March 27, 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 more than 1000 applications, and there are 24 officially enrolled.  The brochure is available and is being distributed.  Pat will send out both the English and Spanish versions of the brochure; those will be mailed to the working group as soon as we have them.  The local IDHS offices have the applications and brochures and should be able to answer some questions about the program.  Pat and her staff are doing many outreach meetings.  They are also working on a website.    If you have any questions, or if you find that IDHS caseworkers do not know about the program, please contact the SSI Coalition.

§        Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach Projects – Tyler McHaley from the ORS BPAO project reported that they are busy seeing clients and doing outreach.  The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) has 3 vacancies for benefits planners at the present time.  If you are interested in one of these positions, or have questions about them, please contact Lavonzell Paige at 312.746.5743.

§        Ticket to Work – SSA mailed the first 10% of the tickets to eligible beneficiaries on February 6.  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 were the first to receive tickets.  Anyone who is ticket eligible can call Maximus and request a ticket – this is called “ticket on demand”; you do not have to wait until you receive a ticket in the mail.  Call the SSI Coalition if you have ticket questions.

§        Ticket to Work forums – The SSI Coalition and the PABSS program of Equip for Equality are co-sponsoring 2 forums for consumers on how to use a ticket.  They are scheduled for Chicago on April 17 from 1 to 3 at MOPD, and in Springfield on April 22 from 1 to 3 at the Illinois Council for Developmental Disabilities.  If you need more information, please contact Marsie Frawley at the SSI Coalition.

§        Department of Labor grant – The training of the one-stops has begun.  Training will be provided on disability awareness, assistive technology, ticket to work and work incentives. 

§        The self-employment subcommittee has been meeting under the direction of Marsie Frawley.  The committee is planning a panel presentation on individuals who are self-employed.  The panel will focus on barriers encountered and 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.

§        The PASS Cadre of SSA has a new phone number.  It is 866.575.4889.  They are working on obtaining a TTY number.

§        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.

§        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.