Resources for Families Who Have Children With Special Needs

pfc

Resources for Families Who Have Children With Special Needs

 

PFC works exclusively with families who have children with special needs such as Autism, ADHD, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, Physical Disabilities, and Developmental Disorders. Our goal is to make the process of locating, hiring, and retaining specialized care for families who have children with special needs as easy and stress-free as possible. We provide unparalleled personalized attention to each family and take the pain out of screening, scheduling, and vetting potential candidates. All candidates have specialized degrees and experience working with children who have special needs undergo an extensive screening process to ensure only the best possible matches for families. Our staff will also personally meet with families in the Metro Atlanta area for a more in-depth understanding of the needs of the family. To learn more, check out our website www.professionalfamilyconsultants.com

Proxy Caregiving Information

There was a bill passed a few years ago through the Georgia State Legislature that allows for proxy caregivers to be trained to carry out things like bowel, bladder and trach care.  To find out more about this very important issue, click here.

How to protect vulnerable children from credit reporting problems

In an effort to better protect children in foster care from credit reporting problems that could compromise their future credit, we’re publishing action letters for child welfare caseworkers to use if they find errors on the credit reports of the children in their care. The letters apply to both minors and older youth over 18 who remain in foster care.
Check out the action letters:

consumerfinance.gov/blog/how-to-protect-vulnerable-children-from-identity-theft

We’re also publishing tip sheets for parents and foster care caseworkers to help young people start and maintain good credit. For caseworkers, it provides instructions on how to check the credit records of youth in foster care and respond to errors or evidence of identity theft. For parents, the tip sheet explains how they can check to see if their children have a credit report and what to do if their children’s credit has been compromised.

Check out the tip sheets:
consumerfinance.gov/blog/how-to-protect-vulnerable-children-from-identity-theft

We hope you’ll find these materials useful and that you will share these with your colleagues.

Thank you,
Sarah Bainton Kahn
Office of Financial Empowerment
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Letter from labor and other “progressives” undercut disability rights community

During the action, ADAPT met with the Department of Labor and personally urged them to delay implementation of the FLSA companionship rules because states had not gotten the guidance they needed to assess the cost, much less figure out how to pay for it. On May 12th, shortly after the action, NCD also issued a letter urging DOL to delay implementation of the rules.

http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2014/05122014/

 

On May 13th, labor and progressive groups issued their own letter which said, “there is no evidence to support the fear that guaranteeing minimum wage and overtime for home care workers will result in higher rates of institutionalization”. In fancy-speak, that’s labor, PHA, Hand-in-Hand, Caring Across Generations and La Raza saying that the concerns being raised by the disability community are just some “irrational fear”.

Frankly, that’s offensive and smacks of disempowering ableism.

This is a perfect example as to why ADAPT “visited” the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights during the action. The disability rights community will never be a valued and equal member in the broader civil rights community as long as other civil rights and progressive groups feel empowered to undercut us like this. We look forward to the Leadership Conference helping to bridge this divide and clarify that disability rights are civil rights.

Back to the letter from labor and the progressives… so WHO are the “disability and consumer advocates” represented on the letter? As far as we can tell, NONE of them are authentic, credible, disability-led organizations.

If you are or know of someone who may be affected by this ruling, you are urged to write your own letter to Secretary Perez.  His address is as follows:

The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

 

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU STUDY FINDS MEDICAL DEBT OVERLY PENALIZES CONSUMER CREDIT SCORES

Study Finds Credit Scores Underestimate Creditworthiness for Consumers Who Owe and Repay Medical Debt

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a research report that found consumers’ credit scores may be overly penalized for medical debt that goes into collections and shows up on their credit report. According to the study, credit scoring models may underestimate the creditworthiness of consumers who owe medical debt in collections. The scoring models also may not be crediting consumers who repay medical debt that has gone to collections.

“Getting sick or injured can put all sorts of burdens on a family, including unexpected medical costs. Those costs should not be compounded by overly penalizing a consumer’s credit score,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Given the role that credit scores play in consumers’ lives, it’s important that they predict the creditworthiness of a consumer as precisely as possible.”

The study, “CFPB Data Point: Medical Debt and Credit Scores,” can be found at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/data-point-medical-debt-and-credit-scores/

Consumers’ three-digit credit scores are based on information in their credit reports, compiled by credit reporting agencies, also called credit bureaus. These scores play an increasingly important role in the lives of American consumers because most lenders decide to grant credit and set interest rates based on them. When overdue debt goes to collections and ends up on a consumer’s credit report, it decreases a consumer’s score. This means lenders are likely to take more caution when lending money because the consumer is perceived as less likely to pay it back on time.

According to a study by the Federal Reserve Board, over half of all collections on credit reports are associated with medical bills. The vast majority of medical debt reflected on credit records is reported by third-party collection agencies. In some instances, the consumer may not even be aware of a debt that has been sent to collections or that it is on their credit record. A collection account generally can stay on a report for up to seven years.

Many current credit scoring models do not differentiate between medical and non-medical debt in collections. This is true even though medical debt is different than other unpaid bills reported by collection agencies, such as unpaid phone or utility bills. Medical debt can result from an event that is unpredictable and costly. Sometimes the debt is caused by billing issues with medical providers or insurers. Complaints to the CFPB indicate that many consumers do not even know they have a medical debt in collections until they get a call from the collections agency or they discover the debt on their credit report.

Today’s study considered 5 million anonymized credit records from September 2011 to September 2013 to assess how well a common credit score predicted a consumer’s future likelihood of paying back debt. To do that, the study looked at the credit histories and scores of consumers in September 2011 and then examined their actual loan payment patterns over the next two years.

The study found that credit scoring models have not been considering medical debt as well as they could be. It found that if the credit scoring models accounted differently for medical debt in collection and medical debt that is repaid by the borrower, the models could be more precise. Specifically:

• Credit scores may underestimate creditworthiness by ten points for consumers who owe medical debt: Treating medical and non-medical debt that goes to collections the same overly penalizes some consumers by giving them lower credit scores. Specifically, the study found that consumers with medical debt generally paid back their loans or bills on par with consumers with scores about ten points higher. Allowing for different treatment of medical and non-medical collections in credit scoring models may increase the scores of consumers with medical collections and improve credit scoring.

• Credit scores may underestimate creditworthiness by up to 22 points after paying off medical debt: Traditionally, credit scoring models have not accounted for repayment of medical debts in collections. The study found that consumers who subsequently paid medical debt that had gone into collections were more likely to pay back their debts, on par with consumers with scores 16 to 22 points higher. Allowing for different treatment of paid and unpaid medical collections would likely result in increased scores for consumers who have paid their medical collections in full.

For consumers with lower credit scores, especially those on the brink of what is considered subprime, a ten- to 22-point difference can affect their interest rates and ability to borrow credit. Over time, the score difference could end up costing a consumer tens of thousands of dollars on large loans like home mortgages.

In 2012, the CFPB released a study examining credit scores that compared credit scores sold to creditors and those sold to consumers. Later that same year, the CFPB released a report on the consumer experience with the three largest nationwide credit reporting companies. The CFPB accepts consumer complaints about credit reporting.

The CFPB is the first federal government agency that supervises consumer reporting companies.

###

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.

 

Medically Needy Medicaid and qualifying for a special enrollment

Some states offer a type of Medicaid coverage where consumers have to incur a certain amount of medical costs before Medicaid will pay for their medical services. This amount is called a “spend-down” and this type of Medicaid is often called “Medically Needy” coverage. States establish a “budget period” of between 1 and 6 months and consumers who have medically needy coverage have to meet their spend down amount each budget period before Medicaid coverage begins or resumes. Not everyone can qualify for medically needy coverage, but consumers who can do so will have income which is too high to qualify for “regular” Medicaid. There have been some questions about whether this type of coverage counts as minimum essential coverage, and whether losing access to Medicaid services through this category can help someone qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

We want to clarify that when a consumer has elected to get medically needy coverage by incurring sufficient medical expenses to “meet their spend-down,” the consumer does have MEC once the spend down amount is met because Medicaid is covering their care at that point. The consumer has MEC for the rest of the budget period. However, when the consumer reaches the end of his budget period such that the consumer needs to meet his spend down again in order for Medicaid to resume covering services, the consumer is not considered to be eligible for Medicaid and therefore does not have Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) until sufficient medical costs are incurred to meet the spend down amount.

Consumers are not required to be uncovered and to incur medical expenses in order to qualify for medically needy coverage, but can choose instead to qualify for APTC and enroll in a QHP. When the budget period ends, such that the consumer has to meet their spend down again before Medicaid would pay, the consumer could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period based on a Loss of MEC. The consumer can answer “yes” to the question on the application that asks if they recently lost health coverage and should not attest to currently having Medicaid when the application asks that question.

Department of Justice Reaches Landmark Americans with Disabilities Act Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island

 

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Department of Justice Reaches Landmark Americans with Disabilities Act Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island

The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a statewide settlement agreement that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for approximately 3,250 Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  The landmark ten year agreement is the nation’s first statewide settlement to address the rights of people with disabilities to receive state funded employment and daytime services in the broader community, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.  Approximately 450,000 people with I/DD across the country spend their days in segregated sheltered workshops or in segregated day programs.  The agreement significantly advances the department’s work to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C, which requires persons with I/DD be served in the most integrated setting appropriate .

 

As a result of the settlement, 2,000 Rhode Islanders with I/DD who are currently being served by segregated programs will have opportunities to work in real jobs at competitive wages.  Additionally, over the next ten years, 1,250 students with I/DD will receive services to help transition into the workforce.

 

“Today’s agreement will make Rhode Island a national leader in the movement to bring people with disabilities out of segregated work settings and into typical jobs in the community at competitive pay,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “As Rhode Island implements the agreement over the next ten years, it will make a dramatic difference in the lives of people with disabilities, businesses and communities across the state.  We congratulate Governor Chafee and state officials for signing this agreement, as we believe that Rhode Island will be a model for the nation with respect to integrated employment for people with disabilities.”

 

“The filing of today’s consent decree is a critically important event in Rhode Island history,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island.  “It ushers in a new day of opportunity – opportunity for Rhode Island residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities to live, work and spend their recreational time alongside their fellow Rhode Islanders.  It is an opportunity for this State to move forward; to recognize, finally, that we are better, stronger, when all of us – all of us –are interwoven in the fabric that is Rhode Island.”

 

 

Under the agreement, Rhode Island has agreed to provide:

 

· Supported employment placements that are individual, typical jobs in the community, that pay at least minimum wage, and that offer employment for the maximum number of hours consistent with the person’s abilities and preferences, amounting to an average of at least 20 hours per week across the target population;

· Supports for integrated non-work activities for times when people are not at work including mainstream educational, leisure or volunteer activities that use the same community centers, libraries, recreational, sports and educational facilities that are available to everyone;

· Transition services for students with I/DD, to start at age 14, and to include internships, job site visits and mentoring, enabling students to leave school prepared for jobs in the community at competitive wages;

· Significant funding sustained over a ten year period that redirects funds currently used to support services in segregated settings to those that incentivize services in integrated settings.  

 

The ten year agreement will allow the state to ensure that the services necessary to support individuals with I/DD in competitive, integrated jobs will not disappear with a change in administration or legislative leadership.  As a result of this commitment, the business community has already stepped up to partner with the state.  The U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), a network of Fortune 500 companies, and Walgreens will co-host a regional business summit in Rhode Island in June 2014 to explore how to improve those partnerships.

 

The agreement is the result of an ADA investigation that began in January 2013 into Rhode Island’s day activity service system for people with I/DD.  The department, the state, and the City of Providence entered into an interim settlement agreement in June 2013.  The interim settlement agreement focused on a single provider, which was one of the largest facility-based employment service providers in the state’s system, and a school-based sheltered workshop at a Providence, R.I., high school, which was a point of origin for many people entering the provider’s workshop. 

 

The department continued its investigation of the statewide system, and in January 2014 issued findings determining that the statewide system over-relied on segregated services, to the exclusion of integrated alternatives, in violation of the ADA.  The department found workers with I/DD in settings where they had little or no contact with persons without disabilities, and where they earned an average wage of $2.21 per hour.  The investigation found that workers typically remain in such settings for many years, and sometimes decades.  The department also found that students in Rhode Island schools were often not presented with meaningful choices to participate in integrated alternatives, such as integrated transition work placements and work-based learning experiences, which put students at serious risk of unnecessary postsecondary placement in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.

 

Since June 2013, the state and city have provided supported employment services to people with I/DD transitioning from the original two facilities covered by the interim settlement agreement.  Many of these individuals have now accessed jobs in typical work settings where they can interact with non-disabled coworkers and customers, and enjoy the same employment benefits as their non-disabled peers.  Individuals have secured jobs at both locally owned and national companies. Because of the interim settlement agreement, Pedro , an individual who transitioned from the in-school sheltered workshop to the adult workshop, where he earned just 48 cents an hour, is now making minimum wage working at a restaurant.   Peter , another former sheltered workshop employee who was earning approximately $1.50 per hour, now has a job earning more than minimum wage working for the state as a custodian at a hospital.  Louis has gone from earning sub-minimum wages performing rote tasks at the sheltered workshop to a full-time position at a state hospital, where he uses his strong computer skills and passion for mathematics to generate Excel reports, record time sheets, and complete other office tasks.  For more information on these individuals and others, please visit the Department’s Faces of Olmstead website .

Please visit www.ada.gov/olmstead to learn more about the Division’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts, and www.justice.gov/crtto learn more about the laws enforced by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

14-350

Civil Rights Division

(c) 2014 MARK KNUCKLES Associates, Inc.