ARTICLE: People With Disabilities Are Leaving Stimulus Money on the Table

The IRS reports that more than 5 million retirees, people with disabilities and disabled veterans who are eligible to receive a tax rebate under the $152 billion economic stimulus package have failed to take the steps necessary to get their checks.

Social Security recipients (including beneficiaries receiving Social Security Disability Income) and disabled veterans who earned at least $3,000 in qualified benefits, earned income, or both, may be eligible to receive an economic stimulus payment of up to $300 per person or $600 per couple.

But there is a catch. In order to receive an economic stimulus payment, eligible beneficiaries or veterans must file a 2007 income tax return, even if they are not required to file because their income is below the filing threshold. Since many low-income people with disabilities, along with retirees, have not filed a tax return in many years, they may not be aware that they are eligible to receive a stimulus payment. Most people in this situation will be able to file a Form 1040A, with only a few lines filled, in order to meet the filing requirement. This can be done up until October 15, 2008.

People with disabilities have more good news regarding the stimulus payments. Although SSI payments do not count towards the $3,000 annual income requirement for receipt of a stimulus payment, many SSI beneficiaries also receive SSDI benefits which do count. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued instructions explaining that the stimulus payments do not count as income in determining SSI eligibility and will not count as a resource for two months following the month in which they are received. (See earlier Special Needs Answers article.)

For more information on the stimulus payments and what income tax forms to file, go to www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040.

For a recent article in USA Today detailing the IRS’s efforts to reach out to seniors and veterans with disabilities, click here.

For state fact sheets on unclaimed stimulus payments, click here.

Via Academy of Special Needs Planners. Thanks to Washington County Developmental Disabilities Program for the info.

RESOURCE: Looking For Resources? Respite Providers? Check Out Disability Compass

Disability Compass provides information on services, products, and special health care resources for people with disabilities, their families and their supporters.

There’s a Respite Provider search and a comprehensive listing of agencies and individuals serving the disability community. We have partnered with Disability Compass in the first year of our operations and highly recommend this resource.

RESOURCE: Connect with Others at Disaboom

Disaboom.com was founded by Dr. J. Glen House, a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation who is also a quadriplegic. His firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and those whose lives they touch has driven the Disaboom.com mission: to create the first comprehensive, evolving source of information, insight, and personal engagement for the disability community.

Check it out here.

RESOURCE: Next Time You’re Looking for Resources, Don’t Forget to Check Out 211

People looking for help in Portland and its surrounding communities often do not know where to begin. Locating such basic resources as food, shelter, employment, or health care may mean calling dozens of phone numbers, then struggling through a maze of agencies and services to make the right connections. 211info is built on a quarter-century history of restoring dignity to people’s lives by providing comprehensive information and referral service in this region.

Check out 211 here.

RESOURCE: Carespace – A Blog and an Online Caregiver Community

Carespace.com is the first major online community for caregivers. It’s a place for caregivers to meet, develop relationships, share stories and garner support for one another. They’re in their beta testing phase right now – you should join in and check it out.

While the community site is being tested and readied, you can check out their highly regarded blog here. Below, a snippet from a recent post.

The responses to my last post illustrate some of the many takes on the word “caregiver.” I’m grateful for all of them. Intense feelings about who we care for often supercede more general ideas around “caregiving.” So much so that any talk about grouping us together sometimes seems to detract from the individual experience.

At the same time, we know that parents of children with different illness or disabilities have a lot to share by way of information and support — even though when we do go looking for others, our search usually follows along the trail of a particular medical issue.

So I’ll be direct about the challenge of building the community for Carespace. I know that Carespace must be valuable and inviting to a mom and dad with an autistic child who want contact with others just like them. I also know that they may benefit from interaction with all sorts of moms and dads. (Not to mention that they may also be caring for an elderly relative.) But the reality today is that we haven’t established the idea of a global community of “caregivers.” It’s not yet ingrained in the overall dialog. To make this concept useful, we’ll have to discover the value of links between different “caring types.” This is something most of us will have to experience before we take it for granted.

Read more here.

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