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Edward Mitchell is 34 years old and lives in Jackson, Tennessee, with a spinal cord injury caused by a hit-and-run accident that happened when he was 17. He has plenty of expenses that all Americans have, like groceries and utilities. But to maintain his independence, he also has to pay for home modifications to accommodate his wheelchair, personal nursing care, dictation tools to help him write, and adjustments to his car so he can drive himself to work.

He is just one of the 20 million working-age adults living with disabilities in the US, for whom it takes more money to make ends meet because of the additional expenses they face every day.

Stephen McGarity
Stephen McGarity

Stephen McGarity, assistant professor of social work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, along with colleagues at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University, estimated the amount of extra costs associated with living with a disability for Americans ages 18 to 69 years old.

Using data from four nationally representative surveys, they found that adults with disabilities require, on average, 28 percent more income to achieve the same standard of living as a household of the same size and income where no one has disabilities—and that’s on top of what is already covered and provided by government programs offering disability benefits. At the median US income level, that amounts to an additional $17,690 a year. Each person’s exact costs will vary depending on which disabilities they have and the specific expenses they face. Read the full article on The Conversation.

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Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,