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Fifth Freedom – Empowering people with disabilities to make positive change

They say, give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. That’s the idea behind Fifth Freedom.

Fifth Freedom gives people with disabilities the tools to organize themselves and tackle common problems. Maybe some buildings aren’t physically accessible. Or local public transportation needs to be improved. Or perhaps, legislators need to hear what 20% of their constituents think about how they spend their tax money. Whatever the case, we are here to empower people with disabilities to remove the barriers that thwart their potential. So if you’re the self-reliant type, contact us. We’re assembling a cast of thousands statewide who are willing to invest a little time to make a big difference.

Social Security Administration offers the nation a refreshing COLA – 64 million Americans to receive 1.7% cost of living adjustment in 2015

Information courtesy of the Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration has announced that nearly 64 million Americans will get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2015. Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase by 1.7%. This is a slight increase over 2014’s COLA of 1.5%. For Social Security beneficiaries, the increase will start in January of 2015. SSI beneficiaries will have a slightly happier New Year, as their increase will begin on December 31, 2014.

The amount of the COLA is determined by inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W is essentially a list of changes in the price of goods and services purchased by clerical workers, sales workers, craft workers, operative, service workers, or laborers. The CPI-W does not count purchases made by retirees or people not in the labor force.

More information:

For questions, please visit your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (voice) or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

Doug Schmidt
Act Team Coordinator
The Fifth Freedom Network

Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) Critical Barriers Survey

Information courtesy of Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services, the Hamilton Center Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University-Bloomington

Each year, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) asks for input from the public to help determine how IPAS spends its resources and efforts for the next year. If you would like to help, please take a brief survey to identify critical barriers that IPAS should consider as priority areas for their advocacy efforts – barriers that you believe, if eliminated or reduced, would benefit people with disabilities the most.

The survey is here.

To request the poll in an alternative format, or questions or more information, contact Matt Norris at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at 1-800-825-4733 or via e-mail at cpps@indiana.edu .

IPAS works to protect and advocate the rights of people with disabilities. It is an independent state agency, which receives no state funding and is independent from all service providers. Learn more about IPAS at http://www.in.gov/ipas/ .

Thanks for your help, advocates!

Doug Schmidt
Act Team Coordinator
The Fifth Freedom Network

Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities Twentieth Anniversary Annual Conference on December 8-9, 2014

Information courtesy of the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities

Join fellow disability advocates at the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities annual conference! This year’s conference, themed “Improve Yours: A Call for Health Communities” will take place at the Westin Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis. Keynote speakers and workshops will focus on steps that can be taken to make sure your community is healthy, accessible, and welcoming for all.

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the conference Mardi Gras style at this year’s reception Monday night will with special decorations, music, dancing and refreshments!
Save money by bringing a friend or a carload!

•Scholarship applications due: Friday, October 31 (if lodging is needed)
•Registration deadline: Friday, November 21

Register and pay on line.  If you are applying for a scholarship you cannot use the on line registration system.  For more information on the program or to download a copy of the registration forms and scholarship application here.

For additional registration booklets or more information, call 317-232-7770 or gpcpd@gpcpd.org.
Don’t forget to bring a can for the food drive!

Doug Schmidt
Act Team Coordinator
The Fifth Freedom Network

Open Dialogue with the EEOC – October 21 at locations across the state

Information courtesy of ADA-Indiana, the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, and the Great Lakes ADA Center

On October 21, the ADA National Network will present an informative audio conference, “Open Dialogue with the EEOC”. Sharon Rennert, a Senior Attorney Advisor for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will give an update on EEOC Enforcement and Guidance Activities, and answer questions from the audience.

Open Dialogue with the EEOC
Tuesday, October 21
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm ET

This audio conference will be offered at several locations: Bloomington, Indianapolis (two locations), Monticello, Terre Haute, Versailles, and West Lafayette. For location addresses, visit http://www.adaindiana.org/audio/ .

Can’t make it in person? Listen online at http://ada-audio.org/ProgramInformation/ .

For questions or more information, contact ADA-Indiana at adainfo@indiana.edu or (812) 855-6508.

Doug Schmidt
Act Team Coordinator
The Fifth Freedom Network

Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities – Apply by Oct 31

Information courtesy of the Viscardi Center

Studies have proven that volunteering or participating in an internship are the best predictors of future success in the workplace. The Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities gives college students with disabilities the opportunity to jumpstart their career path and gain a competitive edge.

To qualify to apply for the Emerging Leaders program, you must:

  • Self-identify as a person with a qualified disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Have completed a minimum of 60 college/university-level credits
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA (more…)