Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

Our Membership Community

Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

Ask Us

United Spinal’s Ask Us program connects you with information, resources, and access to our “Ask Us Spinal Cord Central” help center. Browse the Knowledge Books below for answers to your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for just Ask Us and one of our knowledgeable staff will provide you with answers.

United Spinal Association

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United Spinal Association is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all people living with a spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D).

United Spinal members. Two children, one woman and a young man who are all wheelchair users are interacting with each other.

How You Can Help

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Membership in United Spinal Association Is Free & Open To All

Become A Member
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  • “Ask Us” Priority Advice and Guidance
  • Priority Veterans Benefits Counseling
  • Participate In Local Chapter Activities
  • Get Peer Support
  • Receive New Mobility Membership Magazine
  • Access The National Spinal Network

The Latest

From Our Blog

Some Medicare Open Enrollment Facts

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks.

Handicapped Wasn’t Always Disabling?

Handicapped and its twin "handicap" have been in the American lexicon for some time now but not always with the disability inferences of today.

Erin Gildner: Passion and Purpose

Erin Gildner’s life was falling apart when, under the influence of alcohol, she wrecked her vehicle and found herself paralyzed. Her injury led her to public speaking, and that helped her find her passion for public health and the purpose she had been lacking.

United Spinal Updates

Survey to Advance Research on Intermittent Catheterization

Take part in a 20-minute survey on bladder voiding for adults who use intermittent catheterization. Your participation will provide insight into the quality of life, health, and product needs of people requiring this method of bladder voiding.

Veterans Day 2017

In recognition of Veteran’s Day, United Spinal Association would like to take a moment to thank the men and women who have bravely defended our freedom.

Accessible Parking and Placard Abuse National Survey

Accessible parking abusers have severely affected the quality of life of people with disabilities, including thousands of wheelchair users.

Peer Mentoring

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Find a peer mentoring group.

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Advocacy & Public Policy

United Spinal is actively involved in advocating for benefits and regulations that are beneficial to paralyzed Americans and all people with disabilities. We encourage everyone to get involved and be an advocate and activist. We can and will facilitate change by joining together and speaking as one.

Sign Up For Advocacy Alerts
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1 – Access to Quality Affordable Healthcare

United Spinal advocates for policies which assure people with disabilities receive quality affordable healthcare that meet their needs.

Medical equipment, therapy and prescription drugs

  • Ensure increased access to needed durable medical equipment, medical supplies and related services, prescription drugs and outpatient therapies.

Insurance coverage

  • Support improved coverage for prescription drugs, habilitative and rehabilitative benefits and other consumer protection including insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and the prohibition of discrimination based on an individual’s health status or diagnosis.

Medical and scientific data

  • Monitor current and emerging medical and scientific information related to the health and well-being of all persons living with SCI/D. Work to ensure that all persons living with SCI/D have access to every opportunity that improves their health and quality of life.

CORE BELIEF 2 – Independent Living, Employment and Self-Sufficiency

United Spinal supports policies that allow adults and young people living with disabilities to maximize their independence and remain active in their communities. Individuals with disabilities must have equal access to affordable, accessible housing and transportation; opportunities for competitive, integrated employment; and self-sufficiency through improved income security.

Housing

  • Support policies that increase access to affordable, accessible housing for all.

Transportation Equity

  • Support local and federal policies that create affordable, accessible transportation options for all. Support policies that promote compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and continue efforts to promote and ensure pedestrian safety.

Employment, Self-sufficiency and Income Security

  • Support increased opportunities for access to competitive, integrated employment, income generation, asset-building and community integration.

Independent Living

  • Support and expand coverage for long-term services and supports.

CORE BELIEF 3 – Consumer-Directed Quality Health Care and Community Integration

United Spinal promotes policies that establish consumer-directed quality health care and community integration. Individuals with disabilities must have access to community-based services and supports and customized care that best meets their needs and facilitates their independence and community engagement.

Home and Community-Based Services and Supports

  • Advance the use of home and community-based services (HCBS). Provide opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services in their own homes or communities.

Delivery of Care

  • Promote best practices for delivery of care based on individual choice, person-centered planning, consumer self-direction while enhancing personal financing options.

CORE BELIEF 4 – Preservation of Social Security Benefits

Social Security Disability Benefits/Supplemental Security Income

  • Advocate for policies that improve, simplify, and update social security disability (SSDI) benefits for individuals with disabilities and supplemental security income (SSI) to individuals with disabilities with limited income.

Employment

  • Maximize employment opportunities for current and future beneficiaries.

Disability Benefit Determinations

  • Work to ensure that claimants receive their disability benefits as quickly as possible.

Social Security Administration Funding

  • Support adequate funding of the Social Security Administration for personnel and service needs.

CORE BELIEF 5 – Protect the Rights of People with Disabilities

United Spinal believes that discrimination against individuals with disabilities that produces barriers to housing, employment, transportation, health care and other programs and services must be eliminated. Without protections provided through the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Air Carriers Access Act, and other similar laws, individuals with disabilities are restricted from participating fully in society and living active, productive, independent lives with access to employment, educational and social opportunities as is their right.

National Disability Rights
Protect and advance the requirements and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities to access services and participate in their communities.

International Disability Rights
Promote the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act to nations around the world to increase the ability of individuals with disabilities to travel, work, and live abroad thus enhancing their quality of life.

Reading Room

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New Mobility Magazine

April 2016 New Mobility Cover

Our Award Winning Membership Magazine

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September 2016 New Mobility Cover

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