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Support Mental Health Parity

Take Action Now!

The National Federation of Families is asking you to take action to support the strengthening of rules for

 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.


What’s Happening?

The Biden Administration proposed new rules to advance parity – the basic idea that mental health condition and substance use care are covered at the same level of care for physical health conditions. Strengthening the existing regulations is critical to holding health plans accountable, helping Americans get needed care, and decreasing the enormous health care and social costs of under-treated mental health and addiction.


How You Can Take Action?

Now, the public has a chance to comment on the proposal. The number of comments MATTER. Please help us tell the federal government how important it is to ensure equal treatment for mental health and substance use care by insurance plans by submitting a comment on the proposed updates to the enforcement rules. The comment period is open until October the 17th

The National Federation of Families, and its key parity partners, have provided a template for you to submit your support. If you have a story to share, consider adding a few sentences to describe the challenges you have experienced.


You now have the opportunity to comment on the proposal. Make your voice heard today! #AcceptAdvocateAct



ACL Expands DIAL to include self-service features 

Blue banner with white text: ACL Announcement

New website offers 24/7 search-by-zip code option to find local services and resources

ACL’s Disability Information and Access Line has launched a new tool to help people with disabilities to find local services and resources to support community living. Through DIAL’s new website and its searchable database, users can now find the information they need, at any time of day, every day of the year.

DIAL is a first-of-its-kind contact center, initially established in 2021 as a national hotline to help people with disabilities access COVID-19 vaccinations. Today, DIAL connects people with disabilities to a broad range of services such as housing assistance, accessible transportation, legal assistance, and more to support independent living in the community.

In addition, DIAL continues to be a critical hub for information and resources to support people with disabilities in staying up to date with vaccinations. DIAL trained staff are available to help people: 

  • Find local vaccination locations 
  • Make vaccination appointments 
  • Arrange accessible transportation 
  • Order or use free at-home COVID-19 test kits, which are again available through a partnership between the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response and the United States Postal Service 

DIAL’s staff are trained to work with people of various communications abilities and will spend as much time as needed to ensure effective communication. DIAL’s Information Specialists can assist people in all languages and are trained to work with callers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. To connect with a DIAL Information Specialist from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern), Monday–Friday: 

As of September 15, 2023, DIAL had responded to nearly 90,000 calls, emails, texts, and online chats, and contact volume continues to increase as more people become aware of this resource.

Established through a partnership between ACL and the CDC, DIAL is operated as a collaboration between a consortium of organizations serving people with disabilities and USAging. The consortium includes:

  • Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) 
  • Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) 
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) 
  • Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) 
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) 
  • National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) 
  • National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN) 
  • The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies 

This collaboration benefits from the disability networks’ extensive knowledge and expertise in meeting the needs of people with disabilities across the U.S. and USAging’s decades of experience operating the Eldercare Locator, the only federally funded national information and referral resource that supports consumers across the spectrum of issues affecting older Americans.

Maryland Department of Disabilities Assistive Technology Program logo

Join us for our annual Financial Resiliency Webinar series, presented every October for Disability Employment Awareness Month! Attend expert presentations on different resources that can help Marylanders with disabilities build stability and resilience in their finances.


2023 Financial Resiliency Sessions


Thursday, October 5, 3pm-4pm

Unlocking Opportunities: Navigating Resources for Maryland Residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 

Eric Jorgensen | LinkedInEric Jorgensen – True North Disability Planning

“Maryland residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a LOT of resources available to them, they just need to know where to look. This webinar will provide an overview of what’s available and how to apply.”




Thursday, October 12, 12 Noon-1pm

ABLE Accounts: A Financial Planning Tool for People with Disabilities and their Families

Maryland ABLE December 2021 Newsletter

Kelly Nelson – Maryland ABLE

“Kelly Nelson, Maryland ABLE Outreach and Communications Manager, will share an overview of how ABLE accounts can help people with disabilities and their families to save and invest for the future without jeopardizing federal, state, and local benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. Attendees will learn about tax- advantaged savings and investment options as well as how to use the ABLE account to pay for qualified disability-related expenses. Join us to learn about the eligibility criteria, enrollment process, features of a Maryland ABLE account and the account management process.”




Monday, October 16, 12 Noon-1pm

Conquering Debt

Staff | CASH Campaign of MarylandSue Rogan – CASH Campaign of Maryland

“Join Sue Rogan of the CASH Campaign of Maryland for this interactive webinar on how to deal with debt collectors, and create a plan to reduce your debt.”




Thursday, October 19, 12 Noon-1:30pm 

The College Pathway

Help Clients Be the 'Directors of Their Own Life' - Rethinking65Elizabeth Wolleben Yoder, CFP® AFC – Dependent Financial Planning

“Come to this presentation when your student is considering the college pathway, either full time or part time, after having a IEP or 504 plan. We will cover how to apply for financial aid and how to prepare for the transition to college, review employment while in college and considerations for government benefits and go over some basic financial concepts for you to prepare your student for greater financial independence when stepping into higher education.”




Tuesday, October 24, 10am-11:30am 

Work Without Fear: Using “Work Incentives” to Protect Benefits when you Work

Our Associates | Griffin-Hammis AssociatesMichael Dalto – High-Note Consulting

“Many people with disabilities who get cash and medical benefits from the government, and who are considering paid work, face some daunting questions: What will happen to my cash benefits if I work? Can I keep my medical benefits? Will I have more money? Learn how safety nets called “work incentives” help protect benefits when you work, and make sure you come out ahead. Discover the Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), a work incentive that can help you buy technology and other items to reach a work goal. And find out how to get FREE help from a certified Benefits Planner to use work incentives.”




Thursday, October 26, 1pm-2pm 

Homeownership for People with Disabilities

Madalina V Ciulu - Director, Single Family Housing, Community Development  Administration - US Department of Housing and Community Development,  Maryland | LinkedInMaddy Ciulu – Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

“The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) provides 30-year fixed-rate home loans to eligible homebuyers purchasing in Maryland. Loan terms are competitive with other home loan products on the market, but what makes MMP unique is the range of associated financial incentives and other assistance that, for many homebuyers, means the difference between being able to purchase and continuing to rent. MMP down payment assistance can only be obtained with an MMP first mortgage; it is not a standalone option.”



SAMHSA Logo Banner

SAMHSA, in collaboration with RTI International, is releasing two important resources intended to aid community practitioners in the ongoing work to end the overdose crisis. “Engaging Community Coalitions to Decrease Opioid Overdose Deaths” and “Opioid-Overdose Reduction Continuum of Care Approach (ORCCA)” are available for free online. These products will equip public health practitioners, coalitions, nonprofits, and other groups working to prevent opioid-related death in their local communities with knowledge and best practices.

“Engaging Community Coalitions to Decrease Opioid Overdose Deaths” provides guidance on building and maintaining community coalitions that focus on the opioid crisis, as well as approaches for assessing how well coalitions are functioning.

The “ORCCA Practice Guide” includes evidence-based strategies for reducing opioid overdose deaths. The strategies include: opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution, medication for treatment of opioid use disorder, and safer opioid prescribing and disposal.

SAMHSA commissioned RTI International to develop the guides in collaboration with a technical expert panel. The guides are based on insights and tools from the ongoing National Institutes of Health (NIH) HEALing Communities Study.

The HEALing Communities Study was launched in 2019 by the NIH and SAMHSA. The multi-site implementation research study is designed to test the impact of an integrated set of evidence-based practices across healthcare, behavioral health, justice, and other community-based settings. The study aims to prevent and treat opioid use disorder and reduce opioid-related overdose deaths in 67 communities across four states: Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.

Read the Guides

AT3 Center Logo


Extreme weather. Natural disasters. Emergency events are happening with increasing frequency throughout the year, making it more critical than ever to consider the needs of people with disabilities and older adults before, during, and after an emergency. This is why the Association of Assistive Technology Programs (ATAP) and the AT3 Center are releasing a new publication titled Emergency Preparedness and Response: What Community Planners and First Responders Need to Know.

Below is a link to this publication, which is available on the AT3 Center website. We encourage AT Act Programs to share this document with those responsible for planning and responding to emergencies in their state or territory as you observe National Preparedness Month during September.

Emergency Preparedness and Response: What Community Planners and First Responders Need to Know


DIY Home Modifications for People With Disabilities

Contributed by Prime Weld

Everyone wants their home to be reliable and secure; there’s no exception for people with disabilities. Creating a truly accessible home requires understanding the needs of each person who lives there, which can change over time. However, with a proper assessment and a proactive approach toward modification, individuals of all abilities can enjoy many happy and safe years in their homes.

What Makes a Home Accessible?

An accessible home is one that both reduces accidents or injuries and empowers those living in the house with as much independence as possible. The goal is to give residents the freedom to live and thrive in the home. This may require modifications that prevent accidents or make daily activities easier.

Accessible homes may have structural improvements, minor enhancements, or accessories and appliances that help the resident do more than could be done without these changes. They should work for the person with disabilities and each family member.

Read the full article here

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