In February, we welcomed Marcy Colby, Clinical Coordinator at Baroco. Baroco offers day habilitation programs for adults and transitioning young adults in Western New England. Baroco offers four programs in Western Massachusetts and three programs in Connecticut. There is a 1:4 ration of staff to clients, with adjustments to best meet the present needs of the clients. A full range of services is available: communication therapy; physical therapy; occupational therapy; social development; behavioral management; nursing and community building.
Clients are referred through DSS or the local school system. Families are encouraged to contact Baroco directly if they are interested. Intake requires a 2-day visit at least. Baroco recommends beginning the process around a client’s 20th birthday to faciliate transition from other services. There is a van that will pick up clients; families provide lunches. Some clients eventually leave to take jobs. Others may leave for a time because they are ill or if they are not succeeding at Baroco. One of our Medical Home Workgroup attendees volunteered that her son attends Baroco and loves it.
Next up: Caitlin Thomas, RN, BSN and family advocate, on the 411 for Social Security Diabilities Claims. Caitlin reviewed the differences between social security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI). SSDI is not need-based, but rather based upon the employment record of the person who is disabled. A benefit of SSDI is Medicare. SSI is funded through Title XVI, a federal entitlement. SSI is need-based, and covers both children and adults. SSI is based on disability, but income and assets are used in the calculations to determine eligibility.
Keep records!!! Record all interactions with the Social Security office, including dates and the person you spoke with. If possible, get your documents stamped at the local SS field offices and keep copies of everything. Keep a record of your protective filing date (PFD). This is the date you initially contacted SS, and payments will be retroactive to this date. Keep your contact information updated, including information on homelessness. These are just a few of Caitlin’s recommendations. For more information about Caitlin’s advocacy services, you can contact her at caitlinthomas (at) comcast.net or call 1-413-446-6633.
Contact Social Security at http://ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213
Local Social Security field offices:
- 200 High Street, 2nd floor Holyoke, MA 01040, 1-877-480-4989
- 70 Bond Street, Springfield, MA 01104, 1-866-964-5061
- 78 Center Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201, 1-866-446-7111
We had a third presentation from Elizabeth Vega of the New England Farmworkers Council. She shared information about the Council’s Child Care Resource and Referral. Their database lists all licensed day care providers for children, newborn to 13 years old. There are enhanced referral services for families with special needs children, such as contacting the providers to evaluate their qualifications/experience in working with special needs kids. The Council provides families with checklist of what to look for in day care. For more information, call 1-866-573-4684.
Useful websites mentioned at the February meeting:
- Healthy and Ready to Work http://www.syntiro.org/
- Got Transition www.gottransition.org
- Disability Law Center of Massachusetts www.dlc-ma.org