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Hot Off the Press! News Archives

National and Around the World - 2010 Archives

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For the Most Recent News Hot Off the Press! National and Around the World

December 2010 - More young people with disabilities entering nursing homes than ever before

Based on federal data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the NPR reported in their December 9, 2010 story, A New Nursing Home Population: The Young, that "young people ages 31 to 64 now make up 14 percent of the nursing home population. That's up from 10 percent just 10 years ago." Even more unsettling is that this group, referred to as the "working-age," has been the fastest-growing population in nursing homes over the same 10 year period. While the Health and Human Services report does not speculate as to why this trend is occurring, the NPR story suggests that it may have to do with budget cuts: "According to a study by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the cost of attendant care is about a third the cost of providing care in a nursing home or institution. But there's an upfront cost to states to hire the case managers and aides, find the housing, and pay for other things that make this home-based care work. So as states face record budget gaps, the programs that help people live at home are cut."

To read more about this issue and to see how others are fighting for their right to remain in their homes, visit NPR: A New Nursing Home Population: The Young.

You may also want to check out the NPR News Investigation Home Or Nursing Home: America's Empty Promise To Give The Elderly And Disabled A Choice.

December 2010 - I am Norm campaign working to redefine normal, promote inclusion of youth with disabilities

I am Norm is an online campaign, spearheaded by a group of teens in conjuction with Inclusive Schools Week, that encourages youth to embrace the differences we all possess and promotes the inclusion of youth with disabilities in all facets of life. The campaign features videos from students throughout the US that challenge misguided perceptions of disability, offers a toolkit to be used by educators and youth groups, and provides opportunities to discuss inclusion. The website also suggests ways in which more youth can get involved in the campaign and provides links to other websites that promote inclusion. Visit iamnorm.org to get involved.

October 2010 - November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

The Epilepsy Foundation would like to put a copy of the Get Seizure Smart! quiz into as many hands as possible. By taking the quiz, a person will learn more about epilepsy and what to do if someone has a seizure. If every person with epilepsy distributed 100 copies of the quiz, we'd reach every person in America!!! All you have to do is print the quiz, make copies and ask people to hand them out.

Will you help distribute the quiz in your town? Here are five ways you can help reach people in your town:

1. Ask your local school to give a copy of the quiz to every teacher, administrator and student.

2. Ask your local fire/police/EMT station to give one to every person on the force.

3. Give a copy to every person at your church, synagogue or club (Rotary, Knights of Columbus).

4. Put one in the mailbox of every person who lives on your block.

5. Ask a business (pizza parlor, grocery store) to put one in every bag that leaves the store.

Thank you and please feel free to contact the Epilepsy Foundation if you have any questions.

October 2010 - November is Family Caregivers Month

Since 1997 the month of November has been proclaimed by the President as National Family Caregivers Month. The National Family Caregivers Association coordinates National Family Caregivers Month as a time to:

  • Raise awareness of family caregiver issues
  • Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
  • Educate family caregivers about self-identification
  • Increase support for family caregivers

    Now is a great time to connect with other caregivers to share your frustrations and triumphs. Check out the Association's Family Caregiver Forum today!

    October 2010 - Affordable Care Act policies in effect

    Six months after the signing of the landmark Affordable Care Act, several key provisions have already gone into effect.

  • Nearly 4 million employees working for small businesses can now benefit from small business tax credits to help employers cover their employees.

  • Thousands of uninsured Americans who had been locked out of the market due to pre-existing conditions have signed up for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.

  • More than 2,000 businesses have been accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which provides them much needed financial support to continue coverage for retired Americans not yet eligible for Medicare.

  • More than one million Medicare beneficiaries have received a $250 check to help them afford the cost of prescription drugs in the Part D "donut hole" coverage gap. In addition, beneficiaries in the donut hole will see more money in their pockets, thanks to a 50-percent discount on brand name drugs in 2011.

    Additionally, insurers are now unable to continue unfair practices that limit coverage and eligibiliy, including:

  • Denying coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions.

  • Placing lifetime limits on benefits of people with costly conditions such as cancer.

  • Denying claims without a chance for appeal.

    For more on all of the provisions that have gone into effect, visit HealthCare.gov: A New Day for American Consumers.

    October 2010 - 2nd Annual Every Life Art Contest

    RareArtist.org, an online art gallery displaying works from individuals affected by a rare disease, is holding it's 2nd Annual Every Life Art Contest. The contest is open to any child (aged 5 and up) or adult who has been affected by a rare disease. Paintings, traditional or digital photography, printmaking, etchings, mixed media and digitally created works, will be accepted. Two Grand Prizes will be awarded in each age group: Children 5-11, $100 Visa Gift Card; Teens 12-17, $250 Visa Gift Card, Adults 18+, $500 Visa Gift Card. Entries must be received by January 7, 2011. For additional details, visit rareartist.org.

    September 2010 - Disparities in community care for those with physical disabilities

    Seteve Gold, a renowned disability advocate, recently brought to light the vast disparities young and aged people with physical disabiliites (A/D) experience when it comes to receiving care in the community versus their peers with intellectual/developmental disabilities (ID/DD). In FY 2009, on average, states allocated 65% of their ID/DD Medicaid Long Term Care Expenditures towards community settings versus just 33% of their A/D Medicaid Long Term Care Expenditures. For more, check out the article Comparing Olmstead Implementation Among Disabilities.

    September 2010 - Don't miss Disability Mentoring Day on October 20th

    On Wednesday, October 20th the American Association of People with Disabilities will be hosting Disability Mentoring Day. This national event matches students and young jobseekers with disabilities to professionals in their career of choice and provides opportunities for hands-on career exploration, on-site job shadowing, and ongoing mentoring, leading to internship and employment opportunities. DMD activities vary from one city to the next and could include career days, field trips, onsite job shadowing, and career fairs. To learn more about the Mentoring Day activities in your area, contact your local coordinator by visiting the DMD website via disabilitymentor.net.

    August 2010 - Book to document the experiences of the "ADA Generation" - Your story is needed

    The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 significantly changed the landscape for people with disabilities. The younger generation of people with disabilities had access to opportunities that the pre-ADA generation never dreamed of. In turn, the ADA generation never had to endure eugenics, ableism, low expectations, and a complete lack of access, experienced by their predecessors. In an effort to document this legacy and record what it is like for young people with disabilities to grow up in this day and age, Voices of the ADA Generation will be publishing a book-length anthology. Part One of the anthology will explore how the new generation experiences the age old challenges, affording a chance to assess how far we have really come, while Part Two will focus on how young people with disabilities define struggle as it relates to their disability.

    If you are a young person (aged 13-30) with a disability consider sharing your story. They are seeking creative and compelling, non-fiction essays that capture your experience as a member of the new generation of young people with disabilities. Submissions should range from 2,000 to 5,000 words and should include your address, phone number, e-mail address and a short bio. Proposals are due by January 15, 2011 and should be submitted via e-mail to voicesoftheadageneration@gmail.com.

    To learn more about this project, read Call for Proposals: Disability in America: Voices of a New Generation.

    August 2010 - Website features artwork of people with rare diseases

    RareArtist.org is an online showcase of artists affected by a rare disease. With more than 25 million Americans affected by some 7000 rare diseases, the site is intended to bring awareness to the rare disease community. Visit rareartist.org to view exceptional works of art by artists of all ages, to upload your own art and share your story, or to send FREE e-cards of your favorite art.

    August 2010 - World News follows family as they plan for son's journey into adulthood with Autism

    During the week of August 16th, ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer, followed a family as they begin to plan the future of their teenage son with Autism. Recognizing the need for continued support after they are gone, the parents enlist the help of close friends and neighbors in devising a plan that will ensure their son continues to receive the support he needs. In essence, they are building a network of individuals that will take on the role of caregiver over the lifespan of their son. Segments are available for viewing on the World News website.

    August 2010 - Money Follows the Person funding expanded - encourage your state to apply

    Under the recently passed Affordable Care Act, the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program has been extended to provide states an additional $2.25 billion for fiscal years 2012-2016 to help people move out of institutions and expand access to home and community based services. A number of states have still not applied for these critical funds, including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming If your state is among them, contact your Governor's office and encourage them to apply. To learn more about MFP and what benefits it could bring to those with disabilities in your state, review the Invitation to Apply for FY2011 - Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Grant Demonstration.

    August 2010 - Obama pledges "US Government will be a model employer of people with disabilities"

    On July 26th, the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Obama signed an Executive Order that directs several federal agencies to develop model recruitment and hiring strategies to increase the employment of people with disabilities within the government. The order also mandates training programs on the employment of individuals with disabilities for human resources personnel and hiring managers. Read the President's July 26th Remarks.

    August 2010 - Congressional breifing on employment of people with disabilities

    TASH, a disability rights organizaion, hosted a Congressional Briefing concerning the employment of people with disabilities on July 29th. The briefing featured 5 nationally-regarded speakers who discussed critical areas affecting the employment of people with disabilities, including:

  • Subminimum Wage: there's a crisis within the disability community and many individuals aren't able to earn a livable wage
  • Integrated Employment: what it really means to include and how this should be reflected in federal policy
  • Current legislation: the Workforce Investment Act, Rehabilitation Act, Developmental Disabilities Act

    Videos of the briefing are available on You Tube and can be accessed via the TASH wbsite: http://www.tash.org/.

    August 2010 - ARC seeking feedback on available services for people with intellectual disabilities

    The ARC, a national disability organization whose mission is to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has recently issued a survey to "capture the perceptions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages,and their families, on issues concerning disability support needs across the life spectrum." If you are an individual with an intellectual disability or a family member, please consider sharing your insight by completing the online survey, available by visiting http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TheArcFinds2010.

    July 2010 - ADA to turn 20 on July 26th

    July 26, 2010 will mark 20 years since the signing of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While progress has been made in many areas, the original promise of the ADA continues to elude the disability community. To show your support for this important law and to remind your lawmakers of the original intent of the legislation, you are encouraged to participate in one of the many ADA Anniversary events that are taking place in your community. The American Association of People with Disabilities has developed a website dedicated to the ADA 20th Anniversary, which features events throughout the nation. The website also features a new interview every Monday with a member of the disability community concerning their experience with the ADA. To read more about the ADA and its 20 years, visit http://www.aapd.com/ADAanniversary.

    June 2010 - Sign on to the Spirit of the ADA Agenda

    The Justice for All Action Network (JFAAN), a coalition led by 13 national organizations run by people with disabilities, has developed a 3-point agenda that will "safeguard human rights and respect human dignity, enhance self-determination, and make technology work for everyone." The agenda calls for the passage of several bills that will complement the Americans with Disabilities Act and ensure each agenda point is accomplished. To ensure your legislators understand the importance of passing legislation that brings equal access and opportunity to Americans with Disabilities, show your support for the agenda. Visit JFAAN Spirit of the ADA Agenda to write a personalized message and sign your name in support of the Agenda's message.

    June 2010 - Home-based Medicaid services face severe cuts in coming months and years

    In the article published on May 20th, entitled Disabled Face Hard Choices as States Slash Medicaid, the Wall Street Journal brings light to a crisis that is about to hit home for thousands of people with disabilities. With state budgets ripping at the seams, states are scrambling to find ways to balance their out of control spending. South Carolina is just one state that has deemed it necessary to cut Medicaid, the program that pays for both in-home and institutional care for many low income people with disabilities. Even though home care costs far less compared to nursing home care ($39,000 vs. $100,000 annually according to one study), states feel it is easier and less damaging to cut home services rather than close a 24-hour care facility, which could leave residents with nowhere to go. Some Medicaid beneficiaries are receiving notice that their in-home services will be cut in half. For one wheelchair-bound South Carolina resident, that means that she will go from having 8 hours of care each day to just 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. Basic needs such as toileting will have to wait.

    As stated in the article, "cutting home care could ultimately prove penny-wise and pound-foolish, however. It could push more people into institutions or large group homes because that is where services are guaranteed, even though institutional care is more expensive."

    To read more about this looming crisis, check out the article in its entirety available on the Hope House Matters website: http://hope-house.org/news/blog.php/2010/05/27/370/.

    June 2010 - Report outlines how Health Care Reform will impact people with disabilities

    The United Spinal Association and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association have recently issued a report entitled Impact of Health Care Reform on People with Disabilities. Key benefits to people with disabilities include:

  • As of 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage due to disabilities or other pre-existing conditions

  • As of 2014, Medicaid will be expanded to provide coverage to non-elderly, childless adults with incomes up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level

  • Most Insurance plans will be required to cover rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices

  • Home and Community-based Programs will be expanded to allow more people to receive daily care in their homes

    To learn more about how Health Care Reform will impact you, as a person with a disability, visit jfactivist.typepad.com/files/health-reform-and-disabilities-april-2010-pdf-4-27-10.pdf.

    June 2010 - Report presents ideas to improve transportation for people with disabilities

    The United We Ride National Dialogue Final Report, issued this past February by the National Academy of Public Administration, brings together suggestions from key stakeholders on how to effectively meet the transportation needs of people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes. From the more than 280 unique ideas presented by more than 783 Dialouge participants, 4 major themes emerged:

  • Theme 1: The process for creating coordinated transportation plans continues to need improvement.
  • Theme 2: Significant federal policy barriers still exist to facilitate access to transportation services.
  • Theme 3: Mobility management strategies are underutilized in communities across the country.
  • Theme 4: There are missed opportunities to bridge gaps between transportation and other community services
  • To review the suggested improvements, visit the report, The United We Ride National Dialogue: Final Report online.

    June 2010 - Comprehensive Resource Book Available to Wheelchair users

    New Mobility has recently published the 4th Edition of Spinal Network: The Total Wheelchair Resource Book. "Packed with 400 pages of vital information and tips from longtime wheelchair users, Spinal Network has been called the one book you need to live life to the fullest after paralysis. From sex to sports to spirituality, the new 4th edition covers it all - health, relationships, travel, recreation, technology, transportation, fertility, parenting, cure research, media, the arts, disability rights, personal assistance services, insurance, employment and more!" The book is available in printed format for $34.95. To order your copy, visit the New Mobility Online Bookstore or call 1-888-850-0344.

    June 2010 - Exceptional Family TV - Reality TV for the exceptional family

    Exceptional Family TV is a new web-based reality series for and about families raising children with disabilities. Created by Susan Stephens, a grandmother of a child with Cerebral Palsy, eFamily TV "provides a multi-media platform focusing on the wide variety of topics in the special needs community -- information on new therapies, treatments, equipment, adaptable toys, emotional discussions, family stories, and more. The cornerstone of eFamily TV is the weekly webisodes, which feature families on their exceptional journeys through life. One recent episode chronicled the journey of Renee and Nathan as they struggled to come to terms with their emotions as they learned of their son's diagnosis and later came together to create a positive attitude and connection with others.

    To view other episodes, or to connect with other Exceptional Families, visit www.exceptionalfamilytv.com.

    June 2010 - It's Our Story to chronicle the struggles and triumphs of the disability community

    In an effort to educate the community about the disability experience, It's Our Story is developing a fully accessible online database of personal testimonials and oral histories provided by individuals with disabilities over the last several decades. The collection of testimonials, known as the "Discrimination Diaries", was started in the 1980s by Justin Dart Jr., a disability advocate who played a pivital role in the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. After Mr. Dart's passing, a gentleman named Scott Cooper continued this journey with a video camera, capturing "oral histories" from more than one thousand disability advocates in more than 100 cities across the United States. Now, these diaries and oral histories will be brought together in a database that will serve as our nation's single most significant collection of primary source records of the disability experience.

    It's Our Story will launch on July 26th, 20 years to the day the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. You can be a part of this effort. The project needs assistance transcribing (typing) the oral and handwritten histories for its database. If you would like to be a part of this landmark project, visit www.itsourstory.org.

    June 2010 - ABC program, What Would You Do? focuses on treatment of individuals with Down Syndrome

    The popular ABC show, What Would You Do?, uses actors to protray controversial scenarios in an effort to "study" human behavior and reactions. A recently aired episode featured an actor with Down Syndrome portraying a bagger at a grocery store who is berated by impatient customers (also portrayed by actors). How did other customers react? As expected, some stood quietly by, trying to avoid confrontation. Others snickered at the customer's snide remarks. It is the few who took a stand against the ignorant comments, that really stood out. To view an excerpt of this episode, visit www.hulu.com and search for "What Would You Do?: Who Stops Grocery Clerk Abuse?"

    March 2010 - Census 2010 - Be counted, Complete your census

    It is likely that you have already received your 2010 Census form in the mail. While it is important for every household to participate, it is even more important for households that include an individual with a disability. The census directly affects the funding many agencies receive, as well as federally funded programs that support people with disabilities in the community. It is estimated that for every 100 people not counted, a community risks losing an estimated $1.2 million over the next decade for federally funded programs including: Medicaid and maternal and child health programs, transit programs, public housing assistance, Community Development Block Grants, Head Start, Title 1 education funds and grants for special and vocational education. To learn more about the 2010 Census, visit 2010.census.gov.

    March 2010 - Disabilities At Work Internet Radio to launch April 14th

    Disabilities At Work is a national effort aimed at encouraging businesses to open their doors to the millions of consumers and employees with disabilities. In support of this effort, Disabilities At Work will be launching an Internet Radio Show to air every Wednesday at 12 noon (EST) on the Voice America Business Channel, starting on Wednesday, April 14th. The show will spotlight businesses that go “beyond compliance" in finding and hiring qualified people with disabilities, or who support people with disabilities through philanthropy or in other ways. The show will feature corporate VIPs, successful service providers, educators, people with disabilities who have interesting stories, authors, researchers, government officials, elected representatives, and celebrities who have reasons to be involved.

    To learn more, visit Disabilities at Work online at www.DisabilitiesAtWork.org.

    February 2010 - Report highlights family caregiving in the US

    A new report, issued by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with the AARP, provides a comprehensive portrait of family careigivers in America. For the first time ever this report also provides statistics on caring for children with special needs. Among the key findings:

  • 65.7 million Americans served as unpaid caregivers to an aged or disabled family member
  • Three in ten households reported that at least one household members served as an unpaid caregiver to either a child or adult within the past 12 months
  • 14% of respondents reported caring for their child with a disability
  • On average, family caregivers spend 20.4 hours per week providing care, but those caring for a child spend an average of 29.7 hours per week
  • 73% or respondents worked while also providing care, among those 66% percent reported a need to come in late, leave early or take time off to care for their family member

    A number of proposals have been developed by policymakers in an effort to ease the burden of caregiving. The most popular among family caregivers is the availability of a $3000 caregiver tax credit. Another popular proposal is a voucher program which allows the care recipient to provide the caregiver a minimum wage payment for some of their hours. Other proposals include respite services to provide a break from caregiving and a partially paid leave of absence from work.

    The report can be downloaded from the AARP website by visiting http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/caregiving_09_es.pdf.

    Action Alert! - February 2010 - Campaign fights for community based services

    ADAPT has recently launched a national campaign to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities when it comes to choice in long term care. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling 11 years ago that care must be provided in the community, states continue to allocate the majority of their Medicaid dollars to nursing home care. The federal government is doing nothing to correct the actions of the states, forcing thousands of individuals into nursing homes. In an effort to mobilize the Obama administration to enforce the law, ADAPT is calling on the disability community to participate in a three-prong national campaign:

  • Demand that the Obama Administration aggresively enforce the Olmstead Decision

  • File complaints with the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (Visit: How To File a Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights) and the U.S. Department of Justice (Visit: Submit a Complaint) that document the violation of rights of individuals who have been forced into institutional settings

  • Document the disability community's efforts to fight back against state cuts by e-mailing your stories to defendingourfreedom@gmail.com

    The campaign's progress can be tracked by visiting www.defendingourfreedom2010.blogspot.com.

    February 2010 - SSA launches new website for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries who want to work

    The Social Security Administration has developed a new website dedicated to their Ticket to Work Program for individuals with disabilities. The Ticket to Work program provides a voucher that eligible individuals with disbilities can use to pay for employment-related services. This program has been largely underutilized and is simply waiting for you to tap into it. If you are currently receiving Social Security Disability Benefits and are interested in going to work, check out the Choose Work website at www.choosework.net.

    February 2010 - Think Beyond the Label - New campaign works to bust myths related to hiring workers with disabilities

    Think Beyond the Label has a simple goal - to raise awareness that hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense. Many employers continue to be "scared off" by the prospect of hiring an individual with a disability. This campaign aims to educate employers on available hiring incentives and to connect employers to qualified candidates with disabilities. Their website features a Business Case for hiring individuals with disabilities, a Tax Incentives Tip Sheet and Best Practices for finding qualified workers.

    Get your reality check by visiting www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com.

    February 2010 - Report highlights state of housing in America for people with disabilities

    The National Countil on Disability has recently issued The State of Housing in America in the 21st Century: A Disability Perspective. This report looks at the state of housing for people with disabilities with the intent to provide recommendations that can improve housing opportunities. The report found that affordability continues to be a major factor in the availability of housing for people with disabilities and that existing laws are doing little to increase the supply of accessible, affordable housing. The report also provides evidence of what can be effective in meeting the range of housing needs among a diverse group of consumers with disabilities. This includes best and promising practices drawn from real examples, and lessons learned from experts working on housing issues and policy. To read this report in its entirety, visit www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2010/NCD_Housing_Report508.pdf.

    January 2010 - Extra Help available to seniors and disabled for prescription drug costs

    Under a new law that changes what counts as income, more Medicare beneficiaries could qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. More specifically, it eliminates the cash value of life insurance from counting as a resource. Second, it eliminates the assistance people receive from others to pay for household expenses, such as food, rent, mortgage or utilities, from counting as income. Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for Extra Help could save an estimated $3,900 per year. To qualify, a person must be on Medicare, have limited income and resources, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. To learn if you qualify, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

    January 2010 - Medicaid expenditures for aged/physically disabled biased towards nursing home care

    Despite the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision, which held that unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination against people with disabilities, and an overwhelming desire among the aged and individuals with disabilities to receive care in their home, Medicaid is continuing to spend two-thirds of long-term care dollars on institutional care. In FY 2008, only 4 states, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, spent more for community care versus nursing home care.

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