Newsletter 2019
A note from Matt......
lucy sitting at the chair with her head lying on the table in front of the laptop
This month, I would like to remember Carrie Ann Lucas. Carrie was a fierce disability rights advocate who fought tirelessly for persons with disabilities, and the rights of persons with disabilities to be parents. She was killed by the same system that she fought. 

Will Arnaldo Rios-Soto see Justice, or does Justice see Disability as dangerous?

head shot of Arnaldo holding a truck up to his cheek.
On February 25, 2019, Officer Jonathon Aledda will be tried for the shooting of Arnaldo Rios-Soto, an Autistic, Hispanic man, and his caretaker, Charles Kinsey, an African-American man. The shooting on July 18, 2016, captivated the nation when a video showed Arnaldo Rios-Soto playing with a toy truck in the middle of the street, and Charles Kinsey lying with his hands and legs in the air, pleading with the officers. As a disability advocate, and as Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s lawyer, the trial of Officer Aledda is a watershed moment. Will Arnaldo be deemed to be inherently dangerous because he is different? Will there be a stereotype that because Arnaldo lives with a developmental disability, the fact that he was targeted was justified? I hope not
DIG in the News
Fired Amazon employee with Crohn’s disease files lawsuit over lack of bathroom access

Has a Broward business crossed the line when it comes to discrimination?

They live with autism. But it hasn’t prevented them from getting jobs in South Florida
Out & About with DIG

COPAA 21st Annual Conference
March 7-10, 2019
New Orleans, LA

NFB tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
March 28-30, 2019
Baltimore, MD

DCBA Conference: Diversity in the Practice
April 5, 2019
Miami, FL

21st Annual Family Cafe
June 7-9, 2019
Orlando, FL

FL Bar Annual Convention
June 26-29, 2019
Boca Raton, FL
press conference on the hate crimes bill.
Press Conference In Tallahassee, FL
DIG staff saying happy birthday to the February birthdays
February Brithdays at DIG
Matt being interviewed for channel 10 news
Matt getting ready for a TV interview
supper social collage of pictures from the restaurant
February Supper Social Club
supper social club raffle winner Saraha holding her gift bag.
Our Raffle Winner
debbie and matt at the AAJ conference in Miami Beach
Debbie and Matt at the AAJ Winter Conference
Miami Inclusion Alliance
The headline read” A Women in a vegetative state suddenly gave birth to a full term baby”.

Her situation is a wake-up call for all of us. While there are still investigations taking place around the story, it is clear that she was not kept safe in the facility and was sexually abused. While the incident of abuse in this case is extreme and rare, it is not unheard of. 
Patients with disabilities, in long term care facilities, are particularly vulnerable. Unfortunately, stories of abuse in these facilities don’t get the attention they deserve.

Advocacy groups complain that the studies of this type of abuse lag as much as two decades behind similar research on child abuse. The scale of this type of abuse is largely kept out of the public eye. In 2017, an investigation by the Kansas City Star newspaper, found that allegations of abuse in facilities were on the rise. More than 20,000 reports over twenty years were filed. While this may sound high, it is believed that only one in five come forward after abuse so that number is much higher than recorded.

While # Me Too is changing our culture of understanding of sexual assault, we need to drill down deeper and understand that not all victims will be able to speak out on their own and we must be their voice.  
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The View from Here
Head shot of Justine
“The disability is not the problem. The accessibility is the problem.” - Mohamed Jemni (TEDX 2013)
Every time I leave my house these days, I worry about accessibility wherever I go. Specifically, I stress a lot over parking. Now that I have mastered the art of driving using hand controls (and feel comfortable doing it); now that I can break down my wheelchair and put it in the car on my own (in fact, I insist on doing it by myself when I’m with others who offer to help….I’ve got the whole process down to about 2 minutes flat); now that I have gotten over the stigma of being out in public places on my own in a wheelchair; I am still constantly plagued with the fear of whether or not there will be adequate parking for me wherever I go. Usually…there’s not.
Kids Crusaders
Kids Crusaders Logo
Julie will be back soon.
Lucille's Wall
Lucy with a sign in her mouth that says all guests must be approved by the dog.
I am excited to announce that DIG will be participating in the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run in Downtown Miami again this year. We had so much fun last year we thought we should make this an annual event for us at DIG! Lisa Goodman and I will be putting our team together and would love to invite any of our readers to join us.
Here is information about the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run in Downtown Miami

Date: April 25, 2019

Time: 6:45pm (arrive at 6pm)

Location: 301 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132

Registration per team member: $42
We have to register by March 20, 2019. Please let us know by March 19, 2019 if you would like to join our team. Email us at:
We are very excited!
The Wallet Card Project
the wallet card words in a diamond shape blue figure
The wallet card is a tool to be used by a teenager or an adult with a disability. Currently, we have developed cards for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or intellectual disabilities.
Wheels & Heels
Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
Lorinda will be back next month
black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
We are having a raffle this month.

Everyone that attends will be entered into the raffle.

Raffle prize is a $20 gift card to Starbucks.
flyer with dates for supper social for jan through jun flyer is red and black with yellow background and red polka dots
Supper Social Club - March 2019
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

03/04/19 6:30pm - 03/04/19 8:30pm

I'll be there!
I can't make it
Benefits Information
head shot of Lesly
What is Substantial gainful Activity or SGA according to The Social Security Administration?  

To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA.

The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA depends on the nature of a person's disability. The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals; Federal regulations specify a lower SGA amount for non-blind individuals. Both SGA amounts generally change with changes in the national average wage index.
Substantial Gainful amounts for 2019 are:
For statutorily blind individuals for 2019 is $2,020.
For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2019 is $1,220.   

What is Substantial Gainful Activity anyway?
Social Security Definition of Disability : To meet our definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s):

That is expected to result in death, or that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

We use the term “substantial gainful activity” to describe a level of work activity and earnings. Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both. For work activity to be substantial, it does not need to be performed on a full-time basis. Work activity performed on a part-time basis may also be SGA. “Gainful” work activity is:

Work performed for pay or profit; or Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

We use SGA as one of the factors to decide if you are eligible for disability benefits. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, we use SGA to decide if your eligibility for benefits continues after you return to work and complete your Trial Work Period.

-Substantial Gainful Activity (Social Security Administration) a.html

-Social Security Administration. 2018 Red Book: How we define disability? 2018 edition. 
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REV UP Florida!
Join one of our three new standing committees
  1. Communication. Chair: Jay Hahr
  2. Planning. Chair: Sandra Newsom
  3. Organizational. Chair: Christinne Rudd
Hate Crimes Bill Press Conference
Educational Information
head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.
educational support flyer that lists prices for consultations school meetings and legal representation
Your Upward Journey
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey:

It is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale)