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How To Get Through The Moving Process When You Have A Disability

There more than 40 million people with a disability in the U.S., and despite struggles with climbing stairs, walking, and self-care, many individuals successfully live in an independent home — not assisted living — environment. Regardless of abilities, moving from one home to another is never a simple or easy process, and having a disability presents extra challenges. 
If you have a move on the horizon, here are some considerations to ensure the transition is a smooth one. 

The Buying Process

There are plenty of general moving resources available to guide you through everything from home economics to making an offer to getting a home inspection —  but don’t overlook the means of assistance specific to your disability. There are funding programs and housing and transportation resources designed to help you pay and plan for your move. 

Home Accessibility Needs To Consider

It’s unlikely your new home will perfectly fit your disability, so do a thorough assessment for important details such as countertop height, needs for ramps and/or stair lifts, hallway width, accessibility to the kitchen and laundry area, and how easy it is to open doors. Choosing a single-level home like a bungalow or ranch can alleviate a lot of roadblocks. If you’re renting, talk to your potential landlord about what changes are needed. While it’s generally the responsibility of the tenant to pay for renovations, by law a landlord isn’t allowed to refuse them. 

Apply For Financial Aid

This is a crucial step because organizations like ADAPT, AUCD, and the National Institute on Life Planning for People with Disabilities can assist with the financial side of securing reliable movers and packing and unpacking services through grant-based programs. Make sure to have your ducks in a row before contacting them — make a list of everything you’re requiring assistance for, to include any potential adaptations your new home may need after doing the assessment process. 

Change Of Address Checklist 

Along with forwarding your mail through the post office, make sure you change your address with the important people in your personal and professional life. Note that it may take a couple of weeks for an address to change in the system, so try to do this as early as possible.  

  • Government Agencies: IRS, voter registration, Social Security, citizen and immigration services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department/Registry of Motor Vehicles
  • Insurance: Health, dental, life, care, homeowners
  • Employer: Tax forms, paycheck, etc.
  • Finances: Bank/credit union, student loans, credit card, financial aid, investment
  • Utilities and Home Services: Gas, water, power, internet/cable, garbage, cell phone, cleaning service, lawn care
  • People: Doctors (don’t forget prescriptions), dentist, vet, lawyer, babysitter, family, friends
  • Memberships and Subscriptions: Church, charitable organizations, magazines/newspapers, school, clubs

Plan Ahead For Disability Benefits And Services

While you don’t need to re-apply for your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), like other government agencies, you do have to let them know you’ve changed your address. Benefits might change if you are moving to a different state based on what supplemental insurances are offered. If you currently use a local disability service, make sure you research what your options will be in your new neighborhood so you can take care of any necessary paperwork in advance — the city government or local housing authority can point you in the right direction. 

Moving is a stressful process, but creating an organized plan with the resources available to you can save you time, money, and stress. Having the moral support of your friends and family is also key, so consider throwing a packing or move-in day party to give you an opportunity to destress while receiving a helping hand. And while the transition will present challenges, in the end it will all be worth it once you’re settled in your new home. 

This guest post was written and contributed by Patrick Young and