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The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

Miss Wheelchair New York Fighting For Home Care

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

Posted on Dec 17, 2010

December 15, 2010 - New York, NY - While typical beauty pageants focus on bikini contests and talent reviews, the Miss Wheelchair pageants put the emphasis on the accomplishments, advocacy and self-perception of extraordinary women who happen to need the assistance of a wheelchair.

A recent news story presented by National Public Radio tells the story of one such woman, Michelle Fridley, who was crowned Miss Wheelchair New York 2010. She is among a growing age group who is becoming eligible for nursing home care, but is fighting it every step of the way.

Studies from the Department of Health and Human services has shown a growing number of Americans aged 31-64 being admitted to nursing home care, a total of 14% this year. This is a 10% increase in the past 10 years and some analysts believe it is due to state budget gaps and cuts that fund the disabled care programs. Others have found that since many state psychiatric facilities have been closed in the past year many working-age adults have been forced to seek assistance in nursing homes rather than specialized facilities.

Fridley has been fighting being forced into a nursing home for more than 10 years since a car accident left her a quadriplegic. Fridley, like many, originally depended on her family for assistance following the accident while the state of New York provided minor assistance through home aides a few hours a day.

As the toll of taking care of their daughter and granddaughter weighed on Fridley's family, she almost gave in to nursing home care until she discovered the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, which helped her obtain a new apartment and funding to live independently. She now shares an apartment with her 9-year-old daughter and has attendants 20 hours a day to help with her physical needs and household chores.

Most states spend nearly 60% of their budget for long-term care for elderly and disabled on nursing home care. The cost to support a disabled individual with at-home care is typically 1/3 of that spent on supporting them in a nursing home facility. When budget cuts threatened to end Fridley's in-home assistive care she became seriously involved in advocacy for the disabled.

Fridley's appeals to New York Governor David Paterson helped reverse a decision for cutting the assistant program, but she isn't stopping there. Fridley and her daughter have helped with protests and events with disability civil rights groups that are pushing for laws to make it mandatory for states to offer in-home assistance to help allow disabled Americans to live in their own homes.

For disabled New Yorkers, living in your own home may be a crucial part to leading a quality life with your condition. For financial assistance in maintaining your daily needs, you may need to file for Social Security disability benefits, provided you are unable to work.

Contacting a New York Social Security Disability Lawyer 

Before you hire a New York Social Security disability lawyer, order this free consumer's guide: 5 Mistakes to Avoid when Filing a Social Security Disability Claim, to give you an idea of the Social Security disability claims process. Contact a New York Social Security disability lawyer at the Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr. for more information about your case - 1-718-701-2776.

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