Monday, June 6, 2011

Zach Holler Post #2

I mentioned in my previous post that I was assigned to attend a conference last week about focusing on various issues on the agenda of the US Department of Health and Human Services. I was thrilled to find myself in a environment filled with opportunities to learn about and advocate for issues that are new to me. As part of my job I will be focusing on a project to involve the issue of discrimination of people with disabilities from TANF. I believe the exposure and hands on experience that I will gain from this assignment will broaden my horizon on issues in the disability community. As part of the conference I also attended a session to focus on asset building for disadvantaged individuals and families. This session focused on the importance of financial assets to the economic and social well being of low income and disadvantaged individuals. Shortly after the session began, I realized that the presenter was covering a topic that I have been following for years. It is clear that people with disabilities do not have the equal access to financial resources and assets due to state regulations that prevent them from exceeding a certain income level. This is the case with several state programs such as Medicaid Waiver, which provides essential medical benefits to people with disabilities. I pointed out at the end of the session that many times the permitted amount of income is not enough to support college education and other services that promote professional development. I left the conference with a very positive feeling that I will leave DC in August with knowledge and skills that will help me become a better advocate for people with disabilities in my community.
Posted by Zach Holler

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