On a Day Recognizing Those With Disabilities, Advocates See New Rights Frontiers | Law Firm Newswire

On a Day Recognizing Those With Disabilities, Advocates See New Rights Frontiers

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 21, 2014 - The 21st International Day of Persons with Disabilities comes without the passage of a key treaty.

December 3, 2013 marked the 21st anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The Day was initiated by the United Nations, and it seeks to raise awareness of people with disabilities across the globe. It draws focus to the issues they face and promotes the discovery of new ways to remove some of the obstacles that they attempt to overcome in society.

On a global level, the sheer number of people with disabilities lends them a significant demographic presence: they represent 15 percent of the world’s population. It has been estimated that today, one billion people are living with some sort of disability. In many countries, those who battle disabilities do not enjoy the same social safety net that their American counterparts do. In the United States, Social Security disability insurance covers more than 90 percent of U.S. workers.

In recognition of the United-Nations-sponsored celebration, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has reiterated that 40 percent of its Disability Insurance beneficiaries have expressed a desire to work. The SSA offers a reminder of its work incentive programs, which include cash benefits while working, continued Medicare or Medicaid coverage and assistance with education, training and career-related rehabilitation.

In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been on the books in the United States since 1990. The Act has set the gold standard for promoting and protecting the rights of people with disabilities by many international standards. Along with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the ADA has helped the United States lead the advancement of benefits for people with disabilities.

But a proposed international expansion of the ADA, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, has been mired in domestic politics and has yet to take effect. The United States Senate has not yet ratified the treaty, though 140 other nations already have.

In marking the 21st International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Secretary of State John Kerry made his official comments with the Senate’s inaction on the treaty on his mind.

“What we did here at home with the ADA hasn’t even been remotely realized in many places overseas,” Kerry said. “Moreover, for the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities who want to travel, study, work and serve abroad, including our 5.5 million veterans with disabilities, the protections that they have grown accustomed to under the ADA and other ground-breaking U.S. legislation simply do not exist in many countries.”

David W. Magann, P.A.
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