ABILITY360 provides advocacy on behalf of individuals who need this kind of support – for instance, a staff or peer mentor volunteer might go with them to their Vocational Rehabilitation or medical appointment.
We often provide this kind of support via phone (conference calling), email, as well as, in person.
EXAMPLES OF INDIVIDUAL ADVOCACY
- SOCIAL SECURITY OVERPAYMENT – Because most people have not had accurate information about how the Social Security work incentives work, some people have worked and not informed SSA and have ended up getting an overpayment which SSA expects them to pay back. Although consumers will have to pay back the money, Ability360 staff can help negotiate the SSA repayment to a reasonable monthly amount.We now also, through our Benefits 2 Work program, are working to inform SSDI and SSI recipients and beneficiaries of their rights and responsibilities when they choose to work while disabled – as well as work incentives they may not know about that can help them ease off benefits. To avoid SSA overpayment and for more information on the Benefits 2 Work program, click here.
- ONE-TO-ONE ADVOCACY WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS – A consumer felt like her service provider was not listening to her goals and not supporting her plan for independence. She requested a meeting with the supervisor and asked an Ability360 staff to go with her to the meeting to support her efforts to self-advocate. The consumer practiced what she wanted to say with the Ability360 staff before the meeting. The consumer stated her goal and justification for it to the services provider. The Ability360 staff helped clarify the service provider’s rules and requirements that the consumer was satisfying. The service provider agreed that the consumer was satisfying her responsibilities and her requests were reasonable, and she received the services she was requesting. Ability360 Peer Mentor volunteers have provided the same kind of support to hundreds of consumers over the years. Click here for more information about the Ability360 Peer Mentor Volunteer program.
- DOOR OPENERS – Although the ADA does not require automatic door openers as an accommodation, many businesses have agreed to put them in simply because their customers needed them to use the business. One shy advocate who used a scooter worked with an experienced peer mentor volunteer to get an automatic door opener at the food court at the AZ Center. They met with the Center’s administrator and requested the opener. It took a few meetings (persistence!) but they promised to put in the door opener, realizing it would help many customers (disabled, parents with children in tow, shoppers with hands full of shopping bags). It took follow-up from the advocate and her mentor, but the automatic door is now in place for all to enjoy. A few months later, the same, now “not-so shy” advocate talked to her bank about installing an automatic door, so she could enter the bank independently to do her banking. They agreed and the bank put in the automatic door, agreeing it would be helpful to their customers.
See Ability360’s newsletter, The Bridge, for upcoming advocacy classes.
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