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IVCIL Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter



Striving to Enlighten the Path and Enrich the Journey for Persons with Disabilities

Volume 20, Issue 3, 2018


SSA Working to Speed-Up Disability Determination

Article provided by Doug Veach, Resource Advisor with SSA


When a person applies for social security disability benefits it can take several weeks, months or years before the applicant knows if their claim has been approved. Determinations are based on documentation provided by both medical providers and the applicant, and must meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. Two Social Security programs may speed-up the claim determination process.


The Compassionate Allowance program allows Social Security to quickly identify those severe diseases or conditions which may meet Social Security’s statutory standards for disability benefits, and determination may be made with medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone. For a complete listing of qualifying diseases and conditions, visit the following website:




One of the reasons for delay in disability determination, for both conditions that fall under Compassionate Allowance and those that do not, is that it may take several weeks or months for all medical providers to supply Social Security with all the required medical documentation.


Social Security is addressing this issue with its Health Information Technology program. The Health IT initiative may enable participating medical partner groups to supply Social Security with all the required medical documentation through the electronic transfer of medical records in a matter of seconds or minutes- not weeks or months.

For more information on the Health IT initiative, and a listing of current medical partner groups, visit the website listed below.




Source Social Security Administration

 Advocacy Opportunities (We Need Your Help)

Story condensed due to limited space

 IVCIL is an advocacy and service, non-profit agency. We are asking you to partner with us to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Here are two opportunities for you to make your voice heard. (Much of the information in this article came from the National Council on Independent Living and the Center for American Progress.)

 Take Action for MFP on the Olmstead Anniversary!

Friday, June 22, 2018, was the 19th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision cementing the ADA’s integration mandate. Money Follows the Person (MFP) was a federal program that arose from that decision.

Since MFP began in 2005, over 75,000 disabled people have been liberated from institutions, and CILs have played a critical role in that. But MFP expired on September 30, 2016, and states are starting to scale back and end their programs. In fact, last year was the first time the number of people transitioned into the community declined. We need your advocacy to get the House and Senate to pass the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227 and H.R. 5306) to reauthorize and fund MFP!

Take Action!

Congress must save and fund MFP, and they need to hear from us! Please urge your Senators and Representative to continue the Money Follows the Person program by co-sponsoring the EMPOWER Care Act!

  • Call your Senators and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the EMPOWER Care Act! All members of Congress can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY).

*Talking Points*

The Money Follows the Person Program brings people with disabilities and older adults back home to their communities

The Money Follows the Person program gives people greater control over their lives.

It’s fiscally responsible! MFP improves the quality of life of individuals while saving states and the federal government

Medicaid funding.

Talk about why this is important for you or someone you know, and your state. MFP frees people! MFP keeps families

together! MFP reduces waiting lists!

  • Use Social Media! Post on Facebook.
  • Email your members of Congress! Customize a message to your Members of Congress online.
  • Share your stories with us! We value and appreciate your feedback.

Eliminating the Subminimum Wage for People with Disabilities

80th Anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act

 In 1938, the year the Fair Labor Standards Act was signed into law, Congress decided that people with disabilities should be exempted from being paid the federal minimum wage, according to section 14(c).

Due to this, many people with disabilities enter sheltered workshop programs that pay low wages, don’t permit socialization between workers with and workers without disabilities, and set the idea that low expectations are better than no expectations for work.

On the 80th Anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, section 14(c) remains in FLSA, it’s time to take action against this draconian standard.

We celebrate the leadership of Alaska, Maryland, and New Hampshire in banning the subminimum wage, and believe that more widespread bans are possible through nationwide citizen engagement.

Make an Impact

This toolkit includes the necessary resources to help you raise awareness to end the subminimum wage once and for all. Please find sample tweets, links for further resources, and talking points about this unfair law.


  • National Council on Disability Report on Subminimum Wage and Supported Employment
  • https://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/August232012
  • History of Federal Minimum Wage Rates Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 2009
  • https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/chart.htm
  • NDRN Report


  • GAO report


  • CPSD APSE NDRN statement


  • Rooted in Rights, “Bottom Dollars”


 Talking Points

  • This is the latest attack on people with disabilities, following up on the attacks on the ACA, Medicaid, and the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • We know and have evidence that people with disabilities can do REAL work at REAL wages.
  • These programs pay low wages, don’t permit socialization between workers with and workers without

disabilities, and set the idea that low expectations are better than no expectations for work.

  • As Trump Administration pushes all this money to “Return to Work” programs it should be applicable to re                                 train sheltered workshop operators for real jobs.
  • Disability led organizations, Disability Provider organizations like Goodwill and the Arc, and the National                                    Council on Disability all urge the Secretary of Education to change this regulation and reaffirm the depart                                 ment’s commitment to competitive integrated employment.
  • This is a modernization from charity to dignity.

Thank you for your dedication to Eliminating the Subminimum Wage for people with disabilities. It may be too late for some of us to benefit from a change in this law but it’s not too late for the generations to come.

Adventurers Prepare!

By Ashley Purpura

Something new is shaking up at IVCIL! One of our Independent Living Specialists, Ashley Purpura, has started a young adult group to help those who are out of high school who would like to try something new and get out of the house! This is a group for those who are over 18 (and out of high school).

The group is called the Ability Adventurers and we will be working with other young people in the community to make friends, expand on Independent Living Skills, and even learn from professionals to find out more about their jobs! We are looking for participants, volunteers, and ideas!

So ask yourself, what sounds like fun to me? Then, let Ashley know! She has many ideas but wants to know from people in the group so that we’re doing activities that are fun for them!

We will be selling bracelets and other items to help fundraise at the IVCIL Run, Walk, Wheel 5K on July 21st. We will be at the registration table!

Our first event is coming up! We are having a grilling lesson and picnic at Rotary Park on August 3, 2018 from 6-8 pm! Please call Ashley Purpura at 815-224-3126 ext. 218 if you already know you’d like to come!

What type of Adventurer will you be? Be ready to come and check this out!

Personal Assistant Program News

By Jenni Richards, PA Coordinator

Hi Everyone! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here as the PA Program Coordinator for 6 months already! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. It’s been a terribly busy 6 months, as you well know, if you’ve tried to catch me in the office some weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, meeting my consumers, holding PA Orientations, and everything in between. It’s been an amazing, enlightening and very humbling experience for me, so I wanted to give you a brief update of how that looks, broken down by the numbers.

To date, we have:

Held a total of 16 PA Orientations, at IVCIL and various locations in our 5 counties

Trained and added 48 new PA’s, most of whom have been placed to work with consumers

Provided 288.25 hours of direct service contact to consumers

Attended numerous trainings, a fundraiser and a conference (where I won a very large, very good prize!)

WHEW! I told you I’ve been busy! I’ve covered a lot of ground, met so many awesome people, each with a beautiful story to tell and I look forward to the next 6 months, knowing they will be as amazing as the last!

Have a great summer, y’All!


IVCIL Volunteers Recognized!

By Cynthia Panizzi

On June 13, Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living held its Annual Board and Recognition Meeting. The IVCIL Board, staff and our valued volunteers were recognized for their volunteer service. IVCIL consists of ten Board members, nine staff members, and forty-nine volunteers. This year, the volunteers collectively contributed 647.75 hours of service, and that’s not even counting the number of hours our Board puts in.  Some of the tasks our volunteers assist us with include typing, filing, mass mailings, phone calls, delivering Mobile Meals, the Teen Summit, the 5k Run, Walk, Wheel, our Rip’s Chicken Dinner fundraiser as well as all the other fundraisers we hold.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, call IVCIL 815-224-3126 and ask for Cynthia.

                                              Mobile Meals Always Looking for Volunteers

By Terri Sparling, Mobile Meals Coordinator

Mobile Meals is a program that has been in existence for almost fifty years. We provide meals to people who are unable to prepare meals for themselves, which allows them to live at home instead of going into long term care.

We currently provide meals to fifty-one consumers in the LaSalle, Peru, and Oglesby area. These meals are delivered by drivers who are all volunteers. Without these people we would not be able to have this program. These volunteers are very special people who give up 1-1 ½ hours every other week to deliver the meals. I cannot express how grateful I am to have such a great group.

We not only deliver meals, but this also serves as wellness checks. When you deliver meals, you get to know and care about these people. A lot of them have interesting stories to share.

In order to maintain Mobile meals, we need forty volunteers.  This is a reminder that if you are interested in being someone who will give up a small amount of your time and make a difference, call Terri at 815-224-3406. I am generally in the office from 9 until noon.  

Advocacy Updates

Lou’s LaGrotto, Peru
by Cynthia Panizzi

As you may remember from our last newsletter, IVCIL had been informed that Lou’s LaGrotto was in the process of remodeling the restrooms but they are were not being made accessible.  Therefore, I wrote a letter to the owner informing her we are aware the restrooms are being remodeled and I provided the specifications to be accessible.  I called a few weeks later and spoke with the general manager who informed me the restrooms would be accessible.

Beck’s BP, Mendota
by Cynthia Panizzi

Also from our last newsletter, IVCIL received a complaint regarding lack of accessible parking as well as lack of accessible seating in the dining area at Beck’s BP in Mendota.  Therefore, I wrote a letter to the owner/manager making them aware of the issue.  I also provided the specification of the Illinois Accessibility Code.  Since then I have called the manager a few times who informed me that accessible parking has been installed and she is waiting for their corporate office to finish work on the station in Princeton, then they will receive accessible tables.

 Hy-Vee, Peru
by Cynthia Panizzi

At the beginning of 2016, I contacted the manager of Hy-Vee informing him the $100 Fine Signs on the accessible parking signs needed to be updated to $250 and provided the resources.  Although I tried contacting him several times, he did not respond.  Therefore, in October, 2016 I filed a complaint with the Disability Rights Bureau.  I’m happy to say I finally saw updated signs in May, 2018.

Ottawa Children’s Dentistry
by Cynthia Panizzi

In April, 2017, IVCIL received a complaint regarding the very heavy door at Ottawa Children’s Dentistry.   After investigating, I wrote a letter to the owner making her aware of the issue.  I suggested a doorbell bell be installed for those who need assistance opening the door and staff provide assistance when the bell is rung. At the beginning November, 2017, I received a voicemail informing me a doorbell had been ordered and will be installed when it arrives.  I am happy to say a doorbell has been installed and staff assists patients with the door.

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Remember, only purchases made at smile.amazon.com  (Not At Amazon.com or the

mobile app)  will generate donations.

Upcoming Events

IVCIL Socials

Join the staff for a pleasant time of fellowship and dining! 5:00 p.m. start time.

Call Lesley to confirm attendance at 815-224-3126 ext. 214 or email at ad@ivcil.com.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018- Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club, 658 E. US Hwy 6, LaSalle, IL

Wednesday, September 12, 2018- Cindy’s on 34th, 1300 Raymond Dr., Mendota, IL

Wednesday, October 17, 2018- 101 Supper Club, 101 1st St., LaSalle, IL

Wednesday, November 14, 2018- Peru Pizza House Restaurant, 1702 4th St., Peru, IL

Thursday, December 6, 2018- Mark Allen’s American Kitchen, 1402 Peoria St., Peru, IL

IVCIL’s Christmas Party. Bring an ornament for the White Elephant exchange.

Quarterly Training

“Fire Safety”
Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.

In the IVCIL Conference Room

Join us as we learn from Fire Chief Andy Bacidore how to prevent fires from starting and how to protect ourselves if we are in a fire.  Fire Chief Bacidore will also discuss fire awareness, fire safety and how to develop an escape plan.

Call Cynthia to RSVP at 815-224-3126 ext. 216 by August 20, 2018 to receive a reasonable accommodation.

Youth Services Events

Quarterly Teen Social/Support Group


“Back to School Game Night”

Friday August 24, 2018 from 6-8 p.m.

In the IVCIL Conference Room
Games & a Snack will be provided

Call Marla to RSVP at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 by August 10, 2018 to receive a reasonable accommodation (Personal Assistant)

Youth Services Quarterly Parent & Community Training

"Effective Participation in the Development of Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s)"

Thursday, August 30, 2018 from 6-8 p.m.

In the IVCIL Conference Room

 At this FREE workshop you will learn about:

IEP Meeting Notices, Scheduling, and Team Members - IEP Meeting Purpose, Format & Documentation – Parental Concerns Agenda Preparation – Maintenance, Organization, and Review of Educational Records – Development of Goals and Objectives

Presenter: Marla Michalak, IVCIL Youth Services Coordinator and IT Specialist

To RSVP call Marla Michalak at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 by August 23, 2018

IVCIL is a United Way Member Agency.   Reasonable accommodations will be offered upon request by registration deadlines.

“Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services”


 Anna Christie

Dorothy Kuffel

Catherine Loebach

Patti Mauser

Dale Mertes

Bernice Spanier

Greg & Janice Stanmar

Imogene Waters

Dr. M. E. Cote

G. Gulo & Associates, Ltd.

JP Chevrolet Nissan

LaSalle County Travel Agency, Inc.

Tony Mautino

Schimmer Ford Lincoln


Loretta Glynn

Leo Hornbeck

Patti Mauser

Raymond Stasiak

Memorial for Lucille Brandt

Rita Blockman

Memorial for Lucille Considine

Paul and Martha Diehl

New ITAC Equipment

By Lesley Gonigam

 Two years ago ITAC (Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation) introduced a life-changing piece of equipment for those who are hearing impaired. It was the Serene SA-40 Cell Phone Amplifier. This equipment made it possible for those who use cell phones as their main form of telephone communication to be able to clearly and loudly hear their phone calls by just using their cell phones instead of having to use a landline, which can be expensive.

Now ITAC has just introduced more ground-breaking equipment. The first is the Sempre Mini Cell Phone Amplifier which is roughly the size of a half dollar. Here are some of its features:

Works with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones (iOS and Android)

Amplification up to 40db

Built-in ClarityPower with high frequency emphasis

Built-in microphone

Binaural earbuds (included) or a headset (included) or monaural earbud (not included), 3.5mm jack

Missed Call notification

Rechargeable battery: recharge time: 2 hours

Up to 7 hours of talk time

Built-in shirt clip

Lanyard with quick-release safety mechanism (included)

Bluetooth v4.0; backwards compatible with v3.0, v2.1 and v1.2

One (1) year warranty

A stick charger, an outlet charger, and a car cigarette lighter charger

Everything is included in a handy zippered pouch

People who are hard-of-hearing now have a choice to decide which cell phone amplifier they can hear the best on.

ATTENTION: Due to unforeseen circumstances at Customs, ITAC is unable to distribute the Sempre Mini until the end of June or sometime thereafter. If you are interested in the Sempre Mini, please call to see if we have access to it. Thank you!

The second and third pieces of new equipment are similar in that they are both voice amplifiers. The TruTone EMOTE Speech Aid is an innovative electrolarynx that is actually easier to use, with an ergonomic design that feels great and provides a better grip. It is proven to have the capability to help you be better understood! Here are some of its features:

Published University study for proven intelligibility, not just marketing hype, actual proven results

Exclusive Emotion Button is easy to use

Comfortable, Ergonomic & Sleek Design-hourglass design for better grip

Simple & Easy to Use

Intuitive adjustments-no tools needed

Easy-set modes for push-button simplicity

Quick & Easy monotone modes

Exclusive Whisper Mode for monotone users

Up to Month-Long Battery Life & USB Charging

Ultimate Convenience-charges just like your phone!

Most test users experience 25-35 days between charges

The only Drop & Soak Warranty-even the battery has a warranty!

The TruTone EMOTE provides you with everything a person wants—Simplicity, Intelligibility, Comfort and Durability! It also includes: oral adaptor and oral tubes, USB charger, and an Extra Sharp Sound-head cap for hard, radiated neck tissue or for an extra loud voice.

The third and final piece of new equipment is the SoniVox Plus Voice Amplifier. It is considered the latest in voice amplifier technology. Some of its features include:

15 watts, highest clarity

Reduced feedback

Integrated Micro-USB Charger

Ultralight Design-only 8 oz.

Carry Case with Belt Loop

AUX input for Music

Included in the protective case is a lanyard, USB charger, and ClearVoice & Pencil Microphones.

In conclusion, if you need either your cell phone or your voice amplified, call IVCIL to set up an appointment. We’ll do our best to accommodate you.