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Defining disability so that disability does not define you

Many of the limitations we face in life are either self-imposed or based on how others view us. That’s why it is so important to discuss and think about disability in non-defeatist terms. We may be confined by our physical limitations, but we don’t have to be defined by them.

There are plenty of examples of Americans who have achieved great things in spite of suffering from a disability. Social Security Disability Insurance did not exist in its current form until about 1960. But the Social Security Administration, the agency in charge of SSDI, was created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During his presidency, many Americans did not know that FDR relied on a wheelchair much of the time after acquiring polio in the 1920s.

President Woodrow Wilson also suffered a disability that started in early childhood. Although there wasn’t a diagnosis for it at the time, historians believe that Wilson had dyslexia. Despite being very smart, his reading issues initially caused him to be branded a bad student. Thanks to his father’s help, however, Wilson became very skilled in debate and oratory.

During his presidency in 1919, Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke. He was paralyzed on his left side and never fully recovered. His wife managed to keep his stroke-related disability a secret from the American public.

If you suffer from a disability, it does not have to define you. That being said, a disability can make it difficult or impossible to continue doing certain things, including working a job. If you are among the millions of Americans in this situation, you may need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process and help you present the strongest possible case.

Source: Rocklin and Roseville Today, "Many U.S. Politicians have had Disabilities," Daniel J. Vance, July 2, 2014

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