Government shutdown is over but disabled people have a lot of work to do

I wanted to be sure to report that last night, the President signed off on a deal to re-open the government. Federal employees go back to work today. This is great news for all of us, especially anyone relying on the government to process key documents or make payments. I know there are many people who have been eagerly awaiting this moment to get back to business as usual.

One thing that became very clear for many people with disabilities during the shutdown: millions of people with disabilities are forced to rely on various paperwork processes that are run through the federal government. We do not have another option. For example, millions of us need SSI for essential support we could not get otherwise. Millions of us need approval of papers or forms related to our disability. When you think about it, people with disabilities are forced to submit to many bureaucratic processes that non-disabled people do not have to go through, simply to try to achieve some kind of equality in housing, employment, or health care. Is that real justice?
The shutdown also highlighted how fragile our economic existence can be. Millions feared that the Social Security Administration might not send its checks on time. Without this support, so many have nothing. Plus, without approval of paperwork, people were in danger of not being able to access critical supports to stay in the community.   This is a scary situation to be in. We have to continue to speak up for real opportunities for stable systems and community options so no one is left behind. Nothing about us without us!
So, that reminds us that we have a great deal of work to do to continue towards real equality and inclusion for people with disabilities in American society.  Let’s keep up the fight for meaningful, sustainable services and supports!
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Robert W Kingett

Robert Kingett is a gay blind journalist, and author, with many publications in magazines, anthologies, and blogs. He has judged many writing contests and has won many awards for his writings and advocacy.

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