Posts tagged with "disability"

Employee Employment Rights in California

As an employer and employee, there are certain rights and laws that you should familiarize yourself with since these laws impact current, former, and future employees of a company. A lot of lawsuits that companies find themselves wrapped up in involve simple disputes that could have been avoided had everyone known and followed the laws. Both sides need to know the laws when it comes to employee rights and they are constantly changing and evolving to make it better for everyone involved. When employee rights are intentionally violated, one should seek out an employment lawyer

What Are Some of the Biggest Employee Employment Rights in California?

One of the biggest sections of the employee employment rights in the state of California has to do with discrimination. While discrimination is illegal at both the state and federal level, there’s still discrimination happening all over. Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination illegal, it’s still a huge problem for companies as the rights evolve for certain groups.

  • It’s illegal for a company to discriminate against someone due to their gender or sex. A job applicant cannot be treated unfairly due to their gender identity. In California, this includes the transgender community. Both men and women also should be paid equally for equal work which was mandated in the Equal Pay Act.
  • You cannot be discriminated against for your nationality, race, and religion due to laws established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 makes it federally illegal for an employer to discriminate against anyone for these characteristics. An employer cannot hire, fire, discipline, demote, harass, or refuse to hire someone based on race, religion, color, or national origin.
  • An employee also has rights when it comes to disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees with those issues. Employers cannot discriminate against someone with a disability, which includes hiring, not hiring, firing, demoting, or reassigning someone. Reasonable accommodations are expected to be given by the employer, such as more breaks if the person is diabetic and needs medication or needs food. If the person is in a wheelchair, proper parking spaces and accommodations must be made free of charge to that employee.
  • It’s also illegal for an employer to discriminate based on age due to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. An employer cannot fire or refuse to hire someone due to them being over the age of 40. It’s illegal for any company to fire older employees just to bring in younger ones at much lower pay.

California Wage & Hour Employee Rights

It’s important to note that in California, the wage and hour laws are only applicable to those that are non-exempt. Meaning, if you’re not a full-time employee or you’re an independent contractor, the overtime and meal break laws will not apply. Exempt employees often include those in administrative, professional, and executive roles.

  • Employers are required to pay an employee the minimum wage which changes quite often. By the year 2022, California will make it required that companies provide a $15 an hour minimum wage.
  • You also have the right to receive overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in one week or more than 8 hours in one day. An employer cannot try to get around these rules by demanding an employee work off the clock. If there are more than 12 hours of work in a day, then the employer has to pay double time.
  • Meal breaks must be given if an employee works for more than five hours in one day and the meal break must be 30 minutes or more. If an employee works over 10 hours in one day, then they will also get an additional meal break of 30 minutes. Rest periods are a right for all employees as well. It’s a right that those within the non-exempt category get at least one 10-minute break every four hours.

Termination & At-Will Laws

California law is that most employees work in an “at-will” category, meaning that an employee can fire you at any time for any reason. The employer doesn’t have to justify the firing but it cannot be termination based on retaliation or discrimination. An example of this would be if someone was fired after they filed a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker. Being fired for filing that complaint would be illegal. If there was discrimination or retaliation at play in the firing, a wrongful termination lawsuit would be justified. For overtime and unpaid wages, consult with an unpaid and overtime lawyer.

Disability illustration for 360 MAGAZINE

What Qualifies You for Social Security Disability Benefits?

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a qualifying disability and have worked in jobs that required you to pay into the Social Security system. If you meet these requirements and your doctor says you won’t be able to work for one year or longer, you may be able to receive benefits until you can work again—if that ever happens. 

So which conditions qualify you for disability benefits? Read this and see if your diagnosis is on the list. If it’s not, don’t worry, your condition may still be qualifying. 

  • Asthma
  • Anxiety 
  • Autism
  • Back injuries
  • Blindness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Coronary artery disease
  • COPD
  • Deafness
  • Disorders of bone marrow failure
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart failure
  • Hemolytic anemias
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Irritable bowel disorder
  • Intellectual disorder
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lupus
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

Any disease, injury, or disorder that prevents you from working for at least 12 months could potentially be a qualifying condition, depending on the severity. You’ll need to discuss your condition with a Social Security caseworker to determine whether or not you qualify. 

There are certain conditions that will automatically qualify you for benefits so you can begin receiving payments right away without having to go through the approval process first. These include early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gherig’s disease, stage IV or inflammatory breast cancer, cancer of the pancreas or gallbladder, and several other cancers.

How to Apply

If you want the Social Security disability process to run smoothly and efficiently, there are some things you need to know before your first appointment. To get the process started immediately, come prepared. Bring your Social Security number and those of your spouse and children, your W-2 information from the past year, and discharge papers if you were in the military.

The first thing you’ll need to do after you’ve gathered your information is to fill out a Social Security Disability report form. You can download this from their website and fill it out in advance. This form will ask you for information like your doctors’ contact details, the medications you’re taking, your past jobs, and any claims you’ve filed.

The next step in the process is to schedule your appointment with the Social Security Administration. You can make your appointment over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or schedule your appointment online. 

Another thing you can do to speed up the application process is to get a copy of your medical records from your physician in advance. Once you’ve requested your record, your doctor has 30 days to get it to you. Many doctors will turn it around faster than that, but it’s still smart to request it at least 30 days ahead of your appointment. 

You can download this Disability Starter Kit to learn more about what to expect throughout the process. This helpful guide contains information, a worksheet, and a checklist that’ll help you prepare.

If Your Benefits Are Denied

According to the Social Security Disability lawyers at Bader Scott, in many cases the initial claim will be denied by Claims Examiners, who often make mistakes due to a lack of experience. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to successfully appeal so your application for benefits can be settled on favorable terms. 

You can apply for an appeal hearing on the Social Security website, but be forewarned, you’re going to be waiting for this hearing for a long time. On average, the wait time for an appeal will be twelve months or longer. If your appeal goes well and your benefits are approved, you’ll get retroactive benefits either in payments or a lump sum. 

You will have 60 days after you receive the notice of denial to file your claim. If you are denied, you should get on this right away. Your benefits may depend on it.

AUTHOR: Cheryl Roy

Octavia Spencer illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Octavia Spencer × Ruderman Family Foundation

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer today joined the Ruderman Family Foundation in calling on the entertainment industry to increase the casting of people with disabilities, including in on-screen roles that portray characters with disabilities.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Octavia Spencer says in a new public service announcement with the Ruderman Family Foundation

Appearing in a newly released public service announcement, Spencer recounts Hollywood’s long history of inauthentic representation and exclusion of marginalized populations — from men playing women until 1660; to white actors playing Black, Asian, and Native American characters; to LGBTQ stories getting left out of film and television until the last two decades.

“All of these communities of people had to endure not only their stories being told inauthentically, but also seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically,” says Spencer in a message filmed for the Ruderman Family Foundation. “But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities as well. Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

She continues, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

Spencer’s call amplifies the Foundation’s series of initiatives to foster greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Last December, the organization circulated an open letter calling on studio, production, and network executives to pledge to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to make more inclusive casting decisions. Among those who signed the pledge were Oscar winners George Clooney and Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar nominees Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Glenn Close, Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly, accomplished actress Eva Longoria, and acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Farrelly.

A separate Foundation-initiated pledge to commit to auditioning more actors with disabilities was signed by CBS, while the BBC pledged to implement more authentic and distinctive representation of people with disabilities on screen. The Foundation also released a white paper showing that half of U.S. households want accurate portrayals of characters with disabilities, and despite that only 22% of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television.

“As an Oscar-winning actor, Octavia Spencer embodies Hollywood’s vast potential to serve as a powerful catalyst for positive social change if studio, production, and network executives commit to more inclusive and authentic representation,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Ms. Spencer has joined our call and we look forward to have other actors and actresses, filmmakers, producers and studios continue to create unprecedented momentum that brings about greater casting of people with disabilities.”

To view Octavia Spencer’s video message in full, please see here.

Follow Octavia Spencer: Instagram | Twitter

Follow Ruderman Family Foundation: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ways to cope with multiple sclerosis

Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can come as a shock to some but a relief to finally receive answers for others. MS is a chronic disease where the central nervous system is greatly affected. No two people share the exact same symptoms, and these can come and go. Some people have regular attacks, while others constantly suffer for extended periods of time. Continue reading for suggestions on how to cope with specific MS symptoms.

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision can be a very frustrating symptom as it affects most of your day to day living. Resting your eyes can reduce the strain, so ensuring you have regular breaks throughout the day and get plenty of sleep will help. Furthermore, avoiding too much screen time will help. That means that working long hours on a computer is not helpful and staring at your phone should be kept to a minimum.

Loss of balance and poor coordination

Loss of balance and poor coordination can be incredibly debilitating as it stops you from completing many tasks you probably have taken for granted most of your life. Things such as getting out of bed, standing up and climbing stairs all of a sudden seem to become almost impossible and carry the risk of injury. Risk reduction is the major thing to support you in coping with this new-found issue. Avoid carrying out any sort of activity in the dark as that strains your body more and adds further risk. Sensible shoes are a must, so choose ones with a low heel or even walking shoes. Walking with a stick can help too. 

Extreme fatigue

Extreme fatigue will come and go with MS. One day, you may feel able to conquer the world and the next, you may find merely walking to the bathroom a challenge. Prioritizing tasks is really important when it comes to your fatigue. Reserve your energy for the most critical activities. If you do feel able to engage in some of your usual activities, try to make them less strenuous to enable you to complete more. Exercise is still important, so short walks, for example, could be incorporated into your daily routine. If you are able to, take little naps during the day to perk you up somewhat. Limiting your caffeine intake may also help. 

Muscle spasms and spasticity

There are many different types of treatment and medication available to help ease the pain caused by muscle spasms and spasticity. It is always recommended that you speak with your consultant to ensure the best course of action is being followed. Some people also ultimately choose to use cannabis for medicinal purposes from somewhere like The Green Solution, who will be able to give advice on the best product to use. Physiotherapists will be able to offer a program of exercises to ensure you are able to get the most out of your day with posture and seating positions being most important. Movement is essential to ensure you continue to be as flexible as possible.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, USA, NYC

What are veterans actually entitled to?

Enlisting in the military is a huge decision that isn’t to be taken lightly. Yet millions of the population take that step without hesitation to protect their country and sadly, return home sometimes with life-changing injuries.

VA disability benefits

VA disability pay rates demonstrate how veterans are given a combined disability rating which is also impacted by their number of dependents. It is complex to understand and vets are not always awarded the right compensation they deserve, which is why legal advice is often necessary.

However, financial entitlement is merely one of the many issues facing vets when returning home. What they have to live on is only a small component of the multiple ways they are faced with piecing together a life after serving in the military. 

The adjustment from life on the frontline to life back in the world they have been defending can be difficult. This is not just in the cultural, everyday sense of no longer existing in a disciplined and structured way with danger and high risk at every turn, but also in the practical sense too.

The paperwork that is required to exist back in life as a normal citizen, the health implications that may be a result of service, the overwhelming list of things to organize to have everything you need – it is a whirlwind, to say the least.

Health benefits

Health issues can be extremely broad-ranging. From the hugely debilitating and devastatingly life-altering physically to the equally paralyzing mentally, and often, as a result of the latter, the all-consuming consequence of this being substance abuse.

Therefore, there is a wide range of health benefits vets are deservedly entitled to use, depending on their specific needs. However, it is often hard for them to know exactly which services they might need if they haven’t yet identified their issues, or it might be that they aren’t aware of the services or cannot get access to them.

Education tuition and career counseling

Another avenue for vets to go down is education and tuition to enable them to further their civilian training and find a suitable career route after the military. It could still be that they pursue a career within the military but just not in active duty, or it might be that they want to retire from service and pursue something different entirely in civilian life.

There are many ways they can do this, such as applying for help to cover the costs of school or job training, or it might be that career counseling is needed. This is when vets seek advice and guidance on where their skills might be best suited within other jobs and which programs would help them get on that path. 

Furthermore, it also helps them to recognize where they might be going through some issues which are preventing them from achieving their goals.

Housing

Vets are entitled to home loans and grants to help towards the costs of paying for their homes or any modifications necessary as a result of their injuries. This may be in the form of ramps, wider doorways or much more complex changes, that could potentially even impact the building structurally.

However, in more extreme circumstances, but sadly, increasingly more common these days are the instances of homelessness amongst vets. There is advice available on shelters and storage of personal belongings as well as what other options might be open, such as armed forces retirement homes and housing programs. 

In conclusion…

It is so important to create awareness and support our veterans who have done so much for our country. So, hopefully by sharing this information, people who may have vets in their family, or friendship circles can help them find the advice they need to get a better start after they return home.

There is a lot of confusion out there, just as there can be with any benefits. But, by being aware of the challenges these men and women face on civilian soil after performing their duty, we can all make it a better country by sharing this and helping them as they’ve helped us. 

Victoria Arlen, 360 MAGAZINE, Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), Gala

Free Wheelchair Mission Raises $1.8 million at Miracle of Mobility Gala

Inspirational TV Personality Victoria Arlen Delivers Message of Hope

Guests use VR Glasses to be Transported to Guatemalan Village

An unforgettable evening on July 25th filled with surprises, heartfelt inspiration and the pure joy of giving culminated with Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) receiving over $1.8 million in donations in one night – the most ever at this event and enough to transform the lives of more than 22,500 individuals living with disabilities in under-resourced nations around the world. Already, the humanitarian nonprofit has distributed 1.2 million wheelchairs around the world.

The 600-plus who attended the 16th annual Miracle of Mobility gala at Segerstrom Center of the Arts were treated to a fabulous gala evening PLUS three unique opportunities:

1) listening to television personality and gold medalist Victoria Arlen, whose own story of regaining mobility is incredible

2) journeying virtually to a small Guatemalan village using Oculus VR glasses and feeling like they are on a mission to distribute wheelchairs

3) taking part in an exciting live auction where generous donors bought wheelchairs for individuals living with a disability in an under-resourced nation. Each $80 donation will buy one wheelchair – changing that person’s life forever as he or she begins a life of mobility.

Guests enjoyed an internationally themed cocktail reception with food stations offering global cuisine, a silent auction filled with an eclectic array of gifts and experiences, a performance by Infinite Flow, the first wheelchair dance company in the world, and inspirational remarks from Free Wheelchair Founder and President Don Schoendorfer.

The evening’s special guest, 24-year-old Victoria Arlen, holds impressive credentials: ESPN host, Paralympics gold medalist, Dancing with the Stars semi-finalist, author and most recently, co-host of the NBC TV’s American Ninja Warrior Junior.  Those credentials would be impressive for anyone but considering that Victoria was struck by two rare neurological diseases at the age of 11, causing her to be trapped in her body in a minimally conscious state for four years, it is an incredible turnaround.

Victoria spoke at the gala about her journey, including the four years when doctors doubted that she would ever return and the subsequent several years when she fought back to begin life again. She offered a message of hope and the importance of being thankful for what you have.

“When you focus on what you still have, you will find it changes your perspective, and that change in perspective creates hope. Hope that tomorrow will be just a bit better than today and when you take that hope, and mix in your own hard work, lots and lots of hard work, I believe you will find yourself back on the path to living out your own dreams.”

Victoria credits her parents with the hope that saved her. “Over and over doctors told my parents they needed to accept the very real possibility that I would not survive and, even if I did, the Victoria they once knew was not coming back. And while my family was willing to accept the diagnosis, they refused to throw up their hands and accept that this was all my future had in store. They accepted the diagnosis, but NOT the prognosis,” Victoria related.

“Somehow, they believed I was not a lost cause. I now believe that it was their refusal to accept that prognosis that brought me back to life.”

Following Victoria’s talk, a robust live auction led to the donation of more than 21,900 wheelchairs to be built and distributed in 93 countries around the world. In 2017, Free Wheelchair Mission reached the milestone of one million wheelchairs distributed and now is pursuing its goal of reaching the next million by 2025.

“Tonight’s gala was successful for so many reasons, most notably the many volunteers who help us bring the gift of mobility to people living with disabilities around the world and the many donors who embrace our mission and recognize how even a simple $80 donation can change a life forever, “ said Free Wheelchair Mission CEO Nuka Solomon.

“The gift from Free Wheelchair Mission provides the mobility that allows each recipient to begin a new life – whether it’s taking care of themselves, attending school or working – and we find that the vitality of the entire family and community are changed too,” Solomon added.

Key sponsors of the gala included Transformation Sponsors: Advisors Mortgage Group and The McDonald Family; Freedom Sponsors: The Hummelberg Family, The Morris Family Foundation, Diamond Hill Capital Management, KPMG and PR Construction. The full list of sponsors can be found here.

About Free Wheelchair Mission:Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) is a humanitarian, faith-based nonprofit based in Irvine, Calif. that designs and manufactures cost-efficient, durable wheelchairs for individuals living with disabilities in under-resourced nations. FWM collaborates with a worldwide network of like-minded partners that facilitate wheelchair distribution in 93 countries. FWM provides renewed dignity, independence and hope through the gift of mobility at no cost to the recipient. Just $80, the cost to manufacture and deliver one wheelchair, can change a person’s life forever. Founded in 2001 by Don Schoendorfer, Ph.D., the organization reached the milestone of distributing one million wheelchairs in 2017. FWM currently intends to distribute the next million wheelchairs by 2025. For information or donations, visit freewheelchairmission.org.

Getting to the Heart of the Problem

Although it is well known that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among all Americans, there is still a misconception that it primarily affects older, white men.

The truth is, the risks are even higher for African Americans. African Americans have higher rates of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Currently, 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of heart disease in the U.S.

Experts say there are several reasons why heart disease disproportionally affects the black community ranging from genetic to environmental factors. There are simple ways to control certain risk factors to reduce your risk for heart disease – it can be as simple as changing your daily habits.

Lifestyle Changes Can Include:
-Healthy diet
-Be physically active every day
-Reduce stress
-Quit smoking

During Heart Health Month, Dr. Wayne Batchelor, an interventional cardiologist and member of the Association of Black Cardiologists, is available to explain what you need to know if you have a risk factor that’s out of your control, how to talk to your doctor and the latest advancements in treatment options.

Rock Solid Research On How To Prevent Dementia

Dr. Timothy R. Jennings speaks expertly on a subject that concerns over 5.5 million people across the nation: how to prevent dementia and keep our mind sharp as we age. A psychiatrist and international speaker, Jennings introduces his new book, recently rated #1 by Amazon in books on dementia, The Aging Brain: Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind.

Dr. Jennings prescribes simple, everyday actions we can take to stave off disease, promote vitality, and prevent dementia and late-onset Alzheimer’s. “The choices we make now can help us to keep our minds sharp and maintain our independence as we age,” says Jennings.

An easy-to-use guide to maintaining brain and body health throughout life, The Aging Brain is based on solid, up-to-date scientific research, and the interventions discussed can prevent progression toward dementia, even in those already showing signs of mild cognitive impairment. The recommendations also may help reduce disability and depression.

“This book isn’t just for people hoping to slow the aging process,” says Jennings. “It’s also for anyone who is a caregiver to someone at risk of or already beginning to suffer from dementia. It offers a hopeful, healthy way forward.”

Jennings, who maintains a private practice in Chattanooga, TN, has authored several books, including The God-Shaped Brain and The God-Shaped Heart. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries.

For more information about Dr. Jennings, please visit the website: http://www.agingbrainbook.com.

To connect with Dr. Jennings, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/DrTimJennings/ and http://twitter.com/timjenningsmd.

MagnaReady × Stylish Options × Disabilities

There are over 50 million adults in the United States with a disability or health condition that limits their mobility in some way.

As we age tasks that used to be simple that we could complete without thinking twice about it become more challenging. Just turn on late night or early morning television and you will see dozens of informercials for gadgets that make it easier to hear, read, open jars, you get the idea. Until recently though, no one had come up with a practical way to make it easier for arthritic hands, someone who is missing an arm or fingers, or someone with another type of limitation to their mobility to grip and maneuver buttons into buttonholes.

There are those loop gadgets you can use to snag the button and pull it through a buttonhole, but those are not necessarily a time-saver and can still be very hard for some people to use. Unfortunately, it took a diagnosis or Parkinson’s disease to create an alternative option. Maura Horton created her patented magnetic closures for clothing after her husband, who was a college football coach, started to struggle with the buttons on his dress shirts. Because his job required him to travel with the team, Maura could not always be there to help Don. Instead of buttons, she thought why not magnets that would essentially be able to button his shirt for him?

It took some time to research and find the right type of magnets and perfect the design, but eventually Maura was able to create a dress shirt that looked no different to the unknowing eye, but that could restore independence to someone with upper body mobility challenges. Now, the patented MagnaReady magnetic closure technology is used in pants, polos, long sleeve dress shirts and short sleeve camp shirts, creating clothing options that are an intelligent and stylish choice for seniors or people with mobility difficulties of any age.

360 Magazine, MagnaReady360 Magazine, MagnaReady360 Magazine, MagnaReady

DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT

“People with disabilities are entering the workforce in unprecedented numbers?” It’s worth looking at the reports that show how “no group has felt the benefits of accelerated economic growth more than Americans with a disability”

Indeed, people with disabilities experienced a four-fold increase in job opportunities last year – unprecedented growth

In states across the country, Governors are undertaking new efforts to expand job opportunities for all. For example, Gov.Edwards recently launched a task force focused on employment for Louisianans with disabilities. Gov. Walker just signed historic legislation that makes Wisconsin an Employment First and commits resources to expanding competitive, integrated employment. Remarkable progress and remarkable leadership.

During the Meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA), our team and partner organizations spoke 1-on-1 with thirty-four different Governors. In each meeting we advocated for policies and practices that will expand economic opportunities. For several Governors, we had the chance to honor them with an award for their leadership and their continuing commitment to these issues.

At the end of the day, there are hundreds of self-advocates, community organizations and state leaders in a position to drive this change forward. Your involvement can move progress even faster! Expanding opportunities requires leaders across the public sector, the private sector and advocates to join forces and find solutions. First, check out where your state ranks and what challenges impact opportunities. You can also see what your state has done or is already doing to expand jobs for people with disabilities. We have written in-depth reports about what each of the 50 states is doing to advance opportunities for Americans with disabilities. image-2018-04-18 (1)