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Area Boards on Developmental Disabilities

Area Boards on Developmental Disabilities were created in 1969 in the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act to plan, coordinate, and develop services for persons with developmental disabilities. Area Boards also:

Protect and advocate the rights of persons with developmental disabilities;
Conduct, or cause to be conducted, information programs to increase public and professional awareness and eliminate barriers to integration;
Monitor the practices of publicly funded agencies for compliance with local, state and federal laws and pursue remedies of any noncompliance with such laws;
Conduct activities designed to improve the quality of services;
Promote and support the participation of primary consumers in all levels of the system; and
Plan, coordinate, and develop new and expanded program opportunities.

California Children’s Services (CCS)

CCS serves children—up to age 22—with certain genetic, neurological and orthopedic conditions that can be corrected (or helped). Certain therapies for very young children (e.g. physical therapy) are provided without regard to family income and assets through Medical Therapy Units, often coordinated closely with the schools. Other services (e.g. surgery; durable medical equipment) must be judged medically necessary. If so, CCS can refer to a health-care provider and may provide some financial support. Such support is predicated on the family having an annual adjusted gross income (AGI) of $40,000 or less, although if medical expenses exceed (or are projected to exceed) 20% of income or more, the child may be eligible, despite higher family income.

Referral to CCS is typically provided via the physician with support by the regional center or school. Along with identifying information, the referral must include medical records that accurately and legibly document original findings.

Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP)

CHDP provides well-child physicals for children through 21 years of age at the county level, using a combination of federal and state funds. The complete examination includes hearing, vision, lead level, anemia check, urinalysis and immunizations. If Medi-Cal eligible, services extend to age 21. If not Medi-Cal eligible, services are to age 19.

Children not eligible for full-scope Medic-Cal can qualify, if their family income is less than 200% of the federal poverty line. More information is available by calling the local health department or Medi-Cal division of DPSS.
  
Department of Children and Family Services

The title of this service may vary from area to area. This is the division of the Department of Social Services that provides protective services for children who may be abused, neglected, or dependent. Allegations of abuse against a child (with or without a disability) are made through the protective services divisions of these agencies. Social services are available to assure a child’s safety.

Department of Rehabilitation

The mission of the Department of Rehabilitation is to assist Californian’s with disabilities in obtaining and retaining employment and maximizing their ability to live independently in their communities.

The Individualized Written Rehabilitation Program (IWRP)

A counselor will review your information to determine your eligibility for services. If it will take longer than 60 days to determine if you are eligible, your counselor will meet with you to discuss the situation. To complete the eligibility determination, your counselor will assess:

  1. If you have a physical or mental impairment;
  2. Whether the impairment(s) make it difficult for you to get or keep a job.
  3. If you require rehabilitation services in order to become or remain employed.

Once an employment goal has been determined, you and your counselor will then agree on and develop a written plan for reaching your goal.

Habilitation Services Program

The Habilitation Services Program administered by the California Department of Rehabilitation, addresses the vocational needs of persons with severe developmental disabilities through a broad range of services directed toward developing the individual’s maximum potential for mainstreaming into generic vocational rehabilitation programs. HSP provides both sheltered workshop services through Work Activity Programs and supported employment services. Habilitation services are available only to persons with developmental disabilities who are also regional center consumers.

Food Program for Women, Infants  and Children (WIC)

WIC is a special supplemental food program for women, infants and young children in need. WIC provides temporary assistance with nutrition education to help improve eating habits, and supplemental food/vouchers. These monthly vouchers for supplemental foods are used at a store selected by the participant. WIC supplemental foods include mill, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, dried beans/peas, juice, fortified-infant formula/cereal and cereal. 

WIC foods are selected to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant women, young children and women who are breastfeeding. To be eligible, the person must be a woman who is pregnant, breastfeeding (or has recently delivered a baby), or a child under five years old. In addition, the recipient must:

  1. Be at a nutritional risk determined by a health professional
  2. Have regular medical check ups
  3. Meet poverty income guidelines; and
  4. Reside in a local agency’s service area

Food Stamp Program

The program provides monthly benefits in the form of food stamps for low-income households. These benefits are part of the person’s food budget for the month. Individuals who quality for food stamps must: work for low wages, be unemployed, work part-time, receive welfare or other assistance programs, be elderly or disabled and live on a small income and be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent alien.

The food stamp office provides application forms on the same day of the visit. Interested parties can ask for the application in person, over the phone, by mail, or someone else may get one on his/her behalf.

Healthy Families

Healthy Families is a program, operated by the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board. Uninsured children (ages one through 18) in families with incomes of less than 250% of the federal poverty level (($35,376 for a family of three), and who are not eligible for no cost Medi-Cal, can purchase a package of covered benefits just like those enjoyed by children of state and local government employees. Premiums are $7 to $27 per month depending on income and number of children enrolled.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

IHSS provides personal care and domestic services to people who are aged, blind, disabled and who live in their own homes. To be eligible an individual must:

Be a lawful resident of California with low income and limited resources, linked to eligibility for Medi-Cal
Need IHSS care to remain safely in their own home

Individuals with disabilities can qualify for IHSS services, which might include meal preparation, laundry, shopping, non-medical and other types of assistance. Eligibility for IHSS services is coordinated through the county Department of Social Services. Authorized hours may range to a maximum of 283 hours per month, depending on the needs of the individual.

IHSS services which are allowable include:

Domestic services (cleaning, changing linens, etc.)
Related services (menu planning, shopping, etc.)
Heavy cleaning services (due to special health problems)
Non-medical personal services (hygiene, grooming, ambulation)
Medical transportation services
Yard work services
Protective supervision services (to protect against the risk of injury/accident)
Teaching and demonstration services
Paramedical services under direction of health care professional (exercises, catheter care, injections, etc.)

Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal serves low-income Californians who would otherwise not have access to medical/health care. About half the money is federal, half state. Medi-Cal covers a variety of services when they are medically necessary. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are automatically eligible for Medi-Cal. Some others can qualify as medically needy, with a share-of-cost, if they have high medical expenses in any month. Besides primary, specialty (for example, psychiatry; durable medical equipment), and acute care, the Medicaid program is used to fund a variety of other services and supports.

Over half of all funds for “developmental services” (including targeted case management; long-term health care in skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities; and waiver services) in California are financed through the Medicaid program.

Medicare

Medicare is a federally funded, public health insurance program for then nation’s elderly and selected others. It covers end-stage renal disease (kidney failure, transplantation) for people of all ages. In California, Social Security Disability Insurance recipients automatically have access to Medicare, regardless of age. Part A covers inpatient hospital care, care in a skilled nursing facility, or hospice care. Part B covers the services of physicians and selected other professionals, outpatient hospital services, medical supplies, and selected other services.

Metro Transit Authority

The array of available and accessible public transportation services varies from area to area. Most individuals with developmental disabilities qualify for a price reduction on bus passes to ride the public bus service. In addition, many communities operate a paratransit system (door-to-door van service) for people with disabilities who need to get to medical appointments and other community services. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require such transportation. Check with the transportation coordinator or resource developer in your regional center for information about paratransit services and transportation discounts (e.g. bus passes, taxi vouchers).

Section 8 Rental Assistance Program

The Section 8 Rental Assistance Program is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD). Local housing authorities administer the program.

The program provides a subsidy for renters who have low incomes. The program’s purpose is to provide low-income families (including families of one) with safe, decent and affordable housing. Waiting lists are typically quite long; two or more years in most areas.

Sign ups to be on the list may be only an occasional event. Increasingly, subsidies are provided through certificates and vouchers. If accepted by a private-sector landlord for rent at or below fair market rent (FMR) for units of a given size (say, one-bedroom), a certificate means that the housing authority will pay the difference each month between FMR and 30% of the family’s income.

With a voucher, the family can rent units at the rates above the FMRs, but the subsidy is the same as if the family had a certificate. The renter pays extra—that is, the difference between what the landlord charges and FMR. Individuals who need round-the-clock attendant care typically will qualify for a two-bedroom unit on their own account. Only a few local housing authorities have amended their HUD contracts to take advantage of the “shared housing option,” wherein more than one individual has exclusive right to a bedroom and shared use of common elements of the dwelling. One can sometimes move up on the waiting list if one can obtain preference points, which are given for each of the following:

paying over 50% of income for housing;
living in substandard housing;
being evicted.

Social Security (SSI, SSDI, SSA)

The Social Security Administration administers two programs of importance to many individuals with developmental disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP). The former is all federal money; the latter is a combination of federal and state funds. In addition, a disabled adult child of a retired or deceased parent who paid into Social Security is eligible for SSA.

Social Security Disability Insurance

SSDI is a social insurance program, in which disabled individuals receive a cash payment based on their own earning record. There is no resource (or asset) test for receipt for SSDI. SSDI benefit levels depend on the earnings of the person whose social security account the benefit is based, and on the number of persons drawing benefits on the same account.

One must have a medically determinable disability expected to last 12 months or more that prevents substantial gainful activity (SGA). At present, the SGA criterion is $500 per month ($1,000, if blind). A person eligible for SSDI is also eligible for Medicare, with the premium for Part B services paid for the individual.

Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment

SSI/SSP is an income maintenance program for aged, blind, or disabled individuals (and couples) with low income and few resources. SGA is defined in the same manner as SSDI. At present, “countable assets” (cash) may not exceed $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple). Cash payments are not predicted on prior contributions to the Social Security Fund.

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