Cross Disability Coalition Has Developed A Speakers Bureau

the logo for the Speaker's BureauThe Cross Disability Coalition has been working on the development of a Speakers Bureau to provide education/training on various topics to different audiences including people with disabilities, families, advocates, agency administrators and support staff, employers and the public.

“Public Education” and “Leadership Development” are two of the Priority Areas of the Coalition. The other two areas are “Employment” and “Accessibility”.

Coalition staff Tanja Blicker-Ucran, Deanne Gagne and Jack Ringland identified Members who had an interest in the various topic areas. People met and talked about information that would be important to include. Individual Powerpoint presentations with handouts were developed for each topic area (see the flyer below) with support from DDC Staff Sue Babin and Kevin Nerney. Specific Speakers from the Coalition were then identified for each presentation.

The presentation topic areas include:

  • “You Are NOT Alone!” (Bullying)
  • “Life Is Good!” (What does “Independence, Productivity, Integration/Inclusion, and Self-Determination” mean to people with disabilities?)
  • “Employment Can WORK For You!”
  • “Let’s Talk About Money” (Financial Education)
  • “Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships and Keeping Safe”
  • “Understanding My Human Rights”
  • “Invest in Hiring People with Disabilities”
  • “Sexual Abuse Awareness”
  • “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act)” (Tax Free Savings Accounts)
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • Person Centered Planning (“What is Person Centered Planning and HOW Can I Run My Own Meeting?”)

a photo of some members of the speaker's bureau at a presentation with RIDDC Associate Director Kevin Nerney and Special Projects Coordinator Sue BabinThe RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) and the Cross Disability Coalition have worked collaboratively to develop this Speakers Bureau. We are very pleased with the presentations and proud of the work completed!

The Council has provided initial funding to support the start-up of the Speakers Bureau and payment to members for presentations made.


For more specific information on any of these topic areas or if you would like to have any of these presentations scheduled for a special event, group, meeting or your agency or organization, contact:

Sue Babin
Special Projects Coordinator, RIDDC
401-737-1238

Click here to view the Speaker’s Bureau flyer

Governor Raimondo Signs “ABLE ACT” into RI Law

Governor Raimondo signs the ABLE Act into lawThe “Achieving a Better Life Experience” (ABLE) account program for individuals with disabilities federally recognized investment accounts similar to 529 college savings programs.

See Governor’s Press Release: http://www.ri.gov/press/view/25447
For more information on the ABLE Act: http://www.ndss.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Agenda/Creating-an-Economic-Future-for-Individuals-with-Down-Syndrome/Achieving-a-Better-of-Life-Experience-ABLE-Act/

Your Chance to Speak Up: 2015 Public Forums for People with Disabilities

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Public Forums to Identify the Concerns of People with Disabilities and their Families

During the week of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed on July 26th), the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and many other state and non-profit agencies conduct a weeklong series of open forums to hear the concerns of people with disabilities and their families.

The forums are open for anyone to come in and speak; representatives of the sponsoring agencies will be there to listen. State policy makers and planners want to hear your concerns about current services, unmet needs, and suggestions for improving services and expanding opportunities.

Monday, July 27, 2015 | 3:45 – 5:45  PM

South Providence Library
441 Prairie Avenue
Providence

Hosted by Perspectives Corporation

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 2 – 4 PM

Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane
Warwick

Hosted by the Ocean State Center for Independent Living

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6 PM

Peace Dale Library
1057 Kingstown Rd
Peace Dale

Hosted by National Multiple Sclerosis Society RI Chapter

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6  PM

Middletown Public Library
700 West Main Rd
Middletown

Hosted by Opportunities Unlimited For People With Differing Abilities

Thursday, July 30, 2015 | 1:30  – 3:30  PM

Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital
2090 Wallum Lake Rd
Pascoag

Hosted by Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital

Thursday, July 30, 2015 |  4 – 6  PM

Woonsocket Harris Public Library
303 Clinton St
Woonsocket

Hosted by RI Department of Health

Friday, July 31, 2015 | 2:45 – 4:45  PM

East Providence Public Library
41 Grove Ave
East Providence

Hosted by RI Statewide Independent Living Council and National Federation of the Blind of RI


Additional information from the governor’s Commission on Disabilities about attending the Forum:

Remarks can be made in person during the forums, faxed to 401-462-0106, e-mailed to GCD.Disabilities@gcd.ri.gov, or mailed by August 8th to:

Governor’s Commission on Disabilities
John O’ Pastore Center
41 Cherry Dale Court
Cranston, RI 02920

CART Recorders (real-time captioning) and assistive listening devices will be at all sites, courtesy of the Office of Rehabilitation Services/Assistive Technology Access Partnership. The RI Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will provide sign language interpreters for each forum.

To request information or accommodation, please call 401-462-0100 or 401-462-0101(tty) in advance; arrangements will be provided at no cost. Language interpreting is available with the Deptartment of Human Serivces and requests can be made to 401-462-2130 in advance.

When making the ADA reservation with RIde to get to and from the public forum, tell the RIde reservationist (1-800-479-6902) that this trip is for the Governor’s Commission’s Public Forums in order to guarantee your return trip, after normal RIde hours of operation. ADA fare is still applicable.

When attending the forum, please use unscented personal care products. Mild fragrances can constitute a toxic exposure for a person with an environmental illness.

How New “ABLE” Accounts will Help Americans with Disabilities

Modeled after 529 college savings accounts, ABLE will offer tax advantages for people with disabilities.

By 

a woman with a child with Down SyndromeAmericans with disabilities and their families often face a myriad of financial challenges, but they will soon have a new financial vehicle allowing them to save for expenses and enjoy tax-free growth similar to 529 college savings accounts. Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act on the final hour of the final day of Congress in December, creating a new type of tax-advantaged account called an ABLE account or a 529A.

The hope is that ABLE accounts will help level the financial playing field for families raising kids with disabilities. The National Down Syndrome Society estimates that the accounts will benefit roughly 5.8 million individuals and families.

“As a country, we’ve basically said that we value saving for higher education using a 529 plan, but we don’t value saving for the basic needs that are connected to a disability,” says Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who sponsored the Senate version of the bill. “We have this bizarre and really insulting situation where a child with a disability, his or her family couldn’t save for his or her future [in a tax-advantaged account], but they could save for his or her brother or sister because they were going to university.”

Like 529 college savings accounts, ABLE accounts allow families to set aside money (up to $14,000 per person annually), and pay no taxes on that money’s growth as long as it’s used for qualified expenses. For a 529 college account, qualified educational expenses include college tuition, fees and textbooks.

The beneficiaries of an ABLE account may have more diverse needs, so those accounts allow for a broader list of qualified expenses, including special education services and tutoring, health care costs, assistive technology and housing. “[ABLE accounts] are tailored for different purposes because it covers the support, the housing, legal fees and even funeral and burial expenses,” says Dave McKelvey, a tax and business consulting partner at New York accounting firm Friedman LLP.

Read more…

Three FREE Tax Assistance Programs Available in RI for People with Disabilities and Other Individuals

AARP Tax Aide

is offering FREE tax return preparation to people 50 & older and people with a disability. To find a site near you please call AARP Tax Aide at 1-888-687-2277 (Toll-free TTY: 1-877-434-7598) and ask for a Tax-Aide site near you or visit the AARP website.

VITA

Earn It! Keep It! Grow It! VITAIf your income is $53,000 or less you may be able to receive free tax preparation thru the VITA Program that has certified volunteers prepare taxes for low-moderate income people. To find a site near you please call the United Way Hotline by dialing 211 or visit the IRS Website.

My Free Taxes

If you prefer to prepare your own tax return or if your income is above the $53,000 VITA limit but under $60,000 you can use the United Way sponsored MyFreeTaxes tax preparation software on-line by clicking here.
If you have a question when using the MyFreeTaxes software please call United Way MyFreeTaxes helpline to get certified volunteers to assist you with tax law and input questions at 1-866-698-9436.

If your income is over $60,000 there is a fee for using the www.MyFreeTaxes.com software.


a photo of various IRS tax formsthe IRS logoLet your friends and family know about these three different FREE programs to assist people!

For more information or to download forms visit the IRS website.