Tools You Can Use

The sections that follow contain more complete summaries of the sources of disability rights that PWPs and their caregivers typically inquire about, including what triggers those various rights, and how the rights to which you may be entitled from one of those sources maybe affected by, or coordinated with, the others. Each summary raises questions for you to consider, provides practice pointers to help you develop an approach that is right for your situation in order to maximize your enjoyment of your rights, and links you to valuable online resources that address these and other legal issues of interest to PWPs.

As a frame of reference for this information, here is an oversimplified chart of some of some key sources of legal rights and the various definitions of “disability” they apply, which you may wish to keep in mind in beginning to understand your legal situation.


Select Sources of Legal Rights Disability Trigger
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
(For Employment) Can you perform the essential duties of your job with or without reasonable accommodation?
Defined by the policy
Often starts with can you do your job (STD), and then shifts to can you do any job (LTD)?
Can you work?
Meeting the criteria for Parkinson’s described in SSA’s “Listing” of impairments severe enough to prevent any gainful activity; otherwise, an inquiry into “Can you work?”
Defined by the policy
Ranges from difficulties with daily living to need for nursing home care.


Content for this section provided by Mark Rubin, J.D.

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