Daniel’s individualized program plan (IPP) meeting was approaching when he called Disability Rights California for support and information to extend applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, and receive additional services to peruse his goals.
The DRC Board of Directors and staff recently honored client Eric Ybarra for his tireless self-advocacy. Eric, who is blind, relies on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers to help him with daily tasks. He could not sign his worker’s timesheets without help. This caused him problems with government agencies – one refused to accept his signature on legal documents. However, Eric didn’t give up the fight to be independent and responsible for verifying support staff timesheets. He worked with Christine Hager, assistant clients’ rights advocate.
Community living can also be at risk when a misunderstanding occurs. Luckily, DRC can get involved and straighten out the confusion – and in the case of Ofelia Nunez, keep her from going into a nursing home. Ofelia lived comfortably in her own home with a service provider for 10 years. She thought of them as family. Suddenly the state’s Community Care Licensing (CCL) program and the regional center decided she should move to a nursing home because they said the provider was operating an unlicensed facility and that Ofelia now required more care.
David Fazio exudes warmth, tenacity and energetic-qualities that have propelled him forward after sustaining a brain injury at 13. He then suffered a stroke that paralyzed him on his left side. David had to learn to walk and talk all over again.
Sixty peers and community members attended a Peer Self-Advocacy workshop at the Annual NAMI California Conference held in Newport Beach on August 25, 2017. The topic of discussion: Stigma, self-disclosure and mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. Facilitated by PSA staff, the workshop focused on the similarities and differences of self-disclosing a mental health disability and "coming out" as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
At the Deaf Community Services Clubhouse self-advocacy group, PSA staff teaches group members about their right to be free from discrimination and receive services in a language they understand. In response to a group member’s frustrating experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the PSA group advocated to have DMV staff attend their meeting to voice their concerns, educate them about deaf culture and learn more about services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
A bilingual PSA group member wanted to get out of a locked facility to care for his mother. We provided information about challenging an LPS conservatorship. As a result, “Jose” learned steps to get off conservatorship and move into the community. He developed a discharge plan that included talking with his doctor about his medications and getting third party assistance to show the court he could provide for his food, clothing and shelter. He asked his pastor to help by reminding him to take his medication and identify community support groups.
“Irene” participates in the “El Progreso” self-advocacy group at a mental health clinic. She applied for Section 8 housing a few years ago and recently moved into a third floor apartment. She was happy to have her own home, but she was in poor health due to a heart condition. It was nearly impossible to walk up three flights of stairs. After she told group members about this, the group learned about housing rights and reasonable accommodations.
Luke’s IHSS social worker had a reputation in the disability community for behaving unprofessionally during IHSS reassessments. Luke’s most recent reassessment was no different. The social worker accused Luke’s IHSS provider of fraud and then cut Luke’s hours without actually assessing his needs. OCRA submitted an advocate inquiry to the IHSS office, which resulted not only in a change of social worker and a reinstatement of Luke’s hours, but Luke and his caregiver received a personal apology from one of the IHSS managers. OCRA’s intervention helped Luke keep his IHSS hours while also a
Maxine has lived in a HUD housing unit since 2011. After moving into the unit, Maxine started working. Each year, Maxine reported her income to her non-profit agency landlord, as required by HUD. Although Maxine’s rent increased slightly over the years, in March 2016, she received a notice that her rent was doubling from $409 per month to $819 per month. OCRA contacted the landlord to discuss the rent increase and their notice. The landlord reported that the HUD rent and income formula was programed incorrectly into the computer in 2011. Maxine was therefore only paying 15% of her inc
OCRA forged a new partnership with a local Southeast Asian Community Center. The Bridge of Modesto is located inside a county-owned neighborhood home and from this location, families from the Hmong, Laotian, and Cambodian communities are served regularly. The Bridge offers services and supports in the areas of advocacy, housing, public benefits, education, healthcare, and many other county and state services. With simultaneous translations into the Hmong, Laotian and Cambodian languages, OCRA provided an introduction to OCRA and a substantive legal training about Social Security eligibil
Walter called OCRA for information on how to get help using his new glucometer and managing his health needs after his recent diabetes diagnosis. He stated that his independent living skills (ILS) worker would not assist him because she was not certified or trained. He also thought it was too difficult for him to use the glucometer by himself. He was frustrated with his ILS worker for not being able to help him check his blood sugar levels. Walter thought he needed nursing services to monitor his diabetes. OCRA advised Walter that many people monitor their blood sugar levels without ne
Alfonso is an 8-year-old with average cognitive ability and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since age two, he has received behavioral intervention as a regional center client. Because of these intensive interventions, he has been successful academically in his elementary school classroom, with 504 accommodations instead of an IEP. However, he still needs substantial social and behavioral assistance outside of the classroom. Due to his academic success, the regional center reassessed his eligibility and determined that he had been misdiagnosed and no longer qualified for regional center
Ariana is a first-year college student who frequently had seizures during class. One of her professors found her seizures to be distracting, so he insisted that she leave every class early, sit in the hallway, and return at the end of class for the homework assignment. Ariana’s grades began to suffer as she missed more than half of every class. OCRA advised Ariana that her college must make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. OCRA advised Ariana that she cannot be asked to leave class because she has a disability.
Mauricio’s SSI benefits were terminated. During the time that 5-year-old Mauricio did not receive his SSI check, his mother had to borrow money from acquaintances and go into debt to pay the rent and purchase basic necessities for Mauricio. Social Security eventually reinstated his benefits and paid the money owed, but a representative payee held the account for Mauricio and would not release any funds to pay the debts that Mauricio’s mother still owed.
The Westside Jam is an annual self-advocacy fair for individuals served by Westside Regional Center, which celebrates consumers and encourages self-advocacy by providing a fun evening of food, socializing, awareness and client recognition. This year’s jam brought dozens of vendors throughout Los Angeles together in one place, which gave clients the opportunity to learn more about services and providers available to them, including OCRA.
OCRA agreed to represent Hyunh at a state hearing after the county reduced his monthly IHSS hours from 195 to 29. The county’s written notice stated that because he is self-directing, according to school records that show that he can follow a set routine in his special education classroom, he is no longer eligible for protective supervision. In preparing the case for hearing, OCRA identified many different school and regional center records which showed Hyunh was actually not self-directing.
Ken was initially placed in an IMD by the regional center on an emergency basis when the regional center could not locate a community placement that met his behavioral needs. OCRA worked closely with the IPP team to identify the necessary services and supports Ken would need to successfully transition back into the community. Ken was recently discharged and is thriving, living independently in his own apartment with supported living services funded by the regional center.
Bruce’s mother contacted OCRA after being denied respite services because he was hospitalized. Bruce had been in the hospital for over a month and needed constant supervision while there. His mother could only leave his side briefly when other family members came to visit and she was overwhelmed. Respite was stopped without written notice of action. Since respite can only be provided in the home, the respite agency had thought they were not allowed to provide respite in the hospital.
The exciting new federal law titled the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (“ABLE Act”), is well on its way to being implemented in California in the next few months. For far too long, persons with disabilities have been unable to accumulate savings for much-needed expenses without jeopardizing eligibility for public benefits. This disadvantage will soon change with the implementation of the ABLE Act.