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MR Update #05-05: SSI Changes, CDS Meeting, MR Bulletin, Early Intervention Changes, Training Partnership, Resources
March 14, 2005

March is National Mental Retardation Awareness Month!

SSI Income and Resource Changes
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published final regulations revising treatment of income and resources for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The new regulations eliminate clothing from the definition of income, therefore the SSA will no longer count gifts of clothing as income for SSI purposes. The regulations change the definition of resources to eliminate the dollar value limit for household goods and personal effects. Also, one car will be excluded from resources if it is used for transportation for the individual or member of the individual’s household. These changes became effective March 9.

Children’s Medical Assistance
The Department of Welfare has issued a new rule that children currently on Medical Assistance (MA) and those applying for MA in the "disabled child" category will not have Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments count against them. In Pennsylvania, children with disabilities have been enrolled in MA without regard to the amount of their parent’s income. Income in the child’s name, however, did count against the child in determining MA eligibility. As a result, if a child with a disability lost a working parent and began to receive SSDI they would become ineligible for MA. This created a serious problem for children with disabilities with major uncovered medical expenses.

CDS Users Meeting
The Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) is holding a College of Direct Support (CDS) Provider and County Users Group Meeting on March 29 at PaTTAN, Harrisburg. If members are currently using CDS or are interested in enrolling this meeting will assist in learning about this effort. To register contact Becky Roberts at ODS_RegistrationsMH@tiu11.org.

IM4Q Habilitation Survey
OMR’s IM4Q Habilitation survey has been finalized and is expected to be piloted in eight to nine counties beginning in the 2005/06 fiscal year. For a copy of the 39-page survey contact Linda Drummond.

MR Bulletin
OMR has released Mental Retardation Bulletin #00-05-01: Issuance of Audit Guide for Non-state Operated Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded. This bulletin replaces bulletins #00-91-26 and #00-92-22.

Early Intervention
The Department of Public Welfare will move the management of the early intervention program for infants and toddlers (0-3) from the Office of Mental Retardation to the newly created Office of Child Development (OCD) by July 1. OCD will continue to maintain a regional structure and the local programs will continue to be housed at the MH/MR program offices.

Training Partnership
The Office of Mental Retardation has awarded a grant for the Pennsylvania Statewide Consumer and Family Training Partnership to Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities, Achieva, Speaking for Ourselves, and Vision for Equality. The partnership will provide training and technical assistance to families and people with disabilities served by the department. For more information contact the Institute on Disabilities (800-204-7428).

DPW Wins Award
The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has been awarded the CIO Magazine Enterprise Value Award for its Home and Community Services Information System (HCSIS). The award is given to an organization that develops innovative approaches to using information technology to improve the delivery of goods and services and strengthens communications and management. For additional award information access www.cio.com.

Resources

  • Policy brief, Medicaid Budget Proposals Would Shift Costs to States and Cause Reductions in Health Coverage, has been released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and can be accessed at www.cbpp.org/2-18-05health.htm.
  • A recent study by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities located at the University of Illinois notes that states that spend more on Medicaid home and community-based waiver services are less likely to use state-operated institutions. Access the study at www.uic.edu/orgs/rrtcamr/research12.html.
  • Report on Pollution, Toxic Chemicals, and Mental Retardation: Framing a National Blueprint for Health Promotion and Disability Prevention is available online at www.aamr.org/ToxinsandMentalRetardation/pdf/ToxicChemical&MRReport_final_color.pdf.
  • Pennsylvania’s mental retardation waiting list statistics are available from the Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign at www.pawaitinglistcampaign.org. Currently there are 2,195 persons on the emergency list; 8,270 on the critical list; and 10,591 on planning, for a total of 20,156 individuals.
  • Video Exercise for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities was produced by the national Center on Physical Activity and Disability and can be accessed at www.ncpad.org/newsletter/newsletter.php?letter=33&section=462.

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