Category Archives: Disabilitiies

Pennsylvania Announces Plans to Maintain Food Security Programs Through February Despite Federal Government Shutdown

dhs logo

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced that February benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will be dispersed on January 18, 2019, and will be available for use by January 19, 2019. The early payment follows an announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notifying states that benefits will be fully funded for the month of February, but benefits must be paid early.

“SNAP is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. Without it, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians would have greater trouble affording food for themselves and their families,” said Secretary Miller. “This early payment allows us to get SNAP recipients their benefits for February, but they will have to make this payment last for an undefined period as the shutdown continues.”

On January 8, 2019, DHS received notice from the USDA that February SNAP benefits will be fully funded, but that these benefits needed to be issued by January 20. DHS worked closely with its vendors and will be able to issue the February benefits to electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards on January 18. This early payment is SNAP recipients’ February benefit and will be the only benefit payment SNAP recipients will receive for the month of February. Recipients will not receive a payment on their regularly scheduled February payment date. DHS is sending a letter and/or email to SNAP recipients to notify them of this change.

Payments beyond February will be determined based on the availability of USDA funds. DHS is awaiting information from the USDA on plans for March benefits should the partial federal government shutdown continue.

“The partial federal government shutdown has real implications for millions of people in Pennsylvania and around the country who use SNAP to keep food on the table,” said Secretary Miller. “Changes in the way people get their benefits and uncertainty regarding future benefits creates confusion and concern that should be avoidable. The federal government must come to a solution so people who already face food insecurity do not continue to be caught in the middle of a situation that they did not create.”

DHS will continue to process applications for all benefits during the shutdown. Recipients should continue to report changes and submit any semi-annual reviews or renewals they receive during this period to not risk an interruption of their benefits in the future.

Clients with questions about their benefits can contact their local County Assistance Office or can call the statewide customer service center at 1-877-395-8930. Clients who reside in Philadelphia should call 1-215-560-7226.

SOURCE: news release

Friday Wrap-Up, January 11, 2019 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

This week, our new Secretary, Robert Torres, shares his views on his first Friday Wrap-Up.

message from the acting secretary

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


Friday Wrap-Up, January 4, 2019 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

This week, Secretary Osborne has a few comments about what should be the next phase of her career. She also makes this announcement:

“Governor Wolf has nominated Robert Torres to serve as the 11th Secretary of the Department of Aging. Most recently, he has served as the Acting Secretary of State. He has an extensive background in healthcare that includes working at the Department of Health across two administrations, and in the private sector for several health insurance companies. As our transition efforts began this past week and will continue through the January 15 inauguration, and subsequent submission of my name to the Senate for their confirmation, please join me in welcoming Acting Secretary Torres to the Department of Aging.”

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

“Take a Look at This Heart – Love and Sexuality in the Disabled Community” – Disabled World

disability-romance“In the middle of a quiet street a man is kissing a red headed girl who is using a wheelchair.”

‘Take A Look At This Heart,’ is a new documentary that journeys into the romantic lives of extraordinary people with disabilities. The film follows director Ben Duffy’s previous documentary on adaptive athletes, ‘Tin Soldiers.’

“One in five people live with a disability, and 1 in 50 have some form of paralysis, according to studies by the Christopher And Dana Reeve Foundation and the U.S. Census. Despite these statistics, people with disabilities are vastly underrepresented by the media in general, with the subject of intimacy remaining especially taboo. Misperceptions abound, often complicating or even preventing people with disabilities from expressing their sexuality or perceiving themselves as capable of romantic relationships.

“‘I was always saying in the back of my mind, I wonder if I’m ever going to get married,’says Stephen Wampler, a father of two who runs Camp Wamp, a sleep-away camp for children with disabilities. Stephen achieved notoriety by becoming the first person with Cerebral Palsy to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. When asked to describe their first date, his wife Elizabeth notes, ‘All of a sudden, I knew I had to be with him the rest of my life, and I was positive.'”

Read this article in its entirety, click here

Watch the film trailer here:


“After I broke my neck, I couldn’t walk. But I could still lead.” – OZY

“Because the most talented person in the room might have a disability.”

broke my back

“While on vacation, I broke my neck bodysurfing. I was 25 years old and until then considered myself the best thing since sliced bread. But that life-altering accident changed the focus on everything. I was convinced I was done, that my career was over.

“But IBM thought differently. I had already been working for them, and they assured me they wanted me back after my 18-month recovery. I took up a job in technical publications and, 39 years later, in 2015, I retired as corporate director of marketing communications. At IBM, I met many people who had a lot of heart. When someone offered me a helping hand, I took it in the spirit in which it was given. But I worked my behind off. I wanted to prove something to myself: that I could be an equal or at least competitive.”

Continue reading this article at, click here.

Just released | The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council’s 2018 Request for Proposals (RFP) book

paddc proposals

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council has released its NEW 2018 Request for Proposals (RFP) book.  Several funding objectives are featured including the promotion of cross disability efforts, employment, and technology.  The Council invites interested groups and organizations to review our RFP and requirements, and to attend one or more of our preproposal conferences (available live or via webinar) to ask questions and learn more about our ideas.

Download the RFP Book, additional forms, and access more information through this link:

“With Few Online Resources, Disabled Home Buyers Rely on Agents, Targeted Websites”

by Ed Carter


PHOTO: Courtesy of

Fewer than 5 percent of all homes in the United States are accessible to individuals with disabilities; less than 1 percent are wheelchair accessible; and just one-third are capable of being modified to accommodate a disabled owner. That’s according to no less an authority than the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

It’s a distressing situation for disabled homeowners, because it means that many have to settle for properties that aren’t suitable for them from the standpoint of safety. Depending on the size of the market, that could mean having to try to modify a home that doesn’t meet the minimum standard of disabled accessibility: a stairless entry, and a bathroom and bedroom on the first floor.

That’s a sobering situation for a disabled person entering the housing market. So, where can you turn for help, and what resources are available to a handicapped individual? In most cases, your real estate agent is your best asset, even though many lack experience working with disabled buyers. Consequently, there’s a knowledge gap among realtors when it comes to knowing where and how to look for suitable housing.

Nevertheless, your agent will know the area well and have familiarity with what’s available, valuable knowledge for someone needing to find a property that can be adapted to their needs (such as a single-story house, a home with widened hallways, and specific safety features). With many disabled individuals having to modify houses, it’s important to know where to look for alternate sources of funding, such as through the VA, Red Cross, Americorps, the US Office of Housing, and HUD.

Search aids

Real estate search engines are generally fairly limited in terms of search options. Terms like “handicapped accessible” and “universal design” may yield some results, but there are few other filters available that can produce the kind of results you need. General real estate search engines may prove disappointing, but there are a couple of national websites that are worth keeping an eye on as you work through your search.

Better sites

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for disabled homebuyers looking for online assistance. Barrier Free Home is virtually unique in its focus on barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible, universally-designed, ADA-compliant homes and apartments. Theirs is the most extensive database catering to disabled homebuyers. Barrier Free Home’s property entries contain an exhaustive amount of information, including number of bedrooms and baths, as well as handicapped-specific features, like roll-in shower or tub, roll-under sink, level entry and whether the property is VA approved.

Easy Living Homes falls into much the same category. It’s America’s first voluntary program encouraging the inclusion of features that make a property more accessible and efficient. An exhaustive list of features includes the type of lighting available, the kinds of material used in construction, and disability-accessible features. AMS Vans is a useful online resource for wheelchair-bound individuals seeking accessible housing.

HUD lists an online inventory of housing for elderly and disabled persons seeking multi-family homes. HUD’s subsidized apartment search offers disabled persons a robust listing of qualified units with information concerning suitability and accessibility for individuals with mobility restrictions and other special needs. A state-by-state search function provides an extensive listing of units in your area with physical features, contact information and whether each unit is specific to the needs of the disabled or elderly.

Finding a property that’s accessible to disabled buyers isn’t as easy as it is for people conducting searches on standard real estate websites. It takes some patience, flexibility, and knowing where to look. In the long run, your own persistence and the assistance of your real estate agent are your most valuable assets. As you search, bear in mind that some properties can be modified to meet your needs, which may help widen the parameters of your search.

SOURCE: news release

Friday Wrap-Up, December 7, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth..

Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


“Preparing for a Baby While Living with a Disability: Tips for New Parents”

babyPhoto via Pixabay by Pexels

“Living with a disability comes with many challenges — physical, mental, and emotional. For individuals who are also expecting a new baby, however, there are so many things to consider, from how you’ll manage daily chores and activities while caring for your child to figuring out the easiest ways to stay safe and comfortable. For instance, you may find that it’s difficult to bathe a baby in the bathtub, or certain mobility issues may create hazards for you when walking through the house while holding your infant.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prepare your home and life for a new baby. From making some changes around the house to ensure safety to garnering support from friends and family so they can help out at home, there are many ways you can get ready for parenting with your disability. Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish so that you can stay organized, and don’t forget to practice self-care as often as possible.

Keep reading for tips on how to prepare for a baby when you’re living with a disability.

Find the Best Products

While some parents would rather keep the nursery simple, those who are living with disabilities might find that having products which make their daily lives easier is hugely beneficial when it comes to parenting a new baby. Safety gates, strollers with built-in car seat attachments, and cribs with slats that raise and lower are all great places to start. Just make sure that when you’re shopping online, you read the reviews before making a purchase.

Check for Safety Issues in the Bathroom

The bathroom is an area of the home where accidents often occur, mostly because of slippery surfaces. Adding rubber-backed mats to the tub and floor can help prevent falls, whereas investing in a sturdy infant tub will allow you to bathe your child easily. You can also place a soft rubber cover over the faucet so that if you or your child slip, the hard faucet won’t cause an injury. As far as baby-proofing, it’s important to keep cabinets with soap and cleaning products locked up. Child locks are widely available and are easy for adults to operate.

Practice Self-Care

It’s important to remember to take care of yourself, both before and after your child arrives. Reduce stress as much as possible by taking time out for an activity you enjoy, staying organized, and making sure you have everything in place to create the perfect nursery. Often called “nesting,” preparing your home for the new baby is part of the parenting process and helps you form a connection with your child before he or she arrives.

Think About a Feeding Plan

If you plan on breastfeeding your child, it’s important to think about how you’ll accomplish it from day to day. For instance, when you need a break, you can have your partner or spouse bottle-feed. However, this requires pumping and planning, so it’s a good idea to figure out how you’ll do it before the time actually comes. Talk to your doctor about any concerns, or ask for a breastfeeding specialist who can come and help you with latching and the proper hold.

Preparing your life, home, and finances for a new child can be stressful, so it’s important to start with a good plan so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Talk to your friends and family about how they can help out — for instance, someone may be able to come over and assist with housework in the first few weeks so you can rest — and look for safety hazards to ensure your comfort. With a little preparation, you can enjoy your new baby without any worries.

SOURCE:  Submitted by Ashley Taylor,


REPORT: “Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities”


This issue brief uses data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) to examine the daily travel patterns of American adults with travel-limiting disabilities. It also explores data from the 2001 and 2009 NHTS to illustrate trends over time. Key statistical highlights of this report include:

  • 25.5 million Americans age 5 and older have self-reported travel-limiting disabilities.
  • Only one-fifth of people age 18 to 64 with travel-limiting disabilities work full- or part-time
  • 7 out of 10 respondents with disabilities reduce their day-to-day travel because of their disabilities

Although several groups of technologies might help people with disability-related transportation limitations, people with disabilities tend to use these technologies less frequently.
Click here to read the full report and see more statistics on income, employment, and travel patterns.