More than ever before adults with developmental disabilities are living and participating in their communities with support from Summit DD. Supports can provide important services like transportation, home-care, or day programs, to name a few. Individuals who live in congregate settings, or in other words individuals with disabilities who share a residence as roommates in their community, have many of the same expenses as other citizens. However, many don’t earn as much as their typically developing peers. Sometimes income doesn’t cover all of the monthly costs for an individual with a disability and there is a need to help subsidize cost of living expenses, like groceries, through local funding.
Recently Summit DD and Jobs and Family Services, or JFS, teamed up to help individuals who may be eligible for food assistance. The two agencies found that the same information and documentation needed by JFS to apply for food assistance was already being collected to create monthly budgets for adults living in congregate settings. The agencies recognized that by using Summit DD’s process, in place of the JFS application and interview, they could make the process more streamlined for adults with developmental disabilities.
There are a number of benefits to this new partnership. “This partnership eliminated duplicate steps and the interview for those with disabilities, while still maintaining the integrity of the process,” explained SSA Manager, Emily Martinez at Summit DD. “We are simply taking what we already have and using that as the paperwork and interview,” she continued. For those who qualify, food assistance can not only help stretch their monthly budget, it can also open up more opportunities for personal choice.
The food assistance benefit also provides more options to some who previously may not have had choices about which items they could buy at the store. Martinez pointed out, “Many times the food assistance program gives people a bigger budget for food, which can equate to more choice – choices that all of us should have the right to make for ourselves.”
Summit DD began working with residential providers to implement the new process in April. If you would like to learn more or believe you may qualify for food assistance, please contact your SSA.