Supporting People With Disabilities

  • Hurdles, stigma, and discrimination

    • People with disabilities face a number of social barriers to function well in society, including stigma against their ability to do work, perform well in education, and manage responsibility. Solomon will work to destigmatize people with disabilities by cooperating with organizations like the American Association of People with Disabilities

    • Solomon supports the Disability Integration Act of 2019 that “prohibits government entities and insurance providers from denying community-based services to individuals with disabilities that require long-term service or support that would enable such individuals to live in the community and lead an independent life.” 

    • Solomon will work in accordance with the most important Supreme Court decision on rights for people with disabilities: Olmstead v. LC. This landmark decision ensured that “people with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state funded support and services in the community rather than institutions.”  

  • Housing

    • Solomon supports the Fair Housing Act that prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and/or financing of housing based upon disability, for such a policy contributes to the strengthening of our communities and economy. 

    • Fair housing laws ensure that you are entitled to reasonable accommodations from your landlord. Accommodations are examined on a case by case basis and include, but are not limited to: “structural modifications, exceptions to rules or policies, and allowing a service animal in a no‐pet complex.” 

    • Furthermore, Solomon supports equal housing opportunities for persons with disabilities, meaning that all newly-constructed multi-family housing must follow specific accessibility guidelines, as outlined in fair housing laws. Such features include: kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs, accessible light switches, thermostats, and electrical outlets, bathroom walls with the capacity to have grab bars installed at a later date, and an accessible route into and through the unit. 

  •  Make Collecting Disability Easier and More Efficient

    • Filing for disability is a lengthy and complicated process. Filling out applications and providing documentation and information on your disability can be a long and strenuous process, and this creates an accessibility problem. Those whose disabilities prevent them from collecting and filling out all these forms, or make this process exceedingly difficult, face huge barriers in getting the resources they need. Those who have disabilities are responsible for finding a way to go through this process, even if they do not have the means to get a lawyer or representative to help them. We must provide more support in the disability-filing process to those who need or want it. We must also make the process more efficient by increasing funding and resources to the Disability Determination Services and state offices that deal with disability claims.

    • Those who are filing for disability payments have a responsibility to prove to the SSA (Social Security Administration) that they have a disability, according to a set of guidelines. This means that “you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s),” according to the SSA. If you participate in SGA, it is expected to result in death or not continue over a period of 12 months. By the SSA’s standards, this qualifies you as disabled.

    • About 70% of SSA disability benefit claims are denied in the initial application stage. If you want the SSA to reconsider this decision, you have to do so in a specific time frame allotted by the government, 60 days, and you have to start your claims process from the very beginning. Experts recommend that those filing for disability should seek professional help, from an attorney, and this will increase their chances in filling out the forms correctly and stating their case in a convincing manner. However, this creates a huge equity issue based on socioeconomic class. Only those who can afford a lawyer have a good chance at the appeals process. We must have state-appointed lawyers available for those filing for disability. Increasing funding and emphasis on efficiency in DDSs will also help those filing for disability.  

    • Most people are denied disability for several reasons. Medical documentation is one of the most important aspects of the SSA process. This means that an individual must be going to a doctor or therapist, and have records of this, in order to prove that a person’s disability has interfered with their work. This means that they must have access to health care, and access to those records, even though 8.5% of America were uninsured in 2018, causing these medical records to be extremely costly. Solomon supports Medicare for All, a program that would allow everyone to go to the doctor if they were sick without fear of cost or debt. Medicare for All would close so many barriers to those who are disabled, one being allowing for substantial proof of their disability(s).

  • Accessibility

    • Wisconsin Rep. Jimmy Anderson fought the Wisconsin Assembly last fall to provide him with disability accommodations for voting and legislating. One accommodation is that he is now able to attend sessions over the phone when he is unable to go in person. Solomon supports creating disability accommodations for the United States Congress and encouraging state legislatures to do the same.

    • Solomon supports increasing federal funding of public transportation grants for cities and he believes we must require cities to use a portion of this funding to create public transportation that is accessible for those with disabilities. 

    • Solomon supports encouraging municipalities and states to install accessible pedestrian crossing signals that include visual and audio cues for those with visual or auditory impairments.

    • Solomon supports Medicare for All which would include coverage for those with disabilities and the care and prescription drugs they need. 50% of those with disabilities have not sought coverage due to concerns about cost, and Solomon will fight to change this. Over 10 million Americans with disabilities are on medicaid, and yet those on medicaid, “had a 22 percent greater chance of complications and a 57 percent greater chance of dying in the hospital than the privately insured.” As it stands, Medicaid eligibility may also vary by state so a single-payer healthcare system would create uniform coverage.

    • Those with disabilities often struggle finding a healthcare provider that understands their needs, and Medicare for All would allow access to a wider range of physicians, specialists, and medical offices. Solomon also supports federal funding to be allotted to increase awareness among medical practitioners to those with disabilities. The federal government must incentivize hospitals that adopt anti-bias and sensitivity training in relation to individuals with disabilities. 

  • Special Education and K-12 Funding for Students With Disabilities

    • Solomon is in favor of increasing funding for support staff, nurses, mental health professionals, and decreasing class sizes.

    • The current IDEA act, which allots federal funding for students with disabilities, is a complete failure. The 1975 act says for every student with disabilities, it will fund 40 percent of what it would cost to educate the “average” non-disabled student. However, it costs more money to educate a student with disabilities than the “average” student. The federal government pays less than half of this cost.

    • This lack of government funding leads not only to vast inconsistency, but also overall incompetency in the nation’s special education programs. It is vital that we support all of the nation’s students, regardless of physical or cognitive differences.

    • This is why Solomon supports the expansion of federal funding to cover at least 50% of costs to serve students with disabilities. This will be measured by how much it costs the average student with disabilities to be educated. It will also be proportional for how many students with disabilities exist within each state.

    • Solomon also supports increased transparency in this funding through hiring oversight officers to see that this money actually gets to students, instead of inefficiently being filtered through many channels. The system needs more oversight and centralized regulation overall, to ensure equality in each zip code. Access to special education should not vary so widely between school districts.

    • Solomon also supports the expansion of Title I funding to ensure that socio-economic disparities do not disproportionately harm students with disabilities.

  • College for all

    • Students with disabilities graduate at a lower rate than students without disabilities, 67.1% versus 84.6% in 2016-17.

    • Solomon supports increasing funding for programs that aid students with disabilities on college campuses in order to better ensure that they graduate.

    • Individuals who are disabled also have to deal with mounting debt. Americans as a whole owe over 1.64 trillion dollars in student loan debt, spread out among 45 million borrowers.

    • Solomon supports debt-free public and private college/university tuition for all Americans and the College for All Act.

  • Meals for all

    • People with disabilities are at least twice as likely to face issues with poverty, leading to food insecurity. Certain disabilities can be worsened due to a lack of a healthy diet. Solomon supports providing meals for all Americans who struggle with hunger.  

    • In 2017, roughly 15 million households were “food insecure.” Children facing hunger have a higher risk of developing certain health issues. Some of these health issues can lead to long-term disabilities.

    • In order to combat food insecurity, Solomon supports distributing America’s large food surplus to those that are hungry. The government routinely buys dairy surplus in an effort to hold onto steady prices. For instance, in 2019, there was a 1.4 billion pound surplus of cheese. 

    • Solomon also supports expanding SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs) to cover a larger range of individuals, including those with disabilities, to a higher extent and raising the monthly income limit that determines eligibility for the program. This will allow lower-income individuals and families to receive more food.

  • Voting Rights

    • Solomon supports the Michigan Secretary of State’s office Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that works to provide municipalities with the funding required to provide accommodations for disabled voters. Accommodations include: improvements to parking spaces, drop off areas, paths of travel both inside and outside of designated buildings, entrances, and voting areas that meet the needs of all (such as the implementation of Voter Assist Terminals and voters’ right to receive assistance to vote from another person).  

    • Solomon would support any federal legislation similar to the HAVA, and he also supports efforts to make it easier to vote by mail.

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PAID FOR BY SOLOMON RAJPUT FOR CONGRESS

P.O. Box 980133, Ypsilanti, MI 48198