According to a report released this spring by United Cerebral Palsy, the states with the best services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are largely found on the West and Northeast coasts. Each year, the group ranks the disability services provided in all 50 states plus Washington D.C.
Overall, Arizona was ranked as having the best services for the disabled and Mississippi was ranked as having the worst, for the seventh year in a row. Other states that ranked high included California, Oregon, New Hampshire and Vermont. Interestingly, the rankings didn’t seem to establish a pattern with regard to state size or tax burdens.
Among other things, United Cerebral Palsy looked at each state’s tendency to promote independent living and productivity among disabled individuals. Overall, the report’s authors said that there is a growing trend nationally to offer support to disabled individuals who are members of local communities. In fact, 38 states indicated that 80 percent or more of people they serve with developmental disabilities live in the community as opposed to institutions.
However, the authors also said that the waiting lists for residential services for disabled individuals remain high in most of the country and many disabled individuals are still unemployed.
Luckily, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often able to qualify for government assistance in the form of Social Security Disability benefits. Even though the ultimate goal is often to lead an independent and productive life, these benefits are a lifeline for many individuals who cannot be gainfully employed because of their disabilities.
Source: Disability Scoop, “States Get Ranked On Disability Services,” Michelle Diament, May 3, 2013