Financial Planning Resources

“Financial independence is possible!”

With hard work, planning, education, training, and support from Social Security, Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) , employment support providers and others you can have a good job, good career, and a better, self-supporting future. Here are some resources that can help you access WIPA support and information on available work incentives! Being proactive is important and these tools can help put you in the drivers seat to increased independence.

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Lesly Quintanilla Lopez: The Impact of Work on Benefits (October 2021)

The Impact of Work on Benefits: Worried about losing public benefits? Competitive employment IS an option! Benefits Planning & Work Incentives: Busting Barriers to Employment  

Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 3-4pm ET.
Register

Guest speaker: Lesly Quintanilla Lopez is the executive director for The Keys Advocacy Center, Center for Independent Living where she is responsible for a multi-county, community-based project from SSA and for the Independent Living program covering the Florida Keys.  As an advocate for people with disabilities and the elderly for the last 14 years, her skills and areas of expertise include advocacy, disability issues, and health insurance specifically Medicare.

 Lesly enjoys serving and contributing to her community and she is currently involved with:

  • The Alliance for Aging, as part of the Board of Directors, and volunteering for the SHINE program as an Area Coordinator for Monroe County since 2009 and
  • The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) educating Medicare beneficiaries in how to prevent fraud to Medicare since Feb 2014
  • Disability Independent Group (DIG) as a newsletter contributor since April 2014

The American Red Cross Greater Miami and the Keys Chapter as a Community Volunteer Leader.  In this volunteer role, she serves as an ambassador for the Red Cross in Monroe County.  She also sits on the Red Cross South Florida Disability Integration Team since May 2019.  This year, 2021, Lesly was named the Disaster Cycle Services Preparedness Volunteer of the Year!

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Lesly was awarded The Golden Choices Volunteer of the year recognition from the Department of Elders Affairs State of Florida some years back for her volunteer services to SHINE program from the Alliance for Aging.  Some of her hobbies and special interests include spending time with her family, reading and being involved in serving her community.   Lesly has been happily married for the last 28 years and lives in Homestead, which is a 45-minutes ride from the beautiful Florida Keys where she works.

Learn more about past and upcoming presentations.

Mentors offer Support and Connection to Students Navigating Educational Challenges

When a student is at risk for poor educational outcomes because of a significant disability, medical issue, or emotional or behavioral problem, a mentor may be able to provide a unique, invaluable form of support different from the support teachers, other professionals, or family members provide. This is what mentors in the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System (FDLRS) provide to students in school and students transitioning to work or postsecondary education: www.fdlrs.org/.

The FDLRS is made up of six regional multidisciplinary centers (MDCs), each connected to a local university. When educational professionals identify students who may benefit from assessment and support, they can arrange for these services through the center closest to them.

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July 2021 archive: Project SEARCH: Looking to the Future

Recording from the July 20, 2021 presentation: Project SEARCH: Looking to the Future

Project SEARCH is a proven school to work transition program where youth experience a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and relevant job-skills training at a local business. Building a successful program takes commitment, teamwork and problem solving. One reason Project SEARCH works? Workplace immersion. What is this? And how does it help students? What should you do at the local level? Join us and learn more!

Presenters:

Patti Langford, ESE transition specialist, Nassau County School District

Join us July 20 at 3pm to learn about the benefits of Project SEARCH!

Project SEARCH is a proven school to work transition program where youth experience a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and relevant job-skills training at a local business. Building a successful program takes commitment, teamwork and problem solving. One reason Project SEARCH works? Workplace immersion. What is this? And how does it help students? What should you do at the local level? Join us and learn more! 

What: Project SEARCH in Florida: Transitioning to Work 
When: Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 3-4pm ET 
Register now! 

Presenters: 
Patti Langford, ESE transition specialist, Nassau County School District 
Donna Thompson, VR employment specialist, Nassau County School District 

EmployU Prepares Adults for Success at Work

Description of the practice:

EmployU is a one-stop career service provider that began its work in 2012 and now serves 40 Florida counties from 20 regional offices. Its customers are youth and adults with disabilities referred through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), and the American Dream Employment Network (ADEN).

EmployU’s services include assessments, employment skills training, support with resume development and interviewing, and paid work experiences. Students access many of these services through EmployU’s virtual pre-placement training program. The week-long class offers access to extensive, convenient training to help individuals prepare for or return to the world of work. The class combines instruction with interaction through learning exercises, discussions, and quizzes.

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IBUDGET: Lawmakers have agreed on the largest funding increase in recent history!

(April 28, 2021 update)

The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to share that Florida lawmakers have agreed to spend an additional $95 million a year to provide more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to services they need to live in their communities and out of institutions.
 
This is the largest funding increase in recent history and will help reduce the iBudget Waiver waiting list.
 
“We are very excited about (the $95 million). It will certainly help with getting a larger number of individuals off the waitlist than what we originally anticipated,” said Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Executive Director Valerie Breen.
 
 
We want to thank everyone who has contacted their legislator and made their voice heard on behalf of the iBudget Waiver and its services as well as for all Floridians with disabilities. It is because of your efforts we were able to Preserve the iBudget Waiver this legislative session.
 
While this funding is what we were asking for during our Preserve the iBudget initiative, we are still closely monitoring the estimated 50 percent vacancy rate of direct support staff. We are hoping this will be something that the Legislature will also address.
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Thinking about college?

College is for everyone!

There are many college programs that serve students with intellectual disabilities. They provide individual supports and services for the academic and social inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in academic courses, extracurricular activities, and more. Follow this link for a list of inclusive college programs from our friends at Thinkcollege.net!