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16.10.2018
Regional Conference "Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Politics and Elections",
Balkan Independent Disability Network (BIDF) and the Office of the OSCE More...
28.09.2018
Project promotion in Sabac
Official promotion of the project Promotion of the philosophy of independent liv More...
27.09.2018
Training for PA in Belgrade
Training for PA in September More...
22.06.2018
Partnership - aims and challenges
Within the BIDF regional network More...
21.06.2018
Strategic planning
CIL Serbia organised a workshop More...

Hidden Limits


By Jenny Weast

On October 14, 2014, I posted on Facebook that I was in desperate need of legal assistance and advice.

It’s pretty simple. My name is Jenny and I was paralyzed in a skiing accident when I was sixteen years old and became a C5-6 quadriplegic. Soon after, I was told by our government that I could still go to college, have a career, and become independent. There were programs put in place that would support me in my dream to do each of these things. If I put in the work, they would pay for my caregivers to assist with all my personal care, housecleaning, shopping, medical appointments, etc. So, I took the government up on that offer, and became a college graduate, high school teacher, and cheerleading coach who lived independently.

I had made it… family and friends that loved me, incredible caregivers to take care of the things I couldn’t physically do, my own small home, a modified van I could drive myself, coaching a National Champion cheer team, and 105 high school kids per day that I got to teach and inspire.

36 years after our original conversation, the government has decided I have become too successful.The Social Security Administration deemed I had more than the allowed $2,000 in my bank account. 27 years of providing them all of my work related expenses and financial information was disregarded. That this ‘over the limit’ amount occurred on the day I was paid by my school district was irrelevant; they had closed my case. The next agency to send me a denial notice was Medi-Cal. I took all my financial info to them and they baulked at it. My income was too high for their rules. So, my friends contacted our state representatives who in turn requested Medi-Cal take a closer look at my case. They decided my ‘share of cost to stay eligible’ for my caregiver funding was to be more than half of my take-home pay. I am to start paying this share of cost for my caregivers December 1, 2014.

I teach high school Math. It is not mathematically possible to live independently as a C5-6 quad on half of a teacher’s take-home pay. It’s just not possible to pay for your caregivers on your own. So basically, I can’t afford to work. The thought of losing my home, career and independence has devastated my world.

My friends and I have since contacted over a hundred lawyers, agencies dealing with disabilities, economists, politicians and authors on the matter. The responses have ranged from sympathy to hostility toward me, from people telling me to learn to live within the system to those advising me to fight Congress.

My disability and my wheelchair is not my identity. I’ve worked for three decades to just be a friend, family member and teacher. I feel so betrayed by my country’s government. Why didn’t they tell me all those years ago that there were hidden limits, hidden ceilings/restrictions to my success?

That in reality, as a quadriplegic, you can’t be a teacher and live independently in the United States.Our public funding system is terribly flawed when it comes to those who are truly disabled and want to work. I have contributed so much more in taxes and giving back to my community through my work than I have ever taken from our government. I hope those with the power to change the system will do the right thing.

Every personregardless of his or her physical abilities, should be able to dream of and become a teacher.


18.11.2014

All news:

Employment of Persons with Disabilities
Parliamentary Working Group on Disability established
Training for PAs in Velika Plana
Project promotion
Round table in Smederevo
Round tables
Tomorrow Is Too Long to Wait for Inclusion
International Day of PWDs
29 Ways to Describe a Disability to Someone Who Doesn’t Understand It
CIL Serbia realised another PA training
Sectoral Round tables
Why Using a Wheelchair Is the Opposite of Giving Up
The 3 Words I Want Every Single Hospital Employee to Hear
8 ‘Helpful’ Things That Don’t Really Help People With Disabilities
When a Little Girl Felt Sorry for My Son
PA training in Vrsac
7 Microaggressions Disabled Folks Face at the Doctor’s Office—and 6 Ways to Fix Them
The 12 Pillars of Independent Living
The social model of disability
Hidden Limits
Dear Society, Why Don’t You See Different as Beautiful?
Myths and Facts About People with Disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2014
Licencing
EU Delegation in Serbia supported the increasing of political participation of persons with disabilities and the impact on policy development in Serbia
National Conference
Accredited Program of Education for Personal Assistants working in five cities in Serbia
CIL Serbia held its Presidency and the Assembly meetings
Jointly forces for economic and political empowerment of persons with disability
With joint forces of political and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities
"Public sector for all citizens"
Combining the strengths: Jointly for political and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities - EIDHR
Combining the strengths: Jointly for political and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities - EIDHR
Combining the strengths: Jointly for political and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities - EIDHR
"Walk of Shame on 5 May" - Save the date
Autism Awareness
SEMINAR – COMMUNICATION AND NEGOTIATING SKILLS
Donation of natural supplements
PROUD OF WHAT WE DO IN PAST 10 YEARS ( and a few more)
Establishing an informal parliamentary group for improving the status, position and quality of life of persons with disabilities ( PWDs Group )



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