Westchester Independent Living Center

Putnam Independent Living Services

April 2022

We are halfway through April with signs of Spring sprouting up all around us – there’s so much to look forward to! As May arrives, we have much to celebrate including Mental Health Awareness Month; make sure to be on the lookout for more updates and events on Mental Health Awareness Month on our website and social media channels. In the meantime, below is some useful information that we hope you can take advantage of. Happy Spring!

Meet Michele Bianchi

Westchester Independent Living Service's Deaf Advocate

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Michele is WILC’s Deaf Advocate. She had been with WILC for over 14 years providing Sign Language Interpretation and advocating for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing. Michele is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and grew up within the Deaf Community. Both of her parents are profoundly deaf so her first method of communication was American Sign Language (ASL). At the early age of two, she was and still is her parents’ voice and ears.  

Michele is also a Certified Benefits Practitioner, certified by Cornell University’s Yang Tan Institute and has been providing Comprehensive Benefits Assessments for over 7 years, specializing in Social Security’s Work Incentives. Her work as an advocate for the Deaf includes providing information and referrals to help connect consumers to community resources, assist consumers in obtaining governmental benefits, when needed and advocacy. She utilizes Sorenson Video Phone to communicate with the Deaf and is able to interpret letters/correspondences, utilizing ASL, ESL and Pigeon.  

In addition, Michele assists individuals referred by the White Plains Police Department and PACE Women’s Justice Center who experience Domestic Violence (some who are also Deaf), providing them same. Pre-COVID, quarterly Deaf Social Groups were held, giving the Deaf population an opportunity to socialize and be of support one to another. When it is safe, the Deaf Social Groups will resume.  

New Online Tool to Apply for

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 

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Individuals have a new way to let SSA know they want to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) using an online tool that was just released by the Social Security Administration. Applicants and individuals assisting applicants can now use this online tool to request an appointment to apply for SSI benefits. The request establishes a protective filing date that will be used as the application date, so long as the individual submits an SSI application within 60 days. Establishing a protective filing date is important because the protective filing date is used to determine when an individual can start receiving SSI benefits. 

An individual only needs to provide basic information to make the online request. After the individual submits the request, the Social Security Administration will schedule an appointment to apply for benefits by phone and send notification of the appointment within 7-14 business days. An individual can also indicate a "priority life circumstance," such as homelessness, a terminal illness, or recent release from incarceration, that will prompt an SSA employee to attempt to contact the applicant by phone within three business days, to apply for SSI at that time or schedule an appointment to apply.   

More detailed policy guidance about the online tool can be found in EM-22015

Additional Resources:

Upcoming Information Sessions:

On April 1st and April 4th, the Social Security Administration is hosting presentations for advocates who would like to hear more about the expanded reopening of Social Security Administration field offices for in-person service. They will also provide an update on their new Electronic Protective Filing Tool and their People Facing Barriers Initiative. These presentations will be offered in two separate Microsoft Teams presentations. Please use the information below to join either session. 

Friday, April 1 at 2 pm EST

Microsoft Teams meeting 

Join on your computer or mobile app 

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only) 

+1 443-840-7262,,436453904#  United States, Baltimore 

Phone Conference ID: 436 453 904# 

Open Caption URL

Monday, April 4 at 3 pm EST

Microsoft Teams meeting 

Join on your computer or mobile app 

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only) 

+1 443-840-7262,,603506007#  United States, Baltimore 

Phone Conference ID: 603 506 007# 

Open Captions URL

Empower Yourself and Take Back Your Health and Wellness!

Are you ready to take charge of your health and wellness? Have you been told by a healthcare provider you have Prediabetes? If so, many people with prediabetes who don’t change their lifestyle may develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years after being diagnosed. The good news is that moving your body more and losing weight through healthy eating can cut your risk in ½. 

Prevent T2 is a yearlong program. It’s designed for people with prediabetes. It’s also for people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and want to lower their risk.

By the end of the first six months, your goal is to:

Lose at least 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight

Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week

By the end of the second six months, your goal is to:

Keep off the weight you’ve lost

Keep working toward your goal weight if you haven’t reached it

Lose more weight if you wish

Keep getting at least 150 minutes of activity each week

Losing weight can:

Prevent or delay type 2 diabetes

Ease sleep problems, arthritis, and depression

Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol level

Make you feel better about yourself

Getting more active can:

Prevent or delay type 2 diabetes

Give you more energy

Help you sleep better

Improve your memory, balance, and flexibility

Lift your mood

Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol

Lower your risk of heart attack and stroke

Lower your stress level

Strengthen your muscles and bones


WILC is excited to announce we will be offering new workshops for our Prevent T2 for All Diabetes Prevention Program in April 2022. In this CDC recognized program you will learn valuable skills and information to address lifestyle changes that can help you take back control of your health and wellness in a fun engaging way!

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the DPP Program, please contact Aimee Parks at 845-228-7457 ext. 1106 or by email aparks@wilc.org.

Upcoming Webinars


Please join us for a Zoom Webinar featuring: 

Denise DelliSanti

Senior Peer Specialist /Peer Integration Program

Westchester Independent Living Center

DATE: Tuesday April 19, 2022 

TIME: 1:00pm – 2:00pm


Please email ddellisanti@wilc.org to REGISTER

Or call 914-682-3926


Please join us for a Zoom Webinar featuring: 

Dimitri Davidoff /Recruitment Manager

Insight Global

DATE: Tuesday April 26, 2022 

TIME: 1:00pm- 2:00pm

Please email ebussian@wilc.org to REGISTER

Or call 914-682-3926




Please join us for a Zoom Webinar featuring: 

Sylvia Cusack

Transition Specialist /Burke Rehabilitation Transition Program

Westchester Independent Living Center

DATE: Wednesday April 27, 2022 

TIME: 12:00pm – 1:00pm


Please email scusack@wilc.org to REGISTER

Or call 914-682-3926 

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Westchester Independent Living Center

10 County Center Road 2nd floor

White Plains, NY 10607

(914) 682-3926 (Voice)

(914) 259-8036 (VP)

(914) 682-8518 (FAX)


Facebook  LinkedIn

Putnam Independent Living Services

1441 Route 22, Suite 204

(Tompkins Mahopac Bank building)

Brewster, New York 10509

(845) 228-7457 (Voice)

(914) 259-8036 (VP)

(845) 228-7460 (Fax)