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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

  Break out the balloons! Sunday marks the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law that guarantees equal opportunity for the nearly 54 million Americans with disabilities. Signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, the ADA touches many areas of life, including employment. Hold on, did that balloon just deflate? I’ve just read the most recent employment numbers for the 13 million working-age Americans with disabilities. In June, only 23 percent of disabled people had jobs, vs. 72 percent of those without disabilities. This makes me wonder, is the nearly 20-year-old ADA really helping? The disabled unemployment rate – currently at 14.3 percent — has steadily declined since the passage of the ADA. Disability-friendly companies like IBM, Wal-Mart and Ernst & Young openly hire qualified people with disabilities, and from high-profile disability organizations like the U.S. Business Leadership Network. More employers are aware of disability, reasonable accommodation and ... keep reading »
The New York Times reported that veterans who use Veterans Affairs’ health care system and have a disability that requires equipment being added to their homes — such as wheelchair ramps — can get their bills paid in full by the VA. “Your V.A. doctor can refer you to a specialist who will come to your home and determine what changes need to be made. The V.A. will then find someone to make the modifications, at no charge to you. If your home requires permanent changes, like a ramp instead of front steps, you will have to apply for a Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant, said Neal Eckrich, the National Prosthetic Program Manager for the V.A. The grants range from $1,200 to $4,100. If your income in the past has been slightly too high to qualify for V.A. health benefits, you should check the new limits. The income thresholds were raised ... keep reading »
Veterans may see expanded programs and services if President Obama’s 2010 budget plan passes, which includes $112.8 billion for the Veterans Affairs department, an increase of 15 percent. Calling it “veteran-centric,” the VA says Obama’s proposed budget represents the largest percentage increase sought by a president in more than 30 years. “Our 2010 budget represents the President’s vision for how VA will transform into a 21st-century organization that is veteran-centric, results-driven and forward-looking,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. The centerpiece of the VA budget proposal is a dramatic increase in veteran healthcare funding, with an 11 percent increase over the current year’s funding (excluding one-time Recovery Act funds). At the forefront: Helping the VA to remove the backlog in processing compensation and pension claims. Funding will go to building an online system, making processes more efficient, adding staff, and increasing training. The proposal also places a high priority on ... keep reading »
President-elect Barack Obama formally announced Sunday that retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki is his pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs. Obama chose Shinseki, 66, over front-runner Tammy Duckworth, who many believed would be chosen as Obama’s secretary. A decorated veteran, Gen. Shinseki served two combat tours in Vietnam and lost part of his foot. Shinseki has been cited as an example by Pentagon critics who say the former Army chief’s advice was ignored in 2003, resulting in too few U.S. troops being sent to Iraq after the invasion.” The Washington Post obtained a private letter that Gen. Shinseki wrote to Donald Rumsfeld in June 2003 just before stepping down as chief of staff, in which he wrote that “Without people in the equation, readiness and transformation are little more than academic exercises.” The letter was never publicly released. On Meet the Press on Sunday, Mr. Obama said there is ... keep reading »