Archive | Government RSS feed for this section

Social Security & Medicaid Stories– The ARC

With all the talk in Washington about cutting the budget, The ARC anticipates that SSI, Medicaid and Social Security will be put on the chopping block.   They are rapidly working to put together a” human face” for those legislators working on these budget numbers.

The ARC is collecting stories as part of a survey among those who receive and need to continue receiving  these services.  While the impact of this funding is clear to us, it is not necessarily clear to legislators who are under pressure to cut costs.  If The ARC can  share our stories with supporters, they will be able to help them defend us against potentially devastating cuts.

Respondents can tell The ARC how  Medicaid and Social Security affects their lives.   Self-advocates, parents, friends and service providers may wish to participate.  This brief survey is versatile, providing  an option for anonymity as well as an opportunity to provide a photograph and contact information.   Respondents have a great deal of control over the information that is submitted.

These initiatives are taking place on the national level.  For more information contact  The Arc 1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006,  800.433.5255


Comments { 0 }

377 Board Placed on Ballot in McHenry

The McHenry County Board approved placement of the 377 Board referendum on the ballot April 9, 2013.    Twenty of the 23 board members in attendance voted in favor of placement.  About 40 people attended the November 20 meeting, and about half of those spoke.  The Northwest Herald published this article on the meeting.

Organizers are preparing to present their case to the voters of McHenry County.   The next meeting of the DD Task Force will be on Wednesday December 19. at 6:30 pm at the Shah Center in McHenry.

For more information contact:  Cindy Sullivan, Executive Director, Options and Advocacy for McHenry County,, (815) 477-4720


Comments { 0 }

Legislative Internships at LCCIL

Applications for (unpaid) Legislative Interns are being accepted by the Lake County Center for Independent Living (LCCIL) until January 2, 2013.  The Internship lasts 12 weeks and includes weekly training sessions, and some travel to Springfield while the legislature is in session.  This involves a significant time commitment.  There is no charge for participants who are accepted into the program.

“The internship provides people with disabilities the opportunity to advocate with their peers and for themselves on all levels of government.”

The training includes community organizing, elements of advocacy, systems change, communicating with legislators, structure and function of government, the legislative process and skill building for effective advocacy.

For more information or an application, contact Allison at 847-949-4440,



Comments { 1 }

377 Board To Go Before County Board

McHenry County Public Health & Human Services Committee approved the resolution to form a 377 Board in McHenry County.   The County Board will review the recommendation and act on placing the referendum on the ballot at their next meeting.  This will take place on Tuesday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the McHenry County Administration Building, at 667 Ware Rd (at Seminary Avenue) in Woodstock.  The meeting is in the second floor conference room.

McHenry residents with developmental disabilities, their families and friends are encouraged to attend this meeting to communicate the need for this board.  Organizers are hoping for a full room.  They remind potential attendees that their attendance is critical, and that they will not be required to speak, although they may do so if they wish.

If the County Board approves inclusion of the resolution on the ballot, voters will decide whether to establish a 377 Board for persons who have developmental disabilities at the spring election on April 9, 2013.   Approval would result in creation of a fund of approximately $10M under local control.   The Northwest Herald has come out in favor of including the item on the ballot.

You can view the most recent Northwest Herald article on the Options & Advocacy

Comments { 0 }

Legislative Breakfast, December 3

“Make Us a Priority” is the theme of the 6th Biennial Legislative Breakfast sponsored by The North/Northwest Cook County and Lake County Work Group ( .  The work group  is comprised of parents, consumers, providers, legislators, government agencies and schools addressing the needs of  individuals with developmental disabilities.  The meet monthly to share information addressing common concerns.

The breakfast will take place on Monday December 3, 2012 at the Chevy Chase Country Club – Devonshire Room in Wheeling.  It goes from  8:30am-10:00am.

State legislators and their aides are invited to attend as well as consumers with developmental disabilities and their families.   Service providers and advocates are also invited to attend.   The event will feature a brief presentation on the  facts, figures and other information  of concern to families and professionals.  Legislators will play a key role in establishing State policy addressing these needs.

Editorial change:  11:15am 11/19/2012:  Legislators who will attend are asked to RSVP by November 30 to Elizabeth Ramos, Community Alternatives United (CAU), 773-867-4159,  Consumers and families need not RSVP.

Comments { 4 }

PUNS Selection — IAMC Members Discuss

Recently another 1500 names were selected by lottery from the PUNS list (Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services).  This is a list of children, teens, and adults with developmental disabilities who need services or supports from the State of Illinois.  The list is used for planning, budgeting and delivering services to those in need.  The current waiting list for services tops 20,000 individuals.

Accordingly, getting a PUNS services notification letter is a big deal for families in need that have waited a long time.  Nemo is aware of several families who were recently selected and now wonder what it means to them.

There will be a telephone conference TONIGHT (Wednesday, November 7, 2012) at 7pm (CST) for those whose name was selected and wish to discuss options going forward.  The discussion will be facilitated by staff from the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives (IAMC) .   While the IAMC is not a PUNS agency, they are usually very well-informed.  Nemo would attend if not for a previous engagement.

For more information contact Vicki Niswander, Executive Director, IAMC, 217-586-4552.  Those who wish to attend can call in at  605-477-3000, passcode 501904.  The web link is

Comments { 2 }

What is a 377 Board? Background

Editor’s Note:  TheNemoNews readers have asked for some background on a 377 Board as they take interest in the current McHenry County initiative.  While Nemo is not a lawyer, we have decided to share our understanding a 377 Board with Nemo readers.  A significant portion of this information has been drawn from the Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois.

Governmental care for those with developmental disabilities is characterized by great need and few resources to meet those needs.  Services vary widely by locality, making states very different, and localities very different in the quality of life offered to its dependent citizens.  At this time, Illinois suffers from a profound financial shortfall that reaches into the lives of families and individuals with developmental disabilities.  Service agencies teeter on the edge of solvency because of slow payment from the State.

Yet the unrelenting need for services confronts everyone associated with the world of developmental disability.  The need for planning, assessment and delivery of services relating to housing, transportation, health care, employment, social supports often goes unmet.  It is not uncommon to find a 60 year old individual with a developmental disability living with an 80+ year old parent and relying on them for everything.  The state is then called in when the caregiver’s health fails.  The life of the surviving person is changed forever.  Often a lack of local services and facilities requires them to move miles away, into an unfamiliar world with few established supports.  Some localities seek to remedy this situation.

A 377 Board is one of three different kinds of taxing authorities allowed by the State of Illinois that localities can use to fund services for individuals who are disabled by mental illness, substance abuse or developmental disabilities.  These three are referred to as 708, 377 and 553 Local Mental Health Authorities or Boards.  More than one of these authorities can exist in a locality.  Some exist in townships, others exist in counties.

The most prevalent kind of board is a 708 — a Mental Health Board.  There are 50+ counties with these Boards.  Some townships have 708 boards.  McHenry County is currently served by a 708 board that allocates approximately 15% of its budget to the care of those with developmental disabilities.  This portion does not meet the needs that exist in McHenry County.

A 553 Board is called a Health Department Board.  Some health departments are formed under a 553 referendum of voters and become independent taxing authorities.  In Chicagoland, Lake, DuPage and Will Counties have 553 Boards.  Services for the mentally ill, substance abusers and developmentally delayed individuals are channeled through the health department in those counties.  Again, need often overwhelms the department resources.

The 377 Boards address the specific needs of the developmentally delayed.  They exist on the county level.  There are 14 Illinois counties with 377 Boards, and 4 of these also have a 708 Board.  McLean County has a 377 Board and a 553 Board.  The 377 legislation calls for a voter referendum to form the Board.  The Board is enabled to plan, evaluate and deliver services for the developmentally delayed population in their jurisdiction.




Comments { 1 }

377 Board Initiative in McHenry Moves Forward

Supporters of the initiative to create a 377 Board in McHenry County are moving forward to get the item placed on a ballot in March 2013.  On November 2 they will present their case to the Health and Human Services (HHS) committee of the County Board.  The HHS is expected to advise the Board on placement of the  initiative on the ballot.  The County Board is expected to act on November 20.

Supporters met on October 17 to discuss their next steps and timeline.  Included steps were the outreach to the Boards of Directors of county agencies and creation of a steering committee.   In addition the need to educate voters about needs in the developmentally disabled community of McHenry County was explored.  The group wishes to contact churches, civic groups and others that may want more information.

Current statistics show that there are 5,236 individuals in McHenry County who are developmentally disabled.  The majority are not being served.  Over the next 5 years, 1300 of these individuals are expected to have urgent needs as caregivers pass on and other circumstances change.   These needs are not being met by state programs.

For more information contact Cindy Sullivan, Options and Advocacy,, 815-477-4700.

 Click here for a link to the previous NemoNews article.


Comments { 0 }

377 Board Initiative in McHenry County

About 25 people  attended a Developmental Disability Task Force meeting on September 19 at the Shah Center in McHenry.   They learned about  a county-wide initiative to create a 377 Board to support the unmet needs of the estimated 5200 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.   This initiative would involve a referendum on the Spring 2013 ballot in McHenry County.

Organizers pointed out that less than one fifth of developmentally disabled individuals currently receive services.   Long-term unmet needs include housing, transportation, life skills supervision, and other services.    Housing is of particular concern, mirroring the state shortage of disabled housing.  Currently, many individuals with developmental disabilities must move away from family and social supports in order to find housing at all.  With the aging of parents, their need for assistance is expected to grow.

Concerned individuals are now contacting members of the McHenry County Board to ask them to approve placement of a referendum on the Spring 2013 Ballot.   The deadline to obtain approval for ballot placement is October 16, 2012.

McHenry is not the first county in Illinois to pursue this kind of board.  Champaign County,  Illinois  has a 377 Board that has operated for several years.  The Board Members are listed here.

For more information on the McHenry initiative contact Options and Advocacy, 815-477-4720.

Comments { 1 }

2012 Voting — Does the Disabled Vote Count?

Senator Robert Dole and Representative Tony Coehlo published an op-ed piece in Politico about the untapped political power of those with disabilities.   They reason that since 19% of the American population has a disability, every politician should pay heed.  And every voter should claim their right to vote.  They support the upcoming National Forum on Disabliity Issues.     ( Described in Nemo’s post yesterday.)   They acknowledge the difficulty of establishing one coherent voice within the community.   Read the Politico  article  here. 

TheNemoNews reasons that  everyone in Lake County, disabled or not, should register to vote and participate in elections.  It is our right, and gives form to our voice. When those concerned with disabilities do not vote, they surrender their voice in matters that directly affect them with respect to housing, transportation, employment, education, health care, opportunity and more.   It is the right of a disabled individual to request an absentee ballot or  the assistance of another person in the voting booth.  A request for assistance will be made to the precinct judge at the polling place.

In order to register to vote, a citizen 18 years of age or older (by election day) should bring two pieces of identification to an official voter registration facility.  Click here for the Lake County pamphlet on Official Voter Registration Facilities.    The Illinois State Board of Elections website has similar information.

The last day to register to vote is October 9, 2012. 

The Lake County Clerk’s website has a great deal of information for residents.   Start the process  by finding out if you are a registered voter for this election.  By giving them your name and address, you will be able to see your personalized information.

From this page, there are boxes  that allow you to

  • Obtain a sample ballot — Select box labelled  “What is On My Ballot”
  • Obtain a list of your elected officials.
  • Request an absentee ballot online.  To request a ballot by phone call the office at 847-377-2406.

Early voting *in person* begins October 22 and ending on Saturday, November 3.

If you are not registered, have moved or changed your name, please contact the Voter Registration Department at
(847) 377-2410 for registration information before the close of registration on October 9, 2012.

Readers with more information on voting are encouraged to post in the comments section of this post.


Comments { 2 }

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: