Only with your help
can we ensure that people
with developmental disabilities
have access to a full continuum of care
Action DD is the only
disabilities advocacy licensed in Washington
state that receives no government money. Therefore, we are
free to represent the best interests of people with
developmental disabilities. Action DD leaders and volunteers receive no compensation.
The Case for Designating People with Intellectual
and Developmental Disabilities as a Medically Underserved Population
April 8, 2014
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
There are still more than 54 million Americans with intellectual and developmental
disabilities (ID/DD), including individuals with physical, mental health, sensory,
environmental, and cognitive disabilities lacking adequate health care because of
a lack of primary care providers who are properly trained to treat them. In 2000,
the website Healthy People 2010 cautioned that “as a potentially underserved group,
people with disabilities would be expected to experience disadvantages in health and
well-being compared with the general population.” Unfortunately, that statement
continues to be correct as people with I/DD remain subject to significant health care disparities.
Right now, people with ID/DD are not included in the federal government’s definition
of Medically Underserved Populations (MUP). That is why it is very important that awareness
of this issue be spread so that the Health Resources Services Administration will take action
to include people with ID/DD in the MUP definition. Failing that, Congress should act to
ensure this community’s inclusion in the official definition. By including people with I/DD
in the federal definition of a Medically Underserved Population, people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities will have access to better quality health care and better quality of life.
Time running out for
parents of disabled adults to claim retroactive tax refund
April 9, 2014
Parents who provide home care for disabled adult children are eligible for retroactive
tax refunds dating back to 2010 — but time is running out to claim some of that money.
A new IRS ruling allows these parents to claim state assistance as nontaxable income. These
“difficulty of care” payments will now be treated the same as foster care payments.
With the 2014 ruling, the parents are eligible to amend tax returns that date back to 2010. However, the
deadline to amend 2010 tax returns is April 15.
This year, Yelm resident Laurie Armendarez will receive an extra $5,600 on her tax returns — including
$1,700 from 2010. Her 25-year-old daughter, Javincia, requires round-the-clock care because of physical
and developmental disabilities. Over the years, the caregiver payments she received from the state had
steadily declined, and with previous tax returns, Armendarez said she was grateful for any refund.
“It’s been such a blessing. It was so unexpected,” Armendarez said of the new tax break. “I just feel
blessed being able to get some help.”
AARP Tax Aide program volunteers had prepared tax returns for Armendarez. However, those volunteers
learned this week that they need specific training by the IRS before they can legally amend more r
eturns under the new ruling, said Kirsten Kline, district coordinator for Thurston County.
As of Tuesday, at least 20 local residents had inquired about the new tax break, Kline said.
“Until we get training on how to specifically do it, we technically can’t do it, but people
can still do it themselves,” said Kline, noting that AARP tax volunteers will receive training
in January 2015. “We want to help these people, but we want to do it correctly.”
The IRS ruling was made possible by a local group of parents who provide home-based care for their
children. Olympia residents Loren Freeman and Eugene St. John had led a two-year effort to change
the tax structure for families in similar situations. The IRS approved the change in December.
Freeman uses state Medicaid payments to cover daily living expenses for his daughter,
Faith, who requires full-time care. Freeman said he is gratified to learn that perhaps
thousands of caregivers nationwide may benefit from the financial boost that comes with
the new tax ruling.
“This is a breakthrough for so many people,” Freeman said. “It will have a tremendous
impact for those teetering on the edge.”
In Washington, about 81,000 people have a developmental disability. A majority of the disabled live
at home with parents or relatives, and about 23,000 receive state services, according to The Arc of
Home-based caregivers save the state money by reducing the population of institutions.
The state’s Medicaid payments assist individuals who would otherwise require full-time care
in a hospital or nursing home.