Accessing and Affording Hearing Aids
Man with a hearing aid
A Borrower Story 

When we hear a story like the one below we just can't help but share. Thanks to everyone who writes to let us know about the changes, big and small, to their lives that assistive technology has made.  

"I just wanted to thank you so much for approving the loan for my husband Dave's hearing aids. My husband has been disabled and unable to work for many years. I work full time at the Commonwealth but am hoping to retire within the next year or two. I knew he was having hearing issues for a few years but didn't know the extent of it until I finally urged him to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

"When the doctor confirmed the hearing loss he sent Dave to an audiologist who fitted him with a pair of hearing aids on a 30-day free trial basis. He was like a little kid, calling me at work to tell me all the things he could hear. The best was when he asked if I knew that the dog made a lot of noise when he ran across the kitchen floor. He hadn't ever heard that before. It was exciting.

"Then came the news that the hearing aids would cost $6,000.00 and my benefits would only pay $1,800.00. I was so upset trying to figure out how I was going to pay for them. I couldn't make him give them up after all this. His audiologist gave him a paper with information on PATF and I also looked at the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) website which also listed PATF as a loan source. I couldn't believe that within one day of applying, I had an approved loan. My husband and I are both thrilled that he can now hear and that we can make low monthly payments to pay for the hearing aids. I can't thank you enough!"

- Ann  

Learn more about our Low-Interest Loan Program here.
House Finance Committee members
House Finance Committee members
ABLE Update

On March 16th, ABLE legislation (SB 879) was passed unanimously out of the House Finance Committee! Hooray! We're getting closer...

View SB 879 here.
Joel and his parents stand on their ramp outside their home.
19 year old Joel Pacheco and his family are grateful for this home modification, a ramp that allows Will to enter and exit his house.
An Important Victory for 18-20 Year-Olds!

Community HealthChoices (CHC) is the name of Pennsylvania's managed care plan that will require that everyone who receives home and community-based waiver services administered by the Office of Long Term Living as well as everyone who is "dually-eligible" (people who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medical Assistance) to be enrolled in a managed care health plan for their health care as well as for their long-term supports and services. CHC is being rolled out throughout the Commonwealth in stages, beginning in January, 2017 and completing in January, 2019.

Under CHC, the Department of Human Services (DHS) had planned to raise the minimum age for waiver services from 18 to 21, because it was assumed that Medicaid (under Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services) would cover the service gaps. However, as we (and other advocacy organizations) pointed out, assistive technology (including home modifications and adaptations to vehicles), respite and attendant care are not covered items within EPSDT! Many young adults who have physical disabilities would be trapped in their homes and unable to be a part of their community! And many of these young adults would become high risks for institutionalization.

But, there is great news. PATF, along with Pennsylvania Health Law Project, Disability Rights Pennsylvania (to name a few) wrote a letter to DHS and met with senior management to discuss the importance of maintaining waiver services for youth ages 18 through 20. The advocacy paid off! DHS recently announced that the OBRA waiver will be continued!

If you would like to make comments on the renewal of the OBRA waiver, use this link to submit your remarks before the deadline, June 30, 2016.
PA Department of Human Services logo
PA Department of Human Services
Some Things You Should Know About Waivers

Home and community-based waiver programs provide long-term care services and supports to individuals with disabilities who want to remain living in their home and community, as opposed to moving to a nursing home or other institution. The services provided under the waiver programs are not typically covered under Medical Assistance (otherwise known as Medicaid) or Medicare. The services that are available to support an individual with a disability differ based on a person's age, disability diagnosis, and needs.

Examples of waiver services include: assistive technology, personal care assistance/attendant care, respite, skilled nursing care, community integration services, and prevocational services.

In Pennsylvania, the home and community based waiver programs are administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS has developed a new on-line tool called the Information and Referral Tool (IRT) that is designed to help individuals identify programs and resources that may help individuals obtain the services and supports they need to live independently in the community. Check out this handy Information and Referral Tool to learn more about waivers, enrollment procedures, and other services that might be helpful to you.

Penny Pincher has a lightbulb moment.
Financial Tips with Penny Pincher
Don't Forget - Taxes are Due in Less Than a Month!

Do you need assistance completing your tax forms? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free help with preparing tax returns to people who make $54,000 or less. VITA programs can be found at community centers, libraries, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.

To find VITA assistance in your area call 1-800-906-9887 or access the VITA link found on the IRS website.
Upcoming Events
 
 
Philadelphia, PA - April 9 from 10am-3pm
Join us for a variety of demonstrations, screenings, presentations and vendors on disability related products and services. Admission and parking are FREE. Light refreshments will be provided. This is an indoor event.

Quakertown, PA - April 12 from 5pm-8pm
Students, parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, and other professionals are invited to attend this transition resource expo that will be feature employment services, college ID programs, college disabilities offices, independent living supports, and more! Come visit us at our table!

Susquehanna Veteran's Fair
Harford, PA - April 22 from 10am-3pm
Details to come.

Senior and Disability Resource Expo
Springdale, PA - May 13 from 10am-1pm
This Expo will feature a variety of informational booths geared toward senior citizens, individuals of all ages with a disability or multiple disabilities and their caregivers. One of the best attended events we go to! Come visit us at our table!
AmazonSmile: You shop. Amazon gives.
Support PATF While You Shop

Don't forget, if you're shopping on Amazon, log in through AmazonSmile and choose PATF as your charity to support using this link: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-2953796. It operates the same as Amazon.com and a portion of every purchase you make will be donated to our programs.

There are lots of ways to support PATF's work. Learn more about how you can help us carry out our mission.
STAY CONNECTED:
1004 West 9th Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406 | 888.744.1938 | patf@patf.us | www.patf.us