Community to Know: The Autism Trust USA

The Autism Trust USA’s focus is on building inspiring, sustainable and real futures for the
many children with autism in the USA today, according to their website.  We like their design and philosophy, and their focus on a private pay solution that does not depend on government or insurance funding.  Check them out.

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News: Obama Calls For Better Pay For Disability Caregivers

Michelle Diament writing for DisabilityScoop.com today reported: “The Obama Administration is proposing new rules to provide first-ever minimum wage and overtime protections for in-home care workers who assist people with disabilities.”  Read their post here.

LTO Ventures supports efforts to improve pay and reduce turnover (which is greater than 50% nationally and almost 100% in Nevada).  The average wage for direct service staff in a group home is $8.50-9.50 an hour.  Put another way, the trained and licensed staff providing daily life care for adults with ASD get paid about the same as a high school graduate working as a barista in Starbucks.

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News: WSJ – Disability Benefits System Faces Review

Damian Paletta writes in today’s Wall Street Journal: “The Social Security Administration has commissioned an independent review of the federal disability system amid concerns it awards benefits to those who don’t deserve them and denies benefits to those who do.”

Read the complete story here.

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Choice v. Olmstead

A new report from LTO Ventures about the debate over Community Living, proposed HCBS Waiver changes, and the impact on housing for adults with Autism. Read the complete “Choice v. Olmstead” report here.

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Website: The Medicaid Reference Desk

A new website (click here) with backing from the federal government is offering a one-stop overview of the services available to people with developmental disabilities in each state.  The site, dubbed the Medicaid Reference Desk, offers a breakdown of the various Medicaid benefits — including medical and social services — offered to those with disabilities based on where they live.  Though the federal government mandates that Medicaid programs in each state meet certain requirements, states have significant leeway. As a result, the benefits available from one location to another and eligibility requirements for programs can vary wildly.  The reference desk is designed to help families wade through the bureaucracy, according to officials at The Arc, who created the new website with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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IRS 501(c)(3) Exemption Granted

LTO Ventures is officially recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity, effective to our founding on July 6, 2010!  So all you big donors who have been waiting in the wings…call me! :-)

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Autism Employment Fact Sheet – University of Missouri

Fact Sheet on Autism Employment, released today by Dr. Scott Standifer, Disability Policy & Studies, University of Missouri.  Click here for the PDF.  Also take note of the National Conference on Autism & Employment scheduled for March 6 & 7, 2012 in St. Louis. MO.  For more information, please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Autism-Works/136057253090452 .

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Community Living Subcommittee report to Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Subcommittee was formed in August 2010 to assess and advise the Commission on a modern approach to a variety of residential living situations for the Autism Spectrum Disorders (“ASD”) population in Nevada.  LTO Ventures President & CEO Mark Olson has served as chairperson since its formation and authored the report.

In presenting the report to the Commission, the Subcommittee challenged the State of Nevada to adopt a “moon shot” attitude to reduce to ZERO in 3-5 years its waiting list of ID/DD/ASD individuals eligible for residential services and become a national model for housing innovation.  The Subcommittee also committed to lead the effort to secure a Medicaid waiver for adults with autism in the 2013 Legislative Session.

Read the full report as submitted here.

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New Jersey Housing Resource Guide for ASD Adults

The New Jersey Housing Resource Guide for ASD Adults is a must read for anyone involved in solutions for community living for ASD adults. It was published in January 2009, but I came across it today in an article by Peter Bell of Autism Speaks published here – http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/11/0822/2129/.  For NJ Housing Resource Guide PDF, click here.

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News: Social Security disability on verge of insolvency

Supplemental Security Income (refered to as Social Security disability in the headline) provides up to $684 per month to disabled persons, including those with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities.  These funds are often used primarily to pay for housing.  The LTO Ventures financial model will provide a long-term stable alternative.  Read the Associated Press article here.

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