January 23, 2022


§         Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities program – Pat Curtis from the Dept. of Public Aid reported that the HBWD program started January 1.  They have sent out 450 applications, and there is one person officially enrolled.  There is a new co-pay for all Medicaid recipients, which includes the HBWD program.  IDPA has drafted a brochure and an application guide.  Pat hopes that those outreach materials will be done by February.  Pat will send out copies of the application and a fact sheet to all the WIWG members, as well as to any other organizations and/or individuals who request them.  The local IDHS offices have the applications and should be able to answer some questions about the program.  A fact sheet on the program is attached to these minutes.  If you have any questions, or if you find that IDHS caseworkers do not know about the program, please contact the SSI Coalition.

§         Ticket to Work – Two fact sheets are attached.  SSA will begin mailing tickets to eligible beneficiaries on February 6.  10% of the eligibles will receive tickets in February.  SSA will then send 20% of the tickets in April, 30% in May, and 40% in June.  Those with Social Security numbers ending in 1 will be the first to receive tickets.  Anyone who is ticket eligible can call Maximus and request a ticket; you do not have to wait until you receive a ticket in the mail.  Call the SSI Coalition if you have ticket questions.

§         Department of Labor grants – ORS has 2 DOL grants and is working with the state to apply for another one. 

§         There is a Region V conference set for February 28 at the O’Hare Hyatt Regency. This conference is sponsored by the Cornell Regional Training Center and is targeted to the BPAO grantees in the region.  Other advocates, however, may attend.  There will be presentations on the ticket, as well as panels with federal agencies discussing their efforts to collaborate on employment issues.  The SSI Coalition will send more information on this conference to members of this group around the first of February.

§         The self-employment subcommittee has been meeting under the direction of Marsie Frawley.  The committee has tentatively planned a panel presentation on March 26 on individuals who are self-employed.  The panel will focus on barriers encountered nd supports needed for self-employment.  The sub-committee will forward more information as the plans firm up.  If you have any interest in this sub-committee, please contact Marsie at 312.223.9600.

§         Margie Harkness from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities talked about their rural transportation initiative.  ICDD has 4 outstanding Call for Investment (CFIs).  If you have any interest in seeing these funding opportunities, you can e-mail them for more information.  Their e-mail is 

§         FYI:  Since this is tax season, remember that the IRS website has information on disabled tax credits and a publication on Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities.  You can download this publication (No. 907) from the IRS site (, or request it over the phone or at IRS locations.  In addition, the Tax Counseling Project of the Center for Law and Human Services provides free tax preparation services to individuals with incomes under $15,000.  You can get information on locations for these services at 312.252.0280.  The Chicago Hearing Society also offers free tax preparation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

§         President Bush’s commission that was looking at privatization of Social Security issued its final report in December.  It is available at: 

§         The New Freedom Initiative report was issued in December.  This report sets the agenda for federal agencies’ actions to eliminate barriers and promote community integration for people with disabilities.  The report is available at

§         There is a Higher Education Summit scheduled for February 1 at Prairie State College.  The summit is intended to raise awareness about the need for increased access to higher education for low-income adult students in Illinois.  If you want more information about this day-long summit, you can get the registration form from the Women Employed website at ed/index.html

§         The General Accounting Office issued a report in January 2002 on the effect of raising the Substantial Gainful Activity limit on SSDI beneficiaries’ work behavior.  These reports have a lot of influence on members of Congress.  You can get a copy of the report from the website at

§         Don’t forget to get your copy of the 2002 Redbook from SSA.  It should be up on their website any day now, or call SSA and request a copy (or copies).  Throw out your old copies.