Certain Laws You Need to Know as a Disabled Individual

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  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled individuals against discrimination in essential areas of life.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures equal educational opportunities for disabled students.
  • Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in air travel.
  • Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) prevents discrimination in housing transactions.
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures disabled people have access to employment and other opportunities with federal funding.

The United States of America is regarded as one of the most progressive nations globally. Many of the country’s laws are designed to protect and support disadvantaged communities, including the disabled population. The system intends to create an inclusive society for all individuals, regardless of their physical or mental conditions. Some essential laws have paved the way for equality and accessibility for disabled individuals in the U.S.

Disabled People in The U.S.

It’s estimated that there are around 61 million people in the U.S. who are considered to be disabled. These individuals have physical or mental conditions that make it difficult to perform daily activities, such as walking, hearing, and speaking. Many of these individuals are also at a higher risk of discrimination due to their disabilities. Here are some laws that help cover that:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA of 1990 was a landmark legislation that prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities in essential areas of life, such as employment, public accommodations, public transportation, and telecommunications. The act mandates businesses, organizations, and government entities to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair ramps, braille signage, and audio aids. This act has enabled disabled individuals to secure jobs and participate in various activities they were previously excluded from.

Disabled worker in an office

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The IDEA ensures that disabled students receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in an environment that is least restrictive to their learning requirements. It mandates public schools develop a personalized education plan (IEP) catering to students’ needs. The act’s primary aim is to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities, enabling them to achieve academic success and prepare for fulfilling jobs in the future.

Air Carrier Access Act

The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in air travel. The act mandates airlines to make reasonable accommodations for passengers with disabilities, such as providing wheelchair assistance, allowing service animals in the cabin, and facilitating medical equipment. The act has successfully eliminated many of the barriers that disabled individuals face while traveling and has made air travel more accessible and comfortable for them.

Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA)

The FHAA prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in housing transactions. It mandates landlords and property owners to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, such as installing grab rails, ramp access, and wider doorways. The act has ensured that disabled individuals can choose where they reside, irrespective of their physical limitations.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

This act prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals by employers, organizations, and government agencies that receive federal funding. It mandates such entities to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals. The act seeks to integrate disabled individuals into the workforce and community by giving them equal opportunities to pursue careers and participate in society.

How to Take Advantage of These Laws

If you’re a disabled individual and don’t know how to use these laws, here are some steps to get you started:

Lawyer at work

Get Your Benefits

Certain laws cover the benefits you can get from the government. For example, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is designed to provide financial support for disabled individuals. The long-term disability claims process may be complicated, but it can help you secure the necessary benefits. Get a professional to help you claim your benefits to make it easier for you in the long run.

Know Your Rights

Educate yourself about your rights as a disabled individual and know how to use them to ensure equal opportunities and access in essential areas. Learn about the ADA and IDEA and use these to ensure you get the accommodations you need for employment, education, and other activities.

Speak Up

If you face discrimination in any area due to your disability, don’t hesitate to speak up. Contact the relevant authorities or an attorney who can help protect your rights.

By knowing your rights as a disabled individual in the United States of America, you can take advantage of laws that protect and support disabled populations. With these laws, individuals with disabilities can live fulfilling lives with equal access to education, career opportunities, public transportation, housing, and more!


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