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November 20, 2015

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Employment First in Michigan: Executive Order 2015-15

From RWC Advocacy

State departments and agencies that provide services and support to those with disabilities as well as economic development and employment services will adopt the Employment First model that emphasizes competitive employment in an integrated setting for persons with disabilities under an executive order signed Wednesday by Lt. Governor Brian Calley.

"Employment First encourages workplace diversity and enhances economic development while further designating Michigan as an equal opportunity state," Mr. Calley said in a statement. "Michiganders with all abilities deserve to live independent, self-determined lives. The ability to work leads to enhanced social interaction, community involvement and economic independence, and a sense of pride that all people desire."

The executive order (EO 2015-15) also requires departments and agencies to share data to track progress on the issue. The State Rehabilitation Council will oversee implementation.

Now's your chance to sign up for 2016 Health Insurance.


If you haven’t done so already, submit your application today.     top

"The Journey of Job Seekers With Disabilities"- Webinar Series From GettingHired

As part of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebration, GettingHired is hosting a three part webinar called 'The Journey of Job Seekers With Disabilities', which aims to provide job seekers with valuable insight into the employment search process. Each 30 minute webinar will provide practical information on each area of the job search, application and hiring experience. Click here to learn more and to register.     top

The Great Lakes ADA Center Seeking Survey Participants

The center would like to invite you to participate in a national survey titled, "Transportation Access and Experiences", which is designed to improve understanding of accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities. This survey is being conducted by the ADA Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA-PARC).


This project focuses on community living, community participation & work/economic participation
disparities of people with disabilities. We are very interested in receiving as many responses as possible from people with disabilities based on their personal experiences with public transportation. For more information, visit website:

The survey is located at   top

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signs ABLE Act providing assistance to Michigan families in saving for disability-related expenses

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan residents who care for an individual with a disability will soon have access to special savings accounts to help them pay for certain expenses, thanks to legislation signed today by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Article V, Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives authority to the lieutenant governor to sign legislation when the governor is out of state. Gov. Snyder is currently attending the 2015 Ontario Economic Summit.

“The ABLE Act provides Michiganders with disabilities more financial opportunities that will help them live more self-determined independent lives,” Calley said. “Families will now have tax-exempt options to save more money to support their loved ones without worrying about losing access to other benefits.” Read more here.

Senate and House Legislation to Improve Home Accessibility

Senator Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield) and Representative Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) recently introduced legislation which would provide a tax incentive for individuals who purchase a new residence or retrofit an existing residence that meets accessibility standards. This will help seniors and individuals with a disability stay in their homes while reducing the financial burden of such improvements.


SB 395 and HB 4719 would provide financial relief for people who modify their homes to maintain their independence. The tax credits would be available for up to $5,000 for the purchase or construction of a new accessible residence and up to 50 percent for the cost of retrofitting existing units, up to $5,000. See attached for more information about the two bills.(pdf)   top

Uninsured population shrinks in Michigan, and 8 more points on health-care coverage


The number of Michigan residents with health insurance grew by a quarter million during the first year of Obamacare, according to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey estimates that 8,961,893, or 91.5 percent of Michigan residents, had health-care coverage in 2014. That's 249,000 more than in 2013, when 89 percent of Michiganders were insured. Read more here.

House Forms New Subcommittee Focused On Medicaid

From MIRS News

The House is officially forming three new Appropriations subcommittees, including one that will be specifically focused on the state's growing Medicaid program.

The new Medicaid Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Chris AFENDOULIS (R-Grand Rapids Twp.), could take the lead on upcoming decisions related to the state's Medicaid expansion program, Healthy Michigan, and on the future of the Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA).

Rep. Rob VERHEULEN (R-Walker), who chairs the Health and Human Services Subcommittee, noted today that previously there hasn't been a policy committee or subcommittee focused on Medicaid.

Read more here (pdf)            top

Gov. Rick Snyder forms task force to recommend changes in Michigan's special education system Friday, Oct. 16, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the creation of a task force led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley that will recommend reforms for Michigan’s special education system to help special needs children reach their full potential.

The task force will develop policy recommendations to address the key findings of Calley's recent statewide special education listening tour that led to a formal presentation to the State Board of Education. The complete report and survey results are available to download here.    

Call for Parents of People with Disabilities! Parents Promoting Pride (P3) Taking Registrations for next Cohort in in Ortonville, MI - Feb. 20 & 21

from Michigan Disability Rights Coalition

Parents* Promoting Pride is now accepting Registrations for the next cohort - Feb. 20/21, 2016.

Apply today!!!!  Registrations due January 1, 2016!

(P3) is a learning community that comes together for a retreat to discuss disability pride and parenting. Parents have their own journey to accepting their child’s disability and moving where they are proud to say they have a child with a disability. Many feel guilt and shame and are unable to move past those emotions. Parents are often isolated from other parents and resources, leaving them subject to the medical model view of disability – that their child’s disability is the problem. When they are provided the opportunity to connect with parents involved in the disability justice movement and receive information about disability identity and pride, they are often able to engage in a philosophical shift that allows them to see their child’s disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. Click here to learn more and to register.     top

Michigan Announces Regional Managed Care Health Plans

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced October 13th, the Medicaid Health Plans (MHPs) recommended for Michigan’s Comprehensive Health Plan contract. The Comprehensive Health Plan contract provides health care services to approximately 1.7 million Medicaid managed care beneficiaries.

“The Comprehensive Health Plan contract builds on an already strong record of health care innovation in the state of Michigan,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS. “By committing to improve population health management and integration of care, we are transforming Medicaid to better serve our residents.”

The current Comprehensive Health Plan contract will end on December 31, 2015, and the new contracts announced today will begin January 1, 2016. The Comprehensive Health Plan contract includes changes to the service area locations and requirements to align with Michigan’s Prosperity Regions, as well as a new Medicaid coverage group. Read more here

The State of Michigan Seeking Approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a §1115 Demonstration Waiver to combine under a single waiver authority all services and eligible populations served through its §1915(b), 1915(i) and its multiple §1915(c) waivers for persons with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), Substance Use Disorders (SUD), Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED). Please see attached draft summary (pdf) top

The Arc Michigan Guide to the Use of Powers of Attorney

The Arc Michigan has prepared a Guide to the Use of Medical Powers of Attorney (pdf) to provide guidance on the use of medical powers of attorney, clarification on the difference between medical powers of attorney and patient advocate designation and describe other types of forms that can be used. Sample forms are included. top

The Institute for Community Inclusion is Seeking Nominations of Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs)* for Case Studies on Organizational Transformation!

ICI is seeking nominations of CRPs that have moved successfully through an organizational change process that prioritizes integrated and competitive employment for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). Integrated and competitive employment refers to full-time or part-time work at minimum wage or higher, with wages and benefits similar to those without disabilities performing the same work, and fully integrated with co-workers without disabilities. It includes supported and customized employment. Learn more here   top

NCART Releases New CRT Advocacy Video, "Complex Rehab Technology: 25 Years after the Americans with Disabilities Act"

This video provides historical footage of Complex Rehab Technology and the 25th Anniversary signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as current commentary from U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (disability rights advocate and co- author of the ADA). The makers of the video are calling for your advocacy asking Congress and policy makers to remember the principles and objectives of the ADA and to take actions to protect access to CRT for the people with disabilities who rely on it. You may view the video at Attached is the related press release from National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology


If you agree with the message of the video, please forward a message to your members of congress asking them to pass federal CRT legislation, the “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act” (HR-1516/S-1013) top

Illinois Governor Signs Sweeping School Discipline Bill Championed by Students


Illinois districts are set to make dramatic changes in school discipline policies after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a sweeping bill that aims to making suspensions and expulsions a last resort in the state's schools. Click here to read more  top

SourceAmerica: the Source of America's Discrimination against Workers with Disabilities


The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) picketed SourceAmerica because SourceAmerica chooses to distribute contracts to nonprofits that hold special wage certificates which allow entities to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage. Paying people with disabilities subminimum wages should be illegal, but Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act allows entities to do just that. Click here to read more  top

Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Rules Giving Overtime, Minimum Wage to Home Care Workers


WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday revived Obama administration regulations that guarantee overtime and minimum wage protection to nearly 2 million home health care workers.

The ruling was a victory for worker advocacy groups and labor unions that have long sought higher wages for domestic workers who help the elderly and disabled with everyday tasks such as bathing or taking medicine. Read more here  

Governors Give Back Big Money to Washington While Unemployment, Poverty Continues for their Citizens with Disabilities From,

Bethesda, Maryland---- States around America returned millions of dollars to the federal government that could have been used to enable people with disabilities to get jobs and careers. This is despite the fact that 70% of people with disabilities are out of the workforce, and disability benefits and healthcare are costing billions to taxpayers.

Vocational rehabilitation and workforce development programs, when resources are allocated to proven best practices, can enable people with disabilities to secure stable employment. In 2012, vocational rehabilitation agencies helped 177,172 Americans with disabilities get jobs and careers. These programs operate by having the federal government match nearly $4 for every $1 that is spent by the individual states. However, if the states fail to spend the money or come up with matching funds, then the funds go back to the federal government. Click HERE to read more.

Department Issues SIS Use Guidance

The attached file (Waldrop v. New Mexico Human Services), contains the findings from a SIS lawsuit that was filed in New Mexico. It says that if the state wants to use the SIS to determine services (which is what it is not supposed to be used for in Michigan), then individuals are entitled to advanced notice and Medicaid Fair Hearings.

Thomas Renwick, Director of the Bureau of Community Based Services, BHDDA, issued a clarification on use of the Michigan Supports Implementation Scale (SIS). In his memo, Mr. Renwick indicated that “The SIS should be used to enhance and support the person-centered planning process. As with all assessments, the SIS is voluntary and should not be tied to determinations of medical necessity and the authorization of behavioral health services. Supports and services cannot be denied, reduced or discontinued if a consumer and/or guardian refuse to cooperate with the assessment process.”

Mr. Renwick also indicated that the Michigan Department of Community Health’s (MDCH) SIS workgroup was finalizing the Michigan SIS Implementation Manual, which will serve as a guide in outlining the requirements and procedures related to the implementation of the SIS in Michigan.

Persons with questions regarding SIS implementation should contact Belinda Hawks at    top

Joint letter from DOJ and DHHS addressing the importance of states' implementation of the Final Rule while maintaining Title II obligations under the ADA

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) jointly issued the attached letter (pdf), which addresses the importance of States’ implementing the Final Rule in ways that comply with their obligations under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The letter instructs States to consider whether reasonable modifications are necessary to avoid placing individuals who receive home care services at serious risk of institutionalization or segregation. Specifically, the letter explains that states need to consider reasonable modifications to policies capping overtime and travel time for home care workers, including exceptions to these caps when individuals with disabilities otherwise would be placed at serious risk of institutionalization. top

Michigan Alliance for Families DVD “Making the Most of Early On®”  "Making the Most of Earlyon" is designed to help parents better understand and access the system of supports and services for children from birth through age three.
This video is chaptered into six easy to navigate topics:

  • What is Early On?

  • Parent to Parent Advice

  • Natural Environments

  • Problem Solving

  • Transition: Leaving Early On

  • Parent Survey

Each topic includes options for Spanish subtitles, Arabic subtitles, and English closed caption. In addition to the DVD, parents can find more early intervention resources at:

Parents and professionals can view the videos via the Michigan Alliance for Families YouTube Channel  at

A limited quantity of DVDs is available.

“Making the Most of Early On®” was produced through an IDEA grant awarded by the Michigan

Department of Education to Michigan Alliance for Families.

Michigan Alliance for Families' upcoming workshops can be viewed at:  Upcoming and archived Webinars can be viewed at:

Check out our new brochure (pdf)        top

Michigan History of Our State Institutions for People with Developmental Disabilities

This video documents this regretful history and celebrates the hard work of families and advocates with the final closure of our last institution in Michigan in 2010.  top

The White House Disability Group E-mail Distribution List
In order to keep the public informed about various disability issues the White House has been hosting monthly calls. To learn about future calls, request to be added to the White House Disability email distribution list, by visiting the White House website.

These calls are open to the public and offer a unique opportunity to hear about important disability issues from individuals who work in the Federal government. You can also submit questions before the call at                              

Michigan Alliance for Families Web site offers Resources to help Families

Michigan Alliance for Families is excited to announce that our website ( now includes information to help families become more involved in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.

Michigan Alliance for Families, in partnership with Early On Michigan, announces resources to help families know their rights, better communicate their child’s needs, support the development of infants and toddlers, and prepare for the transition out of Early On into the preschool years. These resources are available to families, Early On Service Coordinators and Service Providers to increase the involvement of Michigan families in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.
Website resources include:

Handouts and video information on developmental milestones and how to promote development and learning through play

  • Handouts and video information to help families prepare to leave Early On and move on to Preschool
  • Learning tools to help families improve communication skills
  • Information to help families know their rights (Procedural Safeguards), including evaluation, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, natural environments and service coordination.                       top



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