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By Sunrise Group on January 15, 2016

ABLE Accounts May Be Available Sooner Than Expected

DID YOU KNOW? Tucked inside a tax bill approved by lawmakers in December 2015 is a provision that will permit individuals with disabilities to open new accounts established under the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act in any state, regardless of where they reside. Despite federal passage of the ABLE Act in 2014, states had to approve their own legislation and develop mechanisms to regulate and administer the new accounts before letting consumers take advantage. As of December 2015, only 35 states had approved such legislation. The December 2015 change means that people with disabilities across the country will be able to open ABLE accounts when the first state programs are up and running which could happen as soon as February or March. Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Nebraska are widely expected to be among the first to make ABLE programs available.

By Sunrise Group on January 13, 2016

What Does The Disability Integration Act Propose?

On December 18, 2015, U.S. Senator Charles Schmer (D-NY) filed S. 2427 before the 114th Congress. The Bill is known as the “Disability Integration Act of 2015.” Many are asking exactly what the proposal will do for people with disabilities. Basically, the bill would expand access to community living for millions of Americans. Known as the Disability Integration Act, the legislation would dramatically alter the status quo. Current law generally assures people with disabilities care in nursing homes and other institutional facilities if they need assistance with eating, bathing, housekeeping and other daily activities. Unfortunately, the availability of community-based services is often more limited and subject to long waiting lists. Schumer’s proposal would outlaw such waiting lists and prohibit caps on services as well as other measures like low pay that may restrict access to community living. Sunrise encourages everyone to ask their Congressmen to support this bill!

By Sunrise Group on January 11, 2016

Sunrise In The News: Spotlight on Greeneville, Tennessee

Leaders at the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities have produced a booklet educating residents of East Tennessee about the success of community inclusion and its benefits to the community. DIDD wrote “These homes provide a safe, structured, permanent place in which people with disabilities can live, When a society is able to provide for the basic needs of its people, ultimately, everyone benefits.” Sunrise Community of Tennessee is Greeneville is a very successful working model that continues to help Tennesseeans with intellectual disabilities transition out of institutional care settings into local communities. Job very well done #TeamTennessee!

By Sunrise Group on January 8, 2016

Inclusive Voices: Life Lessons For A New Year

As we are into the second week of January in 2016, people are beginning to move beyond their New Year’s resolutions which are (thankfully) no longer clouding social media with pictures of squats, kale, inspirational quotes and goals. People everywhere are declaring that this year is going to be the year they do it: the year they lose the weight, the year they quit smoking, the year they run a marathon, the year they get a 4.0 GPA, the year their career takes off. But then somewhere as we approach February things start to drag. We find excuses not to go to the gym, we get too busy to take the time to work towards our goals, things become stressful and life happens. But what if instead of setting new goals, we started recognizing and appreciating all the new life lessons that we are carrying into the new year. One self-advocate and Sunbeam Writing Club member from Cape Coral shares his “Journey.”

By Sunrise Group on January 6, 2016

Save-the-Date & Buy Your Tickets Now!!! … Sarasota Exotic Car Fest Set for February 19-21, 2016

One of the more eclectic festivals in Florida is back for another exciting event as the Sarasota’s Exotic Car Festival celebrates beauty, power and speed. Car enthusiasts, exotic car owners and adrenaline-jockeys with a “need for speed” are counting down the minutes until Southwest Florida’s signature luxury automobile event opens. For the fourth year, the 2016 Festival will benefit United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The 2016 event will kick-off with a Luxury Lifestyle Jet Port Reception on Friday, February 19th and runs through Sunday, February 21, 2016.

By Sunrise Group on January 4, 2016

Inclusive Voices: Website Accessibility in 2016

As Sunrise kicks off a fresh new year, we are working on significant upgrades to our website and advocacy tools for 2016! The countdown is on to our re-launch in the first quarter of this year. It will feature many helpful tools for self-advocates, allies, supporters and the general public. As always, accessibility is a critical component of our upgrades. It is important to know the accessibility laws, regulations, rules, and grant requirements that may apply to any website that is developed. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination and requires reasonable accommodations by local and state entities, including in their websites. How does your online communication effort rate on the accessibility scale? Guest blogger, Talley Wells shares his experience.