Greetings from Disability Rights & Resources!
Hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day holiday! Check out the September newsletter to meet our new staff members, get important updates on the WIPA program, learn how to participate in the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV), and see what events we’ve got coming up soon! You can also visit us at our website, Facebook and Twitter.
The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program at Disability Rights & Resources is Officially Up and Running!
Earlier this year, funding was reinstated for the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program, a critical counseling resource that helps SSDI and SSI recipients attain self-sufficiency through employment while also providing them with a working knowledge of their benefits. Disability Rights & Resources is proud to announce that we are one of the select agencies nationwide that has been authorized to provide WIPA services again, effective immediately. For these organizations, the Social Security Administration is funding a cooperative agreement through July 31, 2014, with the possibility of an additional 1-year extension. According to the SSA website, the goal of the WIPA program is to enable beneficiaries with disabilities to make informed choices about work and to support working beneficiaries to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency. Beneficiaries will work with Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs), who will provide in-depth counseling on SSA and federal benefits and the effect of work on those benefits. Disability Rights & Resources’ WIPA program is officially up and running again, with Community Work Incentive Coordinators available to take referrals and answer questions now! For more information or to contact a CWIC, pelase call 1-888-803-0118.
The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV) Revises State Plan to Include Specific Recommendations for Persons with Disabilities
The Alabama Coalition Against Domenstic Violence (ACADV) is currently in the process of updating the 2010 Alabama State Plan Responding to Domestic and Sexual Violence. Several systems statewide–including judicial, health care, education, mental health, and prison systems– have become increasingly involved in responding to violence against women. In order to effectively address violence against women, there must be an understanding of the special characteristics of these crimes; without a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, a victim’s life can inadvertently be placed in danger, and perpetrators are less likely to be held accountable for their actions. The 2010 State Plan included guidance for these statewide systems in regard to responding to domestic and sexual violence. In preparation for updating the State Plan, the ACADV is seeking to add specific recommendations for responding to intimate partner/interpersonal violence involving persons with disabilities.
In particular, the ACADV is looking for responses to the following questions:
1. How does domestic/sexual violence impact persons with disabilities?
2. What current responses are most effective for domestic/sexual violence victims from the disability community?
3. What new responses need to be implemented to better serve domestic/sexual violence victims with disabilities?
4. What do other professions need to know about the effects of domestic/sexual violence on persons with disabilities?
5. What accountability measures would be most effective for responding to batterers who victimize persons with disabilities?
6. What training programs need to be developed to address domestic/sexual violence issues specific to persons with disabilities?
If you would like to provide your input, please address your response to Kathy Wells at email@example.com. You can also contact Kathy at 205-475-5823.
Disability Rights & Resources is pleased to introduce three new members of our Work Incentives Planning and Assitance (WIPA) and Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) programs! Pictured from left to right are Autumn Patterson, Sheila McCamy and Andrea Harris.
Sheila McCamy is a native and lifelong resident of Northeast Alabama and is the busy parent of three boys. She recently received her M.A. in Social Work from the University of Alabama and is currently eligible for licensure with the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners. Earlier this year, Sheila completed an internship with the Veteran’s Administration, where she worked with homeless veterans. She will be working with the WIPA program as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator. Welcome aboard, Sheila!
Andrea Harris was born in Mobile as the youngest of five children. She attended UAB, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology. After graduating, she served two years as an Americorps member with Sight Savers America, where she worked to educate people across the state on the importance of vision health for children. In her spare time, Andrea loves to sew, work on craft projects and watch the History Channel. We are very excited to have her join the WIPA program as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator!
Rejoining the BOND program as a Work Incentives Counselor is Autumn Patterson, who returned to Disability Rights & Resources in August. Autumn first started working at Disability Rights & Resources in 2006 as part of the WIPA program. She was involved with the grant proposal and planning of the BOND project and served as supervisor until taking a brief departure earlier this year. Autumn currently lives in Cullman with her husband, Chad, and their two young sons, JC and Max. She enjoys crafting and refinishing furniture in her spare time. We are thrilled to have you back, Autumn!
An Introduction from Disability Rights & Resources’ Newest Board Member, Kathy Lovell of Regions Bank
“I am very proud to join Disability Rights & Resources’ Board of Directors. I am most impressed with DRR’s outstanding programs and outreach efforts being offered to people with disabilities. It gives me great satisfaction to give back and to make life better for individuals with a disability by providing banking products and services that are accessible. This allows an individual to bank independently and with ease. I look forward to discovering all the ways I can support Disability Rights & Resources!”
Kathy is the Americans with Disabilities Manager at Regions Bank. She lives with her husband of 34 years, their dog and two cats.
Mark Your Calendars!
September 6: Birmingham VA Medical Center Mental Health Summit, University Blvd Double Tree, 10-2:30
September 11-15: Empowerment Week, visit http://50yearsforward.com/
September 17: AL DAN Annual Meeting, Lakeshore Foundation, 1:30-4 September 18: MCIL “Chat and Chew,” Montgomery, 11-1
October 6-7: National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Board Meeting to be held in Birmingham, AL
October 19: Alabama Inuagural White Cane Day Walk, Disability Rights & Resources, 9-1