Financial podcaster Farnoosh Torabi calls disability a “poverty trap” that ensnares millions of Americans. Even solidly middle-class people with disabilities face an uphill climb when it comes to building wealth and achieving financial independence. To illustrate the concept, Torabi featured the case of author Emily Black Rapp, a congenital lower-limb amputee. Despite holding advanced degrees and earning a good salary as a university professor, Rapp has had to contend with workplace discrimination, unstable insurance, high out-of-pocket medical costs, and other challenges that diminish her earning and spending power. Her prescription for changing the equation includes more inclusive workplaces, wage equity for people with disabilities, a stronger social safety net, better advocacy, and a push for cultural awareness.
Elsewhere in the news this week:
In an attempt to scratch out a beachhead in the global bionics industry, the Russian government has established a cluster of labs and factories on a remote sanctuary in the Sea of Japan called—not joking—Russky Island.
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that, under Worker Compensation regulations, an amputee who lost his leg on the job may be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for home accessibility improvements.
Amputee poet Jillian Weise describes her hiring by the Florida State University English department as “a foundational moment” for disability rights in higher education. “It’s time for a kind of revolution in creative writing, where disabled poets, memoirists, novelists, screenwriters, are not just accepted but invited and welcome,” she says.
Neurobionic researchers need to get out of their silos and work more collaboratively, according to three neurosurgeons at the University of Wisconsin. “Progress in the field has not been coordinated,” they write, “and this has limited the ability to serve patients’ needs and optimize their quality of life.
Missouri legislator Rasheen Aldridge, one of two lower-limb amputees in that body, is working to make health care more affordable for people with disabilities.
Here’s amputee designer Stephanie Thomas’s advice for how to make the fashion industry more disability-friendly: “Hire more models with disabilities. Hire disabled editors, photographers, publicists, and designers. Uplift our voices and listen to our thoughts.”
Who are the most interesting startups developing robotic arms? Analytics Insight magazine runs down its list of the top 10.