need help

NEED HELP?

Find CCDC programs to help assist in advocating for you or someone you know with a disability.

LEARN MORE
ACTION ALERT

ACTION ALERT

Keep up to date with disability rights activities you care about. Choose a few topics or sign up for all of them!

LEARN MORE
issues

ISSUES

Find the most common issues people with disabilities face and how CCDC can help.

LEARN MORE

Tag: social justice

Major Changes to Aid to Needy and Disabled coming soon

AND victory

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.

Jaime Lewis

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.

Information about Health Care Debt

https://www.moneymunk.com/us-health-care-statistics/

This blog has interesting and depressing statistics about health care debt for our country.  The main site also has some good information on credit cards, which are good, which are not, and how to think about using them.  Of course most of us do not have the luxury of deciding which credit cards to use, and low-income people are often left with only the worse options (high interest, poor terms, etc.)  However, now that we have the Medicaid Buy-In option and more of us are able to get and keep jobs, as we get out of poverty we can learn about things like credit card choices.

Anyway, the health care debt issue is something important.

YAY–Settlement for victims of state mistreatment at Pueblo Regional Center

CCDC is proud of our good friends at the law firm of Kilner, Lane, and Newman for their victory. Good policy changes and some reparations for the victims. NO EXCUSE for the state taking this long to settle and not addressing these problems earlier. We hope next time clients in state custody say that something bad happened that the clients will be believed. We thank attorney Mari Newman for persevering to bring justice to the individuals with Developmental Disabilities and thank the two Arc Chapters serving clients for helping with this necessary litigation.
the office press release is below

PRESS RELEASE

Date: August 9, 2018

Re: Case against State for searches of people with mental disabilities ends with payment of $1,000,000 and policy changes

Plaintiffs and defendants today announced they have reached a satisfactory resolution to a 2016 lawsuit filed in federal district court, case No. 1:17-cv-00067-PAB-CBS. The lawsuit was based on the physical searches in March 2015 of Pueblo Regional Center residents with mental disabilities. The lawsuit alleged that the searches were non-consensual, violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and unlawfully discriminated against them based on their disabilities. The defendants denied that they committed any wrongdoing and maintained that the examinations were conducted in the interest of resident safety and were in response to concerns of underreporting of abuse and neglect. To resolve the case, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has agreed to pay a settlement to the plaintiffs that totals $1 million, including attorney’s fees and costs.

CDHS has made numerous policy changes at the Pueblo Regional Center pursuant to changes in policies and procedures recommended by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These include: (1) a new Mistreatment Abuse Neglect and Exploitation (“MANE”) policy outlining how to report and address allegations of MANE; (2) removal of all blanket consent forms; (3) a new incident reporting policy; (4) development of a policy outlining resident rights; (5) Community Center Board (“CCB”) Human Rights Committee now reviews all rights suspensions, safety control/emergency control procedures, consents, and investigations; (6) all incidents are reported to the CCB and incidents of MANE are reported to law enforcement and Adult Protective Services (“APS”) as appropriate; (7) conducting daily multidisciplinary incident report review resulting in action plans for incidents and trends for the agency; (8) institution of monthly parent/guardian meetings; (9) educating parent/guardians on ways to file complaints; (10) implementing Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (“QAPI”) committee; (11) providing leadership training for all new managers to be completed within the first year in their role; (12) direct care and nursing staff receive pay increases consistent with industry salary standards; (13) increase of staff, including 20 additional direct care staff positions; (14) reduction in staff working double shifts; and (15) institution of new lines of communication with staff, including monthly staff meetings and individual “stay” interviews.

Mari Newman

Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP

The Odd Fellows Hall

1543 Champa Street, Suite 400

Denver, Colorado 80202

303-571-1000 (phone); 303-571-1001 (fax)

mnewman@KLN-law.com

www.KLN-law.com

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


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.

A+ A-