Older Adults and People With Disabilities Want Choice and Control

We all like to have choices. Being able to decide where we live and work, what we eat and how we spend our leisure time all enhance life satisfaction. Having a disability doesn’t diminish the desire for choice. But unfortunately, people with disabilities often lose control over how services are provided when they depend on Medicaid for home- and community-based services (HCBS), such as meal preparation or help with bathing and dressing. It doesn’t have to be this way. Participant-directed …

Removing Barriers to Financial Independence for People With Disabilities

For people with disabilities, barriers to employment can be especially devastating. Nearly 20 million working-age adults have a physical, sensory or cognitive disability. Their rates of employment are significantly lower than among the non-disabled population (33 percent compared with 73.8 percent) and their poverty rates are more than double that of non-disabled people ages 18 to 64 (28.8 percent compared with 13.3 percent in 2012). It’s not just about money. Employment enhances personal well-being, identity, purpose and social inclusion. Unfortunately, …

The Congressman Who Broke All the Rules

These days we’re rarely shocked when we learn that a politician has enjoyed lavish benefits at public expense or found some way to exploit public office for personal gain. That makes all the more remarkable the story of former U.S. Rep. Andrew “Andy” Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.), who during his three decades in Congress declined to accept the monthly disability payments to which he was entitled for his injuries in combat as a Marine during the Korean War. “He didn’t think …

Digging Deeper on Changes to the Social Security COLA

No one with any common sense wants to see our politicians take us over the fiscal cliff. And I think most people with common sense also realize that Social Security, and the tougher issue of Medicare, are worth thoughtful debate and discussion so these vital programs can be put on stronger footing for future generations. However, when budget cutters take aim at today’s Social Security recipients, it’s time to ask questions and dig deeper into the fine print. A proposal …

Check the Math: Social Security Is a Good Deal

It’s a question lots of people have about Social Security: Do you get back as much as you put in? But this question only gets at part of the story: Social Security is a kind of insurance, not just an investment. It protects you and your family from things nobody wants to think about — death and disability. In other words, it contributes to well being and peace of mind in ways that may be impossible to measure. A few …

Medicare Coverage Change for Therapy Offers Ray of Hope for Caregivers

A loved one suffers a stroke, a fall, or has a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Medicare initially covers payment for vital services such as skilled nursing, home health care and physical, occupational or speech therapy. We see improvement as they heal, grow stronger, speak more and become more engaged in life. Suddenly the bad news is delivered: the patient reaches a “plateau” or doesn’t show “improvement” according to Medicare standards. They will no …