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March E-Newsletter

WOLKEN


As we cap off the 2016 Legislative Session, the intellectual and developmental disability community in Washington State has much to be excited about! We are so grateful for all the individuals who came down to Olympia to meet with their elected officials and share their stories, and we are full of gratitude for the legislators and their staff who took the time to listen attentively to their constituents. It is an incredible experience to truly be a part of democracy in action, and we are thrilled by the progress we have made this year, although we are fully aware that – as always – there remains much more to be done.

In this newsletter, we want to highlight one of our victories, which ensures that Parent to Parent will continue to be supported AND will be expanded statewide by 2021. The abstract from HB 2394 and SB 6329 “Declares it is the legislature's goal to continue, support, and enhance the existing parent to parent programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and expand these programs statewide by 2021. Requires the parent to parent program for individuals with developmental disabilities to be funded through the department of social and health services and centrally administered through a pass-through to a state lead organization that has extensive experience supporting and training support parents for individuals with developmental disabilities.”

We know from our experience at The Arc of King County that Parent to Parent, or P2P, is one of our most impactful programs. By connecting caregivers with mentoring relationships that provide both socioemotional support and technical assistance for navigating the all-too complicated disability resources system, we are able to support families. Research has proven time and time again that peer support programs are vital in reducing families’ stress, thereby reducing the risk that vulnerable children will experience abuse or neglect.

P2P increases parents’ capacity to care for both themselves and their children. And, as we know, P2P is also an incredible means by which leaders are developed in the disability community. So often, parents come to us needing assistance and guidance, are empowered by their mentors to become Helping Parents themselves, provide tremendous advice to their mentees, and go on to build capacity and supports in their community. We are so excited that our elected officials heard our stories, and are thrilled that families statewide will now have access to such vital programming.

March E-Newsletter

For 80 years, The Arc of King County has been the place where like-minded people have gathered to stand up and make a difference for their loved ones and other people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community. Each spring, we recognize self-advocates and other individuals who stand out as exemplary examples of Living Our Legacy. The awardees this year are outstanding contributors to the I/DD community in their own unique ways.

The Self-Advocate Recognized by the First Lady

Devon

Our first Living Our Legacy awardee is Devon Adelman, an enthusiastic young woman who recently graduated from high school and is now a marine biology student at Highline Community College. Devon was a 3-year Varsity Cheer Leader, a docent of the Seattle Aquarium, a committed karaoke singer, and an athlete. She is also a person with Down syndrome. Last summer, she was part of the Reach Higher: Beating the Odds Summit along with 150 students invited to share their stories at The White House. She has previously given a keynote at The United Nations and she has met with D.C. legislators to advocate for better research funding and educational opportunities for people with disabilities. She is an amazing young woman and an incredible role model for the community.

The Physician who Really Understands

brei

Our second Living Our Legacy awardee is Timothy Brei, M.D. of Seattle Children’s Developmental Pediatrics team. Like many of his patients, Dr. Brei has spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord. This allows him to truly understand the challenges that his patients face. He discourages parents from being overly protective since his own parents believed their job was to make him as independent as possible. Even today, his research focuses on the factors that contribute to independence in children with spina bifida and which serve as barriers so that he can identify new interventions for treatment. His work is certainly appreciated since he often is recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Brei moved to Seattle in 2013 after serving on the staff at the Indiana University School of Medicine for 24 years.

The Reporter Shedding Light on the Issues

SUSANNAH

This year we are also pleased to honor Susannah Frame, the chief investigative reporter at King-5, with an Inclusion Awareness Award. Through her series “The Last of the Institutions”, Susannah has presented an in depth look at the final four remaining RHC’s in Washington. This story has dramatically increased public awareness of the importance of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in all aspects of community life. The multi-part series includes interviews with self-advocates, family members, caregivers and experts who each discuss a particular nuance of the story. Susannah has received many high accolades and awards, including multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards and Emmys, for her previous stories which have led to changes in public policy and the creation of new state laws.

Each of our honorees will receive their rewards at the 80th Anniversary Legacy Gala on Saturday, May 14 at the Westin in Bellevue. Everyone is invited to be part of this celebration and honor these members of the community who have found their own unique ways of living our legacy and increasing inclusion in King County. Tickets and further information for this benefit event can be found on our website. http://www.arcofkingcounty.org/legacy

March E-Newsletter

TaxSeason

Are you an “Individual Provider” or “Parent Provider”? If you are paid by DSHS/DDA to provide personal care to your adult child your wages are now taxable as of July 1, 2015.  Go to Washington State DSHS Tax Info website for more information about what payments are taxable and how to file.

Can I have taxes withheld from my paycheck?
Yes, providers can have their taxes withheld from their paycheck. To begin withholdings download a W4 form from the link provided above (Washington State DSHS Tax Info), complete the W4 form for federal withholding and send it to:

Department of Social & Health Services
Attn:  SSPS/PFU
Po Box 45346
Olympia WA  98504-5346

Do you or a loved one receive Medicaid/Washington Apple Health?
If yes, you will receive a new tax document, IRS Form 1095-B, with information to help complete your taxes.  To read more about IRS Form 1095-B and Frequently Asked Questions, Click here

Do you need support with Tax Preparation and make less than $62,000 a year?
There are several locations that are offering tax prep support. Click here to download the informational flyer.
 
United Way and Seattle Public Libraries are partnering to offer free tax support from IRS-certified volunteers. Click here to find the closest location and eligibility requirements.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange has several resources for Tax Preparation. Click here for more information.

Toll-free support available 7:30am to 8pm Monday through Friday 1-855-923-4633. Language assistance and disability accommodations are provided at no cost.

If your W-2 does not reflect the correct amount that should have been withheld please call this number to receive a corrected W-2.
Number to call for tax information for individual providers.
Toll free (866) 563-8155

March E-Newsletter

LabelJarsNotPeople

When we take a look at the incredible evolution that has taken place in the community of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we often get an uneasy feeling when we see the labels that were put on the people we serve. Some were a medical diagnosis while others were simply the acceptable terminology of the time. We are very glad that times change and we all learn to change with the times! Here is a sample of the vocabulary from the I/DD world.  

1920s     Feeble-minded
1930s     Mentally deficient
1940s     Mentally retarded
1970s    Developmentally disabled
2000s     People with intellectual disabilities

March E-Newsletter

AllenCappaWhen the Arc and Allen started working together, it was not in the capacity of supporting him, but rather his girlfriend Jackie. At the time, he and Jackie were living in a one bedroom apartment in the Greenwood area, Jackie was on the core waiver and receiving residential supports, Allen was not.  In early 1995, Jackie was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live. As The Arc spent more time with Jackie in supporting her as her disease progressed, staff also noticed that Allen was understandably needing more support, not just emotionally, but with day to day assistance as well.

Jackie’s cancer spread rapidly, and within five months of her diagnosis she passed away, leaving Allen uncertain of what his future would look like. The Arc continued to check in with him a couple of times a week to make sure that he was doing ok. We became his payee and asked the Housing Authority to change the voucher that had been in Jackie’s name to Allen’s. It was during this time, that Allen mentioned to Arc’s staff that he had once lived in a group home and had been enrolled in Special Ed classes because of a learning disability.  He had no proof or record of either of these, and DDA did not have him listed as being someone who would be eligible for services through DSHS. The Arc went with Allen to Children’s Hospital, found early hospital records on microfiche as well as archived records from Wilson Pacific School and pieced together a compelling argument to DDA that Allen had a cognitive disability and would benefit from residential supports similar to what Jackie had been receiving when she was alive.  In April of 1996, Allen received a Core Waiver and the Arc began to “officially” support him.  

Today, Allen lives in North Seattle with his girlfriend of ten years in an apartment subsidized through the Seattle Housing Authority. The Arc is contracted to provide two hours of individualized support a day, helping him with his finances, grocery shopping, doctor appointments and with the upkeep of his apartment.  He still enjoys fixing anything that is electronic as well as shooting videos and making sound recordings.  Allen has always looked at this turn of events as a gift from Jackie. “I would have never gotten the help I needed if it were not for her and in a way, I kind of took Jackie’s place.”

The Arc of King County’s residential supports are designed to increase the competence of the individual in how they manage their daily activities and pursuit of greater independence.  We design supports that meets a person where they are at in their life and personal journey, and believe that friends as well as family provide continuity and meaning to one’s life that in turn open doors to opportunities and new experiences.