Individual advocacy is the process of assisting a member in correcting a problem such as obtaining and/or maintaining a benefit or service or solving a problem with a service provider, landlord, employer, etc.
Our non-attorney staff may be able to provide limited individual advocacy services. They do not handle emergencies, provide case management, or direct services.
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Following are some of the issues our advocates may be able to help with:
We will attempt to address issues you have with Medicaid such eligibility, appeals, application issues, benefit options, waivers, or buy-in programs. We cannot assist with private insurance issues.
We cannot help you find housing, address discrimination, stop evictions, or other housing-related issues. We will attempt to help with complaints about section 8 rule violations, habitability issues, and code violations when disability is a factor.
We have peer advocates who may be able to talk you through employment and employment-related problems.
We can help file a complaint on behalf of people who have experienced disability discrimination when using a transport service. In some circumstances, we may be able to help with Access-A-Ride eligibility appeals.
If you need a disability-related accommodation at court, our advocates may be able to assist you access through the courts:
We can provide advice and in some cases help with school-based Medicaid health care issues. We may also assist students entering a two-year or four-year degree program with obtaining reasonable accommodations. Unfortunately, we are not able to act as educational advocates for things like attending IEP meetings and follow up to ensure implementation, assist with due process complaints, or enforce service provider compliance.
We may be able to assist individuals on Social Security with issues related to employment options without the fear of losing benefits.
Get help here from an individual advocate
A member of our team will assess the information you’ve provided and determine if we can help or will need to refer you to another agency. We may need to gather more information before we can determine if we’re able to assist you or not. If your case requires us to request documentation on your behalf, we will ask you to sign a release before we can help. If we determine we can assist you, we will develop with you a goal for our advocacy and a plan of action which includes you.
Possible actions may include:
If you have multiple concerns, we will ask to hear what they are during the information gathering process. For matters outside our field, we will refer you to agencies which are better equipped to assist you. Together, we will then prioritize the remaining problems we intend to help you address. We typically work on one issue at a time.
We understand that sometimes two people do not click! We also know we are not perfect. We are an organization which embraces a culture of learning. If the advocacy relationship is not working, we want to hear about it. We see this as a way for our advocates to continue their drive for improvement. If we do not know what is wrong, we cannot resolve the problem. If you are uncomfortable with an advocate, we can usually find a new advocate for you. The first step is to contact the Director of Individual Advocacy Donna Sablan at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know your concerns about your advocate.
Our advocacy services are free to our members, therefore we ask for you to become a member of CCDC by going here. On rare occasions, we might ask clients with the means to help with costs associated with advocacy. For example, if you want us to help you get a lot of records and this is not essential for the case at hand, we may ask you assist with the associated fees. Our program relies on contributions, so we gratefully accept donations.
As much as we try, we cannot promise to fix your issues—but the following are things can guarantee:
No. We are doing this work to make changes; therefore if we advocate for you, we will want to share your story when in policy meetings, with legislators, etc. We share necessary information, not personal details. For example, we may say we assisted someone with getting a new wheelchair and here is how the state tried to deny the chair. We would not say we helped Susan Jones who is a C-6 quadriplegic of this address… Also, because of federal privacy laws, we will ask anyone we help to sign a release of information allowing us to speak to the state or provider to help resolve the problem. If you become or are a client of our legal program, anything between you and a CCDC attorney will remain confidential according to professional legal ethics.
First, you need to become a member. Second, clients must follow through with suggestions given, or requests made (such as getting information, returning release forms, etc.) If clients are not able to do so, we expect them to tell us directly. Third, we need clients to be open and honest with us so there are no surprises from the opposition. Lastly, we need clients to ask questions. Knowledge ensures the planned outcome is the desired one.
We are not a clinical service or a service provider and we are not attorneys. Advocates need to know how to work within the system using a variety of techniques. CCDC trains all advocates and provides supervision by the Executive Director or her designee. Advocates go through intensive instruction and an internship before being certified. Most of our advocates are unpaid volunteers. Potential advocates must demonstrate skill mastery before engaging in unsupervised advocacy.
If you are concerned someone is not an advocate or is not affiliated with Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), call to verify with CCDC directly. You may do so by calling 303-839-1775.