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.
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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

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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

Updates

Harsh Thakkar – Rebuilding Identity

A gunshot left Harsh Thakkar paralyzed and changed the course of his life. Wheelchair basketball helped him get back on track. Now he works at National Rehab Hospital in Washington, D.C., trying to help others do the same.

Roll on Capitol Hill: Six Years Old and Counting

This year the Roll on Capitol Hill will be different for United Spinal Association, as we are facing both new challenges and new opportunities on a whole range of policy issues with a new presidential administration.

Wheelchair Users Can Avoid the Accessible Air Travel Blues

Knowing your accessible air travel rights can save you a great deal of time and grief during the busy spring travel season.

Peer Mentor Program Forges Lifelong Friendships and New Opportunities

Marcela Turnage and Kimberly Wooden formed an amazing friendship thanks to United Spinal Association’s Peer Mentor program.

United Spinal Calls for Affordable Care Act Replacement Plan that Protects Americans with Disabilities

United Spinal’s president and CEO James Weisman sent a letter to President Trump requesting that he ensures a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

A New Year With New Challenges

With a new Presidential Administration coming on board, we face both new challenges and opportunities on a whole range of public policy issues.

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.

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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