By Tai Prohaska
United Spinal Association and over 100 disability advocates and wheelchair users will gather in Washington, D.C., June 11-14 for the 6th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill. They will meet with congressional leaders to highlight health, independence, community, and quality of life issues vital to people with spinal cord injury/disease (SCI/D).
Allsup is pleased to be a long-time sponsor of this annual signature policy event, which allows lawmakers to hear their constituents’ perspectives on issues that are important to United Spinal’s membership and the broader disability community.
“Our advocacy efforts have never been more critical than they are this year,” said James Weisman, United Spinal’s president and CEO.
“As we join voices at Roll on Capitol Hill we must remain vigilant to ensure that all people with disabilities, including wheelchair users and our veterans, have access to quality healthcare, independence and equal rights,” said Weisman.
Priority issues include:
- Protecting healthcare benefits and services for the SCI/D community.
- Advocating for improved access to complex rehab technology needed to live active and healthy lifestyles.
- Safeguarding the provision of accessible transportation for individuals with disabilities across the country.
- Ensuring people with disabilities and wheelchair users have access to public accommodations at the federal and state levels.
- Strengthening the provision of home- and community-based services and supports so that individuals can live and participate in their communities.
- Ensuring robust funding for agencies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Labor.
United Spinal’s VetsFirst program will also host educational and advocacy sessions on legislation to improve employment benefits and access to healthcare services for veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
United Spinal has long been at the forefront of changing and shaping public policy that not only benefits individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders, but also benefits those with a wide range of disabilities and the abled population as well. Examples include improved access to transportation, healthcare and employment.
The organization is also addressing the current Social Security Disability Insurance hearing backlog of 1.1 million people. Most people who apply for disability are denied and will wait a nationwide average of 583 days for a hearing.
I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with United Spinal on SSDI and related topics for many years. I’ve also had the pleasure to participate in the Roll on Capitol Hill and interact with chapter presidents and advocates. They work year-round to address a broad spectrum of issues important to its 50-plus chapters, 200 support groups and over 1 million individuals impacted by SCI/D across the country.