Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tax Benefits for Businesses Who Have Employees with Disabilities

This information is from the IRS website:

Businesses accommodating people with disabilities may qualify for some of the following tax credits and deductions. More detailed information may be found in the IRS publications referenced.

Disabled Access Credit

The Disabled Access Credit provides a non-refundable credit for small businesses that incur expenditures for the purpose of providing access to persons with disabilities. An eligible small business is one that that earned $1 million or less or had no more than 30 full time employees in the previous year; they may take the credit each and every year they incur access expenditures. Refer to Form 8826, Disabled Access Credit (PDF), for information about eligible expenditures.

Barrier Removal Tax Deduction

The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction encourages businesses of any size to remove architectural and transportation barriers to the mobility of persons with disabilities and the elderly. Businesses may claim a deduction of up to $15,000 a year for qualified expenses for items that normally must be capitalized. Businesses claim the deduction by listing it as a separate expense on their income tax return. Also, businesses may use the Disabled Tax Credit and the architectural/transportation tax deduction together in the same tax year, if the expenses meet the requirements of both sections. To use both, the deduction is equal to the difference between the total expenditures and the amount of the credit claimed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Disability isn't always permanent

I think it's important to emphasize that physical and mental disability isn't always permanent. Some health care professionals may be disabled temporarily due to an injury or some other major life event. If you have disability insurance, you may be covered for periods of temporary disability. It's important to remember that certain injuries may predispose you to future injury, so make sure you're very careful to avoid circumstances that will put you at risk for further injury.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

National Council on Disability Celebrates 35 Years of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The National Council on Disability (NCD) celebrates 35 years of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law designed to ensure a free and appropriate public education for every child with a disability.

Prior to the law's enactment, millions of students with disabilities were excluded from the public school system and were denied access to a public education. In 1975, Congress enacted and President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, one of the most important civil rights laws ever written. The central premise of this federal law, now known as IDEA, is that all children with disabilities have a federally protected civil right to a free appropriate public education that meets their education and related services needs in the least restrictive environment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

MIT engineers working on a new type of hearing aid

Findings from MIT scientists could lead to hearing aids that mimic the ear’s ability to focus on particular frequencies.

“We’ve incorporated into hearing aids everything we know about how sounds are sorted, but they’re still not very effective in problematic environments such as restaurants, or anywhere there are competing speakers,” says Dennis Freeman, MIT professor of electrical engineering, who is leading the research team. “If we knew how the ear sorts sounds, we could build an apparatus that sorts them the same way.”

In a 2007 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, Freeman and his associates A.J. Aranyosi and lead author Roozbeh Ghaffari showed that the tiny, gel-like tectorial membrane, located in the inner ear, coordinates with the basilar membrane to fine-tune the ear’s ability to distinguish sounds. Last month, they reported in Nature Communications that a mutation in one of the proteins of the tectorial membrane interferes with that process.

Read more here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How the iPad is helping the disabled

There's an inspiring story on the NY Times about the Apple iPad and a disabled boy named Owen Cain. The iPad is so easy to use because of its touch screen navigation. We're seeing the iPad used to help children with autism. We're seeing the iPad used to assist patients who have a variety of disabilities. We're seeing the iPad used to provide speech for those who can't speak.

It's great to see how technology is improving health care in new and novel ways.
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