Why Did CDC Disability Report Exclude Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is often referred to as a hidden disability, but one place it shouldn’t be invisible is in a government report on disability. That’s what happened last week when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on the prevalence of disability in the United States. The report found that more than 53 million Americans — about 1 in 5 adults — live with a disability, which the CDC defined as having limited mobility, such as …

New House Rule Limits Full Consideration of Social Security Solutions

AARP wrote to members of the House of Representatives to express our strong concern with a last-minute amendment to H.R. 5, the House Rules Package for the 114th Congress, that would effectively limit potential options regarding Social Security, including options to protect benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. Under the amendment, the House could only consider legislation affecting any part of the Social Security program if the overall effect of the changes improved Social Security’s Old Age and …

House Rule Sets Up Election-Year Battle Over Social Security

Buried in new rules that will govern the House for the next two years is a provision that could force an explosive battle over Social Security’s finances on the eve of the 2016 presidential election. The Social Security disability program has been swamped by aging boomers, and unless Congress acts, the trust fund that supports it is projected to run dry in late 2016. At that point, the program will collect only enough payroll taxes to pay 81 percent of …

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 …