Friday, April 30, 2010

Working While Disabled

The U.S. Social Security Administration has some useful information for those who wish to learn about working while being disabled. Here are some snippets from that website:
If you are getting disability benefits, we have good news for you. Social Security’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs can help you if you are interested in working.

Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.

And, if you cannot continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again—you may not have to file a new application.

Work incentives include:

* Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;
* Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and
* Help with education, training and rehabilitation to start
a new line of work.

To learn more, visit:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Handicapped vs. Disabled

Some may use these terms interchangeably. Handicapped vs. Disabled. Is there a difference? Is one politically correct?

Here's what Villanova University has to say about this matter:

A disability is a condition caused by an accident, trauma, genetics or disease which may limit a person’s mobility, hearing, vision, speech or mental function. Some people have more than one disability.

A handicap is physical or attitudinal constraint that is imposed upon a person, regardless of whether that person has a disability. A set a stairs would be a handicap for a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair.

According to, one difference between the two terms is political correctness. Society views the term "disabled" as a politically correct way of saying "handicapped." If you want to be politically correct in your language and are not interested in the subtle difference between these two terms, use "disabled."

There used to be a society called the American Society for Handicapped Physicians (ASHP) and I've tried everything to reach them, but I haven't had any luck. If anyone knows anything about this organization, please contact us.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A journal entry: a physician with depression

This is a guest post from an anonymous disabled physician who wishes to share a journal entry:

October 12 2009

Today I went to the dermatologist to have a recurrence of the basal cell carcinoma removed from my arm. Dr. C is a wonderful, kind, a brilliant devoutly Christian dermatologist who is also beautiful tall long and lean. In the past I honestly have felt slightly jealous of her. Her beauty, her thinness, her ability to have excelled in medical school and her residency enough to get her a place in a highly competitive dermatological residency.

I am kept 45 minutes longer in the waiting room than in previous visits. The nurse finally comes to place me in a room. She asks me about any new medications changes. I shamefully tell her about the three new medications I am on for depression. Interestingly the nurse does not look at me with a sort of thinly veiled disgust when I mention these new meds. I show the nurse my new cancer and then tell her that my hair has been falling out in clumps and my nails are thin splitting and frail. She leaves the room.

In comes Dr. C, I am shocked. Is this the same person I have seen on so many visits before? She is a shadow of herself, cachexic looking with her face, chest and abdomen sunken in. Her clothing seems baggy. Her hair is dull, she is pale haggard looking, no smile today just a face made old by the look of some sort of existential pain. She seems slightly confused. The nurse gently guides her. She asks for my complaints. She looks at my arm and then my hair and nails. She then asks if I am on a diet or have started new meds. She looks on the medication list. She says “all these medications for depression? There are so many”. There is a sense of panic in her voice. I tell her this is my fourth distinct episode of depression and it is being much harder to control. I tell her I have been this ill for awhile now. She looks at me and says "I am very depressed too". She tells me that her husband and she are in therapy after 19 years of marriage. She says it is helping her husband more than her. She looks away at the floor and seems slowed down. The sadness in the room is palpable. Her nurse returns and redirects her. She goes to work shaving off and cauterizing the cancer from my arm. This she does well like her usual self.

Things you need to know about disability insurance

This is a guest article by Donald Brown D.O.

Things you need to know about disability insurance

Your need for disability insurance is greater than your need for life insurance. Most people have no problem purchasing life insurance yet they hesitate to purchase disability insurance. Physicians like anyone else are not invincible. 43% of all people age 40 will experience a long-term disability event before age 65 (JHA Disability Fact Book, 2006)

Without a disability plan in place, will you be able to maintain your standard of living if you are not working? Can your family survive on one income when most families struggle with two people employed? How long before your savings are decimated?

Student loans are a concern for physicians who are just starting out. These loans are not discharged in the event of bankruptcy. Paying them off or expiring are two ways to eliminate them. You are responsible for them even if you are disabled. states on their web site that loans may be "discharged" if you are disabled. They continue to state that even if you qualify for social security disability (extremely difficult to qualify for) you may not qualify for "discharge", and it will take a minimum of three years due to Federal Regulations, during which time you are still responsible for the debt.

Monday, April 19, 2010

100 Days to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

Countdown to the 20th Anniversary of the ADA: Day 98 - Preparing the Workplace for Everyone: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities in the Workplace

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was the site of domestic terrorism when it was bombed by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Out of this senseless tragedy came legislation addressing the protection of federal buildings and workplaces. As we remember the events of that sad day, let us take the opportunity to ensure that in an emergency everyone - including individuals with disabilities - knows what to do and has been considered in the plan to get all occupants to safety.

Preparing the Workforce for Everyone
( provides guidelines that individuals, employers and emergency managers can use to create inclusive emergency preparedness plans for their workplace. Developed by an interagency council of federal agencies, the guide includes some of the best methods being used in the federal government to ensure that the needs of all individuals are considered during an emergency.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

International Conference on Physician Health

International Conference on Physician Health
Physician Health and Resiliency in the 21st Century
3-5 October 2010
Swissotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Hosted by the American Medical Association (AMA) in conjunction with the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Visit for more information.


ePhysicianHealth is an online health and wellness resource designed to help physicians and medical students "be resilient in their personal and professional lives."

American Society of Handicapped Physicians

We are looking for active members of the American Society of Handicapped Physicians (ASHP) to learn more about this organization. The ASHP does not currently have a website and we have not had any luck contacting this organization. If anyone is an active member or has received information from the ASHP recently, please contact us.

It is our hope to collaborate with the American Society of Handicapped Physicians and to provide disabled physicians with valuable resources and tools.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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