Disability and Health in New York State

Health Care Provider Continuing Education Opportunities

People with disabilities experience health disparities and are more likely to self-report their health status as “fair” or “poor.” Providers can help recognize barriers and acquire strategies and approaches to provide disability-competent, responsive care. These continuing education opportunities and resources can help.

NEW Public Health Training Available - Disability Etiquette

Learn more and enroll for free in the Disability Etiquette Training Course.

At some point in their life, almost everyone will have a disability. It may last for a short time or be permanent.

People can be born with a disability or get one later from illness or injury.

  • More than 1 in 4 or 27% of New York State adults have one or more disabilities.
  • People with disabilities are more likely than people without a disability to have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Emergency Preparedness

Being prepared means planning ahead. Making sure you are safe before, during, and after and emergency or natural disaster is important. People with disabilities may be especially vulnerable during and after emergencies. Here are some tips and strategies to help you plan for these situations:

  • Create your personal support network. This is your "self-help" team. These are the people who know your needs and are willing to help in an emergency.
  • Complete a personal assessment. This includes any assistance you may need before, during, or after an emergency. Think about personal care, daily medications, service animal needs, and adaptive devices and equipment that require electricity.
  • Make an emergency plan. Share your assessment with your personal support network, make an emergency plan and practice emergency evacuation drills.

For further information please visit the NYS Office of Health Emergency Preparedness.

Taking Care of Your Health

You can be healthy with a disability. Being healthy means the same thing for everyone – getting and staying well so you can live a full life. The first step to being healthy is having a good relationship with each of your health care providers.

When looking for a health care provider, ask for suggestions from people you trust. Your insurance company may also be able to give you a list of health care providers near you.

  • See where your health care provider's office is located. Can you easily get there? For example, is it on the bus line?
  • Is the practice open when you need it? How does it handle off-hours questions and emergencies?
  • Are other services offered at the practice, such as lab tests, X-rays, and MRIs?
  • Ask the provider if they can help you with specific needs:
    • Can they help you fill out forms or transfer to an exam table?
    • Do they have adjustable exam tables?
    • Can they help arrange for transportation if appointments run late?

Ask questions and look until you find the best provider and practice for you.

Speak Up for Yourself

Be informed. Ask questions.

You play an important role in your health care. You will be better able to manage your care and get well faster if you know how to stand up for yourself.

Skills needed to advocate for yourself:

  • Be prepared to ask questions.
  • Learn to solve your own problems. Make your own decisions. If you need help, ask someone you trust to help you.
  • Understand your disability and the care you need.
  • Know how to fully describe your disability to your health care provider.
  • Prepare to talk to your health care provider about your symptoms and health concerns. Take along a list of questions for your provider to answer.
  • Know how much your disability affects you. This will help you and provider decide what help you need if you're sick or injured.

Disability and Health Publications

Disability Data and Statistics

Disability Benefits

The Department of Health does not provide disability benefits.

If you get sick or injured when you're not at work, the NY State Insurance Fund Disability Benefits can help: www.nysif.com. You may qualify to receive money for a short period of time. You may also qualify if you have a disability from being pregnant.

Were you injured on the job? You may be eligible for Workers' Compensation coverage.Learn more by visiting the NYS Worker's Compensation Board website: www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Workers/Workers.jsp You may also call them, toll-free at:1-800-353-3092.

Visit Social Security for information on their programs. Find out if you are eligible for Social Security benefits and apply for Social Security Disability benefits.