Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Logo for Disability Independence Group, Inc. (DIG).
Newsletter - Volume #10 October 2016
A Note from Matt ...
Matt sitting next to Kailea and her service dog.
Disability issues matter.  Over 20% of the United States population are persons with disabilities. Before you vote, it is essential to understand how each candidate values its constituency with disabilities.  Without good disability policy, we will continue to have excessive institutional placements, lack of adequate educational resources, and failure to have adequate housing and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

DIG in the News
clip art of a newspaper that is folded

This month, there are thousands of articles about what DIG is doing, and how we are helping our clients.  Over 300 media outlets have written articles about Arnaldo Rios, the horrible shooting in North Miami, and the attempts to find housing for Mr. Rios.  To keep up to date, please friend Disability Independence Group on Facebook, or
follow DIG at @justdigit or Matthew Dietz @dislaw.

Give Miami Day Logo for 2016
Don't forget Give Miami Day on
November 17, 2016!
Out and About with DIG
clip art of a suitcase covered in travel stickers
2016 DRBA West Coast Conference, Los Angeles, CA
12-7-16  Coral Gables Advisory Board on Disability Affairs In-house Training, Coral Gables, FL 

PACE luncheon. With Lester_ Debbie_ Sharon_ and Janette Vidal.
PACE luncheon. With Lester, Debbie, Sharon, and Janette Vidal.

Matt and Gladys.
Matt and Gladys

Matt and Gladys with Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and her team.
Matt and Gladys with Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and her team.

Lisa, standing and holding a mylar balloon and a cupcake.
Congratulations, Lisa. One year as an attorney at DIG.

Debbie, Pam Stratton, and Lisa standing behind 2 boxes of cupcakes.
Thank you Pam Stratton and Veritext for the amazing cupcakes.
house with a wheelchair that is damaged from a storm.
 feature2Making your home and property accessible for persons with disabilities following a hurricane
In times of disasters, most people focus on rebuilding, increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities does not register as important or necessary. However, not only are accessible alterations required by law, they are frequently covered by most insurance policies as compliance with code or ordinance of law. The failure to include disability related modifications is due to a lack of knowledge of the existence and requirements of modifications on the part of insurance adjusters.
Law and Ordinance Coverage
destroyed houses in the background with a line of empty wheelchairs in the front of the picture.
Many insurance policies contain law and ordinance coverage, which is an additional coverage for property holders that pay additional amounts which may be required because of a requirement to comply with a law or a building code.
(click here to read more) 
Modifications for owners or residents of single family homes or apartments.
Under the Fair Housing Act, a resident in a property is entitled to have a necessary modification for his or her disability if the resident pays for the modification. To the extent that a request is made under the Fair Housing Act, the requested modification is required by law. However, when a property, or part of a property is destroyed, insurance should pay for the regular costs to replace the property, and the tenant is only required to pay the additional costs associated with the structural changes that would be over and above the cost of the original design.
Modifications for owners or managers of housing that receives federal financial assistance, such as HUD subsidized housing, public housing authorities, and student housing.
Federally-funded housing has the obligation to ensure that all alterations are fully accessible . To the extent that the building is an older building, and does not have fully accessible units, than the property owner or manager has an obligation to ensure that five percent of the units in the facility are fully accessible. The standard for accessibility for housing facilities is under the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). The Checklist for accessible properties and accessible units are available on the HUD website .
Modifications for public accommodations, such as private businesses, stores, food service establishments, or places of lodging.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that all alterations comply with the standards for new construction under the ADA Standards for Accessible Design . To the extent that a primary area is altered, the path of travel to the altered area and the bathrooms, and other elements must also be accessible. 42 U.S.C. ยง 12183.  
(click here to read more)
Interpreter Hands
Miami Dade Department
of Corrections and Rehabilitation to Provide Services to Deaf Inmates
By: Matthew Dietz
Miami FL, October 19th, 2016, Disability Independence Group, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, and Disability Rights Florida, Florida's federally-funded Protection and Advocacy organization , have resolved a lawsuit concerning Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Miami-Dade County) over its systemic failure to comply with federal measures intended to protect individuals with disabilities processed and incarcerated at their locations throughout the County . Upon filing the case, Miami-Dade County endeavored to resolve the matter to ensure that deaf inmates do not suffer from discrimination in the jails.
picture of metal bars in a jail.
Miami Dade County Jail building
Like our Facebook Pages 
Kids Crusaders Logo 
Animal Partners Logo  
Kids Crusaders Logo
Kids Crusaders Corner 
Julie is taking a break and will be back in a few months.  If anyone would like to be a guest author please contact us at debbie@justdigit.org.

Lisa and Yare standing and wearing their Nick Strong t-shirt.
Lester is holding Murphee and standing next to Sharon and they are both wearing their Nick Strong T-shirts.

Debbie and Matt and holding Murphee and both wearing their Nick Strong t-shirts.
Follow us on Instagram

clip art of two streets intersecting with each other.
dv At The Intersection of Disability and Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

Secondary Trauma: the families need care too....
I have spoken often in this column about the high number of incidents of abuse and sexual assault upon persons with disabilities and their significant vulnerability. While the statistics are alarming about the incidence of abuse and its damaging effect on the victim there is little if any research to date devoted to the secondary trauma of (non-perpetrator) parents and other family members of the person abused. Much of the literature on parents of victim/survivors and other family members instead addresses the response of these family members to the disclosure of the abuse, and to the victim/survivors themselves. The literature states that, following the sexual assault of a family member or loved one, family and friends often experience considerable emotional distress and physical and psychological symptoms that can disrupt their lifestyles and family structures. Responses of family members to the abuse, include shock, helplessness, and rage, which can parallel the affective responses of the victim in the acute post-traumatic period. Experts say that both the victim/survivor and their families have the same sense of isolation and estrangement from others. They both feel violated and different. They often lose their sense of community and belonging and both victim/survivors and family members may feel a sense of devaluation and guilt. These feelings may be reflected in both self-blame and blame directed toward other members of the family. Overall, the literature emphasizes that the family suffers almost the same effects as the victim of the abuse.

 click here to
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
The Wallet Card Logo.  A blue hexagon with the words the wallet card in the hexagon.
walletcardThe Wallet Card Project

The wallet card is a tool for young adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either as a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

Click here to sign up for a wallet card

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.

Thank you to the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department and the City of Miami Police Department for making our Wallet Card Training so successful this month.

Commander Richard Perez, Officer Intiraymi Figueroa (NRO), Officer Gilbert Perez (NRO), Officer Michael Valladares (mounted), Officer Dave Patton (mounted), Officer Horace Jones (motors), Officer Jorge Sanchez (motors). Nadia, Arguelles, Adine Sadin, Rafael Abreu, Evelys Cruz, and everyone else that helped.
Officer Horace Jones at our Wallet Card Training.
City of Miami Officer at our Wallet Card Training.
Officer Intiraymi Figueroa at our Wallet Card Training.
Officer Gilbert Perez at our Wallet Card Training.
Debbie at City of Miami Parks program doing part 2 of the Wallet Card Training.
October 11, 2016, was a great day in the City of Coral Gables. A proclamation making October ADA month in the city of Coral Gables. Thank you Sally, Bonnie, Marie, Raquel, Lorena, Craig, everyone at the city of Coral Gables, the entire Disability Advisory Board, and Ernie Martinez.

City of Coral Gables Commission passes a proclamation.

Shop Amazon Smile
Amazon smile logo.
Lesly Lopez head shot
Are you a SSDI or SSI beneficiary? How a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) or benefits planner can help you?
By: Lesly Lopez 
If you receive Social Security benefits and you have a job or are looking for one, there are specially trained professionals known as Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWIC) to help you make sense of complex employment and benefit-related issues.

What is a CWIC?
A highly skilled and rigorously trained cadre of Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) provide individual counseling to beneficiaries seeking employment and intensive follow-up services to ensure that they are using the work incentives appropriately. CWICS provide confidential services to people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). CWICs educate beneficiaries on how employment will affect their public benefits such as SSI, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid, subsidized housing and food stamps.(click here to read more)  

What a CWIC can do for you? (click here to read more)

For additional questions please call the TTW help line at 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 8:00AM - 8:00PM EST. For general inquiries, you may e-mail support@chooseworkttw.net .
Follow us on Twitter

a blue twitter bird in a white square.
picture for speechless television show.
For this month's topic we were told to discuss how having a family member with a disability affects the whole family. I'm sure for those of you reading our newsletter each month your interest in our organization comes from the fact that what we do hits home for you in that you, a family member or someone you know has a disability.  You don't need me to tell you that having a disabled family member affects the whole family. You already know it. Every family has something that forces them to be stronger.

(click here to read more) 
Logo for the fair housing video series.
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
patuYour Upward Journey

In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.

Shake Shack Fundraiser

On September 21 st, 2016, DIG had its first official fundraiser to benefit The Wallet
Shake Shack manager handing Lisa a check from our fundraiser.
Card at Shake Shack's Coral Gables restaurant. For those of you that came- Thank you so much we truly appreciate you taking time out of your day to show your support! For those of you that missed it-I hope you are able to make it to our next event but I am pleased to report that it went great! (Disclaimer: I might be slightly biased since I helped organize this fundraiser). All jokes aside, it was perfect for our first fundraiser. Not only did we raise money to create Wallet Cards but we also raised awareness for this great cause and got our name out in the community.

(click here to
A colored drawing of an open box with 3 small penguins surrounded by stuffing.
penguinA Parcel of Penguins


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or  debbie@justdigit.org. 
red circle with the words donate now! click here

Disability Independence Group, Inc.

Thank you to the organizations that support our projects.

the children's trust logo.  Three children standing next to the words the children's trust

impact fund logo.  red equal sign and then the words impact fund
  Disability Independence Group, Inc. | 305-669-2822 | info@justdigit.org | www.justdigit.org