How Do Disability Benefits Work
Disability benefits are provided to people with conditions that lead to an inability to work for at least one year. For someone to qualify for the benefits, their illness must meet the Social Security Administrations definition of a disability.
The system operates under a credit system. What that means is that when a person is healthy and working, they earn credits for the income they earn that can go toward Social Security Disability Benefits in the future if they ever develop a chronic disease. According to the Social Security Administration, people earn one credit for every $1,470 they make in income. This number varies from year to year.
The total number of credits a person can make per year is four, and it typically takes 40 credits to qualify for disability benefits. However, exceptions can be made based on age.
Q: What Can Patients Do To Facilitate This Process
Beyond A Persons Current Disability
The ADA definition of disability goes beyond a persons current disability. It includes people who dont have a disability now, but who have a record or history of a disability, such as cancer or substance addiction. It also includes people who have experienced discrimination because an employer believes they have a disability, even if they dont. Finally, it includes people who have an association with a person with a disability, such as a child or spouse.
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Q What Financial Assistance Is Available To Employers To Help Them Make Reasonable Accommodations And Comply With The Ada
A. A special tax credit is available to help smaller employers make accommodations required by the ADA. An eligible small business may take a tax credit of up to $5,000 per year for accommodations made to comply with the ADA. The credit is available for one-half the cost of “eligible access expenditures” that are more than $250 but less than $10,250.
A full tax deduction, up to $15,000 per year, also is available to any business for expenses of removing qualified architectural or transportation barriers. Expenses covered include costs of removing barriers created by steps, narrow doors, inaccessible parking spaces, restroom facilities, and transportation vehicles.
Q What Are Some Of The Accommodations Applicants And Employees May Need
A. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability restructuring a job modifying work schedules acquiring or modifying equipment providing qualified readers or interpreters or appropriately modifying examinations, training, or other programs. Reasonable accommodation also may include reassigning a current employee to a vacant position for which the individual is qualified, if the person is unable to do the original job because of a disability even with an accommodation. However, there is no obligation to find a position for an applicant who is not qualified for the position sought. Employers are not required to lower quality or production standards as an accommodation nor are they obligated to provide personal use items such as wheelchairs, glasses or hearing aids.
The decision as to the appropriate accommodation must be based on the particular facts of each case. In selecting the particular type of reasonable accommodation to provide, the principal test is that of effectiveness, i.e., whether the accommodation will provide an opportunity for a person with a disability to achieve the same level of performance and to enjoy benefits equal to those of an average, similarly situated person without a disability. However, the accommodation does not have to ensure equal results or provide exactly the same benefits.
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Q Are There Any Limitations On The Ada’s Auxiliary Aids Requirements
A. Yes. The ADA does not require the provision of any auxiliary aid that would result in an undue burden or in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods or services provided by a public accommodation. However, the public accommodation is not relieved from the duty to furnish an alternative auxiliary aid, if available, that would not result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden. Both of these limitations are derived from existing regulations and are to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Multiple Sclerosis And The Americans With Disabilities Act
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act .
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Understanding Disability: Implications For Small Business
Since disability may be more common than some small employers initially thought, the comic above is a reminder of the kinds of medical conditions or health concerns that might be a disability at work. When a health conditions is actually a disability, the applicant or employee has rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the employer has some non-discrimination responsibilities.
Q: What Should I Know About Job Accommodations
A: We try to support our patients working as long as they possibly can. At times, continuing in a job requires reasonable accommodations on the part of the employer. If this is the situation, we recommend that the person with MS advise their employer of the need for accommodation and the symptom that requires this or the diagnosis that requires this, whichever they are comfortable with.
- For useful guidelines on to when to disclose the diagnosis of MS in the workplace, go to:Discosure Decision: National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
As long as the person with MS is able to maintain key elements of their job, the Americans with Disabilities act requires the employer to comply with accommodations. If the needed accommodations are expensive or require work site modifications, a referral to the state office of vocation and rehabilitation should be considered. These state agencies are charged with assisting individuals with disabilities to maintain or retrain for continuing work. The Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation is a resource for such issues.
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Q Does The Ada Allow Public Accommodations To Take Safety Factors Into Consideration In Providing Services To Individuals With Disabilities
A. The ADA expressly provides that a public accommodation may exclude an individual if that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated by appropriate modifications in the public accommodation’s policies or procedures or by the provision of auxiliary aids. A public accommodation will be permitted to establish objective safety criteria for the operation of its business however, any safety standard must be based on objective requirements rather than stereotypes or generalizations about the ability of persons with disabilities to participate in an activity.
Rights Of Persons With Disabilities In Federally
Federal law makes it illegal for an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, solely because of his or her disability, to be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. An individual with a disability, who is also otherwise qualified for the program, service or activity, is covered under Section 504. To be qualified means the individual meets the essential eligibility requirements, including, for example, income requirements for tenancy, if the program is a housing program, provided those eligibility requirements are not discriminatory and can be met with or without reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services necessary for effective communication.
For more information on the rights of persons with disabilities in federally-assisted housing as well as the responsibilities of housing providers who receive federal financial assistance, visit Non-Discrimination in Housing and Community Development Programs.
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What Is Prohibited Under Title Iii Of The Ada
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and
When To Stop Working
A person with MS should stop working when their symptoms interfere with their ability to perform on the job. The symptoms that can cause disability may vary depending on what type of MS a person has and where the lesions are on the brain or spinal cord. Types of MS include:
- Clinically isolated syndrome , a first episode of neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system
- Relapsing-remitting MS, clearly defined attacks of new or increasing neurologic symptoms followed by periods of remission
- Secondary progressive MS, which follows an initial relapsing-remitting course
- Primary progressive MS, worsening neurologic function from the onset of symptoms, without early relapses or remissions
Not all people who have CIS will develop MS or disability. Relapsing-remitting MS may not lead to permanent disability depending on how often the symptoms come and go. Roughly 85% of people with MS have this type.
Secondary and primary progressive MS are characterized as versions of the disease that worsen over time. Both types of progressive MS can lead to severe disability.A persons ability to work will depend largely on how their disease progresses, and there is no solid timeline for when work will become impossible.
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Q Does The Ada Override Federal And State Health And Safety Laws
A. The ADA does not override health and safety requirements established under other federal laws even if a standard adversely affects the employment of an individual with a disability. If a standard is required by another federal law, an employer must comply with it and does not have to show that the standard is job related and consistent with business necessity. For example, employers must conform to health and safety requirements of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, an employer still has the obligation under the ADA to consider whether there is a reasonable accommodation, consistent with the standards of other federal laws, which will prevent exclusion of individuals with disabilities who can perform jobs without violating the standards of those laws. If an employer can comply with both the ADA and another federal law, then the employer must do so.
Is Bipolar A Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law that helps people with disabilities get equal rights at work. Bipolar disorder is considered a disability under the ADA, just like blindness or multiple sclerosis.
You may also qualify for Social Security benefits if you cant work. The Social Security Administration has two programs that provide a monthly income and health insurance to people who cant work because of a disability:
- Social Security Disability Insurance is for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes.
- Supplemental Security Income is for people with a limited income.
Read on to learn how the ADA and Social Security might benefit you.
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Does Long Term Disability Cover Ms
Long-term Disability Insurance Benefits for Multiple Sclerosis. The second type of disability benefits that you might be eligible for are the long-term disability insurance benefits. These group disability insurance policies provide both long-term and short-term disability benefits, which can be great for MS sufferers.
Q What Is Discrimination Based On Relationship Or Association Under The Ada
A. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on relationship or association in order to protect individuals from actions based on unfounded assumptions that their relationship to a person with a disability would affect their job performance, and from actions caused by bias or misinformation concerning certain disabilities. For example, this provision would protect a person whose spouse has a disability from being denied employment because of an employer’s unfounded assumption that the applicant would use excessive leave to care for the spouse. It also would protect an individual who does volunteer work for people with AIDS from a discriminatory employment action motivated by that relationship or association.
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Q What Is An Other Power
A. An OPDMD is any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, whether or not it was designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities. OPDMDs may include golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices, such as the Segway® Personal Transporter , or any mobility device that is not a wheelchair, which is designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes. Covered entities must make reasonable modifications in their policies, practices, or procedures to permit individuals with mobility disabilities to use OPDMDs unless the entity can demonstrate that the class of OPDMDs cannot be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements adopted by the entity.
Do I Have To Disclose My Ms Diagnosis To My Employer
No. Californias Fair Employment and Housing Act prevents employers from asking questions about an employees diagnosis. Your medical providers note can simply say that you suffer from a serious health condition that interferes with your ability to do your job. They do not need to specify that the health condition is MS. Your medical provider should also specify accommodations that will allow you to continue to work or keep your job.
Under federal law, your employer may ask about your diagnosis under certain circumstances, including if you are requesting FMLA leave. They are required to keep this information confidential and may only discuss it with managers and supervisors. However, most workers in California do not need to rely on federal law for leave and their employers cannot force them to disclose a diagnosis.
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Talking To Your Employer
Prior to talking to your employer about a recent MS diagnosis, you should read the Americans with Disabilities Act . You can learn about your rights when it comes to disclosing your illness and protecting your job security.
The only time you are legally required to tell your employer you have MS is if it interferes with your ability to perform your job, you need accommodations because of your condition, or your MS could pose a threat to safety at your workplace.
If you do wish to tell your employer about your condition or need certain accommodations, the best way to do that is to be direct and honest about your symptoms, how the condition affects you and your ability to work, and what they can do to help. Being open and honest is the best way to ensure you are given the accommodations you need.
Your Employer Must Make Reasonable Accommodations
Depending on your condition and job, you might need some changes made to your work environment or routine. If you are covered by the ADA, your employer needs to make reasonable accommodations. These are changes designed to help you manage your diabetes while performing your job duties. For example, you might ask your employer to:
- allow you to keep food and diabetic supplies close at hand
- allow you to take regular breaks to check your blood sugar, eat a snack, take medications, or use the restroom
- provide a private place for you to test your blood sugar and give yourself insulin
- provide a safe place for you to rest until your blood sugar normalizes after a hypoglycemic episode
- give you time off to receive medical treatments for your diabetes or recuperate from complications related to your diabetes
- modify your work schedule, if your expected shifts interfere with your ability to manage your condition
- allow you to use a special chair or stool or take a shortcut if you have trouble standing or walking due to diabetic neuropathy
- provide you with a large-screen computer monitor or other assistive devices if you have visual impairments caused by diabetes
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Can I Take Leave For Ms
Probably. If you have worked in California for 1 year and 1,250 hours at an employer with 5+ employees, you are eligible to take 12 weeks of CFRA leave for MS. Under the FMLA, you are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you have worked for 1 year and 1,250 hours for an employer with 50+ employees.
Even if you are not eligible for CFRA/FMLA leave, you probably are entitled to additional leave as a reasonable accommodation. You are entitled to leave as a reasonable accommodation if your employer has more than five employees and it is not an undue hardship. Your right to leave as a reasonable accommodation also kicks in after your FMLA/CFRA leave expires. This means that you have the right to additional leave beyond the 12 weeks of FMLA/CFRA in most cases.
Whether a leave is an undue hardship is a case-by-case question. The EEOC has issued guidance on factors to consider in whether a leave poses an undue hardship, including:
- The length of leave requested.
- The frequency of leave .
- The impact on co-workers.
- The impact on ability to serve customers/clients in a timely manner.
- The size of the employer.
You can learn more about what happens when you run out of FMLA/CFRA leave here.