Of course, just by the law of averages, some suspicion about disabling people must be valid. Some people who say they are disabled are probably not really disabled. Some people with disabilities who report being discriminated against may misinterpret what happened. Some people with disabilities probably confuse ordinary challenges with unfair barriers to accessibility or a lack of housing. Some really accommodation requests are not justified.
However, it is insulting and discriminatory to grill a person disabled on her personal life, treat her as a potential con artist, or deny her equal access - simply because you are a little suspicious of her, or because you have certain opinions about claiming benefits. disability in general.
So it's understandable that non-disabled people in particular - but also disabled people sometimes - might wonder what to do if they think something is wrong. not right about complaints or requests from a disabled person. Myis although this is a dilemma for those with questions, it is important to remember that it is even more of a problem for people with disabilities themselves. They must constantly worry about their credibility and whether they will be taken seriously.
To illustrate, here are a few examples:
- A car is parked in an accessible parking space. There is an accessible parking sign hanging from the rearview mirror, but the driver exits and walks away. Is this another non-disabled person recklessly violating a "disabled" parking space?
- A student with learning disabilities requests extra time for exams. Is it really necessary or just an attempt to make testing easier? What about a student asking for extensions to homework deadlines due to chronic pain flares?
- Adisabled person says she was turned down for 25 consecutive jobs for which she was fully qualified, and insists it is because of disability-related discrimination. Aren't there some other reasons why they might not have gotten those jobs?
- A customer walks into a cafe with a dog on a leash. When asked, she replied that he was an emotional support animal. Should management agree to this and allow the dog to enter the store? What if it was just someone who really wanted their dog to be with them all the time?
Some of these situations have enough answers simple and define procedures that at least try to avoid subjective guesswork and unjustified judgments. Yet more fundamental questions seem to persist:
- Do you have to believe everything a person with a disability says about their disability?ap and its accommodation needs?
- Don't some people who claim to have a disability don't actually have one, or do they claim a disability for an ulterior motive or benefit ?
- Are some people with disabilities too sensitive to discrimination based on disability? Are some not using ableism and their disability as excuses for their own failures?
It should be obvious that such questions encourage ideas and the actions of the ableists. But it seems that for many, these questions are difficult to answer or dismiss. Maybe one way to deal with them is to flip them over and ask:
- Are you, specifically, required to decide if one of the requests is a person's disability and accommodation are valid?
- How important is it that a person's claims about a disability are completely correct orhonest?
- If some allegations of discrimination on the basis of disability are unfounded, does that mean that all of them are? If ableism is one factor among many in hiring, is it not yet significant. And does it really matter whether or not a person with a disability perceives every situation exactly correctly?
These questions have more meaningful and practical answers.
A few few people are in the profession positions where it is their job to determine the validity of disability claims. Most people in most situations are not. Social security examiners and judges are specifically responsible for deciding who is or is not disabled, at least in the sense of being eligible for benefits. It is their job, and no one else's - no friends, relatives, next door neighbors or casual acquaintances. Schools, collegesand workplaces also generally have staff who are assigned the task of assessing requests for accommodations for people with disabilities. It is their job, and no one else's - not other students or colleagues, teachers or professors, or other managers and supervisors.
In case of resources really few that are vital to real people with disabilities - like cash benefits like SSI and SSDI - deliberate fraud is clearly bad. But despite the popular notion of massive cheating to get Social Security benefits, the data suggests that fraud rates are actually quite low, by " some measures less than 1% .
There is a little more gray area in which to approve valuable benefits and rare may be error, but not deliberately misleading. For example, a person hasA person with heart disease may be eligible to receive disability benefits, although she might be able to work in certain types of jobs with few problems. But it's also the kind of determination that needs to be taken by professionals, not dogged spectators. And there are deep and honest philosophical differences about what should and should not be a disability, and who should be eligible for benefits. These are matters which should be the subject of serious study and debate, not rumors and stigma.
In the meantime, most housing for people with disabilities is neither scarce nor expensive. A few unqualified people have them done. This does not affect their availability for "real" people with disabilities. Schedule changes and due date adjustments usually cost nothing and are not some kind of a limited quantity product.ee. Allowing them for someone who may not be strictly speaking "disabled" doesn't really have much of an impact or hurt anyone else.
Even the changes accessibility and adaptive devices are generally not. that expensive, so there is no point in being stingy with them. Another type of chair or desk, a widened door, an entry ramp, or grab bars in the restroom will benefit others for years to come anyway. Their value is not limited to a single disabled person.
And again, it is important to remember that obtaining benefits or accommodations for a disability is both a objectively long and complex process, and an emotionally stressful experience. It is almost never "easy", even if the formal barriers seem to be weak. It takes months, sometimes years after the onset or diagnosis of a disability to be approved fors services such as SSI and SSDI. And "huge percentages of applications are at least initially refused for "technical" or "medical" reasons. School and workplace accommodations also have shorter but often intrusive, even humiliating approval processes. A person with a disability may be invited to share and re-sharing personal health information that few would ever want to reveal to strangers by choice. Unfortunately, there is often little practical and emotional difference between arguing for a specific accommodation and essentially begging for one.
In addition, due to an often intense internalization of ableism and outside of social pressures, people with disabilities are more likely to give up asking for help unnecessarily than asking for too much help. peopleDisabled people are reluctant to seek help. There is much more risk of a person with a disability being fired from a job or dropping out of school because they cannot bring themselves to ask for help than a person with a disability. disabled person who gets one or two small perks or adjustments that they may not specifically deserve. Even in the most forgiving and streamlined systems, it costs people with disabilities every time they have to seek help.
Making the lives of people with disabilities in the hope of Stop Meaningless "abuse" by non-disabled people is ineffective and cruel. There is little to no downside to making most accommodation for people with disabilities easy to obtain for students, employees and customers. Just think of it as another way to help students and employees thrive and perform at their best, and to encouragebetter customer service.
The same goes when a person with a disability talks about being discriminated against. It can be extremely tempting to separate these stories and make things better by refuting them. But unless it is really your job to judge the situation, reward the damage and inflict punishment, why not just believe them? If a person with a disability is a little or a lot wrong about disability discrimination, there is still little harm in just listening and giving support. discrimination than you are. Most people with disabilities are probably more honest and knowledgeable in general than you might think. Whether they are or not is probably not for you to decide. And it is almost never a mistake to relax and give people with disabilities the benefit of the doubt.