Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Celebrating a Disability Rights Pioneer: Ed Roberts

wanted to share this wonderful disability history article/video... Blog

Ed Roberts is one of the most important pioneers of the disability rights movement. Roberts was a talented athlete with dreams of playing professional baseball when he was disabled by polio in 1953 at the age of 14. Having a disability taught him many things, not the least of which was the importance of a good education. He could only move a couple of fingers and a couple of toes, yet he attended three years of high school by phone while lying in his iron lung at home.
After a senior year back in the school building, Roberts still had to fight to be allowed to graduate, but eventually he received his diploma with his mom Zona by his side. When he went to college and graduate school, he had to find a place to live on campus that could accommodate the iron lung he slept in every night.
Roberts also started using a power wheelchair while he was in graduate school. If you’ve ever used a curb cut to help you cross a street with a stroller, a rolling suitcase or a wheelchair, you can thank Ed Roberts and his allies with disabilities. His iron lung and his power wheelchair are now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution here in Washington, D.C.
Besides his advocacy for educational rights, Roberts was a founder of the Independent Living (IL) movement and director of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) in California. Both IL and VR have been part of the Department of Education since it began, and the programs operate in all 50 states and DC. Later in his life, Roberts took time to speak to hundreds of young adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities across the US. That’s where I met him, when my son Charlie was only seven years old. Roberts taught what nobody else did: that people with disabilities belong everywhere; that a student with the most profound disabilities has a lot to offer in any classroom; and that my job as a parent was to ensure that my son could make his own choices, and make his own voice heard, even if he couldn’t speak. Ed showed every day that charisma is not limited to able-bodied people, and that just being present is a form of advocacy. No wonder he won a MacArthur fellowship “genius” award: he helped us all understand that learning to thrive with disability was about expectations, education, employment, and empowerment above all else.
In January, the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services invited current and emerging leaders of the civil rights movement of people with disabilities to celebrate Roberts’s life. Guests discussed their own experiences in the civil rights movements of people with disabilities, the impact Ed Roberts had on their lives, and the importance of sharing his story with future generations of students.
Many students and families still don’t know about the civil rights movement of people with disabilities. Empowerment comes with knowledge. Learning about Ed Roberts is a great place to start.
To learn more about Ed Roberts and the civil rights movement of people with disabilities the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities website.

Sue Swenson is deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

CMS eHealth Summit Live Webcast Sessions - Mon, May 19, 2014 - Register

as shared by....

Join CMS on Monday, May 19 to hear about important eHealth topics

CMS invites you to view the live webcast sessions during the CMS eHealth Summit on Monday, May 19, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.
Please join CMS and health care industry leaders to:
  • Get the latest on Administrative Simplification initiatives
  • Learn more about Information Governance for Healthcare through a panel led by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Hear from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) about  Stage 3 meaningful use and how it will affect care delivery and payment reform
  • Join in on a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) panel discussion on quality initiatives and the impact they have on primary care
Register Today
All summit sessions will be webcast live. You must be registered to view the live webcast sessions. If you have not yet registered, please register to view the live webcast sessions. A link to access the live webcast sessions will be emailed to all registrants prior to the summit.
To view the summit agenda, please click here.
Want more information about CMS eHealth?
Make sure to visit the CMS eHealth website for the latest news and updates.

How Medicaid forces the disabled to be poor (but some bipartisan help is on the way)

BY HAROLD POLLACK; Washington Post | April 22, 2014

Veronica Perrone Pollack looks at Vincent Perrone blow out candles. Photo by Harold Pollack.
Veronica Perrone Pollack and Vincent Perrone blow out candles. Photo by Harold Pollack.
Imagine that you are a young woman expecting your first child. Then you get into an awful crash that leaves you in a wheelchair. Or imagine that you suffer a high school wrestling injury that results in quadriplegia. Or imagine that you are intellectually disabled or living with severe mental illness, and you require long-term services and supports. If you have been reading my work, you might do more than imagine, since each of these stories involves real people who have experienced the best and the worst of what our American medical welfare state offers.
Medicaid plays a crucial role in each story. Of course the program has familiar shortcomings. Long-standing administrative challenges, ideological polarization over health reform perpetuate these difficulties. So does our nation’s tenuous commitment to the well-being of disadvantaged citizens.
On occasion, though, disability policy provides a welcome exception to this depressing pattern. Going back to the 1950s, liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, and others in-between have made essential contributions, helping millions of people live happier, more productive, and fuller lives. My family is certainly quite grateful for the help provided to my brother-in-law Vincent, who requires a variety of Medicaid-financed services to address his Fragile X syndrome. Medicaid is essential in his life, and in the lives of 8.8 million other non-elderly Americans who live with significant disabilities.
Medicaid does have one huge flaw, which hurts millions of people living with disabilities, injuries, or chronic illness. You have to live, officially at least, as a pauper. With important variations across the states, most recipients are forbidden from having more than two or three thousand dollars in the bank.
You can generally keep your house or your car. That’s pretty much it. You can’t have that emergency fund on hand in case the muffler or the furnace breaks. And what about the stuff Medicaid doesn't cover? It’s nice to get your teeth cleaned or just to buy a Big Mac every once in awhile. Because of such means-testing, that new mother is forbidden from setting any money aside for her child’s education. That food services worker living with intellectual disabilities can’t save up for a nice vacation.
Then there’s retirement. As Joe Entwisle put things:
"The reality for someone in my situation is that retirement usually isn’t an option. You work until you die, literally. A friend of mine is a perfect example. It’s almost creepy the similarities in our life. Both of us had a spinal cord injury at 16. Both of us were injured wrestling. Both of us are policy analysts. He’s a really good guy. He’s 63 years old. He started working for the state many years ago. Yet because of the odd rules around Medicaid eligibility and the differential treatment of earned and unearned income, he literally cannot retire. He knows he has to work until he’s dead or until some rules change. As soon as he starts to draw [retirement income], he’s not going to be eligible for health-care programs or he’ll have to spend down to essentially $710 a month. He could no longer afford his house. He could no longer afford even the taxes on the house."
The current system has other problems, too. First, there is the ironic class bias that so often accompanies complicated rules. If your caregiver happens to be a University of Chicago professor, you have access to skilled lawyers who can draw up the proper wills and special needs trusts to side-step many official requirements.
Families with less financial or social capital often go without. Others dangerously improvise. Maybe an octogenarian parent leaves all of her money to her oldest son, with an implicit understanding that he’ll use half of these funds for his younger sister. Suppose he gets divorced or misuses the money? How many other ways can this go wrong?  Means-testing encourages families to cut corners. Worse, it hinders precisely the long-term planning that every person with a disability and every family should do.
These requirements seem especially strange in the wake of health reform. If you’re on Medicaid because you had a spinal cord injury, you face punishing limitations on your allowable financial assets. If you qualify for Medicaid on the basis of low-income, you don’t face the same limitations. There’s no real justification for this inconsistency. Its one virtue may be that it could prove politically generative, in promoting beneficial reforms. It’s hard to believe that the disability community or the American public will long tolerate this discrepancy.
Things are already beginning to move.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 provides one example. The ABLE Act was introduced last year, and it’s on the legislative agenda again this year. Identical versions are co-sponsored by seventy senators and by 359 members of the House. Pennsylvania Democrat Robert Casey, Jr. and his Republican counterpart Richard Burr introduced the Senate bill. Representatives Ander Crenshaw, Chris Van Hollen, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Pete Sessions introduced the counterpart House bill. It’s amazing to see Senators Bernie Sanders, Jay Rockefeller, Mitch McConnell, and James Imhofe co-sponsoring the same bill.
John Rizzo, press secretary to Senator Casey, told me that he anticipates a vote in the coming weeks. Sponsors are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to issue a budget score. Once that happens, Rizzo is optimist that the bill can become law in the next few months.
I’m sure ABLE accounts will bring some complicated financial mechanics, but the concept behind them is simple. These allow people living with disabilities to establish accounts similar to the 529 educational accounts that many of us have established for our kids. The balance of these ABLE accounts, and their investment returns, can be used for educational expenses, housing, transportation, assistive technologies, and other basic needs.
For many people, this reduces the need for complicated record-keeping and paperwork. It’s cheaper and easier than the complicated special needs trusts many of us have spent thousands of dollars to create and manage. It provides tax advantages. It legitimates what families are often already doing in less transparent and efficient ways. It doesn’t address retirement and some other key issues, but it’s very helpful.
It’s hard to oppose that, wherever you reside on the political spectrum. As Senator Robert Casey put things over email:
"The best advocates for this bill are the people who are dealing with these challenges like Sara Wolff of Northeastern Pennsylvania. When people like Ms. Wolff, who has Down syndrome, talk about the challenges they face and the dreams they have for their lives it inspires action. Further, Democrats and Republicans have rallied behind the ABLE Act because it is a commonsense approach that uses a proven model--the 529 account."
The decidedly middle-class shading helps to explain this bill’s broad support. The engineer whose youngest son lives with Down syndrome immediately sees the value of an account like this. She also has the cash to put in it.
ABLE accounts are less useful to some of my brother-in-law’s peers. Some come from very poor families. For others, ABLE accounts just come too late. They have outlived their intimate caregivers or at least these relationships. Many live entirely on federal disability benefits and nutrition assistance. Under typical terms in many settings, almost all of these benefits are signed over to the group homes and other facilities in which they live. Residents get to keep $50 per month for all of their discretionary expenses from dental visits to the occasional tee shirt, movie ticket, or McDonald’s hamburger. 
Here in Illinois, 23,000 children and adults are somewhere on the long waiting list for in-home services, residential placement and other services. These families require more generous benefits more than they need 529-style accounts. And that’s a heavier financial and political lift. Others live in states with other difficulties. Rizzo notes that Senator Casey has encouraged Pennsylvania to embrace the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to address poverty-related issues more effectively.
Although more remains to be done, the ABLE Act promises to be a humane and valuable contribution to public policy. In an era disfigured by mean-spirited and polarized gridlock politics, this is no little thing.

Devices to shock disabled for bad behavior may be banned

MINNEAPOLIS — A device used for decades to shock children and adults with disabilities in an effort to reduce dangerous behavior may be banned by U.S. regulators.
Only one institution in the United States, the Judge Rotenberg Eucational Center in Canton, Mass., is known to use an electrical stimulation device to administer shocks, according to a report released by the Food and Drug Administration in advance of an advisory meeting scheduled April 24 to discuss whether to prohibit the device. The center is using modified versions of an approved product in violation of U.S. law, the agency said.
The FDA can ban devices with an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury, after taking into account their benefits and available alternatives. A 122-page review of the electrical stimulation devices outlined risks including burns and psychological harm, the lack of long-term benefit and research that suggests positive reinforcement is best to treat behavioral issues.
"Serious concerns have been raised about the use of aversive conditioning electrical stimulation devices on children and adults with developmental disabilities," FDA staff members wrote in the report prepared for the Neurological Devices Panel. "The agency is reviewing the available evidence regarding the risk and potential benefits of, and alternatives to, aversive conditioning electrical stimulation devices for self-injurious and aggressive behavior."
Officials at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center said the approach is a critical component of therapy for children who have exhausted other treatment options. It is used only with the consent of parents and authorization from a Massachusetts court where students are assigned an attorney. The intensive behavioral program is an option of last resort for patients with life-threatening disorders, the school said in a statement.
A "record of successfully treating hundreds of patients with the most severe forms of behavior disorders in the nation stands as irrefutable evidence that intensive behavioral treatment supplemented with the use of a GED device is safe and critically necessary for some people to survive and have an opportunity to live a healthy and productive life," the school said in its statement. "Without the treatment program at JRC, these children and adults would be condemned to lives of pain by self-inflicted mutilation, psychotropic drugs, isolation, restraint and institutionalization — or even death."
The facility offers a program for people with special needs and touts its "near zero" rejection policy, rarely rejecting or expelling students based on the severity of their behavior.
"Our specific goal is to provide each individual with the least intrusive, most-effective form of treatment to insure his/her safety, the safety of others, and promote healthy growth and development," the special-needs school said on its website.
The device made and used at the center is known as a graduated electronic decelerator, with electrodes that can be placed on the bottom of the feet, palms of the hands, lower back or the inner arms or legs. The devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center have an average output current almost three times as high as the approved level, the FDA said in its report.
It was unclear from the report how often the devices were used. Behaviors the school said it was targeting included self- harm, aggressive or destructive actions and physical and sexual assaults. The students had a range of ailments, including mental retardation, severe behavior disorders, autism and seizure disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity and other medical problems.
Twenty-one states currently ban the use of electrical stimulation devices and other approaches that use such interventions to help modify difficult or dangerous behavior.
The school has been the subject of controversy in the past.
Matthew Israel, the school's former executive director, was indicted as an accessory after the fact and for misleading investigators in 2011 after two students received inappropriate shocks. He entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General that required the appointment of an independent monitor.
A former student called the school and, posing as a member of the quality control department, instructed staff members to administer 77 shocks to one student and 29 to another. The independent monitor's report found the event was the result of a hoax and not a standard practice at the school.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture conducted two investigations of the school, calling for a ban on all coercive measures including electroshock procedures and saying the rights of the students had been violated.
In February 2013, 86 students ages 14 through 50 had court- approved treatment that included electrical stimulation devices, according to documents the school provided to the agency as part of a continuing compliance investigation.
Studies show body chemistry affects how an electric current is experienced by a person and their perception of pain. While there is a widely held belief that people with autism have a high pain threshold, a 2013 medical journal analysis laid out the possibility that they simply don't respond with the same cues, not that they don't suffer.
A literature review conducted by the FDA concluded that electrical stimulation devices can help reduce self-inflicted injuries and aggressive behavior over a short period of time, though the long-term benefits are less clear. The shocks, occasionally administered with a prod, reduced self-harm such as head banging, assaults on others and the need for restraints.
The studies, generally conducted in the 1960s and 1970s, weren't comprehensive investigations of the procedures and didn't meet contemporary standards, the agency said. They also didn't provide information on the simultaneous use of other treatments.
_ With assistance from Anna Edney in Washington.

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability 2014 Conference and Training - Chicago, IL - August 3 - 6, 2014

as posted by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Join us for LEAD® 2014
The LEAD® conference continues to be the one place where leaders and newcomers in the field of access to the cultural arts for individuals with disabilities and older adults can meet and mingle with peers, learn about the latest technological advances, get the straight talk on legal issues, and contribute to the collective knowledge base of what does and doesn’t work for building and engaging audiences, patrons, and visitors of all ages and abilities.
  • Basic to Advanced: No matter what level of experience you have, there’s always something to learn. The building blocks will give newcomers the tools and information they need to develop a successful accessibility program while the discussion groups and advanced track address accessibility for the most experienced.
  • Facilities to Programs: Sessions and discussions will cover all aspects of accessibility from the built environment to programs and communication.
  • Legal Obligations & Customer Service: Learn about relevant laws and regulations and explore accessibility from the customer service and business case perspectives.
  • Networking: Engage in conversations with colleagues who are enthusiastic about accessibility and eager to share their insights and learn from others.
Please join us in Chicago to continue the dynamic dialogue to share exciting ideas and explore new and innovative ways to welcome everyone through the doors of our organizations.
Not sure if LEAD® is a good fit? Check out last year’s schedule for a sampling of sessions and workshops.

About our Partners

Illinois  Arts Council AgencyIllinois Arts Council Agency

The Illinois Arts Council Agency serves the people of of Illinois through grants and services that support Illinois' arts sector, advance arts education and foster creativity and working artists. For more information, please visit

Arts Alliance Illinois

Arts  Alliance Illinois: Give Voice to a Creative State
Arts Alliance Illinois is the state's leading voice for the arts and arts education, uniquely combining advocacy, research, and collaboration to advance a creative and culturally vibrant state. For more information, visit

Chicago Children's Museum

Chicago  Children's Museum
The mission of Chicago Children's Museum is to improve children's lives by creating a community where play and learning connect. CCM is the only cultural institution in the city dedicated to young children and the important adults in their lives. Playful experiences, including more than 15 interactive exhibits, tap into how kids learn, and engage them at an early age so they develop a lifelong love of learning. For more information, visit

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

As a leading regional theater Steppenwolf Theatre Company contributes to Chicago's status as a vibrant place to live, work and visit and is a proud cultural ambassador for this global city. Recognizing its responsibility to the Chicago community, Steppenwolf is committed to ensuring access to broad and diverse audiences, including those with hearing, visual and mobility disabilities. For more information, visit

Who Attends LEAD®?

Whether your organization is big or small, your programming is indoors or outside, or if you come from a performing arts center, art gallery, zoo, museum, theater, or park, the networking and information offered at LEAD® can help you improve accessibility for all of your patrons and visitors.
LEAD® provides professional development for:
  • Accessibility Managers and Coordinators
  • Box Office and House Managers
  • Outreach and Education Coordinators
  • Patrons and Visitor Services Managers
  • Facilities and Operations Managers
  • Exhibition Designers
  • State and Local Government ADA/504 Coordinators
  • Marketing and Audience Development Directors
  • State Arts Commission/Council Accessibility Coordinators

Registration Eligibility and Rates


Not all registrations will be accepted. Space is limited and preference will be given to paid staff at cultural arts organizations or cultural arts service or government agencies who are directly responsible for making programs and facilities accessible to people with disabilities. The Kennedy Center reserves the right to decline registrations. In the event that registration is declined, the Center will issue a refund for any fees collected.

Scholarships for Students:

Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in arts administration/management or museum studies programs can apply for a scholarship to attend the LEAD Conference at a reduced rate of $125. If accepted, student registration would include access to sessions beginning at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 4; all day Tuesday, August 5; and all day Wednesday, August 6. Additional fees apply for pre-conference and capacity building workshops as well as the Awards Dinner and any other special events.
To apply, please send a statement of interest along with your name, contact information, name and location of your university or college, degree expected, and area of study
Applications must be received by June 30, 2014.

Team Registration Discounts:

If your organization sends more than one person to the full conference, the registration rate drops to $200 per person! Please Note: The team registration rate is only available to staff members of arts or cultural organizations; arts or cultural service agencies; university or college arts or arts administration program staff; and federal, state or local government employees.

Registration Rates:

Conference: August 4 - 6
Includes access to sessions Monday, August 4 at 1 p.m. through Wednesday, August 6; breakfast and lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday; and one ticket to the LEAD® Awards Dinner on Wednesday, August 6.
  • Student Scholarships: $125 per individual (Application required. See Scholarship section for complete details)
  • Arts/Cultural Organization Staff: $220 per individual or $200 per team member
  • Federal/State/Local Government Staff: $220 per individual or $200 per team member
  • College/University Arts or Arts Administration Staff: $220 per individual or $200 per team member
  • Arts Service Agency Staff: $220 per individual or $200 per team member
  • Non-Profit Disability Service Organization Staff: $550
  • For-Profit Disability or Arts Service Organization Staff and Consultants: $750
Pre-Conference Workshops
Sets of four workshops will be offered concurrently from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 3 and 8 a.m. to Noon on Monday, August 4. Dates and times are subject to change
  • $90 per person per workshop

Conference Location and Hotel Information

We are pleased to host LEAD® 2014 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. Conference rates have been arranged. To receive these rates, reservations must be made by July 9, 2014. If making your reservation via phone please be sure to ask for the Kennedy Center LEAD Conference rate or use the promo code listed below. Rates do not include tax. A limited number of rooms are being held so reserve immediately!
When reserving hotel rooms online, please utilize the Special Requests box, under the Optional Information section, to request accessibility accommodations.
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers
301 East North Water Street, Chicago, IL

Contact Us

Voice (202) 416-8727

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566 
Tickets and Information: 800-444-1324 or 202-467-4600
Contact Us | Submit Feedback

Monday, April 21, 2014

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 26, 2014 - Locate a Collection Site Near You

Between 10AM and 2PM on April 26, bring your unwanted prescription drugs to a collection site near you.
Properly disposing of medicines is important to human health and the environment. If you dispose of drugs on your own, check out these tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (PDF

Got Drugs? April 26, 2014 - 10AM to 2PM

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Locate a Collection Site Near You

Collection site locations are now available. Check back often; sites are added daily. Please contact the Call Center at 1-800-882-9539 if you require assistance.

Got Drugs?Law Enforcement Agencies Only

For law enforcement agencies that wish to host a collection site, please call the POC in your area.

Partnership Toolbox

Download posters, handouts and other materials to promote National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Drug Disposal Information

U.S. Access Board Webinar: ABA Standards for Trails, Camping and Picnic Facilities, Viewing Areas, and Beach Access Routes - May 1

The next webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place May 1 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session on new requirements in the ABA Accessibility Standards for trails, camping and picnic facilities, viewing areas, and beach access routes on federal sites. Board staff will provide an overview of these requirements and respond to questions from participants.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the session (total limited to 25) or can be posed during the webinar.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit A recorded version of a previous Board webinar that reviewed these requirements for outdoor environments on federal sites is also available.

For the United States Access Board, visit:

Tatyana McFadden crowned 2014 Boston Marathon Woman's Wheelchair Champion

Tatyana McFadden crossed the finish line to win her second straight Boston Marathon.
Tatyana McFadden crossed the finish line to win her second straight Boston Marathon.

By Michael Whitmer

 | Boston GLOBE STAFF   APRIL 21, 2014

Tatyana McFadden made her 25th birthday a winning one, defending her women’s wheelchair title at the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday.

McFadden won last year’s race in her Boston debut, and made it 2-for-2 in impressive fashion with an unofficial time of 1:35:06. She pushed past Tsuchida Wakako of Japan near the halfway point, and kept building her lead.

The historic winner of the four big races in 2013 (London, Boston, Chicago, New York, becoming the first person to sweep them), McFadden won a silver medal in Sochi at the Paralympic Games earlier this year (sit-ski event), then defended her London Marathon title last week.

Born in Russia and adopted by Deborah McFadden as a 6-year-old, McFadden now lives in Maryland, and attends the University of Illinois. Just like a year ago in Boston, McFadden was content to stay back in the first half of the race, then grabbed the lead and took charge. She finished with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 35 minutes, and 4 seconds.

Court: NYC must support treatment of mentally ill inmates leaving jail

    Associated Press  April 18,2014
NEW YORK — A judge on Friday upheld — and extended through 2016 — a settlement between New York City and lawyers for mentally ill inmates that required prisoners who received mental health treatment in city jails to have individualized discharge plans upon release.
The decision in state Supreme Court in Manhattan capped a nearly 15-year legal effort by attorneys with the Urban Justice Center's Mental Health Project, who sued the city in 2000 claiming mentally ill inmates were discharged from city jails with subway tokens and little else, thus resulting in repeated incarcerations.
The class-action lawsuit they brought was named after Brad H., a 44-year-old man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and alcoholism. From age 9 through 18, he lived in a psychiatric hospital and later had been an inmate in city jails about 26 times but never received a discharge plan.
On Friday, Justice Geoffrey Wright extended the requirements of the 2003 settlement agreement another two years, told the city to fill clinical and nonclinical staff positions and asked them to implement a plan to review how well the discharge process was working.
Wright also ruled that the city must better coordinate clinical staff who treat inmates and staff who plan an inmate's discharge.
"We are pleased that the court recognizes the dire need for these critical services and the importance of the city complying with its obligation to help people with mental illness released from jail," said Jennifer J. Parish, one of the Urban Justice Center's attorneys.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said city officials were concerned about the needs of mentally ill people and were considering all options as they reviewed the court's decision.
About 40 percent of the roughly 12,000 inmates in the nation's second-largest jail system have a mental health diagnosis and a third of those suffer from serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The settlement was reached in 2003 but the inmates' lawyers brought a motion in 2009, when it was set to expire, arguing the city wasn't following portions of it.
In 2011, an appeals court ruled against the city, which had argued the 2009 motion was filed after the settlement had expired. Plaintiff's attorneys argued again in 2012 that the settlement should be enforced.
—Copyright 2014 Associated Press

Chicago's 11th Annual Disability Pride Parade - Sat, July 19, 2014

Parade LogoThe overall mission of the Disability Pride Parade is:
  • To change the way people think about and define “disability”;
  • To break down and end the internalized shame among people with Disabilities; and
  • To promote the belief in society that Disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with Disabilities can take pride.

Who We Are
The Disability Pride Parade Planning (DP3) Committee is composed of a group of grass-roots volunteers from various disability-related organizations and affiliations.  We are individuals with disabilities, our allies, friends and families.  Some have assumed leadership roles at various times, others join the committee in the Spring, when the detailed planning (registration, T-Shirts, Buttons, etc) are being chosen, and others volunteer immediately before and during the parade and celebration itself. 

For more information, visit Disability Pride Parade website:

Illinois Alzheimer's Disease State Survey

Do you have 10 minutes? Help shape Illinois policies that address dementia by taking the annual Alzheimer's Association Illinois Survey. Your feedback on programs and services for those affected by dementia is key. 

Click now

National Headquarters
Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mental Health Issues: Social Security Disability

Individuals dealing with mental health issues in Illinois can apply for benefits from the Social Security Administration’s disability program. Benefits may help to alleviate the strain brought about by an inability to get or keep a job due to mental illness.

Recognized types of mental illnesses

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 26.2 percent of adults in the U.S. have a diagnosable mental disorder each year. The number of individuals with severe mental disorders is smaller, at just less than 6 percent.

Social Security Disability has organized an official list of impairments, mental and physical, known as the Blue Book. It recognizes these severe illnesses as being inherently disabling, so that individuals who prove that they suffer from one of these disorders and are unable to work may receive full disability benefits. Some of the current mental health issues listed within the book include the following:
  • Depression and bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Mental retardation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autistic disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders 
The Blue Book is not considered to be fully comprehensive, so claimants whose illness falls outside of the classifications found within the book may still be able to successfully apply for benefits.

An inability to work

With the government approving only 37 percent of all initial disability claims in the U.S., and an even smaller number of mental illness claims, individuals must clearly show how their lives and ability to work are negatively impacted by their illnesses during the application process.

Many forms of mental illness are incompatible with a traditional work environment. Disorders may prevent people from working, due to environmental stimuli, lack of concentration and/or stamina, difficulty interacting with others, or an inability to handle time constraints or multiple tasks. Mental illnesses affect people in individual ways, and many symptoms manifest differently in each person, so claimants should be vigilant in documenting how their disorder affects them in this area.

SSA’s eligibility guidelines

Case workers look at claimants’ work histories and medical records to determine previous skill sets and whether their mental illnesses have diminished those skills. To be approved for SSD, people must clearly document their mental illness, describe how it limits their work, and show that their illness has lasted or will last for a continuous period of 12 months or longer. SSD has classified each recognized disorder and claimants must meet or exceed the minimum requirements of each classification to be eligible for assistance.

SSD claims workers are not licensed physicians or psychiatrists, and often do not have a clear understanding of the scope of many mental illnesses. Due to their cyclical nature, these disorders often result in brief periods of dissipated symptoms, leading uneducated claims workers to believe that the individuals no longer suffer from an illness and should thus be denied eligibility. People making a disability claim due to mental health issues should also consider consulting an experienced Illinois disability attorney to discuss their claim and underlying situation.

In Illinois $12 million Medicaid paid for people listed as deceased

(AP) April 18, 2014 — An internal state government memo says auditors have found the Illinois Medicaid program has paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records.

The Associated Press obtained the memo through a Freedom of Information Act request. The memo, dated Friday, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

The heads of the departments of Healthcare and Family Services and Human Services outline steps to fix the problem in the memo to their senior staffs.

The memo states that more than $7 million has been recovered and the rest is expected to be recouped by year's end.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Alleged Disability Fraudster Caught on 'Price Is Right'': Workers Compensation Fraud report

as reported by ABC News....

Published on Apr 18, 2014

ABC News World
Cathy Cashwell as well as some NYC police and firefighters are under investigation for workers comp fraud.

Here's a tip: If you're receiving workers' compensation for an injury you made it, it's probably best not show off your physical ability by spinning the big .

A North Carolina postal worker pled guilty to fraud after trying to claim worker's comp because of a shoulder injury. A successful run on The Price is Right .

This video describes how people commit workers compensation fraud and the consequences of their actions on themselves and the workplace.
For More of this report visit ABC News 20/20:

Employment Services for Adults with Disabilities - Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) Chicago

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JVS Employment Services for People with Disabilities support adults and youth who face barriers to employment.

If you have a disability or other challenge that makes it hard for you to find or keep a job, we can help.
Adults with a referral from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) are eligible for these free programs. If you don’t have a referral, but you believe you qualify, we can help you obtain the referral.
For Youth Services, click here.
JVS has helped thousands of people gain skills and experience and find permanent employment.
Take the first step: call us at 855-INFO-JVS (855-463-6587) to find out more.

Services for People with Disabilities

…if you’re an adult living in Chicagoland, and meet one of the following conditions:
  • Disability or other barrier to success
  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • Ex-offender
  • Low-income
  • No high school diploma
  • Homeless
JVS Adult Services will help you
  • Identify your interests and abilities
  • Map out a career path
  • Learn job search techniques
  • Create a rѐsumѐ
  • Practice interviewing skills
  • Find a job
  • On-the-job coaching and support
  • Obtain worksite accommodations
We’ll also help you access community resources such as transportation assistance, job accommodations, childcare, and emergency financial assistance.
Employment services for people with disabilites or who are deaf and hard of hearing are available with referral from the IllinoisDepartment of Human Services Divisionof Rehabilitation Services.

Contact us

For more information, to forward referrals, or to schedule an appointment, call 855-INFO-JVS (855-463-6587) or email
For Jewish Vocational Service, visit: