The issues that the disabled community faces go beyond their medical needs and mobility. The social issues facing the disabled are considerable. There is a wide range of disabilities impacting a large segment of the population, so the needs are not all exactly the same. But below are some of the social issues that this group of the population faces.
The Social Issues Facing the Disabled are Complex
It’s estimated that as many as one third to a half of all people killed by the police in the U.S. have a disability. Many officers may not be trained in how to handle an encounter with a disabled person who could be agitated, confused, or unable to heed the officer’s requests.
Police officers may become de-facto first responders, after cuts to mental health services leaving a vulnerable segment of the population without needed care. This is a difficult issue to address.
Disabled people tend to have a lower socioeconomic status in American society. They experience high healthcare costs while being subjected to forces such as employment discrimination and unequal access to education. Social benefits such as Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare also cap recipients at low-income levels.
The people who need these programs the most are forced into a low-income status to be able to take them.
Some disabled people are denied jobs, or find themselves in a hostile working environment. While this is technically illegal, the law doesn’t necessarily prevent it from occurring. Many companies lack the internal structure needed to truly accommodate disabled job seekers.
Access to Quality Healthcare
The Affordable Care Act offered the disabled increased access to healthcare, but many of the policies that helped could be in jeopardy. That access to quality healthcare is vital to this population since many will need to see specialists, or undergo expensive treatments. Missing essential care can be fatal, depending on the condition.
There Are No Easy Answers
The myriad of social issues facing the disabled is perplexing and difficult to solve. There are often no easy answers. But as a society, we need to have a conversation about these difficult problems and work hard to protect our most vulnerable citizens.