The Arc of Whatcom County Parent Coalition E-Alert
August 2010
Parent Coalition
Class focuses on working and benefits

Are you (or someone you know) receiving Social Security disability benefits and interested in exploring your work options?

Do you have questions about work like these:
  • Can I work and still keep my Social Security benefits?
  • Can I work and keep my healthcare benefits?
  • Who can help me understand how working will affect my benefits?
  • Who can help me find a job?
If you or someone you know is on Social Security and wants to work but isn't sure how to get started, the WISE (Work Incentive Seminar Event) is the place to be!

The WISE will be held August 26 from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the St. Luke's Community Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham.

Space is limited, so please call toll free (877) 743-8237 or register online today. This is an accessible event. You may request a sign language interpreter or materials in alternate formats five days in advance by phone or online.

Federal deficit leading discussion on benefits

Social Security benefits to people with developmental disabilities could be soon be significantly reduced. As the nation celebrates the 75th birthday of the Social Security system, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is discussing mandatory spending on Social Security benefits, with an eye to reducing the federal deficit by 2015. The Commission's final report and recommendations are due in December.

More than a third of people who receive monthly social security payments are not retirees, including:
  • 8 million workers with disabilities
  • 1.8 million children of workers with disabilities
  • 900,000 adult children with disabilities
  • 200,000 widow(er)s with disabilities.
Workers who pay Social Security taxes qualify for disability and retirement benefits, and, if they die, their spouses and children receive survivors' benefits. People with disabilities may receive Social Security's retirement, survivors and disability insurance benefits based on their work history, age or eligibility category.

"The Social Security trust funds have a surplus of $2.6 trillion for paying future benefits," said Annie Acosta of the Disability Policy Collaboration. "There is no need to cut Social Security benefits."

Contact your senators and representatives to let them know how you feel.
Legislation funds Medicaid, teachers

Last Tuesday, President Obama signed House Resolution 1586 into law, extending Federal Medical Assistance Program funding for another six months. Funding for the program, which helps states pay for Medicaid funding, would have ended on December 31st of this year. Governor Chris Gregoire, along with governors across the country, had lobbied strongly for the extension, as Washington state faced across the board cuts of 4-5% if the funding had not been renewed, including many services vital to the developmental disability community.
"I applaud the Senate for today's vote extending FMAP support to the states," said the Governor. "Moving forward on the FMAP extension means Washington, and many other states, will not be forced to make drastic cuts that would have harmed both our citizens and our economic recovery. The Senate heard that now is not the time to lay off thousands or to eliminate medical services for those who need it the most. Such actions would have been devastating to Washington state by slowing our recovery and potentially pushing us toward a double dip recession. It is important to note that in light of the economy states have already cut their budgets, in Washington state we've cut $5.1 billion from the state budget.

Of the $26 billion dollars called for by the bill, $16 billion would go to FMAP and the remaining $10 billion would go to providing educational assistance to the states, saving an estimated 3,000 teaching jobs in Washington alone.
The Arc of Whatcom County provides information and referrals, educational programs, and funding for people with developmental disabilities, their families and the organizations that serve them.

This E-Alert is made possible by funding from the Whatcom County Developmental Disabilities program.


US Legislators

Sen. Maria Cantwell
Phone: (202) 224-3441

Sen. Patty Murray
Phone: (202) 224-2621

2nd District

Rep. Rick Larsen
Phone: (202) 225-2605

State Legislators

42nd District

Sen. Dale Brandland
Phone: (360) 786-7682

Rep. Kelli Linville
Phone: (360) 786-7854
Rep. Doug Ericksen
Phone: (360) 786-7980

39th District

Sen. Val Stevens
Phone: (360) 786-7676

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
Phone: (360) 786-7967

Rep. Kirk Pearson
Phone: (360) 786-7816

40th District

Sen. Kevin Ranker
Phone: (360) 786-7678

Rep. Dave Quall
Phone: (360) 428-1023

Rep. Jeff Morris
Phone: (360) 786-7970

August 2010

28 Saturday
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Ferndale Street Festival
Ferndale, WA
Contact Maureen: 671-8568

28 Saturday
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Summer Street Law
Corner of Railroad and Holly
Contact: 671-3079

September 2010

11 Saturday
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Street Law at the Library
Bellingham Public Library
210 Central Avenue
Contact: 671-3079

11 Saturday
10:00 am - Noon
Youth Self Advocacy Group Meeting
The Arc's Dan Godwin Community Center
2602 McLeod Road
Contact Amy: 715-0170

13 Monday
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Parent to Parent Support Group
Whatcom Center for Early Learning
2001 H Street
Contact: 255-2056

14 Tuesday
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Interagency Coordinating Council Meeting
St. Luke's Education Center
3333 Squalicum Parkway
Contact: 734-8396 x229.