Removing Barriers with Accessible Housing Program
Big Win for HCBS Waiver/PACE Participants with Protected Income Level Increase
Independence, Inc. Fall Fundraiser Just Around the Corner
Peer Groups: Music Therapy can be all Fun and Games!
Welcome New Team Members!
Event: #ADA31: Celebrate, Learn, Share
Independence, Inc. Accessible Housing Program: Removing Barriers, Increasing Independence through Home Modifications
What does it take to make Renlee Selleck smile? In this case, a little sunshine, a cool breeze and a sweet new wheelchair accessible entry ramp to get her safely in and out of her home. 3-year-old Renlee is a person with multiple disabilities and needs a little assistance getting around and prior to having an entry ramp, it was an increasing struggle for her family to safely get her up and down the stairs. With Renlee's health as top priority to her family, it was a pleasure to work alongside them to help bring safety and accessibility to their home for many years to come. "Your organization has truly impacted our lives in such a positive manner" said Renlee's grandmother, Angela. "We are truly grateful".
Don Bradshaw with Accessibility Solutions, LLC was the contractor chosen to do the work and as usual did not disappoint! "We can't say enough about Don, his son and staff. They were exceptional. The ramp they built is so amazing and life-changing. What a blessing everyone is", said Angela. And we couldn't agree more! Thank you once again Accessibility Solutions for a fabulous project!
The Independence, Inc. Accessible Housing Program is made possible through a grant from the City of Lawrence Affordable Housing Trust Fund. To learn more about our program, visit our website or call Amy Ballinger, AHP Coordinator 785-841-0333.
Renlee enjoying some sunshine!
A Larger Percent of Hard-earned Income will Remain in the Pockets of People with Disabilities on Medicaid Waivers
Individuals with disabilities are celebrating a huge win after a hard-fought battle to increase the Protected Income Level (PIL) for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Medicaid waivers.
The PIL is the amount of income that Medicaid recipients on the above-mentioned waivers are allowed to keep each month and not apply towards medical expenses incurred for their care. This money is an essential part of independent living as it allows for people with disabilities who choose community rather than institutional living, the ability to pay rent, utilities and provide for their basic needs of food, clothing, entertainment and more.
Prior to the passing of the state budget which included this reform, the PIL was just $1,157 per month. Any income received that exceeded this amount, had to be paid to the state as a "client obligation". With the increase in this protected income to $2,383 per month, consumers are now able to support themselves in the housing of their choice without the fear of not covering rent or being able to afford basic necessities.
This change was not just a dollar amount change but rather a systems change that went from calculating the PIL as a set dollar amount, to calculating the figure as a percentage of the federal SSI amount. With the adoption of this percentage formula, the PIL would increase any time there is a cost of living increase.
Many hands worked tirelessly to advocate for and invest in seeing this change come to fruition. We spoke with Rep. Kyle Hoffman (R) of the Kansas House of Representatives (above) about his own hands-on dedication to and work in seeing this PIL increase pass. “Increasing the PIL has been a priority for the House the last several years. We were able to increase it some about two years ago, but increasing it again this year to an indexed amount (300%) will go along way in helping individuals keep more of their hard earned money in the future. I’m proud of our work.”
Thank you to everyone who advocated for, worked on and voted for the passing of this new protected income level!
Ways to join us in celebrating #ADA31:
  • Visit our FB Page for 31 days of ADA-related posts with resources, information, feature stories and more
  • Visit our Website for valuable resources and information on the ADA, History of the IL movement, ways to celebrate and more
  • Visit the ADA National Network dedicated ADA 31 page for local, national and virtual events, videos, social media toolkit, interviews, notable ADA cases and so much more!
#ADA31: Celebrating the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Independence, Inc. is celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the progress made toward removing barriers, changing perceptions, ensuring Civil Rights and eliminating discrimination towards people with disabilities. Much has been accomplished but there is still work to do. What can YOU do as an individual, company or faith-based organization? Take the first step getting educated on the ADA, disability advocacy, the history of the Independent Living Movement, the barriers that still exist including environmental, attitudinal and societal, and sign the pledge of commitment to these goals. The work is far from over and it takes each one of us to understand the critical nature of disability rights. Make your pledge today!

Let's Cover the Basics! A Creative Introduction to the ADA
Ride along with YouTuber Daniellability in this fun, creative and quick informative video highlighting the basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And better yet, share it on your own social media to help educate others!
A Big Welcome to some Fabulous New(ish) Team Members!
Carol Collier, Information and Referral Specialist

I’m known as ‘Grandma Carol’ at our home here in Lawrence where I’ve lived with my husband for 19 years. We have 4 children and 3 beautiful granddaughters. Over the years I’ve worked many different types of jobs but the one I enjoyed the most was as a manager of the International Beadtrader, the make-your-own jewelry store in downtown Lawrence. As I start this new chapter in my life I’m very excited to be working at Independence, Inc. 
light skinned female sitting at work desk smiling at camera wearing a purple shirt and sitting in a blue office chair
Patti Sergent, Billing and Payroll Specialist

"I grew up in Topeka but have lived in Lawrence for the past 15 years and love it! I attended Ottawa University in Ottawa, KS and received a BA in Human Services. In my spare time I enjoy reading, researching my family history ( I am one of 9 children) and walking in nature. I am a huge animal lover and live with my cat Josie."  
Join our Team of Supporters and Become a Donor Today!
Would you consider becoming a member of our financial support team? We will be sending out our Fall Fundraising Cards before you know it and we want to add YOU to the list! Visit the Giving page on our website to learn more about giving to Independence, Inc., contact Amy Ballinger to add your name to our Fall mailing list, or even Give Online Now! We value and appreciate all support we receive. Won't you join us?
Music Therapy Peer Group Proves it can be all Fun and Games
The Independence, Inc. Peer Groups just keep getting more fun and creative! This Music Therapy Peer Group was a "huge hit", said Peer Group Coordinator and Independent Living Specialist Rachel Vogelmeir. "We played a rendition of Hangman called Music Man where participants guessed the name of a song by guessing letters." Want to know more about our Peer Groups and how YOU can get involved? Visit our Peer Group Activities page, download one of our brochures: Art Therapy, Music Therapy, General Peer Group or contact Rachel Vogelmeir