Archive for the ‘disabilities’ Category

Trauma, Grief and the Social Model: Practice Guidelines for Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Wake of Disasters

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Trauma, Grief and the Social Model: Practice Guidelines for Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Wake of Disasters
Source: Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal

Formulating personal needs assessments and plans for self-protection have been the recent focus of disaster preparedness manuals for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers. Interventions to address the minimization of psychological ill effects of trauma and grief in the aftermath of disasters for this population, however, remain largely unexplored. In the wake of such events, persons with intellectual disabilities require trained mental health professionals to assist them in identifying and coping with trauma exposure and its associated, often sudden losses. Intervention should be based on the unique needs of this population within the context of disaster and each individual’s cognitive strengths and capacities. Coupled with reviews of research and practice in the area of disaster mental health, the social model of disability served as a foundation for the formulation of best practice guidelines for tertiary interventions with adults with intellectual disabilities. The guidelines suggest approaches that will enable professionals to identify and minimize acute and chronic responses to disasters as well as foster resilience and enhance the valuable contributions of adults with intellectual disabilities in disaster-affected communities.

Geographic Pattern of Disability Receipt Largely Reflects Economic and Demographic Factors; Disability Benefits Especially Important in South and Appalachia

January 13, 2015 Comments off

Geographic Pattern of Disability Receipt Largely Reflects Economic and Demographic Factors ; Disability Benefits Especially Important in South and Appalachia
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

About 6 percent of the nation’s working-age population receives disability payments from Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and people who depend on those benefits live in every state, county, and congressional district. Nevertheless, there’s a distinct “geography of disability.” Some states, chiefly in the South and Appalachia, have much higher rates of receipt — nearly twice the national average.[2] In contrast, states along the Washington-to-Boston corridor (where many policymakers and opinion leaders live), on the West Coast, and in the Great Plains and Mountain West have relatively few disability beneficiaries.

While some critics see this disparity as evidence of problems with the programs, it mostly reflects a few key demographic and economic factors. In a nutshell, states with high rates of disability receipt tend to have populations that are less educated, older, and more blue-collar than other states; they also have fewer immigrants. (See Table 1 for state-by-state data.) In fact, those four factors alone are associated with about 85 percent of the variation in disability receipt rates across states.[3] Furthermore, those factors are directly or indirectly related to the programs’ eligibility criteria.

New From the GAO

January 9, 2015 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Transportation Disadvantaged Populations: Nonemergency Medical Transportation Not Well Coordinated, and Additional Federal Leadership Needed. GAO-15-110, December 10.
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CBO — Updated Death and Injury Rates of U.S. Military Personnel During the Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan: Working Paper 2014-08

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Updated Death and Injury Rates of U.S. Military Personnel During the Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan: Working Paper 2014-08
Source: Congressional Budget Office

In Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended on August 31, 2010, some 3,482 hostile deaths occurred among U.S. military personnel and 31,947 people were wounded in action (WIA). More than 1,800 hostile deaths occurred during Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan and surrounding countries) through November 2014; about 20,000 more people were wounded in action.

In the Iraq conflict, a larger proportion of wounded personnel survived their wounds than was the case during the Vietnam War, but the increased survival rates are not as high as some studies have asserted. Prior to the surge in troop levels that began in early 2007, the survival rate was 90.4 percent in Iraq—compared with 86.5 percent in Vietnam.

Amputation rates are difficult to measure consistently, but I estimate that 2.6 percent of all WIA and 9.0 percent of medically-evacuated WIA from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters combined resulted in the major loss of a limb.

Misplaced Priorities: How the Social Security Administration Sacrificed Quality for Quality in the Disability Determination Process

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Misplaced Priorities: How the Social Security Administration Sacrificed Quality for Quality in the Disability Determination Process
Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Key Findings:

  • All of the 48 ALJ focused reviews conducted by SSA and reviewed by Committee staff showed numerous deficiencies in ALJ decision-making and several disturbing patterns. ALJs conducted few or inadequate hearings, misused vocational experts, failed to properly assess work ability and relied too heavily on medical briefs prepared by claimants’ paid representatives. (p. 13)
  • SSA continues to allow ALJs to decide cases even when they demonstrate gross incompetence or negligence in handling their responsibilities. In several cases, SSA did not inform the ALJ about the negative focused review for over eight months after the review was completed. (p. 28)
  • SSA was singularly focused on churning out a large volume of dispositions, which led to inappropriate benefit awards. In 2007, the agency directed ALJs to decide 500 to 700 decisions each year, without conducting any study to determine how long it takes ALJs to evaluate cases and issue informed decisions.
  • SSA encouraged ALJs to take shortcuts in deciding cases to increase the amount of decisions issued each year. The agency promoted on-the-record decisions, which do not require a hearing, and bench decisions, which do not require a written opinion, to increase the number of decisions issued.

New From the GAO

December 11, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office


1. Immigration Benefits: Improvements Needed to Fully Implement the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. GAO-15-3, December 10.
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2. SSA Disability Benefits: Enhanced Policies and Management Focus Needed to Address Potential Physician-Assisted Fraud. GAO-15-19, November 10.
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3. Information Technology: HUD Can Take Additional Actions to Improve Its Governance. GAO-15-56, December 10.
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4. Transportation for Older Adults: Measuring Results Could Help Determine If Coordination Efforts Improve Mobility. GAO-15-158, December 10.
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5. Public Transit: Federal and Transit Agencies Taking Steps to Build Transit Systems’ Resilience but Face Challenges. GAO-15-159, December 10.
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1. NASA: Human Space Exploration Programs Face Challenges, by Cristina T. Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Space, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-15-248T, December 10.
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2. Unmanned Aerial Systems: Efforts Made toward Integration into the National Airspace Continue, but Many Actions Still Required, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Aviation, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-15-254T, December 10.
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3. Federal Retirement Processing: Applying Information Technology Acquisition Best Practices Could Help OPM Overcome a Long History of Unsuccessful Modernization Efforts, by Valerie C. Melvin, director, information management and technology resources issues, before the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and the Census, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-15-277T, December 10.
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PDF Accessibility: Regulations, Risks, Solutions for Compliance

December 9, 2014 Comments off

PDF Accessibility: Regulations, Risks, Solutions for Compliance
Source: American Banker

Financial and other institutions are required to provide customer documents in accessible formats. This white paper, co-authored with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), discusses applicable legislation and recent litigation cases. It also suggests best practices for compliance and for providing accessible account statements and other electronic documents to customers with vision loss. In conclusion, the paper focuses on a solution for overcoming the challenges associated with meeting document accessibility requirements.

Free registration required.


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