Issues Facing Writers with Disabilities

  • Some publishers may have the impression that people with disabilities canʹt write or meet deadlines, and that few people with disabilities buy books.
  • Magazines who hire writers with disabilities often don’t have budgets to pay much.
  • Publishers often expect writers with disabilities to write only about disability and yet they are also frequently reluctant to provide such writers with assistive equipment and special accommodations on book tours.
  • Writers supported by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may not be able to afford to attend courses or conferences, or to pay union dues. State departments of rehabilitation are often willing to retrain for other lower wage jobs but discourage self‐employment through freelance writing.
  • Some disabled writers cannot legally earn above very minimal amounts without losing medical, housing and personal assistance benefits. Social Security regulations are not clear about whether royalties count as income. Also, a writer on SSI or SSDI may win a research fellowship or publish a book that earns money, resulting in the potential loss of government aid for in‐home assistance and ventilator.
  • Confusing and nonstandard laws and policies can affect a writerʹs willingness to work for money or to fight for monetary and other rights. Such writers may fear “getting caught” at success that triggers a government re‐evaluation and the devastating consequence of a loss of benefits.