Can I Still Live Independently Despite My Disability?

Photo of injured woman in wheelchairThe Norman Transcript recently featured an article on the limited number of programs that can help people with disabilities live independently. The article begins with the story of a woman named Gail Dunsky. She was born with cerebral palsy, had to endure institutionalization and suffered abuse. However, she was able to overcome that to go to college, earn both a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Oklahoma and has been able to live independently in her own apartment most of her life.

Living independently did not come without its problems. Due to her cerebral palsy, it took her 30 minutes just to brush her teeth. She often had to rely on help from friends or personal caregivers. A personal caregiver once stole her computer, which cut her off from the outside world for a while. Gail Dunsky died in 2008 at the age of 63. Some credit Dunsky’s ability to live independently with enabling her to live much longer than doctors expected.

Unfortunately, since Gail died, several programs meant to help people with disabilities live independently have fallen to the wayside. For example, pay rates for personal caregivers have remained low. In some cases, personal care attendants are paid as little as $8 to $9 an hour and do not receive benefits. It is a tough job that requires driving all over town and caring for multiple individuals daily. Therefore, it is getting harder and harder to find people to be personal caregivers. As a result, many people with disabilities who may otherwise be able to live independently cannot because there are no personal care attendants available to help them.

Can Social Security Disability Help Me Afford to Live Independently?

In the video below, Tulsa disability attorney Steve Troutman talks about how much people with disabilities can expect to earn per month from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSl).



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