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53 million Americans report having a disability

Life for people who are living with a disability can present numerous challenges relating not only to an individual's ability to earn a living, but also to independence. In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that disabilities may be more common than some think.

According to the CDC, as of 2013 53 million Americans were disabled. This amounts to one in five adults. States in the Southern U.S. reported greater percentages of disabled individuals and individuals suffering from a chronic disease. In Pennsylvania, 20.5 percent to 23.1 percent of individuals reported having a disability. In addition, the CDC discovered a relationship between disability and a person's level of education, employment and income. According to the report, only 20 percent of individuals with disabilities were employed, compared to 69 percent of individuals without a disability.

The definition of disability, for the purposes of the CDC report, was that the person in question reported experiencing trouble in either the ability to live independently, take care of oneself, is considered blind or has difficulties with mobility or cognition. A cognitive disability meant that the individual had difficulties remembering things or difficulties with decision-making as a result of a mental or physical impairment. A mobility disability meant that the individual had trouble using stairs. In addition, a disability involving self-care meant that the individual could not wash or dress oneself. Finally, a disability involving a person being able to live independently meant that the individual required assistance to run errands.

Disabled individuals in the United States suffer more than just difficulties in the workplace. They may find that their health is so affected that not only are they unable to work, but they may be unable to take care of their daily needs. Our country recognizes these difficulties and therefore has a system in place for individuals with disabilities to obtain the financial resources they need -- the Social Security Disability insurance system. By applying for SSD benefits, disabled individuals in our nation may be able to pursue the compensation they need to take care of their health and everyday needs. But, it is important to understand that the requirements for SSDI may differ depending on the individual's disability. With medical costs constantly on the rise, it is good to know that disabled individuals in our nation can apply for the help they need to cope with these and other living expenses.

Source: USA Today, "CDC: 1 in 5 American adults live with a disability," Jennifer Calfas, July 31, 2015

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