Articles, Newsletters, Podcasts, and Video

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

By chroniccampaigner / 2021-06-01
Posted in

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

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

By chroniccampaigner / 2021-05-17
Posted in

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

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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)

→ YOU MUST DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON YOUR PLANNER!! ←

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.

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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: https://proxycaller.org/ 

Want to help make calls for other people? Send an email to info@proxycaller.org 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: https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-hcbs-funding/  #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. https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-hcbs-funding/ #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 https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-hcbs-funding/

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: https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-hcbs-funding/

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.

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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

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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

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Action Alert! Tell Your Senators to Vote No on Amy Coney Barrett

By AAPD_admin / 2020-10-21
Posted in

October 24, 2020

Tell Your Senators to Vote No on Amy Coney Barrett!!

The Senate Judiciary Committee broke Senate rules, and Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will be headed to a full vote VERY SOON. We expect the full Senate to vote on Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court as soon as October 26, though the date is not set. Your calls, emails, and tweets are needed now more than ever. Judge Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would pose a serious threat to the rights of people with disabilities.  Judge Barrett has stated that she believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.  During her confirmation hearings she refused to back down from this statement. She also refused to say that Medicare and Social Security were clearly constitutional. Millions of Americans with disabilities stand to lose their health care coverage if Justice Barrett becomes a deciding vote to strike down the law.  If she is confirmed on the schedule currently set, she would join the Court in time to participate in the November 10th arguments in the case challenging the ACA. 

Please take a few minutes today to tell your Senators to vote no on her nomination!

The Affordable Care Act is important for people with disabilities.  Its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, expansion of Medicaid, requirements for coverage of mental health services and habilitation services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, expansion of home and community-based services options, protections against disability discrimination, and expansion of the reach of mental health parity are essential to the health, independence, and self-sufficiency of Americans with disabilities.

Judge Barrett’s record also raises other serious concerns for people with disabilities as well.  For details, you can read the letter that AAPD and more than 50 other disability organizations sent to the Senate opposing her nomination.

Now more than ever, Senators in every state need to know that Barrett is a dangerous nominee who would put disability rights at risk and vote to overturn the ACA. 

Please take some time today or through the weekend to let your Senator know that you’re counting on them to protect disability rights and oppose Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Take Action

Call your Senators

Call Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators. Use Contacting Congress to easily identify your Senators.

Sample Call Script:
Hello, this is [name]. I’m a resident of [town, state]. I am calling to ask [Senator’s name] to oppose the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. As a [person with a disability or family member/friend/co-worker of a person with a disability], I am worried that Judge Barrett’s statements on the Affordable Care Act mean that, if confirmed, she would vote to overturn the ACA. Millions of Americans with disabilities rely on the ACA to protect our right to healthcare. If the ACA is overturned, especially during a pandemic, millions of lives could be at risk.

I ask you to vote no to Judge Barrett and pass on my concerns to your fellow Senators.

Thank you!

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied]

Email and Tweet your Senators

Use the advocacy tool below to send an email and tweet directly to your Senators to tell them to oppose the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, or keep scrolling for sample social media content. Once you fill out your information, edit the email to personalize it with your name, location, and experience.

Be sure to connect your Twitter account to use the social media outreach feature of this tool.

Sample Posts that include options to call out states and Senators directly:

The Senate will vote on Judge Barrett’s nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. She has stated she believes the ACA is unconstitutional. A vote for judge Barrett is a vote to repeal the ACA and roll back disability rights! Tell your senator to vote NO on her nomination! View our full action alert https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-nominee-barrett-2/  #OurCourt #WhatsAtStake

ACTION ALERT: The Senate is days away from confirming Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court, threatening the #ACA and lives of millions of people with disabilities. Tell your Senator today to vote NO on Barrett! #OurCourt #WhatsAtStake Learn how to help at https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-nominee-barrett-2/

100,000 million people will lose critical healthcare protections if the ACA is repealed. Amy Coney Barrett believes that the ACA is unconstitutional. Tell your Senators to protect the ACA and to vote NO on her nomination! #OurCourt #WhatsAtStake View our full action alert https://www.aapd.com/action-alert-nominee-barrett-2/

Twitter Graphic, Facebook Graphic, Instagram Graphic

Bold black text says “Action Alert: Help Protect Our Healthcare,” and smaller text says “The confirmation of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court threatens the healthcare and lives of MILLIONS of people with disabilities. You can help by telling your Senators to vote NO on Judge Barrett by...Phone, Email, Mail” with red icons of a phone, computer mouse, and mail next to the words phone, email, and mail respectively. The bright yellow graphic has a red heart rate monitor line on the bottom left and the black AAPD logo on the bottom right.

Check out our Social Media Toolkit for more social media posts and graphics!

Material on Judge Barrett

*Script language from AUCD.

The post Action Alert! Tell Your Senators to Vote No on Amy Coney Barrett appeared first on AAPD.

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How to conquer a Disabling job market – From one Disabled woman to YOU!

By chroniccampaigner / 2020-10-10
Posted in

By the Chronic Campaigner

Work Presentation on Disability Policy at the European Union in Brussels- 2016

Right now it is a really difficult time for job seekers around the world, and once again disabled job seekers are being severely let down. I have worked at a lot of different

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Action Alert! National Call-in Day on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Barrett

By AAPD_admin / 2020-10-09
Posted in

October 9, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been nominated to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Senate will move quickly with her confirmation hearings and a vote.

AAPD and at least 50 disability rights groups strongly oppose the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett due to her direct hostility towards the Affordable Care Act and her record on many issues that would harm people with disabilities. On Monday, October 12th, the disability community is coordinating a national call-in day to voice our opposition to the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. With her confirmation hearings beginning the 12th  and a vote planned for the end of the month, it is important that we make our voices heard now!

Take Action

Share your story

We need your stories of how the ACA has helped you, and how overturning the ACA would be harmful. Please share your stories with us using this online form. We are requesting this information by Friday, October 16, 2020.

Call your Senators

Call Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators. Use Contacting Congress to easily identify your Senators.

Email and Tweet your Senators

Use the advocacy tool below to send an email and tweet directly to your Senators to tell them to oppose the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Once you fill out your information, edit the email to personalize it with your name, location, and experience.

Be sure to connect your Twitter account to use the social media outreach feature of this tool.

Sample Call Script:

Hello, this is [name]. I’m a resident of [town, state]. I am calling to ask [Senator’s name] to oppose the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. As a [person with a disability or family member/friend/co-worker of a person with a disability], I am worried that Judge Barrett’s statements on the Affordable Care Act mean that, if confirmed, she would vote to overturn the ACA. Millions of Americans with disabilities rely on the ACA to protect our right to healthcare. If the ACA is overturned, especially during a pandemic, millions of lives could be at risk.

I ask you to vote no to Judge Barrett and pass on my concerns to the Judiciary Committee.

Thank you!

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied]

Material on Judge Barrett

*Script language from AUCD.

The post Action Alert! National Call-in Day on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Barrett appeared first on AAPD.

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Helping People with Disabilities Feel Comfortable Wearing Masks (Episode 1)

By Cynthia Miller-Lautman / 2020-09-03
Posted in

We are really excited to bring you the first episode of the Disability Progams Specialized Services podcast!

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to wear masks when we are out in public. In Québec we have to wear them in indoor public places. For many children and adults (with or without disabilities), wearing a mask can cause a lot of anxiety and discomfort. 

 

In this episode, Cynthia Miller-Lautman, Occupational Therapist, and Dana Lawlor, Speech-Language Pathologist, discuss some strategies that can be used to make the transition to mask wearing a little bit easier.

Cynthia and Dana talk about many of the things discussed in the blog post Why Could People with Disabilities Have Trouble Wearing Masks? You can read that article to learn more details.

References:

Government of Canada. (2020). COVID-19: How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/covid-19-safely-use-non-medical-mask-face-covering.html

Eby, M., Vegh, M. (2020). Mask Safety 101: Why you shouldn’t mask a baby. Nationwide Children’s. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2020/04/mask-safety-101

Additional Credits

Special thanks to Catherine Washipabano for the translation and recording of the introduction into Cree.

Thank you to Aimee Parsons and Sophie-Anne Scherrer for editing and creative input.

Production and technical assistance by Michael Lautman

The post Helping People with Disabilities Feel Comfortable Wearing Masks (Episode 1) appeared first on Disability Programs Specialized Services.

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