United Spinal’s programs and services enable people living with SCI/D to pursue rewarding careers. They give members the opportunity to discover new hobbies and get more involved in their communities––while others find motivation to challenge the status quo through self-advocacy.
Travel Made Easy
In its effort to address the common headaches travelers with disabilities encounter when using travel agencies unfamiliar with booking accessible accommodations, United Spinal created its Able to Travel program. Able to Travel meets all the accessibility needs of business and leisure travelers with disabilities, including air travel, transportation, cruises, tours and excursions, hotel accommodations, and access to vital medical equipment.
One important component to our membership Web site (http://www.spinalcord.org) is Spinal Cord Central, which offers valuable resources and an extensive e-library of knowledge books for people with SCI/D, their families and friends, health care professionals, direct service providers, and businesses focused on serving this community. Our experienced information specialists understand all aspects of living with SCI/D. They are dedicated to helping visitors to the site find the resources and solutions that they’re looking for, whether their intent is locating information on their own, seeking expert assistance, or finding a friendly port in a stormy situation.
Push for More!
People with disabilities have had limited freedom when choosing equipment critical to their quality of life and independence due to government and health insurance company restrictions. One of United Spinal’s newest programs, UsersFirst, advocates for improved access to seating and mobility equipment and denounces the long-established “one-size-fits-all” mentality when it comes to the selection of wheelchairs and other mobility devices. UsersFirst ensures people with disabilities nationwide have access to equipment that’s right for them, so they can live the lives they choose.
Serving America’s Veterans
United Spinal is committed to serving our nation’s veterans and their family members in obtaining the benefits and services they desperately need and deserve. Our VetsFirst program advocates for all generations of veterans, including individuals living with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. VetsFirst’s network of National Service Officers provides free assistance, resources, and representation for veterans struggling to navigate the intricate and often confusing VA claims process. The program connects with over 2,000 veterans annually through its call center and online help desk. Staff tackles each case individually, taking the time to discuss self-help tips and assist with questions on military separation, claims appeals, and state benefits.
Bringing You Up to Code
United Spinal’s Accessibility-Services program ensures that the built environment is accessible to all people with disabilities, from wheelchair-users to those who use canes, walkers, and scooters. Our certified specialists, plan examiners, attorneys, architects and code enforcement officials maintain the highest accessibility standards as key consultants on projects big and small, including arenas, sports venues, museums, residential projects, and concert halls.
We’re Mobile, So You Can Be Too
Many of United Spinal’s members pursue active lifestyles. Over 30 years ago, we established our Wheelchair Medic program to keep our members’ wheelchairs and other mobility equipment functioning as good as new. One of the largest mobility equipment repair programs in the nation, Wheelchair Medic operates a fleet of repair vehicles that provides door-to-door service in the Greater New York City area, taking the hassle out of transporting broken equipment to repair shops.
It’s All About Choices
USA Techguide, United Spinal’s Web hub exclusively dedicated to sharing information on the latest wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and assistive technology choices receives over 50,000 visitors per month. It’s the first place many people with disabilities stop before purchasing new gear. Visitors can read and submit reviews on wheelchairs, mobility scooters, cushions and standing devices, as well as search for all types of assistive equipment.
“Ask Us” is a direct service delivery tool used by many of our programs to increase United Spinal’s public outreach efforts. It offers members and other people with disabilities an opportunity to submit their questions through a fast and easy online form. Serving over 5,500 individuals annually, Ask Us makes it convenient to obtain information and guidance without having to search the Web or make phone calls. Unlike other online support desks that offer automated, canned replies, Ask Us takes a much more unconventional and personal approach in responding to all inquiries. Knowledgeable staff members are the driving force behind the program, offering timely feedback on a multitude of disability-related issues.