Recent guests have focused on topics such as sports leagues, assistive technology for those with autism, and training for young adults in using public transportation. “Some parents find it difficult to get out to support group meetings because of the demands of caring for a special needs child. This radio show will bring the meeting to them,” says Sue Shilling.
Each week there is an opportunity to call in and brag about your child’s most recent accomplishment (no matter how small) and win a specially designed T-shirt. “Ask the Lawyer” is weekly spotlight by special education attorney, Lisa Krizman. Listeners may call in or email their questions.
I think this is a such a great idea that I am a sponsor of the show. “Everything Special Needs” can be heard at 1360 on the AM dial or online at www.wnjcradio.com. You may email your questions or comments to email@example.com.
The number of television characters with disabilities is on the rise, according to a report on diversity in television program is released by GLAAD, a gay advocacy group. The report stated that 11 of the 813 regular network prime-time characters (1.4 percent) have disabilities. This is an increase from 8 characters last fall season. Persons living with disabilities make up 12 percent of the non-institutionalized US citizens.
Max on Parenthood (NBC) has Asperger Syndrome. FOX’s Red Band Society is set in a pediatric ward of a hospital and includes a character in a coma, one with cystic fibrosis, one with heart issues and two living with reduced mobility. Glee’s Artie is in a wheelchair. Although Becky on Glee is played by Lauren Potter, an actress with Down syndrome, very few of the performers actually have disabilities.
Millions of disabled workers in the United States rely on disability payments (Social Security Disability, SSI or both). About 6 percent of the nation’s working-age population receives disability payments. Some states have more than 10 percent on disability. In New Jersey, that figure is just 3.8 percent. What is the explanation for this disparity?
Lack of education. Low rates of high school completion are linked with high rates of disability receipt. This explains why so many people in the Appalachia region and the deep South are on disability. Those with more education are better able to adapt to a wider range of work.
Age. Nearly 70 percent of beneficiaries are age 50 or older; nearly one in three are over 60. The median age in New England and Appalachia is higher than the national average. Therefore, they have high rates of disability.
Native-born population. Contrary to popular belief, immigrants are far less likely to get disability checks than native-born individuals. New Jersey, along with New York, Florida and Texas have large foreign-born populations and lower percentages of disability recipients.
Industry versus service-oriented. In states whose economies rely on manufacturing, mining and forestry, there are larger percentages of disabled persons than places like New Jersey which have a service-oriented economy. Therefore, we see more persons on disability in the industrial Midwest as well as the South and Appalachia.
Disability and debt often go hand in hand unfortunately. Those who are sick and out of work will face a pile of bills, collection phone calls, and threatening letters. I sat down with attorney Barbara Snavely to discuss how bankruptcy may help my clients.
There are two types of bankruptcies for individuals, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 works best for those who:
- have lots of unsecured debt (for example, credit cards, utility bills, unsecured personal loans);
- do not own much property;
- do not have much income. The maximum income for an individual is approximately $60,000 per year; for a family of four, it’s around $100,000.
In a Chapter 7, a trustee who is appointed by the court gathers and sells your non-exempt property. The proceeds from the sale are used to pay your creditors according to the priority of the claims.
A Chapter 13 is a good option for those who:
- owe debt that is the result of a temporary financial setback;
- own lots of property, such as houses, land, cars, that you want to
- have steady, regular income with which to make payments to a trustee;
- are behind in rent, mortgage or car payments.
A Chapter 13 works to consolidate, order and, in some cases, reduce your debts. Then, instead of juggling your bills and creditors, you will make one monthly payment (except for home mortgage and car payment loans) to your court-appointed trustee who will handle your creditors. No more calls from creditors!
Once your bankruptcy case is filed with the court, your creditors cannot collect on your debts because of what is call and “automatic stay.”
Social Security Disability payments are protected in bankruptcy in most cases. Since SSI payments are intended to provide basic living expenses, they may never be taken in a bankruptcy.
The prospect of filing bankruptcy can be frightening. Just talking to a bankruptcy attorney does not necessarily mean you have made a decision. It can just be part of an information-gathering process. Don’t wait until your circumstances are desperate and you only have days in which to stop foreclosure, vehicle repossession or other collection actions. Consultations are usually free.
This is a simplified overview of the options. There are numerous guidelines for each type of bankruptcy. Get professional advice from an attorney who concentrates in the area of bankruptcy. Barbara Snavely is an associate in the Law Office of Joseph Rogers in Turnersville. She can be reached at (856) 228-7964.
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