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Friday Mail

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October 24, 2014

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News Items:

Opportunities for Comments and Involvement

Standing on the Shoulders of Jon Garrett

by Tom Watkins, Dome Magazine, Oct. 3

"How quickly times marches on as memories fade. Jon Garrett fought discrimination that prevented people with disabilities from enjoying their rights as citizens. He passed away on August 28, at the age of 64, peacefully, at home surrounded by his loving family."

Click here to read Tom's column.              top

Excludable Convictions for Medicaid Home Help Program Personal Care Service Providers Bulletin # MSA 14-40 from Stephen Fitton, Dir., MSA

Beginning October 2, 2014, all new provider applicants must fully meet the provisions of this bulletin (pdf) before being enrolled to provide services. Providers must be properly enrolled prior to being authorized, approved, or reimbursed to provide personal care services through the Medicaid Home Help program.

All currently enrolled providers must be fully compliant with the provisions of this policy by March 31, 2015. Screenings, updates, enrollments, and notifications to currently enrolled providers will be done on a timeline to be established by MDCH, but will be completed no later than the March 31, 2015 deadline.


Questions regarding this bulletin should be directed to: Provider Inquiry, Department of Community Health, P.O. Box 30731, Lansing, MI 48909-8231, send e-mail or call 800.292.2550. Include your name, affiliation, and phone number so you may be contacted if necessary.  top

Persons on Spend Down at Risk of Losing Essential Services - from Dohn Hoyle

Some persons with a developmental disability are facing a crisis, in most cases, not of
their or their families making. Recent changes, current circumstances and prior
decisions have persons on “spend-down” for Medicaid eligibility in jeopardy. They are at
risk of losing or being denied essential Medicaid and Medicaid funded mental health
supports and services.

Adoption of Healthy Michigan (Medicaid Expansion), possible miscalculation of the
General Fund savings Michigan would achieve and, perhaps, a failure to recognize one
important facet of Medicaid Expansion has potentially changed the entire landscape for
those persons who do not have Medicaid as a result of never having received SSI.

If Medicaid eligibility was through one of the approximately 40 other Medicaid programs, income, especially unearned income, over the protected income level for your county, will need to be spent for medical needs in order for the person to qualify for Medicaid (The pitiful monthly protected Income levels for Michigan range from $341, all the way up to $408). Qualifying for Medicaid is an essential factor in entitling a person with a developmental disability for Mental Health Supports and Services. A person with SSI eligibility established prior to receiving Social Security benefits has those benefits waived or not considered in determining their financial eligibility for Medicaid.  Click here to read more. (pdf) 

MPAS Employment First in Michigan September 2014 Report

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., Developmental Disabilities Institute-Wayne State University, and Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council have completed their September report, Michigan Employment First in Michigan (pdf). It talks about the unemployment rates and strong reliance on 14c waivers.     top

Leaders in Policy Advocacy Now Accepting Applications for April 2015 Class in U.P.

Leaders in Policy Advocacy, an intensive leadership development project administered by the Arc Michigan and funded by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, is now accepting applications for the next class in the Upper Peninsula, scheduled to begin in April 2015.  Eligible applicants are adults with developmental disabilities and parents of minor children with DD. More information and an application form can be found here:      top

DDI Author Series Presents: Dr. Bruce Mills, Kalamazoo College Professor - October 30

Dr. Mills is a Professor of English at Kalamazoo College and has published several essays and articles and co-edited a book on siblings and Autism. He is the father of a son with Autism and has incorporated his and his son’s experiences into his latest memoir, An Archaeology of Yearning. Delving into vivid moments through the metaphor of an archaeological dig, this memoir maps the artifacts of life as a father of a son with autism and as a boy himself growing up in Iowa. An Archaeology of Yearning is not ultimately about autism; instead it reaches into the world of human connection and illuminates how storytelling and an understanding of shared longings keep that connection alive.

Dr. Mills will speak from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm on Thursday, October 30th, 2014 on the  campus of Wayne State University in the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, Room B/C, 495 Gilmour Mall, Detroit, Michigan 48202. The event is free and open to the public. Following Dr. Mills’ talk, books will be available for sale. Hors d’oeuvres will also be served.

Click here for flyer. Click here to RSVP by October 24    top

The Myth of 'Out of Control' Disability Benefits

(U.S. News & World Report) Chad Stone, August 22, 2014

"The rising number of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in recent decades and the projected depletion of the program's trust fund in 2016 are whipping up a frenzy in some quarters that disability insurance is “out of control.” Don’t believe it. These developments were largely anticipated and are quite manageable if policymakers don’t lose their heads over them." Click here to read moretop

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into Law on July 22nd

President Barack Obama on July 22, 2014, signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system. WIOA is designed to help job seeker employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

This Act will make important changes to disability programs. Under the new law, the Independent Living and Assistive Technology Act programs, and the National Institute on Disability and Independent Living Rehabilitation from the U.S. Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The Act will increase individuals with disabilities’ access to high-quality workforce services to prepare them for competitive integrated employment. It requires better employer engagement and promotes physical and programmatic accessibility to employment and training services.

Click here for more information about the WIOA   top

Congress Weighing Tax-Free Disability Savings Accounts 


July 24, 2014

A long-stagnant bill that would establish a new way for people with disabilities to save money
without jeopardizing their government benefits is starting to make its way through Congress.

The legislation known as the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act would allow people with disabilities to create special accounts where they could save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for benefits like Social Security. What’s more, under the plan, individuals would not lose Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is deposited in the proposed accounts.

A U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday marked the first step in Congress for the bill which has been under consideration since 2006. Click here to read more.  

HHS Issues New Guidance on Implementing Person-Centered Planning and Self-Direction

On June 6, 2014, The Secretary of Health and Human Services issued guidance on person-centered planning and self-direction for implementing Section 2402(s) of the Affordable Care Act. This provision of law requires the Secretary to ensure all states develop systems for delivery of home and community-based services and supports (HCBS) that are designed to respond to the changing needs of beneficiaries, maximize independence, support self-direction, and achieve a more consistent and coordinated approach to the administration of policies and procedures across programs providing HCBS. Click here to read more. (pdf)


Michigan Community Dental Clinics (MCDC) accept Medicaid 

MCDC has a number of dental clinics throughout the state and accepts Medicaid. Visit the website to see what services are available and where the clinics are located or call the MCDC administrative office at 231.547.7638.           top

Michigan Alliance for Families announces release of new DVD “Making the Most of Early On®”  "Making the Most of Earlyon" is designed to help parents better understand and access the system of supports and services for children from birth through age three.
This video is chaptered into six easy to navigate topics:

  • What is Early On?

  • Parent to Parent Advice

  • Natural Environments

  • Problem Solving

  • Transition: Leaving Early On

  • Parent Survey

Each topic includes options for Spanish subtitles, Arabic subtitles, and English closed caption. In addition to the DVD, parents can find more early intervention resources at:

Parents and professionals can view the videos via the Michigan Alliance for Families YouTube Channel  at

A limited quantity of DVDs is available.

“Making the Most of Early On®” was produced through an IDEA grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education to Michigan Alliance for Families.


Michigan Alliance for Families' upcoming workshops can be viewed at:  Upcoming and archived Webinars can be viewed at:

Check out our new brochure (pdf)


Michigan History of Our State Institutions for People with Developmental Disabilities

This video documents this regretful history and celebrates the hard work of families and advocates with the final closure of our last institution in Michigan in 2010.  top

The White House Disability Group E-mail Distribution List
In order to keep the public informed about various disability issues the White House has been hosting monthly calls. To learn about future calls, request to be added to the White House Disability email distribution list, by visiting the White House website.

These calls are open to the public and offer a unique opportunity to hear about important disability issues from individuals who work in the Federal government. You can also submit questions before the call at                              

Michigan Alliance for Families Web site offers Resources to help Families

Michigan Alliance for Families is excited to announce that our website ( now includes information to help families become more involved in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.

Michigan Alliance for Families, in partnership with Early On Michigan, announces resources to help families know their rights, better communicate their child’s needs, support the development of infants and toddlers, and prepare for the transition out of Early On into the preschool years. These resources are available to families, Early On Service Coordinators and Service Providers to increase the involvement of Michigan families in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.
Website resources include:

Handouts and video information on developmental milestones and how to promote development and learning through play

  • Handouts and video information to help families prepare to leave Early On and move on to Preschool
  • Learning tools to help families improve communication skills
  • Information to help families know their rights (Procedural Safeguards), including evaluation, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, natural environments and service coordination.                       top



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