At 2:00AM on Sunday June 16, 2019 Shari & Kenny Coatney's home in Thayer, KS was struck by lightning and burned down with only the stone chimney standing. Besides Shari and Kenny, their daughter Kristin and two foster sons, Tyson and Dominic, were living with them in the home. Needless to say they feel very blessed that no one was hurt which everyone is thankful for. But losing everything and having to start over is very difficult. ... Read More and Donate HERE!
This is a daytime meeting exclusively for the disability community
Real Work = Real Pay ( APSE.org.) Two Opinions on DOL's 14 (c)
1. Spending my day analyzing comments from DOL's 14(c) online dialogue. Wanted to share one particularly poignant comment from a parent:
"My daughter has Down syndrome and her work is and will be valuable and important. As her mother, it's only natural for me to look at how little value our society places on people with intellectual disabilities and to simply accept crumbs and lull myself into thinking that I'm doing something good for my child and others like her, but I refuse to let my fears confine and limit her and her peers' lives and worth.
It is time to completely get rid of an antiquated legal remnant the purpose of which has long ago expired and that has evolved into a
permission to exploit and refuse to invest in our most vulnerable citizens. We know from extensive experience and studies that no one 'needs' to be paid a pittance for their work, not for the quality of their work nor for the availability of work. It is a sham to act as if the current debate is between work at a subminimum wage or no work at all. That's a false dichotomy and only serves to carry on the current disservice and stoke our fears.
People with disabilities deserve more from us."
2. I posted this a few minutes ago on all 3 of the boards (I couldn't decide which one it best fit so better all, right?):
"On behalf of the Maine Chapter of APSE, we write to share that the use of 14C certificates (subminimum wage) has no place in the array of employment services or supports available to people with disabilities. It is a practice that is no longer viable as we’ve learned how to customize employment and enhance our use of technology as support in the workplace. Everyone can work and the payment of wages must be comparable to all other workers.
As of May 1, 2019 Maine can proudly say that there are no subminimum wage certificates in use in Maine—all people with disabilities are paid at or above the minimum wage, which in Maine is now $11.00 per hour. Like the closures of institutions remove a state’s option to warehouse people, the elimination of the use of subminimum wage removes the option to discriminate and exploit people with disabilities in the workplace.
We believe our years-long commitment to Employment First, workforce development, interagency collaboration, employer engagement and competitive, integrated employment have contributed to this success and many others. Maine APSE looks forward to further collaboration with stakeholders and all interested parties to continue our state’s and nation’s progression toward equal work and equal pay in an inclusive workforce – to advance employment equity for people with disabilities."
Once 14(c) is eliminated and Employment First is fully implimented Kansas Rehabilitation Services (KRS) will see a significant increase in referrals. KRS must be ready to provide capable oversight of employment services and mandate competent (certified) individual providers. There is currently some discussion of a fee differential for certified employment services providers but this not enough. ALL individual service providers should eventually be certified and under-performing providers should be assisted or lose their public funding. Employers evaluate the performance of their employees and KRS must evaluate the performance of their providers. And the Employment First Oversight Commission must evaluate the performance of KRS.
-by Joe Scarlett, MS, CRC/CESP (RET.), APSE Public Policy Liaison
The Trump Administration has proposed a change to the way poverty is measured. While it might sound benign, this change could have far-reaching – and devastating – impacts on thousands of low- and middle-income Kansans, particularly on their health care.
The Alliance's Senior Policy Adviser, Sheldon Weisgrau, has taken a look at this proposal and outlined the ways it may harm Kansans.
READ SHELDON'S BLOG POST
Eligibility for KanCare (and KanCare expansion) is based on a person or family's income. Redefining poverty could lead to thousands of children and adults losing their health care coverage. Our job is to make sure this never happens.
It’s incredibly important that we push back against this proposed change to the way the government defines poverty. Strong advocacy efforts have thwarted previous attempts to make similar changes. The Alliance is submitting comments in opposition to the change and will continue to advocate for policies that INCREASE access to health care--not take it away.
--Expand KanCare HQ
Kansans with disabilities using Medicaid in-home services celebrated the 2019 State Legislature’s decision to increase the amount of monthly income they can keep to live on to $1,177/month. This means some people may be able to keep as much as $430/month more for the next year.
Q: What would you do with the money if you didn’t pay it toward your services?
A: I would buy food.
Time and again, “food” or “enough food”, or “the right food” was the answer to this question.
Some additional answers included:
- I would buy a toy for my daughter.
- I would buy the over the counter lotion/medication my doctor recommended.
- I would pay down overdue utility bills.
- I would buy a pair of shoes.
While the Kansas Legislature gave folks this bit of clear blue sky, clouds have rolled in as the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment has informed advocates, folks will have to continue to pay down their monthly income to $747 for six months of the next year while they are re-programming their computer systems.
Another six months folks will have to wait to buy food, or a toy for their daughter, or over the counter medications. Another six months of minimum payments towards utility bills. Another six months in tattered shoes.
KDHE can do better.
Call your elected representatives to thank them and ask them to let folks keep their money permanently. Ask your elected officials to demand KDHE make the needed changes immediately.