Moving is difficult for everyone — sorting through and packing up your belongings, saying goodbye to friends, and hiring a moving company takes time and energy. But for those living with disabilities, the challenges of moving takes on a whole new meaning. Here are 7 moving tips for people with disabilities to make the moving process smoother and less stressful.
- Plan ahead for disability benefits and services.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) travels with you no matter where you live in the US, so you don’t have to worry about re-applying or additional headaches — but you do need to be sure they know you’ve changed addresses. If you’re moving long-distance across state lines, the state benefits available might change based on what supplemental insurances the state or municipality offers. If you currently use a local disability service, do some research in advance to find out what might be available to you in your new home town so you can get the paperwork rolling early. The local housing authority or city government should be able to help you determine what you can apply for and how best to access the services available when you’re relocating, or you can use the Social Security Disability Planner to help navigate the move.
- Apply for financial aid.
Since people living with disability may need more assistance during a move, there are organizations that can assist with the financial aspects of coordinating reliable movers and support in packing and unpacking: National Institute on Life Planning for People with Disabilities, ADAPT and UAP will all provide grant-based assistance. Before you approach them with a request, however, be sure you catalog exactly what you need assistance for: hiring movers, cleaners, or adding accessibility adaptations to your new home.
- Address all accessibility needs ahead of time.
If you are moving to a new home that you’ve purchased, do an assessment ahead of time — or have someone else do it for you. Things like how easy it is to open doors, hallway width, countertop height and needs for ramps should be taken care of well ahead of time so you can move into your new home with ease. If you are renting, discuss your needs with your potential landlord to be sure that whatever modifications are needed are ok with him or her — or ideally, that they will help you to prepare the apartment for move-in day. Make sure cables and cords are out of the way and there are no hazards that might become an issue once you arrive.
- Locate health care services near your new home.
Make a list of the locations and phone numbers of the nearest emergency care facilities, primary care physicians, and other specialists that you use regularly. Post that list in a prominent place in your new home, right along side a list of personal emergency contacts. Be sure to refill your prescriptions before you move, leaving one less thing for you to worry about as you unpack.
- Organize as you unpack.
The best moving companies will help you unpack, especially if they have experience with moving people with disabilities. But be sure that you’re present and paying attention as they do so to ensure your belongings are organized in a way that makes sense and makes settling in as easy and straightforward as possible. Make sure that before the movers leave, you take one last look at your new home to see if you need any large things moved.
- Pack an overnight bag.
Completely unpacking your new home might take some time, so put together an overnight bag with your essentials including medication, necessary charging cords for wheelchairs or other equipment, and comfortable clothing for the night as well as the next day. Consider what things you’ll need to keep you most comfortable on the journey, too.
- Hire a reputable moving company.
Either check the reviews or inquire specifically whether the company has experience with moving people with disabilities. If you would like them to help you pack and unpack as well, be sure they offer that service at a reasonable rate and timeframe that works for you. A full-service moving company will be able to help you coordinate movers as well as many other details of your move!