Physician Assisted Suicide and Its Impact on the Disabled

Q: Does physician-assisted suicide devalue disabled people’s lives?

Arizona Social security disability attorneys are devoted to helping disabled people obtain benefits when a physical or mental disability strikes through unexpected illness or injury.

Qualifying for disability benefits is the first step in accessing them. The federal government offers two different disability benefits programs that, while different in many ways, are similar in recognizing that those who meet the government’s definition of “disabled” are entitled to benefits to ease the financial burden their disability may bring. The government considers a person disabled if they are suffering from a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activity and the impairment has lasted or is expected to last a year or more or result in death.

Applying for disability benefits can be a complicated process with denials and appeals dragging it out further. For that reason, many people seek the help of a Social Security disability attorney whose experience may help avoid pitfalls and expedite the process. The whole philosophy behind disability benefits is to help support those with disabilities and contribute to a better quality of life through this government safety net.

Currently, there are only a handful of states that allow physician-assisted suicide. New York is currently considering legalizing the practice. Disability rights activists are understandably, strongly opposed to the idea.

The major arguments against physician-assisted suicide range from philosophical to practical. First, the suggestion that acquiring a disability at some point in life is a reason to end your life “devalues” disabled people’s lives.

In addition, there is the worry of “external influences” that might pressure disabled people or their caretakers into physician-assisted suicide. Many so-called “able-bodied” people fear that an illness or injury may make them have to rely on others for their basic care or they worry about the financial impact their long-term care may have on their loved ones, especially in the absence of long-term disability insurance.

So far, at least in New York’s debate, the current law against physician-assisted suicide seems safe with its highest court ruling that legalizing physician-assisted suicide “would induce undue pressure on terminal patients to end their lives”.

Disability rights advocates say the focus should be on making support and services more accessible so disabled people can live a better quality, dignified life, rather than providing an option to end it that’s based on fear and financial pressures.

If you or a loved one needs help applying for disability benefits or appealing the denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent disabled people and their families throughout Arizona.