Empty grocery store aisle

Improving Disabled People’s Access to Groceries in California

Q: How can the disabled access food and supplies during the lockdown period?

How to access Social Security disability benefits in California expeditiously is a challenge for both those who care for a loved one with a disability and those sidelined from working after an injury, illness, or accident rendered them disabled.

Because hiring a skilled Los Angeles disability benefits attorney requires no out-of-pocket costs, many people do so to increase the chances that their application for disability benefits will not be among the approximately 66% of initial applications that are routinely denied. But accessing disability benefits is merely one of many challenges for disabled people.

How COVID-19 impacts the disabled

In the face of lockdowns from a coronavirus global pandemic and the rampant number of cases of COVID-19, disabled people are facing life-altering and life-threatening situations including:

  • lack of access to their direct support staff and service providers;
  • threatened discrimination by medical providers rationing hospital ventilators;
  • increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions related to their disability;
  • increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to confinement in group homes;
  • inability to access food, groceries and other household supplies, and more.

Many disabled people in California are having difficulty obtaining food, groceries, and other household supplies. Those who relied on direct support staff and/or online delivery services for their shopping are vulnerable due to lack of access to brick and mortar stores and insufficient inventory of essential groceries and supplies among online shopping and/or delivery services.

In fact, the situation is so dire that it prompted disability advocacy organization, Disability Rights California, to contact grocery store CEOs proposing two solutions to help the disabled access needed items. The first solution addressed in-store accommodations and requested a special hour of shopping for immunocompromised/disabled people similar to the accommodation given to seniors who are over 60 years old.

The second solution addressed online orders with delivery services and the extensive delays–often of several weeks– in their ability to obtain necessary items. Because many disabled people do not have an option to leave home to shop, the DRC requested businesses “provide a checkbox option for higher-risk individuals to self-identify at the checkout to be prioritized for earlier delivery times”.

The letter was reportedly sent to over 25 state and national grocery store chains and other retailers, including but not limited to several dollar store chains, traditional and organic grocery stores, Walmart Target and Amazon. Hopefully, the requested solutions will be adopted.

If you need assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits, or appealing the denial of benefits, disability attorneys of California at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

From our offices in Los Angeles, we represent disabled people and their families throughout California in all aspects of disability law.