INDIVIDUAL & SYSTEM ADVOCACY
SMCIL provides advocacy on behalf of individuals who need this kind of support – for instance a staff or peer mentor might go with them to social services, social security administration or doctor appointment. We often provide this kind of support via phone and email, as much as in person.
SMCIL has programs to help people learn self-advocacy skills.
We provide advocacy related workshops where people can learn together how the various systems work utilizing self-advocacy skills. Individuals can work with a peer mentor to learn advocacy skills – someone who can go along with them, cheer them on and practice with them ahead of time what they want to say and do on their own behalf. The mentor might help them write letters to their legislators, or to their doctor.
Nothing About us Without us!
SMCIL and all other Centers for Independent Living are involved in changing systems to make them more user friendly and responsive to our needs. Independent Living & Self- Determination philosophy stresses the importance of people with disabilities being in decision-making roles about programs that are for their benefit.
Because most people have not had accurate information about how the Social Security work incentives work, some people have worked and not informed SSA and have ended up getting an overpayment which SSA expects to be paid back. Although consumers will have to pay back the money, SMCIL staff can help negotiate the SSA repayment to a reasonable monthly amount.
We inform SSDI and SSI recipients and beneficiaries of their rights and responsibilities when they choose to work while disabled – as well as work incentives they may not know about that helps them ease off benefits. To avoid SSA over payments and for more information on Benefits Counseling to advise you on ways to return to work without losing benefits, click the CONTACT US button.