The Costs of Marginalizing People with Disabilities
Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss
Published: 2012-02-24 : (Rev. 2018-03-15)
Synopsis and Key Points:
Empowering people with disabilities to live independently and contribute to society is both socially and economically beneficial.
Marginalizing people with disabilities and encouraging them to remain dependent is costly, not only for family members, but for the general public.
Empowering people with disabilities to live independently and contribute to society is both socially and economically beneficial. Continued marginalization of people with disabilities presents nations with forms of social impairments that are unacceptable.
In America today, People with Disabilities experience certain levels of abilities to participate in society. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair might find themselves with the ability to live independently in their own home. They may find themselves able to find employment, and be a taxpaying citizen who participates in their own community. For many people with disabilities in America, this remains a dream unfulfilled. In other nations around the world, the marginalization of people with disabilities is similar or worse.
Costs Related to Family Members
The costs of marginalizing a family member who experiences a form of disability by society at large are high. Many family members in America find their loved ones with disabilities having to remain at home because they are unable to live independently for many different reasons. These reasons may include financial, health care, employment, transportation, or other reasons.
Family members often find themselves bearing the financial costs of their loved ones with disabilities' financial burdens due to reasons beyond the person with a disability's control. Marginalization by society at large places a very heavy burden on family members, and people with disabilities are left to experience the myriad mix of emotions associated with the knowledge that their family members are bearing these financial and personal burdens. Societies that marginalize People with Disabilities are guilty of social bigotry.
Marginalization, Family Members, and the Costs of Caregiving
Family members find themselves bearing the burdens of increased levels of caregiving costs and personal time devoted to caregiving due to the marginalization of their loved ones with disabilities. Due to current perspectives in many nations, to include America, of People with Disabilities being the responsibility of their family members in many instances, family members find themselves struggling to manage the care of the often times complex forms of disabilities their loved ones experience.
Instead, People with Disabilities should be living in their own homes in every instance possible, complete with C.N.A., Personal Care Provider, Visiting Nurse, and Family supports in relation to their care. The person with a disability would find themselves to be more independent, the family members would be free to pursue active lives complete with jobs, social interactions, and contributions to their own communities, and society would benefit greatly.
Marginalization, Family Members, and the Costs of Health Care
Family members whose loved ones with disabilities experience marginalization by society often bear financial burdens related to medical and insurance costs too. Even though many People with Disabilities are eligible for programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, co-payments for medical care, as well as for medical costs that are not covered by these programs, must come from somewhere - and that often times means out of family member's pockets. The need for a loved one with a disability to see a medical specialist, for example, can be quite costly.
Instead, People with Disabilities need to find ourselves with universal health care which places no financial burdens on our family members. Universal health care coverage would mean freedom from the immense financial burdens that are often placed on our family members or us. Marginalization of People with Disabilities by society at large from a medical perspective places not only a huge medical financial burden on our family members and ourselves, it places an incredible psychological and emotional one on us.
Marginalization, Family Members, and the Costs of Food and Supplies
Every person who lives in a household eats food and uses various supplies, a fact that is true whether a person experiences a form of disability or not. When a family member with a disability is forced to remain at home because they have been marginalized by society at large, their family members often times find themselves bearing the financial burden of costs related to food and supplies. People with Disabilities many times are eligible for programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI; however, the income amounts from these programs are at poverty levels.
Marginalization, Family Members, and the Costs of Housing
Family members with disabilities who remain at home due to social marginalization have housing needs, just as if they were living independently. The family members of people with disabilities often times find themselves bearing costs associated with housing because their loved ones with disabilities have poverty level incomes. As their loved one's housing needs change, the costs associated with housing may increase.
For example, a person with a disability who lives at home may need a home modification such as wider doorways, or even a room expansion. The person may need bars in the bathroom, or a ramp in order to enter the home. A person with a disability who was at one point able to walk or use a walker and enter the home through the same doorway as able-bodied family members may later in life find themselves using a wheelchair. Should this happen, a number of modifications may need to be made to the home itself in order to accommodate the person.
Instead, adult people who experience disabilities should be living in their own homes whenever possible. They should have the ability to choose from among a number of different homes to live in that are accessible and suitable to their needs, allowing them to live independently. Family members of loved ones with disabilities would then be freed of the costs of housing related to their family member with a disability, freeing them to spend the money elsewhere in society. The person with a disability; meanwhile, would find themselves in their own community in a home that is suitable for them.
Costs Related to the General Public
In America alone there are approximately 54 Million People with Disabilities; how many of us have the ability to participate in society, and how many of us find ourselves marginalized by our own society? This writer is unable to present you with an exact number of the People with Disabilities in the United States who are marginalized by American Society at large; however, by best guess the number is in the millions. Major social issues including employment, transportation, housing, health care and more leave millions of us marginalized and sitting at home; often times not even our own homes.
For America, as well as many other nations around the world today, this is a massive social travesty. The costs of the ongoing marginalization of People with Disabilities to the general public are great indeed. Imagine, for example, that America has suddenly decided to marginalize another minority population to the degree People with Disabilities are, as well as the consequences.
Marginalization of People with Disabilities and Social Participation
Examination of the mainstream news, social networking sites, television programming, radio presentations, newspapers, movies, artwork in galleries, and other social presentations of people in society will find you wondering just where the representations of the 54 Million People with Disabilities in America are to be found. The daily social, 'going's-on,' in America are around 99% able-bodied, despite the fact that nearly everyone in America will experience a form of disability or serious illness at some point during their lifetime.
From a social participation and mainstream society perspective, the lack of images and presentations of People with Disabilities in America is prima fascia evidence of marginalization of this nation's largest minority population. While People with Disabilities were literally hidden in back rooms in this nation's past, we are now being hidden from mainstream society's sight - quite an equivalent.
Instead, People with Disabilities should find ourselves participating in mainstream society in equivalent numbers to the portion of the population we represent. The cost to society and the general public is massive public ignorance of disability issues, as well as shame and fear in relation to People with Disabilities as long as this marginalization of us continues. The burden of these costs is something Americans and others in nations around the world can no longer afford to bear.
Marginalization of People with Disabilities and Social Interactions
Social interaction is vital to the processes of community building and creativity, for example. When an entire population is marginalized to varying degrees based simply upon the population of which they are a part - community building and creativity are greatly hindered. The costs to society, as well as everyone in it, are incredibly high. For the entire history of America, People with Disabilities have experienced marginalization by the very society of which they are a part, and society has suffered the costs associated with it.
Instead, American and other societies should end the marginalization of People with Disabilities and encourage social interaction. The population of People with Disabilities in America represents every race, class, gender, and other social identification in this nation - we are the melting pot. Our contributions are incredibly valuable and have immense potential in the areas of community building and creativity, as well as other areas related to social interaction.
Marginalization of People with Disabilities and Employment
An entire workforce in America, as well as other nations, is being ignored and marginalized; something that is beyond this writer's ability to comprehend. The workforce that is being marginalized is People with Disabilities; one that has been ignored for the entire history of the United States of America with little exception in comparison to the opportunities available to the general public. The financial, psychological, social, and personal costs associated with this marginalization are so completely unacceptable as to comprise the equivalent of racism.
Instead, People with Disabilities - who have always experienced the highest rates of unemployment in America, should find ourselves employed in equivalent numbers to the population we represent in this nation. Equal employment participation would find us contributing valuable skills and abilities to the workforce of America. Businesses would benefit, grow, thrive, and fellow employees would gain in many different ways from interactions with employees with disabilities. America's workplaces would become inclusive of everyone, not just select populations. The nation as a whole would benefit from the participation of workers with disabilities.
Marginalization of People with Disabilities and Taxes
Marginalization of People with Disabilities in the area of employment means that millions upon millions of us pay no federal income taxes. No job, no income taxes. While we do pay taxes on anything we purchase in society, our nation is using tax money to support us through programs such as SSDI or SSI. Marginalization means great numbers of us are, 'on the dole,' so to speak.
Instead, People with Disabilities in America should find ourselves with the ability to work as we are able. People with Disabilities are often able to work full-time, part-time, through job sharing, online at home, and on ad-hoc basis. People who work pay taxes, and taxpaying people with incomes have many other abilities as well.
People who are employed have the ability to purchase more items that are produced in society. They have the ability to rent apartments, purchase homes, buy vehicles and more. Taxpaying citizens with disabilities who are employed contribute to society and are not, 'on the dole,' relieving some of the burden on taxpayers as a whole.
What Does All of This Mean
At this time in America, a great many People with Disabilities find ourselves marginalized from mainstream society. We find ourselves living on poverty incomes on programs such as SSDI or SSI. We find ourselves unable to gain employment, housing, transportation, adequate health care and more. Marginalization of our population has made us dependent upon a society that excludes us in many areas of social participation.
While this writer could pursue entire dissertations based upon each of the sub-headings in this article, what all of this means is the marginalization of People with Disabilities in societies around the world must end. Why? The costs associated with marginalization of an entire population of people is so incredibly high due to financial, psychological, emotional, family, and overall social burdens it can longer be tolerated or born by societies as a whole.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must be ratified by the nations of the world. The document must be embraced whole-heartedly and pursued by the governments of the Earth. People with Disabilities must become as independent as possible. We must become participating, contributing, equal members of societies.
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- 4 - During Pandemic, Disabled Activists Fight a Two-Front War for Their Lives : Op-ed by Abe Munder (2020/05/24)
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