Help advocate for legislation to gain rights for disabled and elderly

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Thu, 06/06/2013 - 20:08

Your voice can make a difference, work together with us

Bullying in subsidized housing affects all residents, including people living with a disability as well as people living with age. The Stop Bullying Coalition is proud and lucky to be working with The Cross Disability Advocacy Coalition and with Jonathan Gale, coordinator of the CDAC. Please join with us and advocate for change now.

The CDAC has organized an advocacy campaign, including support for our bill, S604 to protect citizens from bullying, as well as several other issues of concern to the disability community. By working together, we have a better chance to be heard. We will be calling legislators today and tomorrow and writing to legislators next week. Every call and letter about these bills will make an important impact for good.

Therefore, I ask you to act today (or as soon as possible!) to call your legislators and urge them to act on and support each of the bills we are promoting. AND FORWARD THIS TO YOUR FRIENDS AND CONTACTS, PLEASE.

Please call your state senator, your state representative, and Senator Joan Lovely, the sponsor of our bill, S604. In addition, any or all of the members of the Joint Committee on Housing would benefit from knowing about your interest in S604. Please mention all the bills to your legislators; they do listen to us!

Please let me know what calls you have made so we can share the results with Jonathan Gale.

For additional information and the CDAC advocacy package of information on the several bills, contact or
Jonathan Gale, Cross Disabilities Coalition Coordinator, (617)723-8455 ext 138


Summary of the bills

H. 836: An act requiring mental health parity for disability policies

Currently there are discriminatory limitations in private short- and long- term disability policies on benefits paid to persons disabled by mental disorders. Either no benefits are paid to these workers or they are paid for a shorter period of time than persons disabled by physical disorders.

Section 108 of Chapter 175 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following: No individual policy of short-term or long-term disability insurance providing income replacement benefits that is issued or renewed in the Commonwealth shall impose benefit limitations or exclusions upon claimants affected by behavioral health disorders, where such limitations or exclusions are not imposed equally upon claimants affected by physical disorders.

For more information contact: Susan Fendell, Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, at 617-338-2345 x129

HOUSE No. 136: An Act to Increase the Commonwealth's Compliance with Federal Law Meeting Requirements of the
Americans with Disabilities Act

This bill will create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Massachusetts than any other piece of legislation in the state. The bill will require companies who contract with the Executive Offices of the Commonwealth to commit to hiring people with disabilities and training all employees involved in hiring decisions on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Funding brain injury services

This is a budget line item for brain injury services that if not fully funded will have a significant impact on the services provided to person's with traumatic brain injuries and related disabilities.

Line Item (4120-6000) Head Injury Services
I am calling/e-mailing to request that you support the House's position by supporting brain injury services for $12.2 million. The bottom line is if Line Item 4120-6000 does not receive $12.2 million, four day programs will need to close.

Line Item (4120-6002) HITS Trust Fund
I am calling/e-mailing to request that you support the Senate's position by allowing 100 percent of the collections received by the courts from speeding, DUI and DWI Violations to go into the HITS Fund to support community-based brain injury services. Please preserve brain injury services today!

Bills based on recommendations of the MASSACHUSETTS AUTISM COMMISSION REPORT

SB908, HB 78: An act to permit the Department of Developmental Services provide services to adults with developmental disabilities.

SB909, HB 1794: An Act to ensure full and equal access to services from the Department of Mental Health for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria for the Department of Mental Health Services.

HB1026: An Act relative to MassHealth providing Medically Necessary treatments for members diagnosed with autism

HB 76: An act to provide equal access to medical treatments essential for children with autism

HB77 An Act establishing an integrated confidential data system among state agencies to track diagnosis, treatment, services and outcome of individuals with autism

plus several additional acts for autism services and programs

S604: Stop bullying

THE PURPOSES OF S604 are to protect elderly and/or disabled citizens living in subsidized housing from bullying; to hold landlords and management responsible and accountable for having evidence-based policies on bullying; and for the Commonwealth to support ongoing research and demonstration programs and to distribute guidelines that protect disabled and senior residents from bullying.

Talking points and information on Stop Bullying

Talking points

Everyone can help free people from bullying

Our plan: educate and enlist Beacon Hill lawmakers

We need the help of all citizens living in subsidized housing in the Commonwealth to identify trouble spots, housing which is free of bullying that can serve as models, and to witness and advocate. Wherever you live, you can advocate for change in HUD policies through your elected federal officials.

Please sign the petition now (no donation expected)