General disability resources

State and Local Disability Commissions—These agencies assist disabled persons with a variety of resources and programs.

Many cities and towns have disability commissions, social service departments, or civil rights commissions that can assist you. To find out about this type of assistance in your community, call your city or town hall.

Massachusetts disability resources and agencies

The Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured is a non-profit statewide support, education, and referral organization for people with multiple chemical sensitivities and those concerned about chemical injury. For more information, contact MAC at P.O. Box 1171, Concord, MA 01742 or 508-681-5517.

The Arthritis Association, Massachusetts Chapter provides information, referral, support groups, counseling, education, and exercise programs to people with fibromyalgia (FM). Contact the Arthritis Foundation at 29 Crafts St., Newton, MA 02158; 617-244-1800 or 800-766-9449.

The Massachusetts Office on Disability— Tel 1-800-322-2020. This agency can provide information, referral and advocacy for a wide variety of issues and problems facing disabled individuals. The Office provides direct advocacy for individuals who are having problems obtaining services from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, or who are suffering various forms of job discrimination. Information, referral and advice are provided for many other problems, including housing, medical assistance, transportation, independent living, and other needed services.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission— Tel 617-727-2183. The major function of the Commission is to provide vocational rehabilitation services to the disabled. If you are determined to be disabled by the Commission, you may receive extensive training, education, rehabilitation and support services for future employment more compatible with your disability. (You can receive assistance from the Commission if you are collecting Social Security benefits or if you are disabled and not receiving such benefits.)

The Commission also offers homemakers/chore services to assist the disabled (see above section).

The United Way's First Call for Help Information and Referral Services—Check your local directory for the phone number, as it varies by region. First Call for Help is a comprehensive referral service for those in need in a crisis which can help you find assistance for a broad range of problems, particularly in the following areas:

  1. Housing: crisis assistance for mortgage, rent and utilities emergency and transitional shelter, legal help with eviction
  2. Assistance in finding health care
  3. Assistance in obtaining emergency food and health care
  4. Counseling: referrals for emotional and family problems.

The Disability Law Center—Tel 617-723-8455. The Disability Law Center in Massachusetts is a statewide legal advocacy, information and referral agency for individuals with disabilities. The center does not usually provide individual legal representation, but it can assist in providing attorney referrals.

Disability lawyers at the Center can answer by phone more difficult technical and legal questions concerning many aspects of the Social Security Disability programs. If you have been denied unemployment compensation because you cannot work full-time and can only work part-time due to your disability, the Center may be able to assist you obtain benefits. Also if you cannot continue to do your present job due to your level of disability but could still function within your company at reduced hours or in another capacity, the Center can advise you as to your legal right to job accommodation.

Health Care for All, Boston, Massachusetts—Tel 617-350-7279. Assists individuals without health insurance to learn about various insurance options and how to go about obtaining insurance.