let them get away with it — call/email TODAY to let your elected officials know we’re watching! #MedicaidCantWait

Without #HCBS funding, people with disabilities risk being forced into institutions, where COVID-19 is running rampant. Call and tell your Senator that #MedicaidCantWait using this script:

Join the Facebook event for scripts, tips, and check ins throughout the week.

Our community has been left out of the picture when it comes to COVID relief over and over again. Enough is enough. When HCBS is at risk, our lives are on the line: #MedicaidCantWait!

*Script language from ASAN.

The post Action Alert! Tell Your Senators We Need Emergency HCBS Funding in the Next COVID-19 Relief Bill! appeared first on AAPD.


The Midnight Library: The book that is saving my life!

By chroniccampaigner / 2020-12-21
Posted in

Image description: Photo of a hand wearing a long blue shirt holding a book. On the book it says ‘The Midnight Library’ at the top and then ‘Matt Haig’ at the bottom. There is a photo of white illustration of a library with multicoloured lights, next to the library


Body Dysmorphia and Me

By chroniccampaigner / 2020-12-18
Posted in

A few months ago, I wore a bikini in public for the first time in years. I have always hated my body and developed Body Dysmorphic Disorder (also known as Body Dysmorphia) when I was a child. Decades of verbal, physical and mental bullying made me feel empty