"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Good News From our Friends at reachAbility

Well, good news if you live in the Halifax area, anyway. The rest of us just might be out luck.

reachAbility will be offering free form-filling assistance at two drop-in locations in the Halifax Regional Municipality, as well as by appointment in their Halifax office. The clinic is said to be designed to help people through the process of any application, form or document they may need assistance to complete.

These are some of the things the service can provide:
  • Assistance filling out simple applications
  • Assistance filling out government forms
  • Assistance filling out court forms
  • Help finding legal information and other resources
  • Providing referrals to other legal, social or community programs

Check out the reachAbility website for times and locations.

So, as I said, a good deal if you live in the right area. Perhaps the rest of us need to be lobbying to have such services offered in the ROP.

* ROP = Rest of the Province

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Disability Support Puzzle Changes Again

Some of you might recall me posting a little over two years ago when the Dept of Community Services first posted the Disability Supports Services for Persons with Disabilities (SPD) Program Policy online. The document covered both financial eligibility for the programs under the SPD umbrella and the Basic and Special Needs Policy. So good stuff, that.

Or, at least I thought so, until I noticed the other day that we now also have a Level of Support Policy, dated May, 2014, which appears to supplement the 2012 Policy. Which, yes, means I am a little out of date, but, really, if you knew about it, why didn't someone tell me? Personally, I find that it can be awful hard to keep with life these days.

But back to the point and that is this - this Levels of Support Policy appears to be significantly different than the 2012 Policy.

While the Disability Supports Program Policy (2012) mostly concerned itself with general eligibility requirements and SPD DSP support options (aka Places to Live), such as

  • Direct Family Support;
  • Independent Living;
  • Alternative Family Support;
  • Residential Care Facilities;
  • Group Homes;
  • Developmental Residences;
  • Small Options Homes;
  • Adult Residential Centres and
  • Regional Rehabilitation Centres

the new Levels of Support Policy focuses much more on "support planning" and the five "levels of support", along with the requirements for each.

If you're not "in the know", when an individual transitions to the adult system they are re-assessed and given a Levels of Support rating, from One to Five.The Support Levels look something like this:

  • Level One - Minimum Support
  • Level two - Moderate Support
  • Level three - High Support
  • Level four - Enriched Support; and
  • Level five - Intensive Support


What form of residential support "program support options" are available to that person will depend on what Level of Support they have been assessed as requiring.*

To come up with said Support Level, the assessment looks at
  • Activities of Daily Living;
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living;
  • Health Status;
  • Medical Conditions;
  • Behaviour; and
  • Safety

The Levels of Support Policy also deals with other issues, of course, such as
  • medical care and behavioral support requirements; 
  • acute nursing services; 
  • chronic medical conditions; 
  • end of life care; 
  • behavioral support parameters; and 
  • something called "discretionary case management regarding a program option". 

Of course, last, but certainly not least (and never to be forgotten) sits the the appeal process.

Intrigued? Perhaps you best check it out for yourself.


* You might want to consider asking for a copy of the Assessment after it's complete. You will likely be denied, but that's no biggie - just make an application under the Freedom of Information Act. Don't ask me why they make us jump through the hoops, but they usually do. At any rate, I think it's worth having a copy of this (and further reassessments if the Support Level is changed) just in case. Here, this might help.

** For a complete list (with links) of all policy documents under the Disability Supports Program, go here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Most Valuable Info

Show of hands please. 

Have you ever noticed that the most valuable information ever given to you on this journey has been received from another person in the special needs community and, sadly, not from those that are paid to assist our families? I know that's definitely how it was when my daughters were young and sadly it doesn't seem to have changed any.

Unfortunately, getting information in this matter is always hit and miss. That's the reason I believe that it's ivitally mportant for each of us to share whatever information we come upon that might help others. 

In that vein, I offer you "A Funding Source":
Just wanted to reach out to you all and let you know about a funding source that we stumbled upon that has turned out to be shockingly good. I thought some of you may be interested in this as our kids are all nearing adulthood.

Housing NS has a program called the RRAP (Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program) for landlords. It is not based on your income but on the income of the renter. Their income must be less than $32,000 for your to qualify. The goal is to create long term housing for low income Nova Scotians,($24,000 available) and there are more incentives (additional $16,000 available) to create an accessible space.

Since*** now receives the Disability Support Program monthly allotment from Community Services, we decided to act as his landlords and create an apartment for him in our basement as a transition space for him to practice independent living skills and allow us to bring in more outside help in a way that isn't.  We were going to do this anyway but this program made it possible to do it much better than we could have on our own.

Turns out we were eligible for $40,000 in funding to do this. This is a forgivable loan that we do not have to pay back as long as **** lives with us for 8 years, or if he moves out we would need to rent it to another low income disabled person until the 8 years is up. The range of forgiveness is 8 – 15 years depending on how much of your own money you put into the project over and above the money they give you.

It is a lengthy process and involves loads of paperwork, zoning, building permits, inspections, and the ability to fund the project until they reimburse you once it is complete. You also need to register the money as a mortgage on your house which involves a lawyer. That being said it is well worth it, and we are nearing completion of ****’s apartment right now, which we designed to be accessible for him now and for how things may change in the future. Didn’t want to jinx it until we got the funds but it is all settled now so thought I would spread the word.

I would be pleased to answer any questions any of you might have and guide you through the process that worked for us. 
I must say, it does sound intriguing.