Getting the Americans with Developmental Disabilities Act to help Veterans

Dame

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Apr 22, 2010
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Next week I will be in D.C. for a conference of Chairs and Directors of Governor's Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Looks like I may be meeting with Sen. Reid and I want to push my Veterans agenda under his (and everyone else's) nose(s).

The object is to get the Veterans, 22 and younger, who come home with disabilities (including TBI), benefits under the Developmental Disabilities Act. I can only sway what goes on in Nevada, but as this is a national conference I'd like to get everyone used to the idea that these young service members are not only eligible but SHOULD be applying for benefits and we as Disability Councils should be helping them do that.

The Federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act defines a developmental disability as:
"a severe, chronic disabilty of a person which:
is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
is manifested before the person attains age twenty-two;
is likely to continue indefinitely;
results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
self-care,
receptive and expressive language (communication),
ability to learn,
mobility,
self-direction,
capacity for independent living,
economic self-sufficiency, and
reflects the person's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services which are of lifelong, or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated."​

So here's where I need your input. Has anyone ever heard of Vets trying to get benefits under this act and if so, what was the outcome? Did they have any difficulties and if so, what were they?

My particular emphasis in Nevada is employment for those qualified under the act. Can't think of a better group to help find employment if their time in the service is over. Thanks for any and all help. :)
 

Dame

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Sorry I don't have any input but I wish you luck next week. This sounds like a very important piece of legislature.

It's been around for a while but only recently has anyone thought to apply it to our service members. As the numbers of those with TBIs increase, the need to find them meaningful employment also increases. Also, I want to make sure it is uppermost in everyone's mind when re-authorization time comes.
 

Dame

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Apr 22, 2010
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Much luck. Why the age cap though-22 and under???

It's how a Developmental Disability is classified. It basically means that the disability was verifiable during someone's formative years - their "developmental" stage. Otherwise it is just considered a disability and falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act without any additional considerations. It usually applies to children like my son with autism.
 

Dame

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Apr 22, 2010
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6/24 Update

All senators were still in session last night so Sen Reid has not made an appearance. However, was able to present the case to David Hansell, new secretary admin for children & families Dept of Health and Human Services. Continuing to push the info especially in such a way as to highlight the rules of engagement as part of the problem (thank you Pardus!). Info was received VERY well by the other state councils as something they will begin to be mindful of when administering grants for services. Yay!
 

LimaOscarSierraTango

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Sounds like it is a start! Thank you for bringing this to the attention of those that can help make a difference in people's lives that may need the extra help.
 

Voodoo

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It's been around for a while but only recently has anyone thought to apply it to our service members. As the numbers of those with TBIs increase, the need to find them meaningful employment also increases. Also, I want to make sure it is uppermost in everyone's mind when re-authorization time comes.

I am not sure if it is done now but anyone in any kind of explosion should be checked for TBI. Its the new "silent" killer/injury that not many can find out. I was never in combat but I have a Jarhead friend that could be a candidate for TBI as he was in 3 seperate roadside bomb attacks. His back is AFU and he is at 100% now but I am not sure if they EVER checked him for TBI. How would the ADA be applied to this sort of thing or even returning Vets? Thanks for your help on that.
 

Dame

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I am not sure if it is done now but anyone in any kind of explosion should be checked for TBI. Its the new "silent" killer/injury that not many can find out. I was never in combat but I have a Jarhead friend that could be a candidate for TBI as he was in 3 seperate roadside bomb attacks. His back is AFU and he is at 100% now but I am not sure if they EVER checked him for TBI. How would the ADA be applied to this sort of thing or even returning Vets? Thanks for your help on that.

Voodoo,
He needs to get a diagnosis first. Whatever his current medical coverage is, he needs a doctor to verify and diagnose the TBI. The meds on here would be a much better judge than I, but concussions don't necessarily constitute TBI. They can however build up over time and become classified as such. A disability is classified by how impaired you are in criteria considered self care and quality of life. I can get you more info if you like. PM me.
 

RetPara

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In your worst nightmare.....
The sticking point is see on this is the 22YO age limit. If a person enlists at 17.5 which is the youngest legally; then is pipe lined to a deploying unit and returns, they would be very close to the 22yo limit. I believe right now the 17.5 YO that signs up and ships same day is very much the exception and not the rule. In most cases the addition of a number of months of DEP status would further 'age' the young soldier. Lets break down the time line:

2-3 months Basic and leave
2-3 months (+/-) advanced individual training - Hits 18 YO mark.
Assigned to unit at least 90 days out from deployment. (I make the grandiose assumptions units are fenced\locked in X days out from deployment)

Deploys and is wounded 90 days into tour. Time elapsed from enlistment is about a year (+/-); so that puts the soldier at 18.5 years.
Hospitalization and rehab... figure 6 to 9 months.
Medical board.... six months... So at near 20yo mark, soldier is medically discharged.

How long does it take to apply for the ADA benefits?

If these benefits are for a program; can the program funding be extended to completion past the 22nd birthday?

I make no pretense to the accuracy of the time frames as everything is flexible and changeable.
 

Dame

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Apr 22, 2010
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Great questions. So long as the disability is identified before the age of 22, individuals are qualified for life because under the definition, the disability itself is for life. In other words, if you can rehab out of the injury, it is not a developmental disability. Benefits under the DD Act (not ADA which is not age dependent) will vary from state to state due to the areas of emphasis in each state varying with the population. Eligibility is the big thing. Benefits may include things like caregiver (wife or parent) respite services, employment training, living supplements, personal care attendant reimbursement, and other related help.

In the federal definition, the term "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:
(i) is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
114 STAT. 1684 PUBLIC LAW 106-402-OCT. 30, 2000
(ii) is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
(iii) is likely to continue indefinitely;
(iv) results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
(I) Self-care.
(II) Receptive and expressive language.
(III) Learning.
(IV) Mobility.
(V) Self-direction.
(VI) Capacity for independent living.
(VII) Economic self-sufficiency; and
(v) reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

Many states have other requirements in addition. Some impose a brain-related clause which TBI clearly falls under.
 
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