Saturday, January 06, 2007

Social Security Disability and Internet access - the electronic divide

I don't have statistics regarding that part of the population that lacks access to the net, but I have no doubt that the numbers are significant as they concern the poor, particulary since so many aspects of everyday life are edging online (banking, news, access to public information, and simply being able to contact certain individuals and institutions and be contacted as well).

Here's an example of what I mean. I was speaking to my wife (who is a social security field office claims rep) and she asked me if I knew of any websites that offered information on free prescription medication. Reason: she had taken a disability application on someone and the applicant---as is the case with many applicants---no longer had access to health insurance coverage. Without health insurance, prescription forms can be pretty useless.

I told my wife to mention the site,, to the applicant. As I've posted before, Needy Meds seems to be a pretty useful resource for locating information on medication assistance programs that are offered by drug makers (on the site's homepage, look to the left and investigate the links under the heading "patient assistance programs").

Unfortunately, I found out later from my wife that her applicant did not have access to the net. Of course, this isn't surprising either. People apply for disability because they have a condition, or set of conditions, that impairs their ability to work and afford many amenities that are taken for granted, such as internet access. What did the applicant do? She told my wife that she would use her niece's computer to visit the site and search for information.

Situations like this, of course, make me wonder how much longer internet access can be considered a luxury option. Perhaps at some point, not too far off, everyone will be able to tap into free wireless, similar to broadcast radio and tv.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Do disabled children qualify for benefits?
Will the severity of a condition determine if you can get approved for disability ?
What you need to have when you file for disability


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