ILNC ACCESS news, Spring 2018

Power of Love Outreach
Dexter Colvin

I created the Power of Love Outreach in 1996. The purpose of my outreach is to provide hope to those with disabilities and to dignify their purpose in life. My outreach gives support to both the individual and their families. In the past, my outreach has given out Thanksgiving baskets for the needy; which were filled with food. I have also thrown Christmas parties for the disabled and youth population. We have also helped to fix up a woman’s home. Most recently, my outreach has provided bags of school supplies for the
young people in the community. 

Moving forward, I plan on attending Town Hall meetings, in order to inform people about my outreach. As people become more aware of the purpose of my outreach, I would like for it to become a Community Center that integrates those with and without disabilities.

If you would like more information about my outreach and any upcoming events, please contact me at (716) 284-9327.

Independent Living Specialist and Benefits Advisor

Robert Leiter

I currently am an Independent Living Specialist, and Benefits Advisor. I assist consumers who want to apply for benefits including Social Security, or Title II Benefits, SNAP. I help empower my consumers to get the information they need and meet them where they are at. I also assist with the ticket to work program where a Title II recipient can work, and still receive benefits, and get paid for at least 12 consecutive months while earning as much as they want with no effect on their Title II benefits. If they are under $850.00 a month for 2018 they do not use a ticket. Impairment related work expenses can lower a person’s income through the ticket to work program so that they make less than $850.00 so that a ticket is not used. I also assist with the Social Security Savings programs to keep people on Social Security Supplements to stay under the income and resource limits.

As an independent Living Specialist, I assist to educate, empower, and help them to realize their true value as an individual. I can assist with anyone with any and all disabilities. I provide Peer Counseling, assist with any goal that a person is interested in to be successful. I also provide information and referral services as well. My goal and objective is never to judge people and to be culturally sensitive. I always need to be
aware of my own upbringing and bias I may bring to the table to leave them at home and do the best job I can for a consumer based on their objectives and feelings.

Health and Recovery Plan (HARP)

Lauren Ryan

Health and Recovery Plan (HARP) is part of Medicaid that is an enhancement package that includes Home and Community Based Services. This provides people with the opportunity to get their physical and mental health needs met, while still being able to remain in their homes. To be eligible for HARP a person must be 21 years old, only have Medicaid and be eligible for managed care. Not all people have been notified that they are eligible for HARP. Some people have received phone calls and others have received letters. If you think you qualify for HARP, please call your local Department of Social and Services and ask if HARP is part of your Medicaid Plan.

Here at Independent Living of Niagara County we provide the Home and Community Based Service of peer counseling by a New York State Certified Peer. This provides an unique opportunity for someone who has had experience with a mental illness to help an individual who is currently suffering with a mental illness. This process gives hope to people and allows for a connection that cannot be found in other mental health

Taking Control, Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Services (CDPAS) Program in Niagara County

Dori Parry

The Niagara County Taking Control Program has been serving many Consumers as we continue to grow.

As our “Taking Control” Program grows, we are always happy to welcome new Consumers. This program allows someone with a disability to be the supervisor of their own personal assistant services. The Consumer can hire who the like, with a few restrictions, train them in areas that are important to them, maintain their own schedule and supervise their work daily.

Through the CDPAS Program, we can help in developing an advertisement or other resources to help in locating potential personal assistants. We also provide a detailed training manual to help in managing your personal assistant services and help with understanding what you will need to train and supervise individuals. We also can link this program with other Niagara County Independent Living services.

MAAP Medicaid Application Assistance Program

Sally Perez

MAAP provides one-on-one FREE application assistance to individuals who would like
to apply for Medicaid programs including, but not limited to:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Savings Program
  • Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities
  • Managed Long-Term Care
  • Medicaid Spend-Down
  • Nursing Home Coverage

Communication through Telephone

Jeanette Grimaldi

What is videophone?

Videophone is a device that assists Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who use sign language to communicate with other people. The phone can be used by Deaf people to communicate with other Deaf to communicate with each other or Hearing people through interpreters. This service is free-for more information to request this services contact

What is caption telephone?

Caption telephone is special telephone that have a built-in screen to display in text/caption everything that is being said by other person is captioned on telephone. For more information please contact Clear Captions

Deaf Social Support Group

Deaf Social Support Group is social support group that uses sign language that meet once a month at various restaurants. For more information please contact Jeanette Grimaldi at 716-402-5508 or email

Health Home Care

Constance Walker

Hi, my name is Constance Walker and I am the Health Home Care Coordinator at Independent Living of Niagara County. We are excited to be offering Niagara Falls Memorial Health Home services within the agency. As the Care Coordinator, my job is to assist consumers with linkage to Health Care providers and social service agencies. I keep in constant contact with providers to ensure the consumer is receiving the best care possible while living independently in the community.

The Health Home program was developed through the Affordable Care Act of 2010. States were given the option to create a Medicaid State Plan benefit to establish Health Homes to coordinate care for people with Medicaid who have chronic medical conditions. To qualify for Health Home services you must have Medicaid, two chronic conditions, one Mental Health Diagnosis or HIV/AIDS.

If you are unsure if you qualify for Health Home services please contact me at 716-284-4131 ext. 210.


Mark Shaw

In this time of accelerated change in so many of the areas where services are provided to people disabilities, my job is systems advocate is to do my best to update you on the changes so that you can be appropriately prepared. And for this newsletter, I got a doozy when it comes to Medicaid services.

Previously, if you had a disagreement with the service that Medicaid was providing, you had the right to go directly to an impartial fair hearing. These hearings, led by hearing officers employed by the state, assured you a fair hearing of your issue whether it be the need for increased aide hours or approval of therapies, to use two common examples. Starting in May 2018, fair hearings are only available to Medicaid recipients who have attempted to use the appeal process within their Managed Long Term Care or Manage Care Organization plan. (The old system does still apply if you’re not using a MCO or MLTC - called “Medicaid fee-for-service”).

It’s very important that you keep track of communications you get from your plan about changes to your services. The new system has a very short window to assure that your services continue while you appeal (called “Aid Continuing”) - 10 days from the day the letter sent by your plan is dated.

Like every change in state policy, there are some loopholes and exceptions. If you have a concern about fighting for services you need, contact the advocates here at ILNC. We keep track of these things and can give you the most current information.

ILNC Policymaker’s Breakfast

ILNC pm breakfast

ILNC pm breakfast