Wheelchair Blog from AMS Vans

Welcome! We know there's a reason you're here, and AMS Vans is honored to be part of your world. We hope you'll visit our wheelchair blog often, because we promise to bring you an engaging perspective every day.

A physical disability presents unique challenges for the individual, the family and the caregivers. Our wheelchair blog is here to empower all of you with tips, trends in wheelchair technology, wheelchair news, inspiring stories, insightful interviews, medical breakthroughs, helpful links, the latest in adaptive products, disability news, upcoming events and, of course, information about AMS Vans' wheelchair accessible vehicles. We focus on anything and everything that enriches your life and makes it easier.

Buying a handicap accessible van is a defining moment in the life of an individual who wants manageable mobility beyond the wheelchair. We have handicap vans for sale, and we want to ensure the process—from the moment it begins—is as smooth as possible. When you purchase a wheelchair van from us, the process never truly ends, because you become part of the AMS family. Just like family, we stay in touch and care about your happiness.

We'd love to hear from you—even if it's just to say "hello!" Your thoughts matter, so take time to comment on the articles that interest you, inspire you, or provoke you. Every question, suggestion or concern you share with us helps us make our wheelchair blog better and more useful for all our readers. At AMS Vans, we want to get to know you, and we want you to get to know us!

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7 Ways to Work From Home to Make a Little Extra Cash

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to work from home to earn a little extra money and improve your overall standing. You might not be able to work outside the home due to the need to care for children, chronic illness or disability, or inability to work on a standard schedule. Perhaps you need part-time work to continue to qualify for disability benefits. Whatever your reason for working from home, luckily, there are many options available. Consider these fun work from home opportunities.

Freelance Writing

Do you love to write? As a freelance writer, you can choose to work for a writing platform or seek out private clients in your niche. Freelance writing allows you to work from home–or to work from anywhere–while expanding your knowledge of the world around you. With some dedication, a personal blog can even earn a little income through sponsored products or ads.

Network Marketing

Network marketing allows you to champion the products you love and support while earning a little extra money on the side. From essential oils to jewelry and bags to vitamin supplements, there are plenty of network marketing opportunities out there. This is a great career for anyone who doesn’t mind becoming a salesperson–especially since, as you build your network, you will discover opportunities for passive income streams as well as the ongoing, active income from your personal sales efforts. If you enjoy building a team, motivating others and challenging yourself, you could find a lot of success with this type of business. Keep in mind, there is usually some sort of fee to join these companies, but often, it’s a minimal investment.

Starting a Home Business

Many businesses can be started from the comfort of your own home. Do you have a hobby, like sewing or woodworking, that people will pay for? What about jewelry making or baking? Consider selling your creations online on a site like Etsy or at your local farmers market or craft fair. Or, maybe you want to offer a service that you can perform from home – advising, for example? Put your skills to use and create a home business that will help generate a side income.

Telemarketing woman looking at laptop

Many telemarketers have the ability to work from their own homes, rather than working from a call center. All you need is a phone line and a little basic software, and with some training, you can make money calling into people’s homes. Often, telemarketers can set convenient schedules or work on a part-time basis, depending on their needs. There are major companies that offer these types of employment opportunities, too, like United Healthcare.

Data Entry

If you have a reasonably fast typing speed and a computer, you can take care of basic data entry tasks from home. When you take a data entry position, you simply enter the data you’re given into the system. Often, it doesn’t require any calculation or thought on your part, which makes it the perfect job for individuals who need to be able to work while taking care of responsibilities at home.

Virtual Tutoring or Teaching

Do you love working with kids? With some basic skills in English, math, or other subjects, you can take on tutoring or teaching positions that will allow you to work from the comfort of your own home. From teaching children English as a second language to helping kids who are struggling in a specific subject – or even working in your own virtual classroom – virtual tutoring and teaching are great ways to transform that love of working with children into a work from home position.

Specialized Skills

Do you have a specialized skill set, like web design or social media marketing? Accounting, life coaching and even voice-over work are all examples of work that can be done at home with an Internet connection. Did you acquire a degree that you want to be able to use in spite of your inability to work outside the home? Many businesses now offer remote work that will allow you to take on those responsibilities from anywhere. Even podcasts or YouTube channels can earn money if you find you’re able to build an audience.

Explore More Ways to Work From Home

Working from home may, at first, seem daunting. Over time, however, you will find that, once you learn how to juggle home and work responsibilities, you can learn that it’s possible to generate a solid income from your own living room or bedroom! Find a job that fits your skills and comfort level, then dive in! You may be surprised by just how much you enjoy it.

coins growing green sprouts

AMS Vans Customers: Make Money With Our Mobility Referral Program!

Another great way to make a some extra income is by referring your friends to AMS Vans! Whether you bought a new mobility vehicle from AMS Vans or shopped our inventory for a used wheelchair accessible van from AMS Vans or other mobility conversion vehicle manufacturer, for every new customer you send our way, we’ll send you a $500 referral bonus when they buy a wheelchair van from our inventory.

The best part is the reward is unlimited! Suggest as many people as you like, because every one of them can be another referral bonus for you. Our only request is they must be a first-time AMS Vans customer.

The “refer a friend to AMS Vans” process is simple: Just tell the person to mention your name while they’re purchasing their mobility van. When they receive their van, you’ll receive a check. It’s that easy!

silhouette of woman in a wheelchair looking at a sunset

September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month and to help raise awareness, we put together a list of helpful resources and support groups for our friends and customers with spinal cord injuries (SCI). These resources are also helpful for families, loved ones, therapists, caretakers – and for anyone looking to contribute to a worthy cause.

National Resources for People with Spinal Cord Injury

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

One of the most well-known organizations for SCI, the Reeve Foundation was founded in 1999 and is dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and offering services that improve the quality of life for those living with paralysis. Further, they provide resources on health, rehabilitation, costs, and insurance, and funding to nonprofits that serve the disability community.

Website: https://www.christopherreeve.org
Contact: 800-539-7309

United Spinal Association

A national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization, United Spinal is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of those living with spinal cord injuries and disorders. United Spinal transforms the lives of people with SCI/D by:

  • Advocating for greater access to healthcare, mobility equipment, public transportation, rehabilitation, community services and supports, and the built environment
  • Empowering our members with resources, one-on-one assistance, and peer support
  • Promoting independence through employment opportunities and community integration of wheelchair users into mainstream society

Website: https://unitedspinal.org
Contact: 718-803-3782

Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis was founded in 1985 with the help of Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti after Nick’s son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game.  The Miami Project is a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  It is considered the premier investigative research program conducting cutting edge discovery, translational, and clinical investigations targeting spinal cord and brain injuries.

Website: https://www.themiamiproject.org
Contact: 305-243-6001

Travis Roy Foundation women smiling playing wheelchair basketball

The Travis Roy Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the life of individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families by providing adaptive equipment and to finding a cure through increased funding of research, resulting in self-reliance and the ability to be as independent as possible. Half of the money raised by the Travis Roy Foundation goes toward Quality of Life grants to purchase adaptive equipment to help paraplegics and quadriplegics live their lives.

Website: https://www.travisroyfoundation.org
Contact: info@travisroyfoundation.org

Triumph Foundation

Triumph Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to help children, adults, and Veterans with Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder (SCI) to triumph over their disability and to inspire them to keep moving forward with their lives by pushing themselves to get better every day. Triumph Foundation works to minimize the obstacles that one faces after suffering traumatic injury.

Website: https://triumph-foundation.org
Contact: 661-803-3700

Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury 101

Videos developed by Shepherd Center, that use simple language and images of real people who have sustained a spinal cord injury, as well as medical experts and advocates. They also offer general information about SCI and TBI.

Website: www.spinalinjury101.org
Contact: 404-352-2020

SpinalCord.com

SpinalCord.com was started by Swope, Rodante P.A. to be a resource for SCI survivors and their families. Get access to more resources, such as information about new injuries, doctor/treatment centers, and legal or financial aid.

Website: https://www.spinalcord.com
Contact: 877-336-7192

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Founded in 1946, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is involved in research, resources, and legislation concerning spinal cord injuries. PVA also sponsors sporting events and programs such as the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. PVA will use their expertise to be the leading advocate for:

Website: https://www.pva.org
Contact: 800-424-8200

Spinal Cord Injury

Facebook Peer Support Groups for SCI

Often, the best way to find resources and support for SCI is to connect with others who are sharing a same or similar experience. Many communities have in-person groups where people can meet one another, but there are also opportunities to get lots of great information and some camaraderie, too, virtually with Facebook Groups. See some popular options below (click to visit).

Fundraising with Help Hope Live

We understand that sometimes, with spinal cord injury, the biggest obstacle to mobility freedom is the cost of products, technology and medical services. That’s why we partnered with Help Hope Live; to connect our community with a fundraising option to purchase the wheelchair accessible vehicle that they need.

Help Hope Live is the leading community-based fundraising platform for people with unmet medical expenses due to catastrophic injuries or illnesses. They provide the following support and advantages throughout the fundraising campaign:

  • One-on-one fundraising help
  • Customizable Campaign Page
  • Bill pay support
  • Additional benefits based on their nonprofit status, including tax deductible donations

Learn more about Help Hope Live and get started here.

AMS Vans is a leading advocate of mobility freedom for persons living with spinal cord injury, and one of the largest providers of wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the country. We offer low prices on quality mobility vehicles, affordable short- or long-term handicap van rentals, mobility equipment sales with installation, and trade-in opportunities for your current adaptive or unmodified vehicle. Explore our inventory or call us at 1-800-775-8267.

man's hand on wheel of wheelchair

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits After a SCI

If you have suffered a serious spinal cord injury that has left you unable to work, you might be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Spinal cord injuries result from trauma suffered by the tissue, nerves, and bones around the spine. Usually an accident, such as serious fall or a car crash, causes injuries to the spinal cord. The symptoms can vary significantly, but most of these injuries lead to a loss of functioning.

Where the spine has been injured affects the symptoms and their severity. Numbness and pain are the most common symptoms suffered from such injuries. These injuries might cause problems in other parts of the body. As an example, injuring the middle spine might cause loss of function in the areas below it. If there is only partial injury to the spine, which means there are functioning areas below the injury, it is considered an incomplete spinal cord injury.

Meeting the Medical Criteria for a Spinal Cord Listing

close up of book spine with a penThe Blue Book, which is the medical guide used by the Social Security Administration (SSA), covers spinal cord injuries under Section 1.04– Disorders of the Spine. To be approved for disability benefits using this listing, you must be able to provide medical evidence that shows spinal cord damage. You will also need proof that your spinal cord injury causes nerve root compression that results in weakness, pain, and the inability for effective ambulation. These things must be shown through physician statements, medical images, and treatment records.

If you are paralyzed, but don’t qualify through that listing, refer to Section 11.00 – Neurological Disorders. Spinal cord disorders are evaluated under Listing 11.08. Spinal cord disorders with complete loss of function are under listing 11.08A, which covers a lack of sensory, autonomic, and motor functioning of the affected body part. Spinal cord disorders with disorganization of motor function are under listing 11.08B, which addresses in less than a complete loss of functioning in the affected body part, which means a reduction of functioning.

Medical Vocational Allowance

Individuals who have spinal cord injuries might not be able to work because of being in a wheelchair, because of incontinence issues, or because of the overall body fitness decrease that causes them to be unable to perform any work, including a sedentary job. The SSA will review the overall picture and the different circumstances when rendering a decision. An individual will only be approved for disability benefits if he or she can show that they are unable to work because of the spinal cord injury.

Using a medical vocational allowance, you can be approved for disability benefits by all your symptoms and conditions being considered in conjunction with your age, educational background, work history, and transferrable skills. This will determine what kind of work, if any, you can perform.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you are ready to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you can start the process online. You can also start the process over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by calling and setting up an appointment with a representative at your local SSA office. Documentation, including hard medical evidence, is the key to having a successful disability claim.

Learn more from Disability Benefits Help here.

Resources Found Via:

Disability Benefits: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/
AMS Vans: https://www.amsvans.com/about
Blue Book Description: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/glossary/blue-book
Blue Book Listing: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/1.00-Musculoskeletal-Adult.htm#1_04
Blue Book Listing: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm#11_08
Medical Vocational Allowance: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/glossary/medical-vocational-allowance
Apply Here: https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/
Local Offices: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp

Help Us Bring Assistive Equipment to Those in Need

Upon having his adaptive bike stolen, Beorn’s family (fondly known as Bubba) received an outpouring of support and generosity. While AMS Vans will be providing Bubba with a new Rifton Adaptive Tricycle, there are still many families and children like him in need. And, you can help.

Check out the recent news coverage on Bubba’s story:
ABC 15 News
NBC 12 News
AZ Family

The Suzy Foundation is a charity especially close to Beorn’s family’s heart. The foundation specializes in helping to obtain assistive equipment for individuals with special needs – like this amazing bike.

To get involved, go to suzyfoundation.org

Bubba’s old bike, and the new lime green one that’s on the way, is made by a company called Rifton. You can learn more about Rifton and browse their adaptive trikes by clicking here.