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Category: Disability Advice from the Disability Pros

This blog is about information that will help people navigate the disability community, benefit systems, and other fact related articles.

No room for those in wheelchairs to wait at RTD bus stops

See article: 9 News Steve Staeger and 9 News Anchor Kyle Clark cover the terrible lapse in disability discrimination statutes: as Julie Reiskin describes during the interview along with others, there are bus stops that do not have sidewalks leading to the bus stop.  Cities claim they have no obligation to create a sidewalk where one does not exist. RTD makes the same claim with respect to its bus stops. It is difficult to find any language in the ADA or its implementing regulations that apply to government entities and RTD (or any other disability rights law) that require the creation or alteration of sidewalks, bus stops or bus shelters or anything new. These laws simply say that when you do build something new or make an alteration to it, it must comply with the ADA and the Standards for Accessible Design. This may be something that state law should cover. Otherwise, advocates would have to work on this issue on a city by city basis, or sometimes deal with unincorporated counties. Julie Reiskin points out that the major wheelchair repair shop NuMotion in Denver chose to locate its Denver facility in a place on Smith Road that does not provide for easy RTD access to the shop where wheelchair repairs are conducted routinely. NuMotion’s response is that bus riders should simply take the bus to the next accessible stop and cross the street and take the bus that goes in the other direction back to NuMotion. As 9 News points out, this could add an extra 20 to 30 minutes to any trip for someone who uses a wheelchair and has only RTD as a transportation option (many CCDC members and many people use wheelchairs and other mobility devices in the Denver Metropolitan area). It is ridiculous to have a bus stop that is completely unusable. CCDC members complain about this all over the Denver Metropolitan area. One other issue this story raises that is important to understand is that when cities make certain changes to the roadway, they are required to install ADA-compliant curb ramps. This is true even if there are no sidewalks. Although many try to refer to these as “curb ramps or bus stops to nowhere,” this is simply not true. It is possible that a sidewalk may be installed in the future, and it is also possible that a person in a wheelchair can use the curb ramp, cross the grass, or whatever surface exists other than a sidewalk and still get to the bus stop. There is no such thing as a “curb ramp or bus stop to nowhere.” All curb ramps provide, at least, the opportunity to get to bus stops, businesses, government buildings, etc. There are actually many bus stops that are completely inaccessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. For example, South Colorado Boulevard near Hamden Avenue on the east side has bus stops that require an individual who uses a wheelchair to go from the sidewalk down a completely inaccessible grass hill to access the bus stop. The other option would be to ride in the street on Colorado Boulevard. All of these options are very dangerous and time-consuming, but obviously, people use wheelchairs need to access bus stops just like everyone else. Julie Reiskin who is the executive director of CCDC, as part of her job and for all of her personal transportation needs, uses RTD buses and other RTD services approximately 5 to 6 times a day, often changing buses throughout the day. those of us who use wheelchairs will continue riding down the street in our wheelchairs if that is the only way we can get to a bus stop. As CCDC attorneys, Kevin Williams and Andrew Montoya, will tell you, disability rights laws are very limited in what they cover, and we certainly do not need to impose additional barriers and restrictions on bringing claims. What do we want to do to solve this problem? Do you want your friends, family and others who use wheelchairs riding in the street or on dangerous shoulders of the road to get to a bus stop?

I Voted — It was Easy!

A picture of a ballot drop box.
Kevin’s local ballot drop box.

In past years, CCDC always had a policy that people with disabilities should show up at their polls and vote in person. That way, the general public could be made aware of our presence in the important electoral process. In those days we had all sorts of issues with accessibility of polling places. Just getting to the polling place was often difficult. There were issues around accessible parking. Certainly, there were issues regarding the accessibility of the polling machines themselves, making them inaccessible to a large number of people with disabilities. As we probably all recall, many lawsuits have been filed and are still filed related to these issues.

Of course, the times, they are a-changin’. Now, it is far more common to vote by mail or drop your ballot off at a ballot box. The mail makes me nervous, so I went to my local ballot box. Of course, I took someone with me, a camera, a tape measure and other devices because I was certain that the ballot box would not comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“Standards”). Courts have ruled that compliance with the Standards equals compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I don’t understand why I would have been so skeptical.

I was amazed and surprised when I approached my ballot box. First, there was a designated accessible parking space within close proximity to the box. It is clear that they marked this space off specifically for this purpose. The ballot box itself met all of the specifications for reach ranges and other accessibility requirements under the Standards.

This picture shows the accessible parking space located in front of the ballot box.
Kevin’s local ballot box and accessible parking space were in full compliance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.  

I am not sure exactly how this system works for those who are blind or those who have limited hand function (although it does not break any secrecy or confidentiality violations if someone else drops it in the box for you), and I need to investigate that matter further, but the box itself was fantastic. It is a pleasure to be able to vote with such ease.

I apologize to those of you who have seen the ridiculous pictures of me voting that have circulated throughout many media, but here are some more.

This picture shows Kevin getting out of his van and going to the ballot box.  Kevin holding his ballot while he is next to the ballot box.

-Kevin Williams, CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director

Why People With Disabilities Are Protesting Like Hell “My disability is not that something’s wrong with me, it’s that the world has not adapted to me,” Pittsburgh disability advocate Alisa Grishman said.

Telling it like it is about living with the disability. Stop thinking there is something wrong with us, and start thinking you are us. So do something about it! Great story in the Huffington Post.

How do we solve a problem like Case Management?

Despite a plethora of resources dedicated to case management, there is no true single case management system for those with high needs. There are fragments in some systems for some issues but they do not address holistic needs. There are case management systems that are really gatekeepers for government programs. Gatekeeping has its place but it is different than case management. Despite the many areas where case management is covered (even just in the Medicaid system) there has never been a process whereby the stakeholders and government get together to at least have dialogue, if not answer the following questions:

1) Who needs what level of care management across systems? What percent are likely permanent needs?

2) What are the specific tasks needed and how much time will this take on average?

3) What are the qualifications to do these tasks?

4) What are the quality measures to assess the performance of these tasks?

5) What is the cost to perform these tasks including maximum caseload size.

6) What are the total resources now dedicated to all case management?

7) What case management are we doing now that is not useful, not necessary, or could be done at a lower level?

8) How do we create a plan to take our current system and transform to a system that provides intensive case management where appropriate and reduces services where there is no benefit?

Case management is needed in the following situations:
*People with a serious but temporary medical condition or new illness, such as cancer for help accessing and coordinating medical and other resources.

*People with long-term disabilities who are unable to do their own case management and who have no family able to assist. This must be comprehensive and include non-medical issues even the mundane daily life activities that can overwhelm some people. Even dealing with a utility company or a landlord can require assistance for people with some disabilities.
Some individuals could learn to do more of their own management with teaching (or have a family member able to take over with some training) and others will need this high level over a lifetime.
This is not a huge number of people, but the lack of case management causes them to spend a lot of time in crisis and use emergency resources from multiple organizations. Case management of this type is labor intensive and requires a very low caseload and high level of training.

Great info on Fair Housing Rights

City & County of Denver Source of Income Protection

In a win for housing consumers, Denver City Council voted on July 30, 2018 prohibit landlords from denying applicants based on their source of income. This decision most heavily impacts housing seekers with subsidized housing vouchers and/or disability income, though it certainly benefits all potential

renters. The Council’s stance on the issue was that if a prospective renter can afford the rent, their source of income shouldn’t inform the housing provider’s decision. Opponents of the measure feel that requiring landlords to accept non-conventional sources of income like federal vouchers will force landlords to absorb uncovered damage expenses and delayed rent payments. However, to high-rent property owners, the law is unlikely to affect their business as the renters in question would likely not qualify for their units. It’s also important to note that many other jurisdictions in the country have already enacted such protections. The new protection will take effect for the City and County of Denver on January 1, 2019.

To learn more about Denver’s Source of Income protection, click here.

Your reasonable accommodation has been denied. What’s next?

 

If you have requested a reasonable accommodation and supplied your housing provider with the

appropriate documentation (typically a doctor’s note), and the accommodation was denied, there are a couple things you can do:

  • Be proactive! Ask for a meeting with the housing provider to discuss why the accommodation was denied. In some cases, a housing provider can deny an accommodation if it would pose a significant financial and administrative burden or cause them to significantly alter their business practices. If this is the case, your housing provider should work with you to come up with an alternative that will meet your
  • If there is no alternative accommodation that will meet your needs, you may request to be released from your lease at no

If your housing provider denied your accommodation based on discrimination, or you have reason to believe this is the case, here are some tips for what you should do next:

  • Document, document, document! Always keep records of requests you make, emails you receive, text messages, voicemails, recordings, etc. These will help you if you file a complaint for housing discrimination, as you will need proof of the discriminatory
  • Call the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center at 720-279-4291. DMFHC has staff members ready to help you determine if discrimination occurred, can help you self-advocate or advocate on your behalf to obtain approval for your
  • If all else fails, and it’s apparent that your housing provider has acted in a discriminatory manner, DMFHC can assist you throughout the complaint

Emotional Support Animals

 

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, there is no distinction between emotional support animals or service animals. Simply obtain a doctor’s note, or a note from another medical professional, that establishes a nexus between your disability and your need for the animal. Next, write a short letter stating that you wish to request a reasonable accommodation. Best practice is to mail the request via certified mail to your housing provider, along with a copy of the Joint Statement from HUD and the DOJ on Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act (link below). If your housing provider either ignores or denies your request, call DMFHC to discuss next steps.

If you are unsure if what you’re experiencing is disability discrimination, or just have more questions,

call DMFHC at 720-279-4291.

Click here for a copy of the Joint Statement from HUD and the DOJ on Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act.

What is these RAEs (Regional Accountable Entities)??

 

  • You should have received a letter from Medicaid recently.
  • You may see and hear new terms describing how the system of care is changing. However, your Medicaid benefits and services are not
  • You can continue to receive the same physical, mental health and long-term services and supports services you are receiving today.
  • The big change starting July 1, 2018, is one organization will be coordinating your physical and behavioral health benefits. This is intended to make it easier to get the care you need. This organization is called your Regional Accountable Entity, or RAE.
  • If the Primary Care Provider who is listed in your letter is not the one you want, you can pick a new one by calling the Medicaid enrollment department at 888-367-6557.
  • You can continue to see any physical health provider (doctors, hospitals, etc.) who accepts Medicaid, no matter which Primary Care Provider is listed on the letter you received.
  • If your behavioral health provider / therapist tells you they cannot see you because they are not part of the RAE network, please have the provider call the RAE. You should also call the RAE’s customer service line to make sure your services continue and to prevent or minimize any delays.
  • If you are told you cannot get mental health care for a long time, please call your RAE.
  • If you have a mental health crisis you can always call the crisis line at 1-844-493-8255 or text talk to 38255. Please call us also so we can get you connected with ongoing mental health care.
  • You can call your regional organization for help with:
    • Finding a doctor or specialist
    • Finding a behavioral /mental health therapist, other mental health support or a psychiatrist
    • Getting help with your care – including understanding your benefits and getting a ride to your medical appointments
    • Referring you to a long-term services and supports program if you need help with daily activities due to age or significant disability.
    • Referring you to other resources that might affect your health such as places to get help with food

RAE Contact Information and Area Map

 

Region  Regional Accountable Entity  Contact Information
1 Rocky Mountain Health Plans Email:  support@rmhpcommunity.org
2 Northeast Health Partners 9925 Federal Drive, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Phone: 1-800-804-5040
Email: COProviderRelations@beaconhealthoptions.com
3 Colorado Access Amber Garcia
Phone: 720-744-5487
Email:  pns@coaccess.com
4 Health Colorado, Inc. 9925 Federal Drive, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Phone: 1-800-804-5040
Email: COProviderRelations@beaconhealthoptions.com
5 Colorado Access Amber Garcia
Phone: (720) 744-5487
Email:  pns@coaccess.com
6 CO Community Health Alliance Phone: 303-256-1717 (Local) 855-627-4685 (Toll-Free)
Contact Us
7 CO Community Health Alliance Phone: 303-256-1717 (Local) 855-627-4685 (Toll-Free)
Contact Us

 

Consumer Directed Attendant Suppport Services (CDASS) Implementation in Supported Living Services (SLS) Waiver

This post is a reproduction of the Policy Memo put out by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

POLICY MEMO


POLICY MEMO NUMBER: HCPF PM 18-002
TITLE: CONSUMER DIRECTED ATTENDANT SUPPORT SERVICES (CDASS)
IMPLEMENTATION IN SUPPORTED LIVING SERVICES (SLS) WAIVER
SUPERSEDES NUMBER: N/A
ISSUE DATE: August 3, 2018
EFFECTIVE DATE: August 15, 2018
DIVISION AND OFFICE: BENEFITS AND SERVICES MANAGEMENT  DIVISION, OFFICE OF COMMUNITY LIVING
PROGRAM AREA: CONSUMER DIRECTION
APPROVED BY: GRETCHEN HAMMER
KEYWORDS: CONSUMER DIRECTION, SUPPORT LIVING SERVICES,
IMPLEMENTATION, CDASS


Continue reading “Consumer Directed Attendant Suppport Services (CDASS) Implementation in Supported Living Services (SLS) Waiver”

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

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”


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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