Independent Living Resources

Independent Living Resources (ILR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with all disabilities. The agency provides services using both staff and volunteers.


  • Art
  • Cooking “Individualized Assessments”
  • Crossroads Discussion (TBI) Group
  • Peer Counseling Class
  • Ready to Rent
  • Visually Impaired Support Group
  • Women’s Support Group
  • Writing Group

For class schedule see ILR’s Newsletter.

Healthy Lifestyles – Healthy Lifestyles is a self directed goal setting program to help individuals live a healthier life. This program also offers ongoing mentoring. To learn about Healthy Lifestyles, please call Sarah Gerth at 503-232-7411 or

Housing – ILR can answer many questions about housing for you. We can provide help with the following:

  • Advocacy and Education
  • Community “Tenants Rights and Responsibilities” Training
  • Fair Housing Amendments Act
  • Landlord/Tenant Mediation
  • Ready to Rent Class

Skills Instruction – At ILR we offer skills instruction, both individual and in small groups, which can help people with disabilities acquire skills to live more independently.

Examples of topics:

  • Anger management
  • Braille and Orientation & Mobility Instruction
  • Communication Skills
  • Household Management
  • Leisure/Recreation
  • Personal Safety
  • Pre-vocational Information
  • Self-Esteem
  • Social Skills

Sports/Outdoor Recreation – For people with disabilities who are interested in sports or the outdoors please join us. We offer a variety of outings and activities. Please contact Patricia Kepler at 503-232-7411 or if you are interested in learning more about our outdoor recreation program.

Volunteer Program – ILR’s services are provided by both staff and volunteers. Volunteers are essential to the success of this organization. They enable us to provide services without exceeding our budget. Volunteers serve in many capacities at ILR, including the Board of Directors, peer counselors, and teachers. Please contact Sarah Naomi Campbell if you find interest in becoming an ILR volunteer. Download Volunteer Application

STEPS Program – It’s often said that knowledge is power. STEPS empowers participants by providing information about rights and responsibilities, and helping them develop the skills needed to hire and manage Homecare Workers.Call Suzanne to sign up for the next workshop at ILR.  Each workshop is from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM, and lunch and snacks are included.  Eligible participants (see below) will receive a comprehensive handbook, follow-up services as needed, and a $25 gift card.  To register, or for more information, call the STEPS Training Coordinator (503) 232-7411 or email

WIN (Work Incentives Network) – Thinking about work but concerned about benefits? The Work Incentives Network can help you create a plan for success! WIN can help you understand how work will effect:

  • Social Security Benefits
  • Medical Benefits
  • Food Stamps
  • Housing Assistance
  • And More..

To learn more about working and disability benefits, call us at 503-232-7411 or email You can also call our partners on this project, Disability Rights Oregon, at 503-243-2081.

Disability Secrets – Online Resource for Navigating Social Security

Disability Secrets is an online resource for applying for Social Security and navigating the appeals process.

About the site:

The purpose of this site is to distribute information that, typically, is impossible to get from the person taking your claim for SSD and SSI benefits. In essence, applying for disability and SSI benefits might as well be a secret process since Social Security does not try to make this information clear or even understandable.

Statistically, seventy percent of all SSD (a.k.a. SSDI) and SSI claims, represented or otherwise, are denied at application. What does this mean for ssd and ssi applicants who are disabled and need help? That they should follow this advice tip: learn everything you can about the benefit approval system to better your chances of winning, with or without the help of a disability attorney or lawyer.

The information, tips and advice presented here can help you understand: 1) How to apply for benefits with the Social Security Administration, 2) How the SSDI and SSI system works, 3) What SSA doesn’t tell you about the application and appeal process, 4) What you can do on your own as a disabled applicant to help your case, 5) When you should consider getting a disability advocate, representative, or attorney and 6) What you should never do that might potentially harm your case.

This is simply the information you should be able to get from a representative at the Social Security Administration, but almost never will.

If you suffer from a medical, psychological, or psychiatric impairment and have initiated or been denied on a social security disability, or ssi, claim for benefits, this site may assist you with your case.

Three Groups that Will Soon Face Higher Medicare Premiums

Via US News and World Report

Most Medicare beneficiaries won’t pay higher premiums for Part B medical insurance coverage next year. Under current law, Part B premiums cannot rise faster than Social Security annual cost-of-living increases. And the Congressional Budget Office predicts there will be no cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients in 2010 and 2011. But the law doesn’t protect all Medicare recipients from elevated health insurance costs. About 75 percent of people will be protected from the premium increase, according to Juliette Cubanski, a policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation. The remaining 25 percent of Medicare recipients will face larger than normal premium increases because the costs are spread across a smaller share of beneficiaries. Here is who will have to pay greater Medicare premiums in the near future.

Medicaid recipients. Medicaid, which is funded by states and the federal government, already pays Medicare part B premiums for low-income individuals who qualify for both government programs. Medicaid will absorb the larger premiums for the 17 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who are also eligible for Medicaid. “The individual doesn’t pay the higher cost of the Part B premium, but the state does,” says Cubanski.

High income retirees. Seniors with a modified adjusted gross income above $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples in 2009 already pay steeper premiums than other retirees. The wealthiest 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries aren’t exempt from further Part B premium hikes.

New enrollees. Retirees who sign up for Social Security and/or Part B medical coverage for the first time next year will also face higher premiums than existing Medicare recipients. While most Medicare Part B recipients currently pay $96.40 per month and will continue to be charged the same premium amount next year, costs are likely to increase for a quarter of retirees to $104.20 monthly in 2010 and $120.20 in 2011, according to the Medicare Trustees.

Current law does not protect Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage recipients from premium increases in years when there is no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment. Retirees who experience increases in their Part D premiums could receive smaller Social Security checks next year.

Living on social security? No cost-of-living increase for you next year


For the first time in more than 30 years, Social Security recipients won’t be getting a cost-of-living adjustment. That increase is pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year.

Negative inflation is a good thing for consumers shopping for groceries and other staples, since it means lowered costs on many of the items we buy every day. But what is good news for the rest of us equals bad news for those expecting the same 5.8 percent raise they got January 2009 for their Social Security benefits starting January 2010. That’s because a negative inflation rate means there will be no Social Security increase come 2010.

The lack of an increase is expected to be especially hard on older people who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care. Health care costs continue to rise faster than inflation.

For more information, you can go to Social Security Online to find out how cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. In general, that resource tells you that a cost-of-living increase is equal to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of one year to the third quarter of the next. If there is no CPI-W increase, there is no cost-of-living increase either.

This is the first time in a generation that there will be no adjustment this next January. While benefits would not go lower, the deductions for Medicare and especially the prescription drug plan written under the Bush administration, will go up. Since millions of seniors have those benefits deducted from their social security check, come January those millions will get a smaller amount for each regular Social Security check.

Are you (or someone you know) receiving Social Security disability benefits and interested in exploring your work options?

Do you have questions about work like these…

  • Can I work and still keep my Social Security benefits?
  • Can I work and keep my healthcare benefits?
  • Who can help me understand how working will affect my benefits?
  • Who can help me find a job?

Disability Rights Oregon and Work Incentives Network are hosting the 2009 Work Incentives Seminar and Employment Supports Fair on Wednesday September 16th with morning and afternoon sessions running 9am – 3pm. Agenda below:

  • 10:00 & 1:00  Overview of Employment Process Molly Sullivan, WIN Program
  • 10:30 & 1:30   Benefits Planning Presentation Disability Rights Oregon, Planning for Work / WIN
  • 11:00 & 2:00   Health Care Benefits Disability Rights Oregon / Community Partners
  • 11:30 & 2:30    Employment Accommodations Ted Wenk, Attorney, Disability Rights Oregon

Location: Portland Oregon State Office Building 800 NE Oregon Street, Portland Oregon 97232

To RSVP and for accommodations, please call 503 243 2081 or visit

You can register online:

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 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.