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17Oct/14Off

Helping People to Find Jobs at Edwards Air Force Base

Edwards AFB Disability Employment Awareness Month Committee (DEAM) Launches New Initiative

Nicole Carter, an Independent Living Center of Southern California case manager checks out a modified 2012 Chevy Silverado with Tim Russo of MobilityWorks.

On October 9th, the Disability Employment Awareness Committee of Edwards Air Force Base held its first annual abilities expo at the Oasis Community Center. The companies invited to attend, including MobilityWorks, represented a variety of tools to assist individuals living with disabilities represented solutions for: communication, mobility and recreational aides. Though many of the resources are for daily living, the over-arching theme was helping people with disabilities procure jobs at Edwards.

"We feel, candidates like wounded warriors, would be the prime candidates to bring their experience back to work in a test and evaluation environment," said Darcy Painter, 412th Communications Squadron, DEAM Committee member. "They have that key experience that we can bring to bear on improving the next generation of systems."

Nicole Carter, an Independent Living Center of Southern California case manager, was born with cerebral palsy. During the expo, Carter visited the MobilityWorks booth in the parking lot, where she sat behind the wheel of a 2012 Chevy Silverado truck. The truck was modified to include a platform lift and hand controls allowing an individual to drive sitting in their wheelchair.

"This is a really liberating experience and it makes me really excited for the possibilities for the future. I haven't really ever felt this degree of independence before," said Carter. "I've been in a wheelchair my whole life. I've never had the experience of sitting in the driver's seat in my chair; it's extremely liberating and I haven't even driven anywhere. Just to know that I can is great."

Tim Russo, Mobility Works Certified Mobility Consultant, said the technology has been around for years, but the real draw is having options.

"Most of the vehicles that are available to them are minivans, now you open up the doors for them to have a truck," said Russo.

People with disabilities want to work if they are able to get around on their own. The right kind of wheelchair van and adaptive equipment can also be used to pursue hobbies like hunting and fishing. We are glad to be a part in helping people to get back to working in a job they love – or to pursue a new journey in life.

For more information about upcoming DEAM events, call 661-277-7527.

10Oct/14Off

Team MobilityWorks Takes on the 2014 Bike MS: City to Shore Ride

On Saturday, September 27th and Sunday, September 28th, MobilityWorks participated in the 2014 Bike MS City to Shore Ride.

Named by Bicycling Magazine as the “Best Cycling Getaway in NJ”, the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride is one of the best cycling experiences on the East Coast. Participants choose from several routes ranging from 25-150 miles and/or bike over either one or two days.

MobilityWorks was a Finish Line Sponsor of the event, and in addition, also had a cycling team; Team MobilityWorks. Team MobilityWorks chose to cycle over two days (75 miles per day). In addition, they also chose to do the “Extra Century Loop” which added another 30 miles to their course---for a grand total of 180 miles!!!

Team MobilityWorks raised over $19,000 to help support cutting-edge research, programs and services for individuals  impacted by MS.

If you’d like to support Team MobilityWorks, it’s not too late----you can visit their site.

7Oct/14Off

Mobility Expo at Pittsburgh MobilityWorks Thursday October 9th

Theme for 2014 "A Salute to the Men and Women of our Armed Services"

MobilityWorks of Pittsburgh will be hosting its annual Mobility Expo, this Thursday, October 9th from 11AM - 7PM. There will be over 20 exhibitors on hand representing a variety of organizations, including: vocational rehabilitation, veterans, advocacy groups, adaptive equipment, driver training programs, home modifications, accessible vans and much more. Enjoy a day of fun and live music performed by The Chain Gang, raffle prizes and food — catered by the Steel City Steakhouse. Valet parking will also be provided.

MobilityWorks of Pittsburgh is located at 1090 Mosside Blvd, Wall PA 15148. CALL 412-824-8091 for information.

Exhibitors List:
Aardvark Adaptive Modifications
Accessible Dreams
Adapt Solutions
Adaptive Driving Program, Center for Assistive Technology
Bayada Home Health Care
B&D Independence , Inc.
Blackburn's
Brant's Driving School
BraunAbility
CLASS-Community Living and Support Services
Harmar Mobility
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Keystone Paralyzed Veterans Association
Laurel Medical Supplies
Numotion
MobilityWorks
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
PATF
REZK Medical Supply
TRCIL Services, Inc.
VMI

6Oct/14Off

Housing Grants for Veterans Help Our Injured Military to Purchase Adapted Housing

Self Imposed Limitations & the Benefit of Adaptable Housing Grants

“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life”

– Emma Thompson

On September 10th Chris Melendez did something he hadn’t done before. Sure, he had his share of double leg takedowns, arm bars and half-nelsons; he had gone over the top rope, pinned opponents and played to the crowd, but he had never done it on live TV. Making his TNA wrestling debut against DJ Zema, Melendez who had been training to be a professional wrestler for the previous 24 months demonstrated to the world the power of dedication and positivity.  In 2004, Melendez enlisted in the Army, three years later; with only 23 days left on his deployment he was severely wounded as a result of an IED explosion. An amputation of his left leg, tendon replacement in his arm and a completely reconstructed jaw could not prevent his aspirations from being realized. Speaking after his first television performance, Melendez said "Wherever I am, I aim to rise to the top and be the best at what I'm doing. Here in TNA, I plan to go straight to the top. I have the same mentality I had in the battlefield, the same mentality I had during my recovery. I'm going to be the best," reminding all of us that limitations are self imposed.

22 million military veterans live in this country, accounting for 10 percent of the total population. 5.5 million of those veterans are living with some form of disability. Since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, of the 3.4 million veterans who suffered a service related disability, 588,000 have a disability rating of 70 percent or greater. Over the past 12 years, the number of service members enduring a disability rating of 70 percent or higher has increased drastically, the common explanation of this is that injuries such as amputations and burns that would have previously resulted in death in previous wars are now often treatable. The disabled veteran population is sizeable; nothing can replace what was lost, but for many in this segment, a disability is not preventing the experience of a full and meaningful life, Chris Melendez exemplifies this.

While not every disabled veteran can become a professional wrestler many can bolster the quality of their lives by becoming homeowners. The VA insured home loan assures this. Offering appealing interest rates, 0 dollars down, relaxed credit guidelines and no private mortgage insurance, this entitlement is incredibly advantageous. Disabled veterans are given special mortgage consideration and are allowed to bypass funding fees. Furthermore, veterans with disabilities may use their disability compensation to qualify for the income requirement.

The VA also offers housing adaptation grants. These allow homes to either be built or remodeled to fit the specific needs of the disabled individual. Numerous housing adaptations can be made, including re-purposed storage space, added stair rails, specialty fixtures (floor showers etc) and ramps just to name a very select few. Even the primary home of a family member can qualify for adaptations if the veteran is intending to make it their permanent address. The SAH grant allows for a maximum of $67,555 to be used while the SHA grant funds up to $13,511.

The sacrifice made by veterans during their service in an effort to protect all of us makes it incumbent upon the country to make sure they are afforded every opportunity to lead rewarding lives as civilians.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grants

Eligibility Living Situation Ownership Number of Grants You Can Use
  • Loss of or loss of use of both legs, OR
  • Loss of or loss of use of both arms, OR
  • Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss of or loss of use of one leg, OR
  • The loss of or loss of use of one lower leg together with residuals of organic disease or injury, OR
  • The loss of or loss of use of one leg together with the loss of or loss of use of one arm, OR
  • Certain severe burns, OR
  • The loss, or loss of use of one or more lower extremities due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair
Permanent Home is owned by an eligible individual Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant

Eligibility Living Situation Ownership Number of Grants You Can Use
  • Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less, OR
  • Loss of or loss of use of both hands, OR
  • Certain severe burn injuries, OR
  • Certain severe respiratory injuries
Permanent Home is owned by an eligible individual or family member Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

This article was written for MobilityWorks, courtesy of Noah Perkins, CMS, VA Home Loan Centers


About VA Loans

In 1944 Congress created the VA Loan program to help returning war veterans achieve the dream of home ownership. Since then, the Department of Veterans Affairs has helped more than 18 million military members purchase homes.

VA loan programs are available to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home. VA loans are particularly beneficial to those veterans that do not have much cash available. VA guidelines allow higher front-end and debt ratios compared to other loan programs and it’s easier to qualify for. The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees mortgages originated by VA Home Loan Centers.

Note: VA Home Loan Centers is not a governmental agency.

2Oct/14Off

Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

NDEAM theme for 2014 is "Expect. Employ. Empower."

MobilityWorks proudly recognizes October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, with all of our vendors and affiliated organizations encouraged to participate.

The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. One of the many joys we have as an organization is with helping people to get back their independence and to be able to continue working following a debilitating illness or injury through the use of our mobility products – such as wheelchair vans and hand controls.

Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. It’s true spirit, however, lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year.

We can all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM. For specific ideas about how employers can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/. You can download the NDEAM 11 x 17 poster here.

Origins of NDEAM:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.