The Institute for Veterans and Military Families, headquartered at Syracuse University, was recently awarded for its leadership in employment of veterans with disabilities.
IVMF officials run programs for veterans and their families across the United States.
“For PVA to recognize the IVMF for its work — particularly related to how we are working to empower and support this generation of military veterans with disabilities through the programs that we run — I think for us it’s a tremendous honor, and it’s a recognition of the good work that we’re doing here,” Haynie said.
“One thing that I think our university should be proud of is, last year alone, about 25,000 military members who were leaving the military, as well as veterans and military spouses and children, went through programs run by this institute,” Haynie said.
Haynie created an entrepreneurship boot camp program for veterans with disabilities when he first started working at SU 10 years ago. Now, that program runs at 10 other college campuses across the country under the direction of the IVMF.
SU created the entrepreneurship program for veterans with disabilities because it is difficult for veterans to transition back to civilian life, said both Haynie and Tracey Shifflett, director of communications and external affairs for PVA.
Moving forward, IVMF officials hope the PVA’s award draws attention so the organization can reach a broader spectrum of veterans and military-related people with disabilities, Haynie said.
“There are over 40,000 veterans service organizations in the country,” said Stephanie Salanger, director of communications for IVMF and SU’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.
Haynie added that it is an honor to be awarded by such a well-respected veterans organization.
You’d think many of these people could qualify for disability income help from the government.
In April 2010, she founded the nonprofit ASSIST, which stands for “Assertive Supplemental Security Income Service Team.”
The second pot, Supplemental Security Income, is a needs-based program for people who have never been able to work or who have been unable to work for a long time.
About half of Calvin’s clients receive Social Security, and half receive Supplemental Security Income.
That was the case for one 47-year-old client who, with his mother, recently met with Calvin in her office. “That’s why he spent 20 years without help, without income, without mental help, any kind of medical help.”
The program, created by the Oregon Legislature last year, essentially provides loans for homeless or insecurely housed people while they wait for disability income.
Erika Miller, who manages the General Assistance Program, said her clients wait at average of 187 days for their benefits.
The fund is reimbursed when Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance back pay is received.
Yet Calvin and Miller have found a way to strengthen one corner of that net, by providing a source of income for people with disabilities who are on the street or on the brink.
ELIZABETH, NJ–October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual celebration of both people with disabilities who work and those businesses and organization that employ them.
Locally, the nonprofit Community Access Unlimited (CAU) has a robust program for preparing its members with disabilities for employment, then connecting them with businesses looking to employ them, according to Joanne Oppelt, assistant executive director of business development at the agency.
CAU operates an Employment and Day Habilitation Services Department that assists those members who wish to work, comprising pre-placement services, including training in interviewing skills, work dress and on-the-job behavior; liaison support; on-the-job coaching; and follow-up to ensure both the member and the employer are happy, according to Oppelt.
CAU member Sharon Mohry has been employed at ShopRite for more than 20 years, working six hours a day one or two days a week. “I like the people,” she said.
In addition to ShopRite and Witsons, businesses employing CAU members include Sam’s Club, Target, Marshall’s, the Swan Motel, the Humane Society and CAU itself (8 percent of CAU’s 1,200 employees are people with disabilities).
Research shows there are a number of significant benefits for businesses employing people with disabilities.
Studies show employees with disabilities are absent less frequently than those without disabilities and are more likely to stay at their job, according to Oppelt.
Businesses seeking to learn more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and how to go about doing so should visit the Employee Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion at www.askearn.org.
CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing supports in areas including housing, vocational skills and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.
With medical marijuana permitted in 30 states and the District of Columbia, many patients across the United States now have ability to treat their debilitating conditions without fear of persecution or having to depend on the black market. Although legalization has been largely beneficial, an interesting study showcases an unintended consequence that may have stemmed from medical pot.
The working paper suggests that SSDI claims have rose by 9.9 percent following the passage of legislation, while benefits have only increased 2.6 percent.
While their analysis didn’t produce evidence as strong as the SSDI claims, the data shows that medical marijuana laws also caused an increase in this sector. The paper suggests that cannabis causes side effects like lack of concentration, dizziness, and headaches, which are conditions that could make users less able to perform their jobs.
Medical marijuana laws have caused no significant change in benefit claims for older adults between 41 and 62. However, for the younger group, the researchers found a 24% increase in the probability of making SSDI claims, as well as a 15% increase in the chance of claiming workers’ compensation.
While the researchers found a possible correlation between medical marijuana laws and disability claims, they could not determine the specific reasons.
Americans with disabilities continue to close in on pre-recession employment levels with yet another month of strong job numbers, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD).
The process of recovering from disabling injuries often hinders people of working age from returning to work. Many inpatient rehabilitation facilities do not offer employment-oriented services, and after discharge, these services are fragmented or nonexistent.
For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio also increased from 73.0 percent in September 2016 to 73.8 percent in September 2017 (up 1.1 percent; 0.8 percentage points). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).
The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 31.0 percent in September 2016 to 33.1 percent in September 2017 (up 6.8 percent; 2.1 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate slightly increased from 76.5 percent in September 2016 to 76.9 percent in September 2017 (up 0.5 percent; 0.4 percentage points).
One way to expand employment for people with disabilities is to institute processes that facilitate returning to work.
Of the 51 newly injured individuals who enrolled, 15 have returned to work and 14 have actively engaged with the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to plan their return to the workplace. Mary Lea West, a full-time vocational resource facilitator, meets with patients during their stay and follows up with them after discharge, coordinating vocational rehabilitation services and addressing needs for assistive technology and accommodations.