Guide To Federal Help For The Disabled

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Pocket Guide To Federal Help For Individuals With Disabilities


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For more than eighteen years, the POCKET GUIDE TO FEDERAL HELP FOR
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES has been one of the most widely distributed
publications produced by the U.S. Department of Education and its
predecessor, the Office of Education in the Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare. Since its inception in 1980, the Department of Education has
committed itself to ensuring that all individuals with disabilities achieve
their full potential as productive, fully-contributing members of our
society. The publication of this booklet is part of this continuing effort.

Written for people with disabilities, their families, and service
providers, this publication contains information on government-wide benefits
and services for which individuals with disabilities may be eligible. As we
publish this new edition, it is our sincere hope that it will reach the wide
and varied audience for which it is intended, and that it will increase
awareness and provide useful information.

Knowledge is often the first step toward empowerment. We believe that
the information contained in this POCKET GUIDE will begin to empower those
who read it with the knowledge they need to achieve independence, which is
not a privilege in our country, but every person's right.

The Clearinghouse on Disability Information Office of Special Education
and Rehabilitative Services

This booklet is meant to make you, an individual with disabilities, or
the parent/guardian of a child with disabilities, aware of the principal
government services for which you or your child may be eligible. This revised
edition describes benefits applicable specifically to those who are blind,
deaf, or developmentally disabled. These persons are also eligible for the
general benefits as outlined in this booklet.

Because so much of the federal contribution to services for individuals
with disabilities is made to states -- and the states determine how to spend
the money, within certain guidelines -- it would be impossible to pinpoint
exactly what you will find in your own state or locality. What we have tried
to outline for you in this guide is the general scope of federal support for
services to individuals with disabilities. Included are the names and
addresses of the various federal agencies that can steer you to their state
and/or local counterpart offices. You may also wish to contact us for a
listing of key agencies in your state. These agencies should be your starting
point for exploring the services available to you where you live. Write to
the Federal Headquarters if you are unable to reach your state service
agencies directly.

States and localities may provide services which are financed out of
their own resources. These are not discussed in this guide. To find out about
any of these special programs, contact an information and referral center in
your vicinity to help put you in touch with the array of services for which
you may qualify.

We hope this guide will alert you to the variety of services which may
be of benefit to you and that it will get you started on the road to
contacting those that are pertinent to your needs. Every time you call a
state or local agency, we suggest that you ask for the names of other people
or agencies that might also be helpful. You may accumulate a number of useful
and helpful contacts in this way.



If you are a veteran with disabilities and want to know about the many
programs available to you, apply to your nearest Department of Veterans
Affairs field office, or write to:

Department of Veterans Affairs Washington, DC 20420



If you are an American Indian, a person over 65, or a person with
little or no income, you may qualify for additional programs based on factors
other than your disability. For leads on tracking these down, call your local
welfare office, your local public housing authority, or your Indian tribal
housing authority. If you are elderly, you may be eligible for special
nutrition programs such as Meals on Wheels, or for other special services.
The federal government provides funds for area resource centers for the
ageing, usually listed in the Yellow Pages under "Aged" or
"Elderly" or "Social Services."



Use this booklet to help you track down the appropriate agencies
nearest you. Remember, not every service is available and not every person
can be helped 100 percent. Keep in mind that every year new programs begin
and some old ones end, particularly at the state and local levels. Keep in
touch with your contacts and stay as aware as you can, through reading and
talking to knowledgeable people about what is happening in the area of
services to individuals with disabilities. There are many excellent voluntary
organisations, as well as state, local, and federal offices that can help
you. Numerous newsletters are produced by groups of and for individuals with

We hope you will take advantage of all these avenues and that your
search for assistance will be a fruitful one.



Special programs and benefits for blind and deaf individuals are listed
in the appropriate section (e.g., vocational rehabilitation or education).
Since the Program for Developmental Disabilities encompasses medical
assistance, job training, and social and other services, and is administered
by a special state agency, it is described below.



The developmental disabilities (DD) program makes use of existing
services in health, welfare, education, and rehabilitation to provide for the
long-range needs of people with developmental disabilities. These
disabilities are defined as severe, chronic disabilities attributable to
mental or physical impairment, which are manifested before age 22, result in
substantial functional limitations in several areas of life, and require
services over an extended period.

Availability of services will vary in all
communities, and services can include diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of
the disabled.

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