Over the years, the reliance on public mental hospitals to help people with disabilities has dramatically reduced (Mechanic, McAlpine, & Rochefort, 2014). Community care has taken up the position through various public policies to ensure that the disabled are taken care of. A disabled person is categorized by federal assistance policies as disabled, or is related to or is associated with a disabled person. A disabled person is stated by systems such as the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) as a person whose impairment limits them from work, or a person who has an experience of such an impairment, or a person who is known as having such disability (US Department of Justice, 2009). The disability is either physical or mental.
Change of Public Aid Programs
In 1946, the US Congressmen voted for the National Mental Health Act (NMA) forming grant programs for research and treatment of mental problems and community clinics (Mechanic, McAlpine, & Rochefort, 2014). At this time, the concept of community care was also taking shape. President John F. Kennedy aided the establishment of a nation-wide creation of community mental health centers which would be independent of the old mental hospitals.
Later, President George Herbert Walker Bush oversaw the passage of American with Disabilities Act of 1990. This Act was to stop the continued blatant discrimination against people with disabilities and achieve full equality. In 2005, there was a mobilization of disability advocacy groups and organizations which joined to campaign for people with disabilities mainly mental. After that, deinstitutionalization took its place, and more people released from the psychiatric facilities to the community. Through this move, there have been changes in the system and now enjoy the respect of their rights, improved tolerance and diversification of service options including the application for disability insurances.
Debate about People with Disabilities
In the past, there was a debate between people who view disability needs and programs as unique and separate from other public policy concern and those who believe that the disabled can gain from resources of other sectors (Mechanic, McAlpine, & Rochefort, 2014). Lately, there has been the debate of adequate insurance coverage for the disabled with a section of people. A section supports the move arguing that it will end discrimination against disability within health benefit funds. The other section is against it saying that when the coverage is incomplete, it leads to excessive cost and lack of care.
In my view, the government should maintain the provision of insurance to the disabled. Many people that are not able to engage in work and other activities that provide for their various needs have benefited from these insurances. The government has offered benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income plan to the impaired (Ali, 2012). These insurances have benefited the disabled in many ways and empowered them even though they are not able to physically provide for their needs.
The SSDI is beneficial since it can grant benefits to the dependents of the disabled, subject to maximum family benefits limits (Ali, 2012). That means that dependents such as the spouse and children of the disabled would be able to receive the benefits even without the presence of the disabled workers.
The SSI is also a good plan as it covers all the beneficiaries, who are no able to work because of their disabilities, with the same benefits regardless of age. This program allows states to voluntarily supplement the payments to provide higher benefit level than the specified.
Ali, U., (2012). Primer on Disability Benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Federal Publications.
Mechanic, D., McAlpine, D., & Rochefort, D. (2014). Mental Health and Social Policy: Beyond Managed Care. USA: Pearson Education Inc.
US Department of Justice. (2009). A Guide to Disability Rights Laws., Retrieved from https://www.ada.gov/cguide.html
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