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CCDC Comments on Human Services Rule about Aid to Needy Disabled

This testimony was sent to beth.kline@state.co.us in support of a rule change that will be heard by the Board on August 3rd in Durango.  For information about the board meeting see https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration/state-board-human-services

 

To Human Services Board:

From:  Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, CCDC

RE:  Support for Aid to Needy Disabled Rule Package

Dear Members of the Human Services Board:

I am writing as the director of the largest statewide, disability-run, disability rights organization in Colorado in full support of the AND rule package…and to encourage you to continue with reforms to better support clients that need this program.   Our friends from the Southwest Independent Living Center, the Colorado Center for Law and Policy and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will also be testifying and this letter is a supplement to their direct testimony.

Aid to the Needy Disabled (AND) is the program for the poorest of the poor, the most severely disabled with the fewest resources.   People on AND are living so far below the poverty level they are not even on the radar. AND was meant to be a bridge between the time one becomes disabled and the time one can get on some sort of permanent disability benefits.   It is also meant for those with disabilities that last between 6 and 12 months—making the person unable to work for a long time but not eligible for Social Security. Sadly, for some who are unable to navigate the complicated Social Security process, AND ends up as their only means of support for too long.    The disability community, provider organizations, and some state agencies have tried to create programs to help this group of citizens whose disabilities are of a nature that make complying with rules, deadlines and procedures as impossible for them as walking up a flight of stairs is for someone whose legs are paralyzed.   Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to fund a support program that serves all in need.

Even when it is a temporary solution, the system still needs to work with an understanding that one is always in a desperate situation to even apply for AND.  To be considered one must have NO income, no savings, and no support. It is such as a small amount of money that if people have other options they will take those other options.  When someone is waiting for SSI or SSDI and they accept AND the funds have to be paid back when the client receives his or her backpayment. Given that these individuals are already saddled with debt, both formal and informal, people do not sign up for this program when there are other options.   Moreover, applying for ANY disability benefit is a humiliating and demoralizing experience, even when everyone involved is kind (which sadly is not always the case). One must tell strangers about extremely personal details, over and over again. One must confront the fact that one cannot do easy tasks that are considered natural for all adults in our society.  One has to admit that one cannot support oneself or loved ones (if there are any left). Applying for benefits is one more loss, often part of a cascade of defeat. It is imperative that the Board understand the backdrop against which our fellow citizens are applying. Sensitivity training should include trauma informed care as well as an understanding about grief and loss and the disability process.    While disability is NOT a tragedy, the systems that we encounter early in our disability journey do create trauma and find people at their lowest point, when they are still believing that disability is a tragedy.

CCDC strongly supports the following proposed changes for the following reasons:

  1.       Extend the time an AND applicant has to return a completed Med-9 from 10 days to 30 days:  This is important because ten days is not adequate to find a doctor and get the form filled out.  Often the application for AND is done with the application for Medicaid. If one does not have an existing relationship with a doctor, one cannot just find one quickly.   Even if one does have a relationship, not all doctors will do these so sometimes people have to find a different provider to do this form. Along these lines, we supported the law to allow psychologists to fill the form out and support CDHS making rules to allow other licensed professionals such as Social Workers to complete forms, particularly when the disability is mental health.  It is in professional purview of any LCSW to diagnose and assess the severity of any mental disability. Ten days is not adequate and the short time limit created many re-applications which takes time from everyone.

  2.      Extend the time an AND applicant has to verify that they’ve applied for SSI/SSDI from 10 days to 60 days on the initial application and 30 days on subsequent applications:   The SSI process is incredibly complicated and doing a rushed application will result in a denial no matter how eligible the client is—because something will be missed. It is best if the client has an advocate to assist with the process and it is unlikely that any advocate could do an application with a client in ten days.   An advocate needs to meet the client, get releases signed, review the medical records, draft materials, and often do research. Once there is a denial an appeal is necessary and while the client can get AND benefits for the duration of the appeal, this adds to the already problematic backlog of disability determination cases in the Social Security appeals system.  Waiting up to two years for a hearing is now common. This is part of how the AND program has moved from a temporary stopgap to a way of life. During the long wait, clients often lose their place to live, and then miss notices and then lose their appeal for failure to follow up. They then have to start the process again.
  3.      Provide provisional AND benefits to applicants that have met all eligibility requirements (except the SSI verification) while they work on their SSI/SSDI application:  If the client has no benefits while they work on the application the chances of this ever getting done are decreased dramatically. Benefits help pay for things like bus passes to go see their advocate, copayments for medications and treatment (SSA will deny if an applicant is not receiving treatment) as well as basic such as personal hygiene items.  
  4.      Eliminate the social factors matrix assessment:    This matrix has been a burden on worker and client alike and is neither necessary nor appropriate.   We support the elimination of this matrix. As noted above, people applying for AND are already suffering from significant lack of resources and lack of social support.   Another complicated process to make the clients go over and over this, using scarce county worker time does not benefit anyone.

People have been working on this for a long time, and there has been a lot of engagement in this process.  Please pass these rules and continue to work on ways to make the AND benefit easier for those in such desperate need to receive.  As a state we are compassionate people and need not make it harder for people at what is often the lowest point of one’s life.

I am willing to answer any questions but my colleagues who will be at the meeting will be in the best position to answer direct questions at the meeting.

 

Sincerely

 

Julie Reiskin, LCSW

Executive Director

CCDC

Nominations for Memorial Awards Now Open

 

Dear CCDC Members:

 

It is time once again for you to submit nominations for our memorial awards. You may use this link .  You can only nominate one person per survey, but you can fill out the survey as many times as you want. We have many people for whom awards are named, we do not offer every category every year. We have selected 12 award categories and will give 6 awards on September 17th at 5:00 p.m. at the Lowry Conference Center at 1061 Akron Way.

These awards will be announced on September 01. Anyone is welcome to attend the awards ceremony. We will be putting out an Evite in early September.

These memorial awards generally recognize people currently active in the disability community and are in the memory of those from our community who are no longer with us. Please nominate people, and share the link widely. Nominations will be open until AUGUST 16TH at 8:00 PM. Please nominate deserving community members for these awards and share far and wide.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Memorial18 

 

Thanks Julie

 

P.S. This is different than our October 3rd Commnunity Awards Event. The October event is our annual fundraiser and acknowledges people in the broader community. If you want information on that celebration please contact Laura Gabbay, our director of Development and Evaluation, at lgabbay@ccdconline.org. There is no reason why you cannot attend both celebrations of the great people and great work being done throughout our community.

 

HAPPY ADA DAY to all of you!

28 years ago today the ADA was signed into law….and we have seen changes that only dreamed at one point.  When the ADA was passed into law Estrella Rowe, the daughter of Lucinda Rowe, was not even born.   Please enjoy this guest blog written in honor of the anniversary by the parent of someone who continues to benefit from this incredible law that we must still protect.
CCDC is happy that a new generation of leaders, like Lucinda Rowe, are involved.   Lucinda took our advocacy class, got involved as a volunteer and is now a temporary employee.   Thank you, Lucinda, for writing this guest blog!  We welcome others to submit pieces for this Sound Off Blog.

Happy Independence Day !!


ADA Day

Written by Lucinda Rowe
July 26, 2018

ADA Day is significant to my family but most of all to my daughter. Estrella was born prematurely weighing one pound. She was diagnosed with severe Cerebral Palsy at a month old. Continue reading “HAPPY ADA DAY to all of you!”

Service Animal Training by Disability Law Colorado

Service Animal Training

Requirements for Service & Assistance Animals

Join Disability Law Colorado at one of our upcoming training to learn about the law regarding service & assistance animals!

  • Do you know the difference between a service animal and an assistance animal?
  • Do you know which of these animals is allowed in a public business?  In housing?  In a school?
  • Do you know when an animal – even a legitimate service animal – can be removed from a public business?
  • Do you know what information can be requested of a person with a disability entering a public business with an animal? In housing?
  • Do you know about Colorado’s new law regarding intentional misrepresentation of a service or assistance animal and how it will apply when it is effective on January 1, 2018?

If discussion around any of the above questions interests you, we encourage you to attend one of our upcoming training.


Denver Training: July 24, 2018, 2:15 – 4:15 pm
Mile High United Way, 711 Park Ave West, Denver, CO 80205
Click here to register.


Fort Collins Training, July 27, 2018, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Harmony Library, 4616 South Shields, Fort Collins, CO 80526
Click here to register.


Colorado Springs Training, August 1, 2018, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Tim Gill Center for Public Media, 315 East Costilla Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Click here to register.


Vail Training, August 14, 2018, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Vail Public Library Community Room, 292 W Meadow Drive, Vail, CO 81657
Click here to register.

Additional locations and dates may be announced in the future.


If you need any accommodations (ASL interpreter, Spanish interpreter, etc.) or have any questions about these upcoming training, please contact Emily Harvey at eharvey@disabilitylawco.org or 303.722.0300.  Please let us know of any accommodations you need at least 3 days prior to the training for which you have registered.


Click Here to View Printable Flyer for These Training Events

Your Vote! Matters

CCDC Advocates will be registering people to vote at the downtown Denver Public Library (10 W 14th Ave. Parkway)  on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 from 10:00 am-noon.

 

I Pledge to Vote

Sticker-like logo that says I Pledge to Vote and links to the pledge page.

We want all people with disabilities to realize their vote matters and voting is one way to make sure essential benefits which enable community living are available.

Did you know?

Colorado law requires that all voters with disabilities have the right to cast their vote privately and without assistance…
…even individuals with a guardian.

 

  • All Colorado voters now receive mail ballots. This means that inaccessible polling places are no longer an issue. However, if you prefer to cast your ballot in person, rather than vote by mail, you still have the right to do so.
  • There are no restrictions on the right to vote under Colorado law related to disabilities. 
  • Colorado statute specifies that individuals confined in a mental illness institution “shall not lose the right to vote because of the confinement.”
  • An individual in jail serving a misdemeanor sentence has the right to register to vote and vote in any election.
  • Pretrial detainees are eligible to vote.
  • You are eligible to vote if you are on bond as long as you are not convicted of a felony.
  • People on probation may register to vote and cast their vote in any election.
  • In Colorado, you have the right to vote after you have served your sentence, including parole.

Learn more about your voting rights by going to Colorado Secretary of State voter information.


So are you ready to make your pledge to vote?  Your vote matters more now than ever. You are not powerless.
You CAN make a difference!

Take the Pledge!

I Pledge to Vote

Sticker-like logo that says I Pledge to Vote and links to the pledge page.

GET INVOLVED: CCDC Advocates will be registering people to vote at the downtown Denver Public Library (10 W 14th Ave. Parkway)  on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, from 10:00 am to noon. Click Here to Register to Vote

INDEPENDENCE DAY!

I could not agree more with every one of the sentiments and laments described in so many of the posts and on social media pertaining to the subject of Independence Day I have read from yesterday based on all of our collective current experiences  These same experiences have led to the following: I have literally cried. I have literally laughed out loud (not easy for a quadriplegic). I have believed that the unbelievable wasn’t happening when it has and continues to do so.

Nevertheless, strangely, though, I want all of us People with Disabilities, [1] to know I woke up yesterday morning and this morning with a different thought in my head:

People with Disabilities struggle. We fight. People with Disabilities need the law changed. We change the law. People with Disabilities want to work. We get jobs. People with Disabilities want access to transportation. We access transportation. People with Disabilities want access to housing. We fight like hell to get housing. People with Disabilities don’t like who is in office. We teach politicians, work on campaigns, run for office, and most importantly, we vote. People with Disabilities’ independence is interfered with. We force you to give us the independence you have. Even we, People with Disabilities, have taken to whining. People with Disabilities, stop it!

Here is the question I pose: Are People with Disabilities in the United States of America more independent than we were 28 years ago? The answer to this question is an obvious and resounding, “YES!” Even so, it has been a very rocky ride. It remains a rocky ride. We have an enormous amount of work to do. People with Disabilities, let’s continue to do the work.  Nevertheless, it has paid off. So, keep doing it! (Compare the timeline to the struggle for civil rights of African Americans and people who are black for perspective; what do we have in common? We fight!)

When I broke my neck 32 years ago in the great state of South Carolina, I thought (as almost everyone did then and, still, the majority of people think now), it was over for me. Despite attitudes and barriers, I lived. Despite attitudes and barriers, I went to college. Despite attitudes and barriers, I got a law degree. Despite attitudes and barriers, I humbly submit CCDC and with the help of its Legal Program and all of the current and past cases  (and all of our many friends who have helped, both in the legal community, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, Disability Law Colorado, Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, Advocacy Denver — to name just a few — and otherwise outside the legal community) have said, “Screw your attitude and your barriers and the Telethon you rode in.” [2] We will be independent. I did not know what a “disability rights” advocate was. And yet I was one. I did not know what the “disability community” was. And yet I became a part of it without even trying. I am and will remain independent! My life will not be restricted to the making the tile trivet the occupational therapist at Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital said was a good use of my time and helpful for my future endeavors.

Yesterday was not the day to spend time wallowing in lost challenges. Today and tomorrow are not the days to spend time being complacent. Today and tomorrow are not the days to say, “Enough is enough; we can’t do this anymore.” We have. We can. We will.

Independence Day is the time to relish the victories. They are many. Hopefully, you put some relish on your hot dog while you were thinking about it. I also think about all of those People with Disabilities who came before me and fought for their independence and mine. I thank you more than you’ll ever know.

CCDC will keep fighting for the independence of People with Disabilities. And so will you. You know it!

In Congress, July 4, 1776 [as amended by this author on July 4 and 5, 2018].

The unanimous Declaration of [People with Disabilities and] the [fifty] united States of America [and all of its unincorporated territories and other possessed lands], When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands [and efforts of all others who have created the need for us to fight for our independence] which have connected them with [those in government and all others who oppose our reality and very existence], a decent respect to the opinions of [hu]mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to [continue fighting like hell for their independence, they will do so].

Declaration of Independence, United States of America.

As People with Disabilities:

  • We declare we will receive all healthcare and attendant care we need.
  • We declare we will work with the supports we might need to do so.
  • We declare we will receive quality education.
  • We declare we will access and use public transportation equally.
  • We declare we will join you in all places of public accommodation on an equal level.
  • We declare we will enjoy all of the same public facilities on an equal level with all other people.
  • We declare we will be provided reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures as needed to ensure our equality.
  • We declare we will have communication that is as effective as communication provided to non-disabled people.
  • We declare we will live in our own homes.
  • We declare we will decide who our attendants are and how they meet our needs.
  • We declare no decision will ever be made about us without our input and involvement.
  • We declare we will represent ourselves and our inalienable rights will be represented in government.
  • We declare you will accept that we are people, entitled to the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just as you.
  • We declare we are and will be independent.

People with Disabilities: keep getting off of your asses (so to speak) and do what all People do. If you are prohibited from doing so, make it happen.  As our history demonstrates, we will not sit idly by. We will take action.

Don’t mess with us, because we are going to keep doing it. You have not, and you will not stop us. Stop trying. You won’t win. We are independent. We will stay that way. Fighting for our independence became necessary a long time ago. We have been and are impelled to do so. We will.

Kevin W. Williams, Legal Program Director. Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition,  July 5, 2018

 

[1] Please note that when CCDC talks about “People with “Disabilities,” we are talking about friends, family members, and all of our partners in very many ways who have experienced the same indignities and have rejected the same in the name of independence.

[2] We have also said, “Piss on your Pity!” Frankly. equality means People with Disabilities don’t want anything “trickling down” on us.

Statement on Immigration Actions

As a social justice organization, CCDC agrees with the statements made by our partner CCLP. CCDC is very concerned about all of the children and parents separated. When CCDC supported HB 18-1104 this year to help keep families with disabilities together, we did so out a belief that all families should be given support to stay together because that is the moral thing to do. We are particularly concerned about reports of children with disabilities that might need supports, medical care, or additional attention which they are unlikely to receive in a detention (or any) facility. We are also aware from the experience of children torn away from parents with disabilities due to prejudice that this creates lifelong trauma responses for these children.

 

CCLP Big Logo
Colorado Center on Law & Policy’s Logo, it reads: Forging pathways from poverty
Picture of an immigrant family looking scared
Picture of an immigrant family looking scared

 

Statement on Immigration Actions

The Trump administration callously uses children as pawns in its war on immigrants. First in its repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and now with its policy of arresting everyone who crosses our southern border illegally, the administration cynically inflicts permanent damage on children, punts the solution to Congress and then obstructs every Congressional effort to respond.

These tactics must be called what they are: barbaric, inhumane and fundamentally racist.

President Trump’s executive order allowing children to remain with their parents does not change that assessment. More than 2,300 children have already been separated from their families, and their location and plans to reunite them have not been addressed.

The order appears only to allow children to remain with their parents for the first 20 days. It is unclear whether or when facilities to house families during this period will be available. A solution that addresses housing after the first 20 days is dependent on Congress or the courts — which is by no means a certain path — and the administration has no plans in the case of inaction by these other branches of government.

Even where these issues are resolved, children do not belong in cages; they should not be locked up in any fashion — with or without their parents. And parents fleeing violence and deprivation should not be prosecuted indiscriminately.

Claire Levy
Executive Director
Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Contact:
Bob Mook
Communications Director
Colorado Center on Law & Policy
bmook@cclponline.org
303-573-5669 ext. 311 (office)
303-862-1508 (cell)

Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities

Submitted by Julie Reiskin, Executive Director
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, 
January 16, 2018

Did you know that you can keep your Medicaid benefits and work a full-time job?  A lot of people don’t.  Colorado has a program that will let you do just that – The Colorado Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities. Are you ready to learn more? Keep on reading!

Kevin Williams, CCDC Legal Director, is a working adult with a disability.
CCDC Legal Director, Kevin Williams

The expectation for most adults is to be a member of the American workforce. However, a significant barrier to people with disabilities integrating into the workforce is the impact increased income has on benefit eligibility. Knowing that traditional employer-provided health insurance will not work, the choice for an individual was to work and lose benefits or not work and keep benefits. The Medicaid Buy-in program removes the need to make such a decision.

Medicaid Buy-in is the realization of a program sought by the disability community for decades and has become one of the most successful work programs we have ever seen.


Program Overview

Continue reading “Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities”

Applying for Denver’s RTD Access-a-Ride

by Douglas Howey
Non-Attorney Advocate for Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
Denver’s RTD is mandated by the Federal Government under the Americans with Disabilities ACT of 1990 to offer equitable/comparable Paratransit Services for those not able to use normal public fixed route bus and rail systems. The mandate says that within 3/4 mile of any fixed route bus or rail system RTD must have vehicles to perform curb to curb service for those not able to use normal public transit. Each municipality in the United States calls Paratransit by different names. In Denver, the Paratransit service is called Access-a-Ride.

Continue reading “Applying for Denver’s RTD Access-a-Ride”

Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services (Part 3)

Part 3 of 3 in a mini-series about

Consumer or Self Directed Care in Colorado’s Supported Living Services Waiver.

It is meant to give you enough information to decide if you want to explore it further.


SUBMITTED BY THE ARC OF ADAMS COUNTY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018

Read Part 2 here – How does CDASS work, and who will help me?

Read Part 1 here – Introduction


PLEASE REMEMBER: CONSUMER DIRECT COLORADO AND HEALTH CARE POLICY AND FINANCE ARE OFFERING INFORMATIONAL FORUMS IN THE NEXT COUPLE WEEKS.

CDASS lets you decide who you want to support you and you hire them. You become the employer and you do not have an agency for the services (personal care, homemaker, enhanced homemaker & health maintenance) available using CDASS.


If you want to use the CDASS service delivery option, you have to use it for all the CDASS services that are in your plan.  For example, if you only have personal care and homemaker services you can use the CDASS option for those.  You cannot use CDASS for one of these services and get another from an agency.  All of your  SLS services that are not available through the CDASS option will continue to come through an agency.


To get started you will need to:

Meet with Your Case Manager or Resource Coordinator

Continue reading “Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services (Part 3)”


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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