FAQs – Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board http://www.summitdd.org Serving Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FAQ: Summit DD Levy http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/faq-summit-dd-levy/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/faq-summit-dd-levy/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:01:19 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6947 We pride ourselves in bringing awareness to disability-related issues. We engage the community, business leaders and parents in open and honest dialog to listen, learn and teach. That open dialog doesn’t end when we get asked tough questions. We want… […]

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We pride ourselves in bringing awareness to disability-related issues. We engage the community, business leaders and parents in open and honest dialog to listen, learn and teach. That open dialog doesn’t end when we get asked tough questions. We want to give people all the information they need to make informed decisions. Below are some frequently asked questions about the upcoming Summit DD Levy this November.

Is Summit DD closing?

Absolutely not. Recent federal mandates require that we no longer provide direct services for adults because we coordinate and fund those disability services. However, rest assured that no one will lose their services due to this change. Summit DD will continue to connect, protect and monitor services so that people can live their lives to the fullest. (Read more about Our Journey Forward.)

Will people lose their services and programs?

No one will lose their services because of the new Federal rules for DD Boards. Individuals will select another provider and continue to have their services funded and coordinated by Summit DD. We will also continue to provide health and safety oversight.

What does the Summit DD levy (Issue 3) fund if you won’t be providing direct services for adults in the future?

Summit DD is the Agency that funds and connects more than 2,700 adults to disability services throughout Summit County. We monitor these services for safety and ensure that people are receiving the supports they rely on to live their lives to the fullest. Issue 3 also funds early intervention services for 1,000 kids and families, investigations of reports that impact health and safety, service coordination, Special Olympics and more.

Where are the savings going if you aren’t operating buildings and buses in the future?

Funding for services is linked to each individual and their needs, not the Agency.  When an individual leaves Summit DD for another provider, that same funding follows them.  There are operating savings associated with no longer being a service provider in terms of staff and building costs, totaling around $11.4 Million.  However, those savings are offset by two factors:

  • The federal Medicaid revenue that Summit DD received for providing services will now be paid to the private provider that the individual chooses. This also means that Summit DD will receive $5.4 million less revenue beginning in 2019.
  • Secondly, federal Medicaid pays 60% of the Medicaid rates for eligible services. When Summit DD was the provider, the remaining 40% was absorbed into the operating costs, such as salaries, benefits and facility costs.  However, when a private provider is an individual’s provider, Summit DD pays that remaining 40% of services costs as a Medicaid “match” cost to the actual provider.  We project Medicaid costs to increase by $4.8 million in 2019.

The remaining $1.2 million in operating savings is reinvested into new programs to set children and teens up for success as adults. It also covers additional demand for services, as Summit DD has supported 1,600 more people since 2006 and will continue to grow by about 100 new people each year.

Why do you need a levy if there is Medicaid money?

Summit DD is able to tap into approximately $60 million in Medicaid funding for Summit County because of the levy dollars. The levy funding covers approximately 40% of services like transportation, day programs and job assistance services. If that 40% can be guaranteed by Summit DD, then Medicaid will agree to cover the remaining 60% of the cost.

Additionally, programs like early intervention, transition supports for teens and job training programs are funded 100% through local levy money.

What other sources of income does Summit DD receive?

While Summit DD does receive a mix of some federal and state dollars, about 80% of our operating income comes from the levy that takes place every six years. The Summit DD levy generates about $50 million in revenue. From that $50 million, $25 million is set aside to meet our Medicaid obligation. (That $25 million is what allows us to tap into the additional $60 million in federal Medicaid funds that can then be reinvested into the local economy.)

The other $25 million is needed to provide early intervention services. It funds the investigations of all allegations of abuse or neglect. It ensures the coordinate services for school-age kids, supports programs like Special Olympics and other support service needs for those not eligible for Medicaid.

Will this cost taxpayers more money?

Nope! The good news is that Issue 3 is a renewal and a 0% tax increase. That means for no new money the Summit DD levy will ensure that 4,700 adults and children with developmental disabilities will continue to receive the services and supports they rely on each day.

How much will Issue 3 cost taxpayers?

For just $11.50 a month (for a house valued at $100,000) Issue 3 will fund services for children and adults with developmental disabilities through 2024.

How do I know that my money is being used well?

Summit DD believes in transparency and being good stewards of taxpayer money. We have operated on the same level of funding since 2007. The Agency has seen an increased demand for services. We have served 1,600 more people in the last 10 years without a tax increase. We project this trend to continue and expect the need to grow by about 100 new people each year.

Is the levy campaign funded with tax dollars?

No. The Summit DD levy campaign is funded through a volunteer action committee called “Support Summit DD”. Through volunteer efforts, the committee raises funds and operates the campaign. This ensures the continued support for thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities in Summit County.

What happens if the levy fails?

The Summit DD levy is crucial to ensure that the daily needs of nearly 5,000 children and adults with disabilities are met. Without levy funding:

  • early intervention services would be discontinued for 1,000 families with kids under the age of six;
  • 650 Special Olympic athletes would lose funding;
  • school supports for teens transitioning to adulthood and the workforce would be discontinued; and
  • access to current and future Medicaid funding for Summit County and its residents could be jeopardized

Still have Questions?

Contact us! We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the upcoming Summit DD Levy this November.

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Dissecting the Savings http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/summit-dd-funding/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/summit-dd-funding/#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:52:18 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6926 Summit DD’s operating levy makes up more than 80% of the Agency’s revenue.  That levy is set to expire on December 31, 2018.  To ensure that more than 4,700 adults and kids with developmental disabilities don’t lose funding for essential… […]

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Summit DD’s operating levy makes up more than 80% of the Agency’s revenue.  That levy is set to expire on December 31, 2018.  To ensure that more than 4,700 adults and kids with developmental disabilities don’t lose funding for essential services, Summit DD will be putting forth a ballot issue to renew the levy on November 7, 2017.  This is not a new tax and will fund services and supports from 2019 – 2024.

For the past two years we’ve been talking to the community a lot about Our Journey Forward. Currently about 75% adults receive day programs and transportation services from private disability service providers. By the time the new levy money is collected in 2019, 100% of adults will receive these services from private providers.  We have asked individuals and families who have made the switch if they are happy in their new environment and they overwhelmingly report that they are.  Read Brad’s or Joyce’s story about their experience with a new provider.

What is the impact on your budget?

In our ongoing conversations with key stakeholders, people keep asking… if we don’t need staff to provide these services and if we don’t need the buildings and busses for those services, do we still need the same amount of funding from the levy?  The answer is yes.  That may have you scratching your head, but check out the infographic that explains why.

Some services for adults are funded through a mix of federal Medicaid funds and local levy dollars.  As Summit DD complies with federal mandates and people transition to private disability service providers in Summit County, their funding follows them.  What does that mean?

The revenue that Summit DD receives from Medicaid will now get paid to the new provider, which accounts for a $5.4 million loss of revenue to Summit DD each year.  Also, Summit DD must pay for 40% of Medicaid-eligible services using local tax dollars.  That increases our Medicaid expenses by $4.8 million each year.

Yes, it does make sense that we reduce costs in salary, benefit and facility cost line items as federal mandates cause us to get leaner.  Those line items are reduced by $11.4 million each year.  However, that is offset by $5.4 million in reduced revenue and $4.8 million in increased Medicaid expenses.  That leaves $1.2 in “savings”.  Those savings are reinvested in supporting an increased demand for services each year and innovation.  We expect to continue to support at least 100 new people each year.

You can help us dispel the myth that individuals do not need as much funding for a lifetime of services by talking to your family and friends. Download the infographic.

We take our role as a steward of taxpayer dollars very seriously.  We are committed to being transparent about how your tax dollars are spent.  Want to see where your money goes?  Check out this simple infographic. Want to stay informed with our future plans and investments?  Sign up for our monthly email newsletter at the bottom of the website.  Still have questions?  Contact us.

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Where do our tax dollars go? A handy guide. http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/tax-dollars-handy-guide/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/tax-dollars-handy-guide/#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:32:47 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6917 Summit DD’s operating levy makes up more than 80% of the Agency’s revenue.  That levy is set to expire on December 31, 2018.  To ensure that more than 4,700 adults and kids with developmental disabilities don’t lose funding for essential… […]

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Summit DD’s operating levy makes up more than 80% of the Agency’s revenue.  That levy is set to expire on December 31, 2018.  To ensure that more than 4,700 adults and kids with developmental disabilities don’t lose funding for essential services, Summit DD will be putting forth a ballot issue to renew the levy on November 7, 2017.  This is not a new tax and will fund essential services and supports from 2019–2024.

The voters have asked for a simple explanation of where the money goes.  Simply put, your money empowers people of all abilities.  You can see how in the infographic below.

How Much Money Does The Levy Raise?

Homeowners with a home valued at $100,000 will continue to pay just $11.50 per month.  Because it’s a renewal levy, this amount will not go up as home values increase.  Summit DD has been living on the same millage since 2007.  In fact, the levy brings in about about $8 million less in revenue than it did in 2007 because of depreciated values.

Summit DD will raise a total of $50 million from the levy in each of the six years of its funding cycle. This revenue funds both Medicaid eligible services and services funded exclusively with local tax dollars.

Medicaid-Eligible Services & Supports

Some adults with disabilities qualify for Medicaid funding through a “waiver” for home and community-based services that help them live more independently.  When an individual receives funding through Medicaid, approximately 60% of Medicaid-eligible services are funded through federal funds and Summit DD pays for the remaining 40% using money raised from the levy.  Using federal Medicaid funding affords more adults access to these essential services throughout their lifetime, while minimizing the financial impact to local taxpayers.

Summit DD’s financial obligation for Medicaid-eligible services totals $25 million each year.  That investment provides access to an additional $60 million in federal dollars that is paid directly to more than 570 private disability service providers in Summit County.  That is a total of $85 million each year that is invested into the local economy, ensuring that more than 2,700 adults receive residential support, day programming and transportation services.

Services & Supports Funded By Local Tax Dollars

The remaining $25 million dollars in revenue purchases supports for adults and kids that are non-Medicaid services or services for adults who are not eligible for Medicaid.  This includes:

  • Early intervention support for more than 1,000 kids and families ages 0-6, provided directly by Summit DD Developmental Specialists.
  • Service coordination from Summit DD Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) to develop a person-centered plan, oversight and authorization of funding for more than 2,000 adults and 1,000 school-age kids and teens.
  • Special Olympic funding for more than 650 athletes with special needs
  • Quality-of-Life supports like equipment, respite, etc. for 1,200 adults and kids
  • Services such as nursing, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and more
  • Oversight and training of disability service providers by Summit DD quality assurance staff
  • Administrative reviews by Summit DD Investigative Agents of incidents which can impact a person’s health and safety, including abuse and neglect

What Happens if the Levy Fails?

If the levy fails, these essential services would be discontinued within nine months.  Adults who rely on Medicaid funding would lose their local contribution for those funds after one year, putting future federal funding in jeopardy.

The levy is critical to ensure essential services and supports are in place throughout an individual’s lifetime.  You can help educate your friends and neighbors by sharing this post or download the handy infographic about where your tax dollars go.

Still have questions?  Contact Us.  Want to stay informed about how your tax dollars empower?  Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this website.

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The Value of a Special Needs Trust http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/special-needs-trust/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/special-needs-trust/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:15:40 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6229 Guest Blogger: Sam Butcher, principal of Butcher Elder Law As an advocate and guardian for your family member with a developmental or intellectual disability, it is important to understand and determine if you should pursue a Special Needs Trust. What is… […]

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Guest Blogger: Sam Butcherprincipal of Butcher Elder Law

As an advocate and guardian for your family member with a developmental or intellectual disability, it is important to understand and determine if you should pursue a Special Needs Trust.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a trust established as a source for funds received for the benefit of an individual who receives government benefits based on need. SNTs, also referred to a Supplemental Needs Trusts, are intended to supplement needs-based government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, without jeopardizing the continued receipt of those benefits. 

Who needs a Special Needs Trust?

If your child, sibling or loved one receives Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid benefits, they should have a Special Needs Trust in place.

How is it different from other legal documents?

A Special Needs Trust is irrevocable. Strict legal requirements must be followed when establishing and making distributions from the SNT so the beneficiary does not compromise his or her public benefits. A wide range of acceptable expenditures can be made out of the SNT for the sole benefit of the beneficiary. However, legal guidelines must be followed to maintain the integrity of the trust and continued receipt of public assistance benefits.

What happens if I don’t have a Special Needs Trust in place?

If your child, sibling or loved one receives a distribution of assets, such as a monetary gift, an inheritance or settlement, their SSI and Medicaid benefits could be jeopardized.

With an SNT in place, needed benefits are protected from being taken away, should your family member receive unanticipated gifts or other distribution of assets.

What can funds from Special Needs Trust be used for?

Having an SNT allows a beneficiary to use gifted money to enhance quality of life and pay for a wide range of additional assistance and “extras” that government benefits do not cover.

For example, a Special Needs Trust could afford the ability to purchase a home, specialized wheelchairs, handicap-accessible vans or mechanical beds. It can pay for personal attendant care while on vacation, as well as other recreational and cultural experiences.

What age is ideal for establishing a Special Needs Trust?

There is no particular age considered ideal for establishing a Special Needs Trust. When to establish the trust could depend on whether the trust will be a First-Party SNT or a Third-Party SNT. A First-Party SNT will need to be established when the person with a disability receives money, such as an inheritance, settlement or judgment, which without an SNT, would result in the loss of needs-based public assistance benefits.

Are there different kinds of Special Needs Trusts?

Yes. There are four types of Special Needs Trusts. Most commonly used are First Party and Third Party SNT’s

A First-Party Special Needs Trust:

  • Can be established by the individual with the disability (or by the court or other surrogate acting on the individual’s behalf) using the individual’s own funds.
  • Must be established for the benefit of one individual who has a disability and under the age of 65 at the time the trust is funded.
  • Can only be established by the parent, grandparent or guardian of the person with the disability or by the court.
  • Must be created while the grantor is living and must be irrevocable.
  • Must give sole and absolute discretion over the use of the trust income and property to the trustee
  • Requires a payback provision pursuant to the Medicaid plan of the beneficiary’s state.

A Third Party Special Needs Trust:

  • Is established by one person using his or her own funds and for the benefit of another person with a disability.
  • Is funded exclusively with assets not belonging to the beneficiary with the disability.
  • Requires careful drafting to ensure the beneficiary doesn’t use the income for food or shelter, which would directly impact government benefits.
  • Can be created without a payback provision, which allows funds to be distributed upon the beneficiary’s death to designated family members.

Do I have to work with a lawyer to create a Special Needs Trust? Can I do it by myself or with my financial planner?

A lawyer familiar with the special legal requirements for SNTS should be involved in the planning and creation of a SNT. There are many points that should be considered by the family of a loved one with a disability before a decision is made to create a SNT. Once the SNT is created, family members, and particularly the Trustee of the SNT (whether or not a family member), will need legal guidance in managing the SNT and making distributions from the SNT.

Unless a financial planner is an attorney, he or she would be practicing law without a license and in violation of the law by assisting a client in drafting a SNT. The financial planner can be a valued team member in making recommendations for investment of the SNT funds, funding investments to the SNT and facilitating distributions.

What is involved in creating a Special Needs Trust?

The legal process begins with educating the client. There are certain laws that anyone creating a SNT needs to know. Once the client has a working knowledge of what a Special Needs Trust is and how it operates, a design meeting is scheduled so the client can be further counseled to make choices, such as who will be the trustee of the SNT, so that the trust document can be drafted.

The attorney will edit and finalize the draft and prepare a final document to be executed at a signing meeting. A First-Party SNT requires court approval. Funding will be discussed at the signing meeting and subsequent meetings will be conducted as necessary to confirm that the SNT has been properly funded. Thereafter, additional legal guidance will be offered to ensure that the client remains in full compliance with the law in maintaining and making distributions from the SNT.

Is it expensive to work with a lawyer to create a Special Needs Trust?

The creation of a SNT requires expertise in a specialized area of the law. The cost of establishing a SNT is still modest compared to the value of maintaining assets in trust that can enhance the life of a child with a disability while maintaining the continued receipt of life-sustaining public assistance benefits.

Summit DD will host Butcher Elder Law for a free workshop, Special Needs Trust 101 on Tuesday, March 14 from 5 – 7 pm in the Multipurpose Room. To attend this workshop, please RSVP to the event through Eventbrite or call Butcher Elder Law at 440-268-8284.

Sam Butcher is principal of Butcher Elder Law and a published author, speaker and thought leader on the specialty areas of elder law including estate planning, asset protection, special needs, Medicaid, veterans benefits, business succession planning and probate and trust administration. For more information visit butcherelderlaw.com.

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Saving for the future: Ohio’s STABLE Accounts http://www.summitdd.org/blog/stable-accounts/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/stable-accounts/#respond Fri, 09 Sep 2016 17:57:44 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=5688 We all know how important it is to save for the future, but sometimes it’s difficult to figure out where to start. Luckily, there is a new solution for people with disabilities and their loved ones to begin saving and… […]

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We all know how important it is to save for the future, but sometimes it’s difficult to figure out where to start. Luckily, there is a new solution for people with disabilities and their loved ones to begin saving and investing. Ohio’s new STABLE Accounts are exclusively for people with disabilities and are a simple and easy way to get started!

What is a STABLE Account?

An Ohio STABLE Account is a tax preference account, meaning the individual, family members and friends contributing to the account will not be taxed by the federal government on the earnings as long as the money is used on qualified expenses. Think of it as an investment account (like a retirement account) run through the Ohio Treasurer’s Office.

More information on the history of STABLE Accounts can be found here.

Who qualifies for a STABLE Account?

To be eligible, the individual must have developed their disability before the age of 26 as well as meet one of the following criteria:

Click here for more details on eligibility.

Are there any rules to opening a STABLE Account?

Yes. There are a few rules for STABLE Accounts.

  • Only one account can be opened in a beneficiary’s name, and accounts can only be open under the name of the eligible person with a disability, not a parent or guardian. However, parents, guardians, family and friends can all contribute to this one account.
  • Maximum yearly contribution is $14,000, with the maximum account value limited to $426,000.
  • 10% additional tax penalty will be taken on funds that are withdrawn for non-qualified expenses.

What expenses can a STABLE Account be used for?

These funds can be used for anything that will help maintain a high quality of life. Some examples include:

  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Employment Support
  • Help prevention and wellness
  • Assistive Technology
  • Financial Management
  • Home Improvement Modification
  • Housing

Learn more about qualified expenses here.

How does a STABLE Account work?

People with disabilities, guardians (parents if the individual is under 18) or holders of a power of attorney can open an account online. A contribution of $50 to the account is required when opening. From there, you can set up your bank account information so you can transfer money electronically to and from your STABLE Account. You can also choose an amount to be withdrawn from the account that will be placed on a loadable debit card. When you open your account, you will be asked to select from five investment options, which can be changed biannually. Money can be deposited or withdrawn at any time and your balance is FDIC insured. There is a $30 annual fee to maintain the account.

Read more about how STABLE Accounts work here.

Will federal benefits be impacted? Will funds be impacted if a parent or guardian passes away?

No. Medicaid benefits and other federal benefits will not be impacted. SSI benefits are only impacted if the account balance is over $100,000. Also, wages still count as income for SSI purposes even if wages go into the STABLE Account. And no, since the account is in the individual’s name, a parent or guardian’s death will not impact the funds in the account.

More details on benefits can be found here.

Just putting a little away every month can go a long way over the years. Also, don’t forget to chat with your SSA about STABLE Accounts. Our SSAs can provide you with even more details and can walk you through the steps to set up an account.

Ready to sign up today? Visit Ohio Treasurer’s website to get started.

Need to chat with your SSA? Find your SSA or contact us!

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All About Developmental Disabilities http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/all-about-developmental-disabilities/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/all-about-developmental-disabilities/#respond Wed, 17 Aug 2016 15:30:54 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=5595 We are lucky enough to live in a world full of unique people of every ability. We ALL have a story and the more we learn about each other’s stories, the stronger we become as a whole. Take a moment… […]

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We are lucky enough to live in a world full of unique people of every ability. We ALL have a story and the more we learn about each other’s stories, the stronger we become as a whole. Take a moment to explore these FAQs about developmental disabilities and challenge your knowledge about the diverse abilities in your community!

What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is a diverse group of conditions due to mental or physical delays that may effect language, mobility, learning or independent living. A person’s developmental disability is just one of the many facets that make that person who they are. It may influence the style in which a person learns or the way they interpret their surroundings but it’s never an inability to achieve a goal. Rather, it’s just the various paths we all take to get to the same destination!

Did you know?
  • According to the US Census Bureau, around 19% of people in the US have a disability
  • According to the CDC, 1 in 6 children aged three through 17 have a disability
  • Common disabilities include: Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, visual or auditory impairments, ADHD, intellectual disabilities and other developmental delays 

Many individuals with developmental disabilities live independent lives and are major assets to their communities. Look at Jacob, for instance, a person who takes pride in his job in the community and values the deep connections he shares with his friends. Or Brad, who betters his community by volunteering while also taking up karate.

How is a developmental disability determined?

There are some common assessments used to diagnose a developmental disability, however, keep in mind: just like no two people are the same, no two disabilities are the same! The way each person experiences their disability is different from person to person.

Diagnosis and eligibility for supports and services go hand in hand. Eligibility is based on a number of factors, assessments or evaluations that are specific to a person’s age. Ages are broken down into three groups.

  • Ages birth to 6
  • Ages 6 to 15
  • Ages 16+

Click here to learn more about eligibility

What supports are available for a person with a developmental disability?

There are countless supports for a person with a developmental disability from natural supports to personalized services connected through your county board. Check out some different supports for different ages below.

Little Ones

With every destination, there is nothing more important than that first step! For little ones, County Boards like Summit DD offer Early Intervention (EI). EI is one of the most beneficial actions a family can take to help their child reach developmental milestones. EI is based on a teaching philosophy, where Developmental Specialists give families the essential tools they need to be the best teacher to advocate for their child’s growth and development. This ensures that even when specialists and therapists are not around, the learning never stops!

School-Age

Once the kiddos get a little older, they get support from their local school and natural supports from their classmates and families. Keep in mind, County Boards also offer school-age support, providing resources and offering solutions to families wherever they need it, often times assisting parents with their IEP, or Individualized Education Plan.

Adults

Adults work with their county board SSAs, or Service and Support Administrators, to create right-fit supports so each individual can determine their own path and work toward the aspirations they have for their life.

What are right-fit supports?

At some point we all come to crossroads in our lives. Where should I work? Live? What are the dreams I have for my life? Every person takes their own path. That’s why different supports come together to address every person’s individual desires. Modern thinking about developmental disabilities utilizes the importance of “tailored supports” or “right-fit supports.”

Maybe you want community employment? Summit DD can connect you to a job coach and find employers in the community that would be the right fit for your strengths and personality. Maybe you want to live independently? OK great, let’s work with residential providers to find a place in your community. We help identify the supports they offer and even who could be a good fit for a roommate. Individuals set the goals, and the SSAs coordinate the resources to get there.

These right-fits supports all fall under one plan. Check out our ISP, or Individualized Service Plan to learn more.

What are natural supports?

Natural supports are simply unpaid supports that come from everyday people in your life like, family members, friends, teachers, coworkers or others who are close to you.

Examples

  • A daycare teacher giving a child extra assistance when needed
  • A neighbor carpooling to work with someone who is unable to drive
  • An employer explaining and demonstrating a job task individually to an employee who might benefit from extra guidance

Summit DD believes in working with our community partners and supplying them with the proper tools and knowledge so that anyone can act as a natural support. This creates inclusive environments everywhere in our communities!

What is inclusion and how can I make my community more inclusive?

Inclusion is the belief that people of EVERY ability should have the right to contribute to their community. Often, creating an inclusive environment can be done by making small, simple changes which can make a tremendous difference in the lives of those with and without disabilities. Use these tips to make your community more inclusive!

  • In classrooms, workplaces and public events move away from a “one-size fits all” approach. Think outside the box. How can I adjust my space or mentality to fit more than one ability level?
  • Make playgrounds and public areas accessible for people of all abilities.
  • Use person-first language. Making someone feel welcome can be as simple as using words that address them rather than their disability, which is only a small part of who they are.
  • Build relationships with the people around you. Seeing the person, rather than the disability opens your world to fun, creative and interesting people.
  • Reach out! There are countless people at your county board, like our CPI staff, who work exclusively to adapt an environment so that everyone can be successful! The benefit is not only for the person with a developmental disability but for the rest of the community as well. When we’re all given the opportunity to share our talents and strengths, the whole community becomes stronger.

Check out Joey’s story to find out what inclusion did for one little boy in Summit County!

How can I learn more?

The best way to learn about a developmental disability is to get to know someone who has one! Social media, blogs and community events are full of first-person narratives of self-advocates. Jump in and join the conversation, because when you ask questions and seek new perspectives the whole community benefits!

Check out these stories or visit our Facebook page for more!

Want to know more about available supports? Check out our Quick Start Guide!

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2016 Summer Camp Funding Information http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/2016-summer-camp-funding/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/2016-summer-camp-funding/#respond Tue, 01 Mar 2016 20:20:57 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=4961 Summit DD is happy to share that we are once again able to help support camp experiences for eligible children, teens and adults during the summer months. Best of all, you choose the camp! Any camp that is willing to enter into… […]

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Summit DD is happy to share that we are once again able to help support camp experiences for eligible children, teens and adults during the summer months. Best of all, you choose the camp! Any camp that is willing to enter into a contract with Summit DD is eligible to have approved costs covered. Here’s how it works:

  1. Apply to the camp of your choice
  2. Get accepted into the camp
  3. Complete the funding request form, authorizing Summit DD to fund camp services (Not sure if your family qualifies for funding? Contact us!)

After that, Summit DD will take care of the following for you:

  1. Determine if you have a co-pay for your camp. (This will be based on the same schedule as the Family Support Services program.) If additional information is needed we will contact you.
  2. Inform you and the camp that was chosen the amount that Summit DD will be reimbursing for services.  Please note, you will be responsible for all costs beyond what Summit DD will be reimbursing to the camp.

Need ideas for camp this year? Check out our 2016 Summer Camp Guide. Remember, you can request a camp that is not part of any of the resources listed in the Summer Camp Guide as long as the camp is willing to enter into a contract with Summit DD. (Please note, the camp must be willing to enter into a contract with Summit DD to be considered for funding.) Our Camp Coordinator is here to help you though the process.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a particular camp, please contact us. We’re ready to assist you. And most importantly, Happy Camping!

Download a copy of the 2016 Summer Camp 2016 Letter and 2016 camp funding request form

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Payee FAQs: A Practical Guide to Managing Social Security Benefits http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/payee-faqs-a-practical-guide-to-managing-ssi-benefits/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/payee-faqs-a-practical-guide-to-managing-ssi-benefits/#respond Sun, 24 Jan 2016 15:54:33 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=4581 What is a Payee? According to the Social Security Administration, a representative payee is a person or organization appointed to receive the Social Security or SSI benefits for anyone who can’t manage their own benefits. It can be a friend… […]

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What is a Payee?
According to the Social Security Administration, a representative payee is a person or organization appointed to receive the Social Security or SSI benefits for anyone who can’t manage their own benefits. It can be a friend or family member or organizational payee. When choosing a payee consider choosing someone the beneficiary feels will support them in participating in managing their money.

What does a Payee do?
A Payee’s main responsibility is to use Social Security or SSI benefits for the current and future needs of the beneficiary, and properly save any benefits not needed to meet current needs. A Payee also must keep records of every expense. When the Social Security Administration requests a report, a Payee must provide proof of how the benefits were used and saved.

How is a Payee different than an authorized representative?
Being an authorized representative, having power of attorney, or a joint bank account with the beneficiary is not the same as being a Payee. These arrangements do not give legal authority to negotiate and manage a beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI benefits. In order to be a payee, you must apply for and be appointed by the Social Security Administration.

How do I become a Payee?
Contact the Social Security office nearest you to apply (click here for information on the Akron office). You must complete form SSA-11 (Request to be selected as payee) and show documents to prove your identity. You will need to provide your Social Security number, or if you represent an organization, the organization’s Employer Identification Number. Usually, you must complete the payee application with Social Security office staff face-to-face.

What are some examples of what a Payee can not do?

  • Sign legal documents, other than Social Security documents, for a beneficiary.
  • Have legal authority over earned income, pensions, or any income from sources other than Social Security or SSI.
  • Use a beneficiary’s money for the payee’s personal expenses, or spend funds in a way that would leave the beneficiary without necessary items or services (housing, food, medical care).
  • Put a beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI funds in the payee’s or another person’s account.
  • Use a child’s “dedicated account” funds for basic living expenses. (This only applies to SSI beneficiaries with developmental disabilities under age 18.)
  • Keep conserved funds once you are no longer the payee.

Who do I contact if I have problems or questions?
You can contact your Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA) and also reach out to the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You can also find more FAQs on the Social Security website.

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What is a Budget for Services? http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/what-is-a-budget-for-services/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/what-is-a-budget-for-services/#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:53:38 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=4063 Summit DD Service and Support Administrator’s, or SSAs, coordinate services using a person-centered approach and work with each person to develop an individual budget for services that meet their needs and fit their budget. Most adults supported by Summit DD are… […]

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Summit DD Service and Support Administrator’s, or SSAs, coordinate services using a person-centered approach and work with each person to develop an individual budget for services that meet their needs and fit their budget. Most adults supported by Summit DD are funded through a Federal Medicaid Waiver. In these cases Medicaid pays approximately 60% of the costs for services and Summit DD (through local levy dollars) pays a 40% share of services.  If an individual does not qualify for Medicaid, services are paid for using local levy dollars.

Medicaid dollars ensure Free Choice of Provider, meaning individuals choose a willing provider who meets their needs. Currently, 60% of individuals choose private providers for day programs and transportation to and from their day program, while all residential services are provided by private providers.  Whether Summit DD is your provider of services or they are delivered by a private provider, Summit DD SSA’s are there to connect individuals to the support they need to live a healthy, satisfying life.

Download your guide to an Individual’s Budget for Services.

Summit DD SSA's coordinate services using a person-centered approach and work with each person to develop an individual budget for services.

Summit DD SSA’s coordinate services using a person-centered approach and work with each person to develop an individual budget for services.

Still have questions?  Contact Us.

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Eligibility and Redetermination FAQs http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/eligibility-and-redetermination/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/faqs/eligibility-and-redetermination/#respond Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:00:39 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=3936 Where do I start? Your journey with Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, begins with our Intake and Eligibility department. Eligibility criteria is governed by Ohio Revised Code, but our knowledgeable staff are here to help.  Whether you… […]

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Where do I start?

Your journey with Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, begins with our Intake and Eligibility department. Eligibility criteria is governed by Ohio Revised Code, but our knowledgeable staff are here to help.  Whether you are looking for services for your child, a family member or supports for yourself, we are here to assist you through the eligibility determination process.

What is a referral?

To begin the process, our Intake Referral Specialist must receive a referral. We can accept referrals for individuals three and older looking to receive services. (For information about referring children under the age of three, please see the section titled “Ages 0 through 2” under How do you determine a person’s eligibility?)

Who can make a referral?

Referrals can be made by individuals, parents, physicians, teachers or anyone who believes that a person residing in Summit County may benefit from and qualify for services from Summit DD.

After a referral is made, our staff will work with you to obtain the consent required to access medical, educational and other information or evaluations needed to continue the eligibility process. Summit DD staff is available to facilitate the process for evaluations, where necessary, to determine eligibility for Summit DD services.

Is consent required to receive services?

Yes, consent from an individual or his or her guardian is required to access medical, educational and other information or evaluations needed to continue the eligibility process.

What is a COEDI?

The Children’s Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument, or COEDI, is an assessment used to determine eligibility for services for children ages 6-15.

What is an OEDI?

The Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument, or OEDI, is an assessment used to determine eligibility for services for individuals ages 16 and older.

Where does the information come from to determine eligibility?

Our staff will gather information and/or administer evaluations designed for each appropriate age group to help determine eligibility for services that will best meet your needs.

Ages 3-5: While each person’s situation is unique, generally for children ages three through five, an Educational Team Report (ETR) or an Individualized Education Program (IEP), administered by your school district, will be used to determine eligibility.

Ages 6-15: Children ages six through 15 receive an assessment from our Evaluation Specialists called the Children’s Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument, or COEDI, to determine eligibility for services.

16 and Older: For those age 16 and older, the Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument, or OEDI, is commonly used.  Both the COEDI and the OEDI are designed to be user-friendly documents that anyone rating the scores (an individual, guardian, or advocate, for instance) can readily understand.  Our Evaluation Specialists are available to assist you through this process and answer any questions that you may have.

Is income a factor for determining eligibility?

Income does not impact eligibility. There is no income restriction for Summit DD service coordination. For questions about funding for services, please see information on service funding.

Is there a cost to individuals for service coordination or HCBS services? How are services funded?

Based on an individual’s eligibility, services are funded through a mix of federal, state and local funds. Summit DD SSAs connect people to the services that meet their needs, meaning that there are no co-pays for service coordination by Summit DD.

How do you determine a person’s eligibility?

Ages 0 through 2: All referrals for children under the age of three are made through Summit County’s Help Me Grow. Summit DD works in partnership with Help Me Grow to provide developmental evaluations for children who have a suspected delay or who have a medical condition which has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay.  At age three, children will have their eligibility re-determined to continue services through Summit DD.

Learn more about Early Intervention or contact Help Me Grow for a referral.

Ages 3 through 5: Children, ages three to five, are eligible for support if they have at least two documented developmental delays reported in an Educational Team Report (ETR) or medical disorder that is known to cause delays. Children will have their eligibility re-determined at age six for continued services.

Find additional information about supports for children.

Ages 6 through 15: Children, ages six to 15, are eligible for Summit DD services if they have a documented history of life-long developmental disability and significant functional limitations in at least three areas of the Children’s Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument (COEDI).  Areas evaluated are mobility; self-care; self-direction; capacity for independent living; learning; and receptive & expressive language.  Eligibility is re-determined at age 16 for continued services.

Access additional information about supports for school-age children.

Ages 16 and over: Individuals, age 16 and older, are eligible for Summit DD services if they have a documented history of life-long developmental disability and significant functional limitations in at least three of seven life areas on the Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument (OEDI) or other approved evaluation assessment.  Areas evaluated are mobility; self-care; self-direction; capacity for independent living; learning; economic self-sufficiency; and receptive & expressive language.  An individual’s eligibility may be reviewed at any time if a significant change in diagnoses, impairment or skill has occurred.

Discover information about supports for transition-age teens and adults.

Which documents will I need for eligibility determination/re-determination?

  • Current medical evaluation (within six months)
  • Copy of your Social Security card
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Proof of Medicaid eligibility and your Medicaid insurance card

What is re-determination and why is it necessary?

Re-determination of eligibility for services is required at a number of stages throughout a person’s life. It defines which supports and funding an individual may be eligible to receive. Redetermination occurs at ages three, six, 16 or at any point a significant change in a person’s abilities (either an increase or decrease in a person’s abilities), related to their disability, occurs. Redetermination criteria is specific to each age group (see question “How do you determine a person’s eligibility?), along with the evaluation tool used to assess an individual’s limitations. Therefore, re-determination is necessary throughout a person’s childhood and adolescence.

Summit DD reserves the right to reassess eligibility at any time.  If Summit DD chooses to reassess your eligibility, your SSA will discuss the decision with you and your team, and assist you throughout the process.

What are my next steps if I am found eligible for services after the eligibility process or redetermination?

If you do meet eligibility requirements, you will be connected to an SSA who will begin working with you to develop your individualized service plan, which is based on your needs and goals.

Learn more about Service Coordination, Individualized Service Plans (ISPs) and our Service and Support Administrators.

What happens if I am found not eligible for services after the eligibility process or redetermination?

If you are not found eligible for services, our team will continue to work with you and help identify other community resources that may be available to you. Our Eligibility and Community Coordinator can help connect you to community resources that can assist you with things such as food, housing, and employment. You also have the right to due process to appeal the decision if services are reduced, denied or terminated.

Where can I go if I disagree with the decision?

Find the complete detailed description of the Administrative Resolution of Complaints process from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) on our website. Visit SummitDD.org/Resources and click on Resolving Complaints under the Additional Resources heading.

What if I have questions?

Visit our page about determining eligibility or contact Summit DD to speak to our Eligibility department at 330-634-8000.

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