Disability Network Southwest Michigan's quarterly newsletter
October 2019
Alternatives to Guardianship

crossroads sign with text _Alternatives to guardianship_
Guardianship is the legal court proceeding which grants one person power to make legal decisions for another, thereby removing the right of decision-making from that person. Often the decision to seek guardianship is made for minors with disabilities who are approaching adulthood or elderly persons who have acquired a disability as they've aged. Removing someone's rights makes them vulnerable and powerless. Most people with a disability are able to take care of their own lives without a guardian.

Creating a person-centered plan for people who may need assistance in decision-making is a good way to prepare everyone-the person with a disability and the family­­-for the next stage in their lives.

Follow this link to read the full article on Alternatives to Guardianship.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!
three photos of people working in different environments
The 2019 National Disability Awareness Month theme is "The Right Talent, Right Now." The theme emphasizes the essential role that people with disabilities play in America's economic success, especially in an era when low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent. U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, said, "Every day, individuals with disabilities add significant value and talent to our workforce and economy. Individuals with disabilities offer employers diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success. Individuals with disabilities have the right talent, right now."


Employee Disclosure:  
What to do when an employee discloses a disability

This workshop is designed to help employers understand their responsibilities
when an employee discloses a disability.

We are offering this workshop in St. Joseph (10/28) and Kalamazoo (10/30). Follow this link for more information and to register for the Employee Disclosure workshop.

A Future that Includes Employment
This workshop is an overview of topics for people with disabilities to think about when considering employment. The information presented will assist in making a plan and understanding what to expect when preparing for employment.

We are offering this workshop in Kalamazoo (11/13) in collaboration with Michigan Alliance for Families. Follow this link for more information and to register for A Future that Includes Employment.
Rethinking Guardianship with Dohn Hoyle

Dohn Hoyle
Dohn Hoyle is a respected leader and innovator in the disability rights movement  and a long-time advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Join us in Centerville on November 7 at the St. Joseph County ISD for this important presentation on guardianship from a historical perspective and learn more about alternatives to guardianship. Follow this link for all the details and to register for Rethinking Guardianship.

This presentation is being co-sponsored by Disability Network Southwest Michigan, Michigan Alliance for Families and the St. Joseph County ISD.

Back to School for our Pre-ETS staff!

Staff posing on steps outside
Everyone is back to school, including our Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) staff. Disability Network Southwest Michigan offers a number of programs centered on providing valuable training and experience to youth and young adults with disabilities, whether they are transitioning to employment or continuing their education.

Moving from a familiar high school environment to a post-secondary school, trade school, or to a job can bring a new set of expectations and stresses. We work with students to help them learn how to ask for accommodations and establish routines that will help make their next steps successful.

Follow this link to learn more about the work of our Pre-ETS team.
Sarah _ Adam
Meet Our Newest Staff Members    

Sarah Stoll
Sarah is an Information & Referral Specialist in our Kalamazoo office. She has a wealth of knowledge of the services available throughout our region and is experienced with advocating for people with disabilities. We are excited to have Sarah join our I&R team and assist customers in connecting with the resources and services they need.

Adam LaBine
Adam is working as an Independent Living Specialist in our Kalamazoo office. He has worked most recently at the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center. Adam is a native Michigander who grew up in the Niles area and went to college at Western Michigan University.

What is the Student Earned Income Exclusion?   
Social Security logo

The Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) work incentive that allows certain individuals with disabilities who are under age 22 and regularly attending school to exclude a specified amount of gross earned income per month up to a maximum annual exclusion. The Student Earned Income Exclusion decreases the amount of countable earned income so it allows eligible SSI recipients to keep more of their SSI check when they work. In many cases, the SEIE allows students to test their ability to work without having any reduction in their monthly SSI check.

Currently, an SSI recipient may qualify for this income exclusion as long as he or she is under age 22 and a student regularly attending school, college, or training designed to prepare him or her for a paying job.

If you have questions or want to know more about the SEIE, contact the Ticket To Work help line at 866-968-7842.
text graphic_ _Knowvember_
KNOWvember is Almost Here  
We are putting the "know" in November! Follow us on Facebook to learn interesting facts about disability history, culture and the disability rights movement. We'll do a couple of KNOW vember posts each week to keep you in the know. Find us on Facebook by searching: @DNSWM.

If you want to learn even more, attend our Rise Up workshop in several locations throughout the KNOW vember. See details below.
Rise Up: Disability Resistance, History & Pride!

disability rights protestors
Many of us in the disability community are unaware of the depth of our culture and history and feel shame and stigma instead of pride around our disability identities. Family, friends and human service professionals also have a lack of knowledge of disability history and struggle to find ways to support our journey to disability pride.
Let's change that!

This workshop is being held in Kalamazoo (11/15), Lawrence (11/20), and St. Joseph (11/20). Follow this link for all the details and to register for Rise Up!
About Disability Network Southwest Michigan
Disability Network Southwest Michigan serves 8 counties in Southwest Michigan: Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren

Office Locations:
Kalamazoo: 517 E. Crosstown Pkwy., Kalamazoo, MI  49001, phone: (269) 345-1516
St. Joseph: 2900 Lakeview Avenue., St. Joseph, MI 49085, phone: (269) 985-0111

For the accessibility and well-being of our employees and visitors, Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a fragrance-free office. Please do not wear perfume, cologne or other scented products when visiting.

Mission Statement:
We educate and connect people with disabilities to resources while advocating social change.

Vision Statement:
Our vision is a community that values disability as human diversity, free of attitudinal barriers, where all people benefit with full access and inclusion.

Our Publications:
The LINK is our quarterly newsletter, available in printed format or emailed in electronic format and is available in alternative format upon request.
Disability Digest is a monthly e-newsletter focused on the Disability Rights Movement and upcoming Disability Network happenings. Available in electronic format only.

You can sign up online for our publications at www.dnswm.org, or contact Dale at
abbottd@dnswm.org or (269) 345-1516 x123.Current and past issues of our publications are available on our website at www.dnswm.org.

This newsletter is available in alternative format upon request.

Support Our Work:
You can help support the work we do with a tax-deductible donation to Disability Network. Visit our website to donate online or call Kristen at (269) 345-1516 x119.