We need you to write to the members of the Senate Finance Committee about SB 20-033. This bill will allow people using the Medicaid Buy-In For Working Adults with Disabilities to keep working if they make it to age 65 and not be forced back into poverty.
Use this link is an easy way to reach all members of Senate Finance.
The text from our fact sheet is below. Please either tell your personal story OR tell them why as a voter, you think this is a good idea. You can also add your own Senator. After it gets out of committee, we will do a campaign for the whole Senate, but it does not hurt to reach out now.
Please note that there were some changes in the first committee that makes this a better bill. HCPF found a federal authority that will let us use the federal match for clients over age 65, so the bill tells HCPF to change their state plan and use this new authority.
The bill passed out of Senate Health and Human Services unanimously and now is going to Senate Finance. If you already responded to this campaign, please do so again as the message goes to different people.
Here is the message that you can use or modify:
You will soon be hearing SB 20-033 that will enable people with disabilities that have used the Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities to be allowed to continue in the program if they live until age 65 and want or need to continue working. This bill passed out of Senate HHS unanimously.
SB 20-033 WILL ALLOW PEOPLE WITH SIGNIFICANT DISABILITIES WHO WORK USING THE MEDICAID BUY-IN TO CONTINUE WORKING AFTER AGE 65.
The Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities (Buy-In) has been a path out of poverty for people with disabilities since 2014. By allowing people who have a disability and a job to buy into Medicaid and, if needed, long-term services and supports, individuals can earn up to 450% of the Federal Poverty Level while only counting 50% of their earned income. Best of all, there is no asset test. ALL OTHER paths into Medicaid for people with disabilities carry a $2000 asset limit and strict earnings limits. For those needing daily assistance to stay alive, independent, and productive, the Buy-In program is the only insurance program that meets their needs. There is no other federal program or private insurance option that provides long-term services and supports, which allow the freedom to earn a living.
Two federal authorities are allowing Medicaid Buy-In Programs for the disabled. The federal authority Colorado used that created this program limits it to people between the ages of 16-65. When we created our state program, there was no federal authority to allow people to stay in the program past age 65. Happily, that has changed. This bill will require the State Medicaid Agency (HCPF) to seek the alternative federal authority for employed people with disabilities over age 65.
If we do not pass this bill, we will continue the current situation, which is If a person with a disability lives past the age of 65, to keep the daily living services they need to function – like personal care or wheelchairs – they must qualify for standard Medicaid. This means meeting a strict asset test and earnings limits. To do this, they must impoverish themselves or lose these supports. Individuals have to get rid of any savings and assets accumulated during working years and either stop or dramatically reduce employment.
In addition to this being patently unfair, other problems include:
People using the Medicaid Buy-In Option are generally people that need Medicaid no matter what, but this allows people to be employed and pay into the system. All clients over 65 will have Medicare as primary insurance. Medicaid will just cover services that Medicare does not cover, such as personal care and wheelchairs. This bill creates an equitable, common-sense policy. Please vote yes on SB 20-033.
Once it comes out of finance or if there is other news, you will get another email.
PLEASE remember to identify which districts you live in when you fill out the form!
If you have to look it up, that is OK. (Use this link to find your district.)Just remember to check those boxes so we can easily analyze this. Also, please share the link for this campaign with anyone who will support us!
In solidarity and with gratitude!!
Julie and the team at CCDC
In the past two years, the number of Coloradans who didn’t receive essential mental health or substance use¹ services nearly doubled. In 2019, Colorado’s behavioral health workforce only met 30% of the state’s needs². Peers support professionals can significantly alleviate the gap. Peer supporters are individuals in recovery from mental health/substance use conditions who help others experiencing similar situations.
Problem: Medicaid only reimburses peer support services in a clinical facility, which limits the scope of peer support services in other settings such as jails, OB/GYN clinics, and emergency departments. In addition, without additional educational opportunities, peer supporters reach a professional ceiling, resulting in burnout.
Data shows that peer support services cut hospitalizations in half, increase engagement in self-care and wellness, and decrease psychotic symptoms.³
The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities found that using peer support services in treatment saved an average of $5,494/person for the state.¹ª
For more information please contact Lauren Snyder, email@example.com, 970.946.8029
¹2019 Colorado Health Access Survey: Progress in Peril
²Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs)
³Peer support among persons with severe mental illnesses:a review of evidence and experience
¹ªA Report on Colorado’s Behavioral Health Peer Provider Workforce
You know who you are! Yesterday, January 26, 2020, at approximately 2:00 PM at the parking lot at 14th St. and Market Street at least until approximately 5:30 PM.
It may very well be that such language in the title of this blog is unbecoming of the Legal Program Director of a statewide well-established and highly regarded disability rights organization, but, frankly, OSK 069, I don’t give a damn. In this day and age, this seems to be the way people communicate.
So what part of the driver’s exam did you not understand? Yellow crosshatched areas mean, “NO PARKING!”
“It shall be unlawful for any vehicle to park in any area designated for loading and unloading of a vehicle designed for the mobility impaired by pavement markings such as cross-hatching or by other indication. These areas are access aisles and parking by any vehicle is prohibited at all times.”
Denv. Mun. Ord. § 54-485(i).
For those of us who use wheelchairs and who drive vans with sideloading wheelchair lifts or wheelchair ramps, this has become an increasingly common problem: crosshatched access aisles are there for a reason. You know it. Stop acting stupid. This is not motorcycle parking. This is not an accessible parking space. This is an access aisle adjacent to and accessible parking space that is required by law under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state law and Denver ordinances. It is there for a purpose. It allows those of us who use wheelchairs who must strive vehicles with wheelchair lifts or wheelchair ramps to have enough space to get in and out of our vehicles.
You knew when you parked your motorcycle in that crosshatched aisle that it was not a parking space. You knew when you parked your motorcycle and that crosshatched aisle that it was illegal. You knew when you parked your motorcycle in that crosshatched aisle you were going to deny somebody who uses a wheelchair access to parking in downtown Denver. You just didn’t care! What kind of person are you? Why is your life more important than mine? Why do you get to enjoy the company of your friends downtown and I don’t? You blocked access to the only place I had anywhere close to where I wanted to go to be able to park. Do you hate people who use wheelchairs? Or are you just an a**hole? You are lucky that people wheelchairs are strong enough to knock your stupid motorcycle over.
Although I was just trying to spend a little time with some friends downtown probably just like you, you made it extremely difficult to do so. Parking for those of us who drive vehicles with sideloading wheelchair lifts or wheelchair ramps is extremely limited. Especially downtown. With the advent of bike lanes that make it virtually impossible to park on the right side of the road (which is absolutely necessary for these kinds of vans) on many of Denver’s streets (an issue that we will be taking on as well because we have no choice), street parking has become almost nonexistent. For many of us, parking garages are very difficult to use because you have to be able to reach out of your vehicle and grab a ticket out of a machine that most of us cannot reach. Therefore, parking garages are off-limits. Surface level parking lots are disappearing as more and more buildings are being constructed. That means all that is left are the handful of surface-level parking lots that still exist. But because you are more important than me, I guess you are entitled to completely disregard the civil rights of people with disabilities.
Oh sure. The Denver ordinances give me options for addressing the issue. For example, I could have spent the couple of hours I had to spend with my friends I had not seen in a long time calling the Denver police. Then I could’ve waited for the Denver police to show up. Then we would’ve had to talk over what the problem was. Then, as usually happens, I would have to show them that they do, in fact, have the right to enforce parking violations on private property. Then, they might issue a ticket or tow you out of the space, but how much of the few hours that I had to spend my friends with this have consumed? Is this the way you wanted to spend your day in downtown Denver? Why should I have to?
But why should you care? You don’t have a disability. You don’t have to drive all over downtown circling the place it is you want to go to over and over again to try to find someplace to let your wheelchair lift or wheelchair ramp down.
No. You just hop on your motorcycle and ride baby ride! And apparently you park wherever you damned well feel like it.
Truth be told, you might have a much better understanding of this issue in the not-to-distant future. In a 2014 study published by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, motorcycle accidents were the fifth leading cause of spinal court injury. So, who knows? You might have a much clearer understanding of the issue sometime in the near future. Maybe then you’ll care. Until then, kindly please stop screwing up my weekends. I really appreciate it.
And finally, was that a parking ticket I noticed on your motorcycle when I left? I wonder how that happened.
Kindly please, think before you park, A**hole!
As you will see above, the Denver Municipal Ordinances specifically prohibit vehicles from parking in crosshatched areas. This one is really amazing! (1) it is a Denver police car in the crosshatched zone; (2) it is at CCDC’s office building; (3) that is my van immediately to the left of it, and my ramp unfolds exactly where that police car is parked. The municipal ordinances require calling the police when people park in the spaces. The problem is, of course, very few of us have time to wait for the police to come and deal with the issue. My van cannot be driven by someone else. There is no driver seat, and I have very expensive and technical equipment that I would only want someone who was specifically trained on it to drive it. Therefore, simply backing it out is not an option although everyone always asks me this rather than moving the car out of the illegally parked loading zone.
I had lengthy discussions with our management company to request that they install appropriate accessible parking throughout our building complex and install signs that are also referenced in the Denver Municipal Ordinances that say that there should be a sign posted at the front of the access aisle stating exactly what the sign states.
There is a “loading zone” directly on the other side of the overhang to the entrance of the building. When you look at the picture, you’ll notice that no one is parked there. When I use the seemingly unlawyerly language in the caption of my post, I never thought I would have to apply it to those who are supposed to be enforcing the law I was complaining about.
I guess the guy on the motorcycle was just following an example.
We lost a great judge. We lost a great person. Senior District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel passed away on May 10, 2019. All of the lawyers and their clients who have brought cases in the United States District Court of Colorado before Judge Daniel and all of those lawyers and their clients who could’ve brought cases before Judge Daniel will never be the same. The author of this blog has practiced law in this district for 22 years (in three days it will be 23 years), and I have had the great privilege of practicing before Judge Daniel on numerous occasions. Not enough, but several. He was different in many ways, all of them good.
I certainly do not mean any disrespect to any of the judges in front of whom I have practiced before. Or to any of those in front of whom I currently practice. And it would be inappropriate to comment publicly about judges before whom I might practice. But I must say this: Judge Daniel has always been my favorite. There are too many reasons to list in a blog, but I will do my best to hit the highlights. I want you to know. I feel a great sadness that I will no longer have the fortune to practice before this great judge and great human being ever again. I feel a great sadness that he is no longer with us.
All practicing lawyers, especially those like me who practice in a particular area (in my case, disability rights law as an individual who uses a motorized wheelchair) probably have certain judges they might prefer. They might prefer those judges because, for those of us who practice in federal court, we practice before judges who are nominated by the President of the United States who are then confirmed by the United States Senate; some of us might believe (and some of us do believe) that those political affiliations will color the opinions, attitudes and judgments of our judges. Some practicing lawyers simply might not like the personality of a particular judge. I remember well a particular judge whom most lawyers I know feared yet I never did because I found the particular judge to be fair even though the judge was known for being temperamental, disagreeable and for having a generally antagonistic personality. Some practicing lawyers might dislike a certain judge because that judge opposed the lawyer on a case when the judge was still practicing and had not yet been appointed and confirmed to the bench. There are many reasons why some practicing lawyers don’t like certain judges.
But some judges are just likable no matter what. In this practicing lawyer’s opinion, Judge Daniel was that kind of judge.
As many of you know, in civil practice, lawyers do not go to trial on many cases; nevertheless, we do have many legal arguments we must make before judges regularly in many of our cases. I and my co-counsel had the pleasure of arguing cases before Judge Daniel several times. Judge Daniel was simply different.
One of the most important differences is that Judge Daniel was about “telling it like it is.” This is a theme that describes everything good I have ever felt about him.
The Guidepost: Judge Daniel told it like it was the moment he entered the courtroom, and we heard, “All rise!” We knew that what was coming was going to be the straightforward, simple, plainspoken truth. Often, Judge Daniel would begin a hearing with a statement something like the following: “I have just a couple of comments before we begin.” Or, “Here is what we are going to do today, and here is what we are not going to do today.” These guideposts always told the parties where he was coming from and where he wanted us to go. Even though I don’t believe I have ever practiced before a fairer judge, Judge Daniel made his brief comments (1) to let us all know he knew the history of the case inside and out; (2) this is what the proceeding was about; (3) this was where his interests for the course of the proceeding were; and (4) we had better follow them because otherwise we were wasting time. A guidepost from the Court is something a practicing lawyer (no matter how many years we have been at it) is very thankful for when entering the courtroom. Judge Daniel told us what he wanted, why he wanted it and why it wasn’t worth bothering doing anything else.
Fairness. Even though Judge Daniel gave us all the guidepost on his way into the hearing, he never failed to make sure the lawyer who might not have received the telegraphed message during the guidepost commentary had the opportunity to make the lawyer’s client’s case. The record was always clear. Both sides would have the opportunity to make all of their arguments before one of them was reminded of the rules set forth in the guidepost. He also found it very important to treat every lawyer and client with the greatest amount of respect. I never saw or heard Judge Daniel be unkind or derogatory in the slightest way to anyone. I also always found him to be very accommodating for attorneys with disabilities and our clients who have disabilities. He did so without even thinking about it. It was just a natural part of who he was and how he understood his role in the “people’s courthouse.”
Writing: I love reading Judge Daniel’s orders. Short, brief, simple and straight-to-the-point sentences. No words wasted. Everything there that needed to be was. Nothing that did not. Looking back over his orders in our cases, he usually cited to one case for legal authority instead of some long, unnecessary string cite. Why bother, when one case will do? He wrote like he talked: He told it like it was.
There are so many other reasons why some other practicing lawyers including myself may have really had great respect for Judge Daniel.
He was the first African-American judge appointed to the United States District Court of Colorado, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995. He was born on September 10, 1946, in Louisville Kentucky. He also attended Howard University both as an undergraduate, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in 1968 and his Juris Doctor Degree in 1971. Howard University is the alma mater of one of my heroes, United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall after Justice Marshall was denied admission to the University of Maryland College of Law in 1930 because he was Black.
In 2017, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness presented Judge Daniel with The Lifetime Achievement Award. I think many of the reasons why I greatly respect, like and will miss Judge Daniel are best summed up here in his own words and in his own voice:
Click Here for Captioned YouTube Video of the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel
Despite the fact that the United States District Court was established in 1876, the only other Black judge appointed to the United States District Court of Colorado is Raymond Moore. Judge Moore was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013.
 He once said in one of our hearings in a case that happened about 4 1/2 years after the case started and every motion a lawyer could dream of was filed in the case (I won’t say by whom): “Unfortunately, even though I’m a Senior Judge, my memory is just as good as before. What can I say, it’s a blessing, but also a curse, sometimes.” Either way, it was always true. He knew the case. We did not have to worry about that.
 A typical sentence look like this: “I disagree with this assertion for the reasons stated above.” “I find this argument an attempt by Defendants to re-litigate Plaintiffs’ standing.” “The named Plaintiffs have suffered and will suffer in the future if the Elevated Entrances are not removed.” Maybe that is why Judge Daniel’s Practice Standards warned lawyers like me, “Excessive or prolix statement of facts sections will be STRICKEN.” The bolding appears in his Practice Standards. Why bother using something like “exceedingly and superfluous” when you can simply say “prolix?”
 I generally use the word “Black” instead of the word “African-American” even though I know that different individuals prefer different terms, which is why I use the term “African-American” here because it is the term the judge Daniel used. I have been corrected by many friends and colleagues when I have referred to them as “African-American.” They have explained to me just as I am considered “White,” they are considered “Black.” I have been corrected by friends and colleagues that do not feel as though they are “African-American” because they have no connection to the country of Africa. This makes sense to me since I too was born in this country and many of my ancestors were as well; I don’t feel connected to any other country except America and yet my race is described as “White” or sometimes as “Caucasian,” not as “Welsh-American” or “German American.”
One year ago today, the Department of Justice reached an agreement with the City and County of Denver (“City”) under Project Civic Access (“PCA”), the Department’s initiative to ensure that cities, towns, and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). That agreement covers accessibility to numerous programs, services, activities and facilities throughout Denver. The agreement specifically addresses Law Enforcement and Effective Communication, Polling Places, Emergency Management Procedures and Policies, Physical Changes to Emergency Shelters, Web-Based Services and Programs, New Construction, Alterations and Physical Changes to Facilities, Programs for Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse. Many of the deadlines for compliance occurred today, one year after the effective date of the agreement. Click on these links to review the DOJ Press Release and for the DOJ Settlement Agreement. Also, attached is a PDF version of the Agreement with all of the one-year deadlines highlighted.
The Settlement Agreement contains one error in that it states that “On January 20, 2016, Denver and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center [“CREEC”] reached a separate agreement addressing accessible sidewalks and curb ramps in Denver.” It is correct that CREEC with the assistance of CCDC reached a class action settlement agreement with the City regarding curb ramps, but sidewalks were not addressed. Click on the link to review the Curb Ramp Settlement Agreement. Click on the link here to see CREEC’s Website. This Settlement Agreement provides for comprehensive curb ramp replacement throughout the City. CCDC is unaware of why the issue of sidewalks was excluded from the DOJ Settlement Agreement with the City because the case involving curb ramps was never intended to address sidewalks and was approved by the court as a class-action settlement on September 9, 2016 before the DOJ Settlement Agreement. Click the link here to review the Order Granting Final Approval of Settlement. The rules and regulations that apply to curb ramps are different from those that apply to sidewalks.
With respect to sidewalks, according to a recent article published in the Denverite, the City has launched a project to install sidewalks where they don’t exist and make additional sidewalk repairs. At this time, CCDC does not have additional information regarding the sidewalk project. Click on the link here to see the Denverite article regarding sidewalks.
According to the Denver Office of Disability Rights’ (“DODR”) website, “The Denver Office of Disability Rights coordinates the City and County of Denver’s efforts to ensure compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Our role is to ensure that all City services and programs are accessible to people with disabilities.” Information is provided on the DODR website regarding curb ramp renovations and installation and the City’s plan for sidewalks and transportation. The DODR is also listed as the agency to which all notifications or communications under the DOJ Settlement Agreement are to be made. Click here for the link for the Denver Office of Disability Rights. The address and other contact information for the DODR is:
Denver Office of Disability Rights
201 W Colfax, Dept 1102
Denver, CO 80202
Legal Program Director
CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program
As of November 26, 2018, until February 1, 2019, the CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program will not be taking any new cases or intakes. We do not receive funding to provide referrals. Therefore, if you have a legal problem that you think we can assist with, you will need to contact another attorney until January 1, 2018. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will not be returning calls or other intake emails, including social media or by any other method.
The CCDC Board of Directors is writing/updating our strategic plan. This is the first of several surveys we will have to get members input. If you get this survey via an email from CCDC then you are a member. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5J5PLQW
If you get this survey from another source then you are NOT listed as a member and should join as a member. It is free and you can choose what topics, if any, about which we will contact you. You can join at www.ccdconline.org
Your feedback is important. This survey is about our organizational values. Our current plan summary is attached. stratplansummary
The next survey will be about our VISION.
Thank you for your time.
New Shuttle service in Denver. According to reporting in Denverite “Chariot is like a bus but also like a Lyft but also it’s a van. It works like this: Riders reserve a seat on the 14-passenger car through an app (like Lyft), but it will only pick-up and drop-off at predetermined stops (like a bus).” (Emphasis added.) This sounds like another interesting Denver transportation option. See also New ride-share Chariot company launches in Denver, free for first six months.
However, there are several questions raised by CCDC? Will it be accessible to people with disabilities. Photo shows CCDC Transportation Advocate Jamie Lewis boarding one of the vehicles. Are all of the vehicles accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs? Why or why not? If not, does the Chariot Service provide “equivalent facilitation” for individuals who use wheelchairs? How would a person who uses a wheelchair know ahead of time how to go about reserving an accessible vehicle? Does the app inform individuals who use wheelchairs how to go about reserving an accessible vehicle? Interesting questions for a City that is supposed to be “one of the most accessible in the country.” How about we consider accessibility for all when creating new transportation services, buildings, housing, etc.?
Under the ADA,
No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of specified public transportation services provided by a private entity that is primarily engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce.
42 U.S.C. § 12184 (a). And, discrimination includes
the purchase or lease by such entity of a new vehicle (other than an automobile, a van with a seating capacity of less than 8 passengers, including the driver, . . . which is to be used to provide specified public transportation . . . that is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs; except that the new vehicle need not be readily accessible to and usable by such individuals if the new vehicle is to be used solely in a demand responsive system and if the entity can demonstrate that such system, when viewed in its entirety, provides a level of service to such individuals equivalent to the level of service provided to the general public[.]
42 U.S.C. § 12184(b)(3)(emphasis added).
CCDC always looks forward to new, convenient available methods of transportation in Denver that include people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, especially those that are equally accessible with respect to methods of reserving that transportation. Transportation options are really limited for people who use wheelchairs. Uber and Lyft and private taxis are not accessible. Getting an accessible cab is often next to impossible.
Welcome, Chariot! We look forward to the new, temporarily free service available on an equal basis to everyone.
Channel 7 News cover story about CCDC helping once again: Julie Reiskin, CCDC Executive Director, quoted.
The “AND” program will see some major changes soon. Yes, this is a State program and as you can read have not made efforts to change the words like needy. However, we hope that these rule changes by the State Board of Human Services will help serve our community better. Two of the largest victories are, increase in monthly payment from 189 to 217 dollars and rules to provide applicant more time to qualify for benefits. Please see file “AND VICTORY” above for more information. CCDC wants to give a shout out to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy for their work in making these changes a reality.