The disabled, under Social Security, must generally prove they are unable to perform their prior jobs going back 15 years. To do this, individuals must show they cannot perform those jobs as they actually performed them or as the jobs are generally performed. Technology can make certain jobs easier to perform. For those who cannot adjust to their past work, or other work in the economy, disability is available.
Suzanne Robitaille writes about technology and its role in assisting those with disabilities in the workplace and general lifestyle. Her recent article “For the Disabled, More Power for Play” appears in BusinessWeek. She notes in her introduction that the new Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act that goes into effect in 2009 expands the number of disabilities previously recognized:
“Assistive technologies are prevalent in the workplace, but when people with disabilities gear up to have some fun their options are more limited. This may seem like an oversight, but it's not: Disability protections have mostly focused on boosting jobs for this group, and employer demands for computers, mouse alternatives, and similar assistive technologies have soared over the last decade.
With the New Year, the landscape will be altered—for the better—for the nation's 56 million disabled Americans. President Bush in September signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009. The act will expand on the original 1990 law to include more disabilities that affect "one or more major life activity," such as learning disorders, among many others. It will also clarify that a major life activity doesn't just include work. The act expands this definition to include communicating, reading, and other activities of central importance—such as plain old fun. The new requirements for businesses have not yet been spelled out."