COVID-19 molecules.

Potential Roadblocks to COVID-19 Treatment for the Disabled

Q: Will the disabled be passed over if COVID-19 treatment resources are limited?

Disability attorneys of Arizona are dedicated to helping disabled people get the disability benefits they deserve. 

Applying for Social Security disability benefits is generally a time-consuming and complex process in which approximately 2/3 of initial applications get denied. So, many people opt to hire a skilled attorney to handle their application—or to appeal a denial of social security disability benefits–in the hopes of expediting the process. It can be stressful to handle the application and appeals process alone and, sadly, some applicants have died before they were able to access their benefits. 

Now, the disabled have a new-found fear—COVID-19. 

The government-mandated social distancing requirements of COVID-19 have already impacted some disabled people’s access to direct support professionals whom they rely on for things such as transportation to regular medical and other appointments, access to groceries and medication, bathing, cooking, cleaning and more. 

But the biggest fear many disabled people have is that they will be passed over in favor of non-disabled COVID-19 patients when limited inventory forces doctors to choose who will get a ventilator and who must do without—and possibly die. 

This isn’t paranoia.

Disaster preparedness plans can discriminate against the disabled

Disability advocates claim the disaster preparedness plans in several states make those with intellectual disabilities like Autism, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy “a lower priority for life-saving treatment” and are discriminatory. The language of some state plans specifically “deprioritize the disabled” while other plans are vaguely written and leave the disabled vulnerable to an unfavorable interpretation. 

The emergency preparedness plan in Arizona directs doctors to “allocate resources to patients whose need is greater or whose prognosis is more likely to result in a positive outcome with limited resources”.

State laws regarding managing COVID-19 differ and can change on a moment’s notice. Parents and caretakers of non-verbal and/or intellectually disabled adults and children are panicking at the thought that strict bans on any visitors would leave their disabled loved ones alone, confused, frightened, unable to communicate or advocate for themselves in the event of a COVID-19-related hospitalization. This was the case in New York–the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in America– until disability advocates pressed the governor to enact an Executive Order allowing the disabled one companion/visitor. 

In a society where disabled people often are discriminated against and treated unfairly– intentionally or unintentionally–it is more important than ever for disability advocates to stay vigilant in protecting this vulnerable population. 

If you need assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits, appealing the denial of benefits, or have questions regarding any other disability benefits issue, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

From our offices in Tempe, Phoenix, and Tucson, we represent disabled clients and their families throughout Arizona in all aspects of disability law.