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Disability Rap – January 2, 2023

Social Security Increases and Medi-Cal Expansion

In October, the Social Security Administration announced that it would institute an 8.7 percent increase in all Social Security cash benefits and Supplemental Security Income. This cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, which takes effect this month, is meant to counter the soaring cost of everyday expenses due to inflation. For people on fixed income, as many people who receive Social Security or SSI are, this increase will help them continue to put food on their table and pay their bills. This is Social Security’s largest COLA increase since 1981 and it will impact over 72 million Americans.

This got us thinking about other government benefit programs here in California that are either increasing benefits and services for people with disabilities and older adults or expanding eligibility criteria to enable more people to qualify.

Click here to listen to the show and/or read the transcript.

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Disability Rap – December 5, 2022

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First Center for Independent Living

On today’s show, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Independent Living Center in the world, founded in 1972 by UC Berkeley students. Joe Xavier, Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation, tells us how California is leading the way in creating a more accessible, equitable workforce, and why that matters to people with disabilities across the state. Former US Congressmember Tony Coelho talks about how growing up with a disability led him to sponsor the ADA. And we hear voices from the Independent Living Street Festival in Berkeley on October 22.

Click here to listen to the show and/or read the transcript.

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Disability Rap – November 7, 2022

Samuel Habib’s ‘My Disability Roadmap’

Transitioning from high school to adulthood is a big deal – even more so for young people with disabilities. Not content with merely trailblazing an accessible future, Samuel Habib decided to create a documentary film about his journey. On today’s show, we hear from Samuel and his co-director, Dan Habib, about their film, My Disability Roadmap, and their hopes for the future.

Click here to listen to the show and/or read the transcript.

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Disability Rap – October 3, 2022

Voting Access Across the Country

With the midterm elections five weeks away, we spend today’s show looking at voting access for people with disabilities across the country. People with disabilities make up one fifth of the US population, or roughly 66 million people, and yet only 17.7 million people with disabilities voted in this country in 2020. While that was a significant increase over 2016, we wanted to find out what some of the main barriers are that people with disabilities face when trying to exercise our right to vote. We’ll look right here in California and also look at Texas and Wisconsin, where recent laws and court orders have restricted access to the ballot box for voters with disabilities.

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Disability Rap – September 5, 2022

CalOES’s Vance Taylor on Emergency Preparedness

As we enter fire season here in the Sierra Nevada foothills, we spend today’s show with L. Vance Taylor, who leads the Office of Access and Functional Needs in the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. We invited Vance on the show to talk about how the increasing risk of wildfire and other natural disasters here in California is impacting people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. We’ll also hear what CalOES is doing to support our community before, during, and after emergencies.

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Disability Rap – August 1, 2022

Celebrating Disability Pride

July was Disability Pride Month, and to celebrate, we bring you a conversation between two women executives with significant disabilities at the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). Ana Acton, the former Executive Director of FREED and former Disability Rap host, is now DOR’s Deputy Director of Independent Living and Community Access Division. Last month, she sat down with Kim Rutledge, the Deputy Director of Legislation and Communications at DOR, for a wide-ranging conversation about disability, disability pride, and self-acceptance. This month on Disability Rap, we air an extended version of their conversation.

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Disability Rap – June 6, 2022

California’s Voice Options Program

On today’s show, we focus on resources here in California for people who are unable to speak or whose speech may be difficult to understand. Through the Voice Options program, eligible Californians who are unable to speak or who have difficulty speaking can receive a free speech-generating device. They can also test out various speech-generating apps in order to know which app is best for them.

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Disability Rap – April 4, 2022

Calls to Expand Long Term Services and Supports in California and Nationwide

Calls to expand Long Term Services and Supports are growing here in California, in Washington, D.C., and across the country. For people who may be unfamiliar with the term, Long Term Services and Supports, or LTSS, is an umbrella term that encompasses all the supports people with disabilities and older adults need in order to live independently in the community of their choice.

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Disability Rap – March 7, 2022

Immunocompromised People Left Behind As Covid-19 Restrictions Are Lifted

As mask mandates and other Covid-19 precautions are being relaxed across the country, we look at a group of people who are being left behind as the country races to return to a pre-pandemic normal. There are 7 million people in the US with compromised immune systems, making up just under 3% of the population. For many of these people, the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from Covid-19 is substantially higher than it is in the general population, and since their immune systems are compromised, they are at much higher risk of contracting the virus, even if they are vaccinated and boosted. On the show, we hear what immunocompromised people are experiencing at this stage of the pandemic and hear what they are calling for now.