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US Disability History 

Until about 30-40 years ago, most disabled people were wards of the state, locked away from the public in institutions that were as nightmarish as you imagine. Their parents were told to "consider them dead."

Until the ADA passed in the early 90s, disabled people were not guaranteed the right to vote, and did not have the right to work.

Only 30% of blind people are employed, despite the technology existing to accommodate employees in most industries.

US Disability History 

The ADA did a lot to advance the rights of Disabled people, but it left many loopholes that employers exploit to avoid having to provide accomadations.

The law states that employers must provide "reasonable accommodations," which leaves much room for interpretation. Since all companies exist to maximize profits, they can easily argue that paying any amount is unreasonable.

This leaves the burden on disabled people, whose only recourse is to sue.

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US Disability History 

But this is often a fool's errand, as the burden of proof falls to the disabled person to prove that they were denied because of their disability. A common tactic is to cite other reasons for denying employment.

But even if they can prove why they were denied, the court then must decide what is considered "reasonable accomadation."

Depending on the disability this can range from flexible hours, to installing a ramp, to buying a screen reader.

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US Disability History 

Small companies can argue they don't have the revenue to cover these costs, and large companies can bury a lawsuit with expensive attorneys who don't want to set precedence for paying for accomadations.

And then there's the fact that for many disabled people, they just don't have the energy to fight a losing battle.

And so most of us go unemployed unless we can sufficiently mask our disability. We have to pretend to be able bodied to get employment.

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US Disability History 

For those that can neither mask nor find employment, we're left to rely on Social Security, a system of measly benefits that locks disabled people into a lifetime of poverty.

Under Social Security, you must report all income every month. This includes gifts from birthdays, money from odd jobs, any money you may still earn from retirement benefitd (even if it's only $100 a month), etc.

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US Disability History 

If you surpass the first threshold (about $600 in month), you lose $0.50 for every dollar you made from SSI, effectively cutting your income in half.

If you surpass the second threshold, you lose all of your benefits and must apply for them again.

This can cause significant issues if someone, say, gives you a one-time gift or payment of several hundred dollars. This one gift can lose you months or years of benefits.

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US Disability History 

Ableism is built into the US Disability system. It is assumed you are trying to trick the government into giving you free money. If you receive anything of substance, it is assumed that you've received a massive inheritance or moved in with a rich boyfriend. Your personal living situation and context are not considered in any real way.

And both parties reinforce this ableist narrative by failing to overhaul the system every year they are in office.

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US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm worth adding that despite gender dysphoria being in the DSM-V, and the ADA following the DSM religiously in many cases, it is specifically exempted from the ADA, freeing employers from needing to provide reasonable accommodation for trans people, despite gender dysphoria having a very real impact on one's ability to work

US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm it's almost a footnote given how badly the US government treats disabled people in general, but it's exemplary in the extent to which congress polices what even Counts as a disability

US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm my retirement and ssi benefits were denied because i didn't provide "sufficient proof", despite the 20 page report from a neuropsychologist (hired by my employer) declaring me "unfit for duty", the specialty lawyers for ssi appeals wouldn't take my case and the special lawyer for my disability retirement appeal was states away and wanted $5000 up front which i extremely did not have.

the appeals period for both has long since expired

re: US Disability History 

@Sapphicgiraffic That's awful and I'm so sorry that happened to you.

re: US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm ty.

not only that i was repeatedly lied to about the retirement application process by my employer, the US department of the navy, and i honestly don't know if it was gross incompetence or malice, i could believe either.

re: US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm I lost my SSI benefits sometime in my last year of college because of all the student loan money was sitting in my account. Since I didn't keep paper records, it would have cost me hundreds of $(IIRC) to have paper copies mailed from my credit union on the other side of the state.

I just gave up, and the process to re-establish benefits required some essay, but I've been legally blind my entire life, so I had no clue how to put that into words.

re: US Disability History 

@ishiku That really sucks and I'm sorry that happened to you :(. The application process is horrible and something I might do an entire thread on another time.

re: US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm Luckily I was able to stay with friends and family for a while, but the job search took longer than I would have liked in large part because I'm bad at hiding my inability to drive myself anywhere.

Thankfully, the company that did hire me has an office literally across the street from a shopping district with apartments, but the on-campus amenities have gradually declined over the years.

US Disability History 

@sandrockcstm This is highly reminiscent as to how #employment is denied to the #LGBT community in the US.

US Disability History 

@BalooUriza Absolutely, and it's also how employment is denied to BIPOC.

I think going forward it's extremely important that all 3 groups have communication with each other. We have so much in common but we're being kept apart by those in power because they don't want us working together.

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