Building Financial Solutions for People with Disabilities

The following free webinar is from the US Department of Labor

Get Empowered: Make the Most of Your Job and Improve Your Financial Security Building Financial Solutions for People with Disabilities

February 27, 2020 – 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET

showing money growthIf you are a person with a disability who is getting ready to enter the workforce or who recently did, you probably have a lot of questions related to your new job and your financial security. We want to help you find the answers so that you are empowered to take steps to achieve your financial goals.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and America Saves Week, join the U.S. Department of Labor, America Saves, and the LEAD Center for a webcast to learn about ways to improve your financial security. National experts from the National Disability Institute will discuss ABLE accounts that can help you save for some of your goals without threatening disability benefits. Hear a personal account from staff at the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy about moving from disability benefits to employment and achieving financial independence. The Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration will provide information and resources on financial planning to help achieve your goals. This includes budgeting, managing debt and determining a target retirement saving rate so you can make the most of your workplace-provided retirement plan. Learn more about workplace-provided retirement saving plans – the easiest way to save for a secure retirement.  America Saves will share how direct deposit can help with saving for all of your goals.

So, during America Saves Week, get empowered. The more you know, the more prepared you will be to make decisions for your financial security today and in the future. Start today by registering for this webcast!

Use this link to register for this webinar…

Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by PixaBay

Maine CITE to Exhibit at Brain Injury Resource Fair

BIAA-Maine logoAlong with many other organization, Maine CITE will be exhibiting at the 2020 BIAA-ME Brain Injury Resource Fair taking place on Monday, March 2, 2020 at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Ave.

The event, hosted by Brain Injury Association of America – Maine Chapter (BIAA-ME), provides an opportunity to connect with resources, services, and support for brain injury survivors, family members, caregivers, friends and professionals.

Tables and exhibitors include:

  • Brain injury service providers
  • Assistive technology
  • Advocacy and legal information
  • Support, recreational/social groups
  • Veteran organizations
  • Housing and employment
  • Maine brain injury waiver

The Fair is free for attendees; however, registration is required. To attend, please use this link to register.

If you do not have an email address or if you need assistance with registration, contact Sarah Gaffney at 207-522-6601. All attendees are strongly encouraged to register online in advance.

 

Legislature Recognizes February 2020 as 211 Month

211 Maine logoSince becoming a statewide service in 2006, 211 Maine has received over 750,000 calls. Every month, 211 receives thousands of calls from people in need of referrals. In 2019, the most common reasons individuals contacted 211 Maine were for heating assistance, utilities assistance, mental health services, housing/shelter, and food.

Many Maine citizens contact 211 Maine to seek assistance in acquiring assistive technology (AT) devices or services. Specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting a Maine zip code to 898-211 or by dialing 211. 211 Maine is a collaborative effort of the United Ways of Maine, the State of Maine, and The Opportunity Alliance as the Contact Center Partner.

Maine Legislature Honors 211

The Maine Legislature voted to recognize February 2020 as 211 Month with bipartisan support. Finding help for complex needs like shelter, substance use, mental health, or food access can be hard for many Mainers looking for themselves or someone they know. Fortunately, there is a resource here in Maine to help.

Sen. Susan Deschambault (D-Biddeford) presenting the Joint Resolution to the State Senate on Feb. 11, 2020. “211 Maine is a free, confidential avenue for people of all ages to access information and resources,” said Rep. Abigail Griffin (R- Levant).

“It allows people to connect with professionals who can help or lead them in the right direction. It provides assistance with different issues such as crisis, housing, health services and other useful information. I co-sponsored the 211 Resolution so that more people will be aware of this helpful service.”

The Joint Resolution recognizing 211 Month in Maine was cosponsored by Sen. Susan Deschambault (D-Biddeford), Rep. Abigail Griffin (R-Levant), Sen. Michael Carpenter (D-Houlton), Sen. Ned Claxton (D-Auburn), and Rep. William Tuell (R-East Machias).

“When you call 211, you speak with trained professionals who can direct you to the right program or resource and point you to the next step,” said Sen. Susan Deschambault (D-Biddeford). “Back in December, I mentioned the 211 program in a column I wrote for The Courier. I ended up receiving many calls and emails from people who told me that they were grateful to learn about 211.”

“Finding the right resource can be confusing and frustrating,” said Liz Cotter Schlax, United Way of Greater Portland CEO/President and President of the 211 Maine Board of Directors. “While the internet can be helpful, often what a person really needs is to have a conversation. With 211, they speak directly with an actual person right here in Maine. That is so valuable.”

Read more about 211 Month in Maine…

State provides guidance on new Hearing Aid mandate

Regarding the recently passed and enacted legislation related to 24-A M.R.S. § 2762, a law which requires health insurance carriers in Maine to provide hearing aid coverage in all individual and group health plans, the Maine Bureau of Insurance in the Department of Professional and Financial Regulations has published the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documentation:

New Hearing Aid Mandate, Effective January 1, 2020

Q: I have insurance and I need hearing aids. Does this new law mean my insurance will cover the cost now?

A: It depends on several factors:

Type of Insurance

The following types are required to provide the benefit:

      • Fully funded major medical policies, including ACA coverage;
      • Short-term limited duration policies

These types are exempt from all State health insurance benefit mandates:

      • Medicare products, including Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans (federally exempted by Social Security/Medicare);
      • Self-insured plans, except state or municipal governmental and multiple-employer welfare association (MEWA) plans;
      • Plans other than comprehensive major medical or short-term limited duration: accidental injury; specified disease; hospital indemnity; dental; vision; disability income; long-term care; other limited benefit health insurance.

Benefit Details, Deductibles, Cost, Networks, and Renewal Dates

Coverage amount:

      • Up to $3,000 per hearing aid for each hearing-impaired ear; and
      • Available every 36 months.

Deductibles: You should be aware that you could still be responsible for all or part of the cost if you have not yet met your annual deductible at the time you purchase a hearing aid.

Cost:  If you purchase a hearing aid that costs more than $3,000, you should assume you will need to pay the amount over the $3,000 out of your own pocket, even if you have met your deductible – unless your policy specifically provides a greater benefit.

Network:  You could also be responsible for all or part of the cost if you use a provider who is not part of your plan’s network.

Renewal dates:  If you have a group plan that is required to provide this benefit, but it renews later in the year, the benefit will not be included in your coverage until that time.

Q: I know I have hearing issues. Do I need to go to my primary care office before going to see a hearing specialist and getting a prescription for hearing aids?

A:  Whether you are able to self-refer to a specialist and whether pre-authorization is required to purchase a hearing aid would depend on your policy contract.  Check with your insurer and/or your employer’s benefits department.

Q: Will my insurance cost more because of this mandate?

A:  The cost of providing the new benefit is built into the premium and should be very minimal (the Bureau’s 2014 report estimated that the cost per policyholder could be $.47 per month).

If you have questions beyond this FAQ, please contact the Maine Bureau of Insurance

February 2020 Webinars

Maine CITE is offering TWO free webinars in February:

Webinar: Getting into the Drivers’ Seat – Driver Assessment Services in Maine

Date: February 12, 2020
Time: 
1:00 to 2:00 pm ET

automobile with hand controlsEveryone in Maine recognizes the importance of having the ability to drive as it increases independence and gives people more freedom. For people with disabilities of all ages (adolescents, adults and seniors) driving can present many challenges.

In this webinar participants learn about the importance of driving for a person with a disability, the adaptive driving evaluation process, adaptive/assistive technology options, and information on installation and funding.

Presenters

  • Heather Shields, OTR/L, CDRS
  • Ketra Crosson, OTR/L

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar: Getting into the Drivers’ Seat – Driver Assessment Services in Maine

Webinar: Assistive Technology Resources for Case Managers in Maine

Date: February 18, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET

Join the presenters for an update and overview of Assistive Technology (AT) services and resources in Maine. Learn how AT can be effective in keeping people with disabilities safe and independent in their communities and about the Maine Medicaid AT funding opportunities. Case managers and other providers will learn how to best support clients in identifying the need for AT and how to initiate the referral process.

Attendees will learn about Maine’s AT providers, resources and funding: about common AT solutions to enhance functional independence in the community.

Presenters

  • Christine Martin, MS, OTR/L
  • Kathy Adams, OT/L, ATP

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar, Assistive Technology Resources for Case Managers in Maine


The following list of February 2020 (and a couple of March 2020) webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Social Media Accessibility from AT3
February 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

Tools for Living: How Technology is Transforming the Experience of Independence from GrandCare Systems
February 21, 2020 at 2:00 PM ET (75 min.)

AT Accommodations & Assessment from SETC
February 3, 2020 at 6:30 pm Eastern

AAC Considerations for English/Spanish Bilingual Users from SETC
February 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

Consideration of Assistive Technology for Young Braille Learners from TSBVI
February 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm Eastern

Chrome Accessibility from SETC
February 5, 2020 at 6:30 pm ET

How to Use Speech Recognition as AT for Writing from DonJohnston
February 6 2020 at 2:00 pm Eastern

AT/AAC in the IEP from SETC
February 6, 2020 at 6:30 pm Eastern

Empowering Writers with WordQ 5 Support from SETC
February 10, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

AT for your Child with Complex Cognitive Needs: Communication Supports from AbleNet
February 11, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Integrating AAC into the Classroom from SETC
February 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

Advancing AT Processes AT Assessment from SETC
February 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm Eastern

ATIA Recap from SETC
February 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

Beyond Switch Training Activities from SETC
February 13, 2020 at 6:30 pm Eastern

Using AAC to meet Literacy Goals in Elementary and Secondary Classrooms from SETC
February 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

Exploration of AAC Devices and Tools from PACER
February 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern

AT in Minutes: New, Cool, and Awesome Solutions for Students with Severe Disabilities (Session 1 of 3) from Idaho State DoE
February 18, 2020 at 6:00 pm Eastern (2 hours)

‘Appy Hour’ : Apps that Support Independence for Vision Loss from PACER
February 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm Eastern

Executive Function Series : Part 2: Executing the Plan – Time & Focus from PACER
February 20, 2020 at 5:30 pm Eastern (90 min.)

AT for your Child with Complex Cognitive Needs: Behavior Supports from AbleNet
February 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

AT Chatter- AAC Implementation Strategies for the Classroom from SETC
February 25, 2020 at 2:30 pm Eastern

Creating Low Cost AT Solutions for Physical Disabilities from Idaho State DoE
February 25, 2020 at 6:00 pm Eastern (2 hours)

Aided Language Input: How to! from SETC
February 27, 2020 at 6:30 pm Eastern

Assistive Technology for Vision Loss from SETC
March 2, 2020 at 6:30 pm Eastern

Creating Low cost Assistive Technology Solutions for Reading, Writing, Learning and Demonstrating Skill Acquisition from Idaho Training Clearinghouse
March 3, 2020 at 6:00 pm Eastern (2 hours)

AT to Support Social-Emotional Development for Young Children from PACER
March 3, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern
 

AT4Maine “Features” recycled equipment for sale

Spurwink-ALLTECH logoThe Spurwick ALLTECH Recycle and Reuse Program is now listing and featuring “gently used” assistive technology devices and products available for purchase by the public on the AT4Maine website.

Located at 892 Riverside Street in Portland, the “ALLTECH Store” is open for business four days a week and has dozens of items available for sale.

The two items featured this month are:

View more items for Resale/Reuse on the AT4Maine website

For more information and to arrange to purchase these or any items in the ALLTECH Store, visit their website or call 207-535-2017

 

Tools for Living: How Technology is Transforming the Experience of Independence.

The following free webinar is sponsored by GrandCare Systems

Date And Time

Fri, February 21, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:15 PM ET

Program Description

woman using digital magnifierEvery day, 10,000 baby boomers are eligible for Medicare. Not only do 90% of today’s seniors wish to stay home for longer, we simply don’t have the physical capability nor can we afford to push the same traditional caregiving models. This is why professional caregivers and senior housing providers are turning to smart technologies to save on the costs of personal caregivers, enable independence, offset caregiver shortages and connect residents with family members.

Speakers:

  • Laura Mitchell, CEO of GrandCare, Principal at Laura Mitchell Consulting
  • Laurie Orlov, Analyst & Founder, Age in Place Technology Watch
  • Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder ChangingAging.org, the Greenhouse Project, Eden Alternative and Minka
  • Ryan Frederick, Founder & CEO, SmartLiving 360

This webinar will cover the technology ecosystem, housing models, technology in long term care vs. private homes, challenging caregiving norms and implementation best practices.

Registration

Use this link to register for the meeting and then,

Use this link to Join the online meeting:

Dial-in number (US): (425) 436-6399 Access code: 155680#

Online meeting ID: media644

Access to air travel for passengers who use wheelchairs

From the U.S. Access Board

Study Initiated on Equipping Passenger Aircraft with Wheelchair Restraint Systems

US Access Board logoThe U.S. Access Board is undertaking a study that has the potential to advance access to air travel for passengers who use wheelchairs. As directed by Congress, this project will assess the feasibility of equipping passenger planes with restraint systems so that passengers can remain in their wheelchairs on flights. Having to transfer out of wheelchairs makes air travel very difficult, if not impossible, for many people with disabilities.

The Board is conducting this study through the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board (TRB). TRB has organized a committee of experts to evaluate the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems. Members include experts in aircraft interiors and safety engineering, accessibility, wheelchair design and crashworthiness, airline operations, and other disciplines. Committee members will evaluate the design, engineering, and safety requirements for equipping aircraft with locking or tiedown mechanisms for non-motorized and motorized wheelchairs used as seats. If such restraint systems are found to be feasible, the committee will then assess the wheelchair restraint systems that can be used to accommodate passengers using wheelchairs through all phases of flight, from boarding to deplaning.

The committee will hold its first meeting February 5 – 6, 2020 at the Access Board’s conference center. Most sessions will be open to the public and available by web conference. Those attending in person do not need to register in advance, but registration is required (free) to attend online.

Visit TRB’s website for further information on this project, the meeting agenda, and the committee.

Questions about the study can be directed to Mario Damiani of the Access Board at damiani@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0050 (v), or (202) 272-0066 (TTY). Inquiries about attending the committee meeting or registering for the web conference should be addressed to Anusha Jayasinghe of TRB at AJayasinghe@nas.edu or (202) 334-2401

 

Assistive Technology Mini-maker Fair

Autism AwarenessDate: March 11, 2020
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm ET
Location: Jeff’s Catering, Brewer, ME

This FREE event hosted by the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research (MAIER) is designed specifically for parents and caregivers, and includes a FREE Spaghetti dinner beginning at 5:00 pm, with the workshop to begin at 5:30 pm.

Workshop Description

This workshop is a bonus after-hours opportunity for families to learn about ways that everyday objects can be transformed into Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT) solutions “on-the-fly.” Aiming to support caregiver recognition that high technology solutions for communication are not the only (or always the best) option families will be invited to participate in a make and take activity using everyday materials to support aided language modeling and to promote social interaction opportunities (e.g., recreation, literacy). Additionally, a brief overview of important things to consider in decision-making related to AAC systems will be offered.

Presenter

Jennifer M. Seale, Ph.D., CCC-SLP,  is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine. Her academic, research and clinical interests are focused on AAC science and practice. Dr. Seale has expertise providing AAC services to a diverse population, including individuals with Autism. Her research aims to inform AAC public policy, service delivery and product design using human computer interaction, interaction analysis and mixed-methodologies. She has presented her work in regional, national and international venues.

Location

Jeff’s Catering
15 Littlefield Road
Brewer, ME

Registration

Use this link for more information…

Registration for this event is required,>> sign up today using our online form 

or by contacting Donna at MAIER: donna.doherty@maine.edu or 207-581-2468.

 

National Assistive Technology Makers Fair – looking for planners

Parametric Ring Pen HolderAssistive Technology in New Hampshire, ATinNH, will be holding the 3rd Annual National Assistive Technology Makers Fair: Make AT for All on October 24, 2020 in Concord, NH.

All are inviting to participate on the planning committee. Since this is a national event, your ideas, input and suggestions are greatly valued.

ATinNH is also looking for a host for the 4th Annual National Assistive Technology Makers Fair in 2021. Participating on this planning committee could help to prepare you for hosting the event in your state in 2021.

If you are interested in joining the planning committee, please email Stacy Driscoll at stacy.driscoll@unh.edu no later than Friday January 10, 2020. Planning meetings will occur the first Friday of the month beginning February 7, 2020 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST via Zoom.

If you aren’t interested, or don’t have the time to commit to the planning committee, there are other ways for you to be involved.  You are invited to be involved by presenting at the event, exhibiting, or perhaps being a sponsor and of course attending the event.

For more information contact:

Stacy Driscoll, M.Ed, ATP, Program Coordinator
Assistive Technology in New Hampshire (ATinNH)
(603) 228-2084 ext. 47
stacy.driscoll@unh.edu

 

Photo credit: Assistive Technology: Parametric Ring Pen Holder by randyrue – Thingiverse – Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute via Pinterest