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Unacceptable barriers for disabled people; Preventing suicides among veterans; Vote for electrification law

Exposing unacceptable barriers to disability services in Oklahoma

The Disability Status Report conducted by Cornell University shows that the prevalence of disability in Oklahoma is as high as 16.1% of individuals of all ages, meaning that out of 3,880,800 individuals, 625,800 are affected are. It is unthinkable that the process of obtaining federal disability benefits and services in Oklahoma could take years, pushing Oklahoma’s most vulnerable residents into poverty, hopelessness and even homelessness.

The federal programs offered by the Social Security Administration, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI), often come with impossible wait times, depriving many individuals of the necessary resources to survive in desperate situations.

According to Jakab’s 2022 report, most initial disability claims in Oklahoma are denied 70% of the time, while reconsiderations are denied 91%. However, those denied reconsideration can request a hearing before an administrative law judge, with a 50% chance of approval that increases threefold if represented by an attorney. The average wait time for decisions varies, but it takes an average of six months to get an initial disability decision, and up to a year to appear at a hearing.

As someone living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I have witnessed the various challenges that people with disabilities face. The current process for federal disability services requires individuals to demonstrate disability status, resulting in long wait times to receive necessary services. This wait can be exacerbated by the lack of government services available to fill the gaps.

Oklahomans should be concerned that Social Security Administration requirements perpetuate the association between disability and poverty and demand that more resources be allocated to helping people through the application process so that applicants have the opportunity to thrive , and not just for survival.

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Taylor Orebaugh

Taylor Orebaugh

– Taylor Orebaugh, Edmond

Everyone can help prevent suicide among veterans

Too many veterans commit suicide even after seeking mental health care. The question that remains unanswered is why. As a military spouse, it is painful to watch my husband lose friends with whom he shared pivotal life moments while serving our country, not to mention that my husband has struggled with his own mental health at times. You would think that seeking mental health care would help to some extent, but the number of suicides and the number of people who have tried help somehow seems to be slipping through the cracks.

According to Veteran Affairs, an average of 17.5 veterans per day end their lives prematurely. In 2020, the most recent figures available reflect that suicide rates are 57.3% higher in the veteran community than among non-veterans. Only recently has the VA expanded access to mental health care at any VA or non-VA health care facility. I would consider this a huge win as those who know the VA from personal experience agree that the services provided and the wait times to be seen at a VA facility are downright frustrating.

There should no longer be the stigma associated with mental health care that currently attaches to it. Those fighting for our rights in this country see more than the average person will ever see, but have the hardest time reaching out for help because of the environment that comes with it. Interventions are available and are evidence-based for success.

I think the real question is how we can come together as a community to support our veterans who may be at risk. The answer is to recognize the symptoms, provide support and seek treatment as soon as symptoms arise. By spreading the word that treatment is more accessible than before, veterans can now seek treatment at ANY VA or NON-VA health facility. Help spread information to save lives and prevent destruction.

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– Nicole Staton, Choctaw

Would the vote in the 1930s have been ‘No’?

The Oklahoma Broadband Office recently approved a $374 million award to begin the process of bringing broadband internet service to underserved and unserved counties in Oklahoma. Mike Sanders, the agency’s executive director, estimated that another $797 million will be awarded in 2025, bringing broadband access to 57 counties. This is a very big problem for the rural parts of our state.

In his April 21 guest column in The Oklahoman, Mr. Sanders calls the infrastructure investment & jobs act’s broadband provisions “historic” and predicts that the act’s broadband provisions will have as much impact on rural America as the impact of the Rural Investment & Jobs Act. Electrification Act in the 1930s (Significantly, federal action then and now will have been the catalyst for economic progress.)

The infrastructure bill was passed by Congress three years ago with bipartisan support. But guess what. Every member of the Oklahoma Congressional delegation VOTED AGAINST this bill! It kind of makes you wonder how they would have voted on the electrification bill 88 years ago.

– Dick Howard, Edmond

Homelessness puts young people at greater risk for mental health and other problems

There is no reason why young people are homeless. Homelessness includes living in shelters, couch surfing, or living in a place that is not a person’s home. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in 2023 that approximately one in 30 youth ages 13 to 17 will experience homelessness each year. The 2019-2020 Homeless Children and Census Report found that Oklahoma had 14,720 children and youth through 12th grade experiencing homelessness. Some of these young people are with family, some are alone. Homelessness puts young people at greater risk for mental health problems, early pregnancy, substance abuse, learning disabilities and more.

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There have been studies showing that screening youth for the risks of homelessness is helpful because they can receive services and resources to help them continue to have stable housing. For young people experiencing homelessness along with their families, having sufficient affordable housing would be a start toward reducing homelessness. Oklahoma needs more resources to help people while they are homeless, and resources once they get stable housing to help them maintain it. We also need to make sure we get information about the resources we have in Oklahoma to the people who need them.

— Rhonda Wheeler, Yukon

Which book should we follow?

About “Corporal punishment is not core to our faith”, published on May 5 in Viewpoints:

This is a well-written article, but it is confusing as to which manuscript Christians should follow: the Holy Bible or the United Methodist Book of Resolutions.

The author expresses concern that when Scripture is quoted, Christians may interpret it as a rallying cry. He also states, “We all have our own interpretations of the most powerful words in history – the Bible.” The Bible is not a historical document, but the inerrant word of God.

The greatest area of ​​uncertainty is when Bishop James G. Nunn declares that the United Methodist Book of Resolutions contains the wisdom of Christ-followers from diverse cultures and backgrounds around the world and suggests that the ancient Scriptures should be read in the context of contemporary society. . Bishop Nunn inferred that the United Methodist Book of Resolutions has placed itself on an equal footing with God’s Word and that when events or circumstances are not in accordance with His Word, they are adjusted to suit the current circumstances.

It seems that the Bible was not relevant until thousands of years ago and now man will revise the inerrant and inerrant Word of God.

Sadly, many churches have left their first love, which can have eternal consequences.

– Steve and Donna Satterwhite, Midwest City

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Homeless Youth; Barriers for Disabled People to Help; Preventing Veterinarian Suicide

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