Familiarize yourself with the names and numbers of national and local legal protection groups, which work to provide advice, materials, and support.
Your local healthcare navigator agency can be found on HealthCare.gov by entering your ZIP code.
- Massachusetts: In addition to providing healthcare navigator services, Health Care For All also connects people to legal representation through its sister organization Health Law Advocates.
Your local disability protection and advocacy entity can be found by going to National Disability Rights Network’s website and looking for the map in the upper right corner of the page labeled “Find Help In Your State”.
- Massachusetts: The Disability Law Center
- rural areas throughout the U.S.: Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Your local Independent Living Center (peer-run disability rights organization) can be found through the Independent Living Resource Utilization (ILRU)’s directory. Most ILCs do not have lawyers on staff, but they can help with benefits issues (including healthcare, SSI, SNAP, EAEDC, etc.) and connect you to other resources.
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) provides support and advocacy for people living with mental illnesses and their friends and families.
Other location-specific resources:
- Boston – The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
- California – Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
- North Carolina – NC Statewide Independent Living Council (NCSILC)
- Washington – Disability Rights Washington
If you are on a federal employee health plan or a publicly-provided plan such as MassHealth (or an ACA-created plan), expedite what healthcare you can and explore backup insurance options.
Official Department of Education policy on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans is likely to change under the Trump administration. For example, more policies may be set at the state, rather than federal level. The Federation for Children with Special Needs can provide (or connect you with) IEP advocacy and assistance if you need it.
For more information on current disability-related education policy, see DREDF’s comparison of ADA, IDEA, and Section 504.
If you haven’t already – find an online support group:
- Most support groups have an online element or discussion board.
- Many support groups are based on particular disease, disorder, or illness or a disability type.
- More and more of these groups are integrating with social networking sites like Facebook, often forming Closed (Private) Groups to maintain privacy.
- Support groups enable people with disabilities to commiserate, share insight, and most importantly share tips, tricks, and resources—everything from legal advice to doctor lists to non-medical advice that facilitates accessibility and beyond.
Online Support Groups:
- Invisible Disabilities Association
- National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)’s Find Patient Organization page lists more than rare disorders groups.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has a directory of chapters and support groups