Welcome to The Monthly Memo

 July, 2015

The Arc of New Mexico Mission

The mission of The Arc of New Mexico is to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages by advocating for equal opportunities and choices in where and how they learn, live, work, play and socialize.  The Arc of New Mexico will promote self-determination, healthy families, effective community support systems and partnerships.

The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

www.arcnm.org

Twitter:Arc of NM@TheArcNM

Facebook: The Arc of New Mexico

Donate Now: https://www.arcnm.org/donate-now/

Randy Costales, Executive Director

Promoting and Protecting Human Rights Since 1955

The Story Continues: Mid to Late 1980's

Board Presidents during this time included Barbara Forrest, Frank Kovacich and Laurina Matuska.  In 1988 Kermit Stuve retired as Executive Director after 18 years of service and John Foley was hired as the new Executive Director. In 1989 Arlene Lee celebrated 20 years of service with NMARC as secretary and bookkeeper and finance manager.

 In 1986 three million dollars is approved by state legislator to fund services for children with developmental disabilities in public schools.  This was done primarily through the efforts of a group of young mothers led by Patty Ikard (later Jennings), a parent from Carlsbad.  Patty later joins the NMARC staff in 1989 to lead governmental affairs.

NMARC contracted with UNM Department of Special Education to conduct a statewide survey to determine the extent of need for specialized educational services for students with severe and profound handicaps, with severe maladaptive behaviors, and with low functional levels of behavior.  The law mandated that handicapped children must be served in the least restrictive environment, i.e. special education classes in public schools.  In 1985 the state’s special education program drew fire from legislators and school administrators, some who felt severely retarded children should not be included in school programs arguing that such children might receive better treatment in institutions and schools would save money as a result. 

Elizabeth Hirsch is awarded the Governor’s Service Award in the Individual Community Volunteer Leader Category.  She and six other parents founded a non-profit organization now known as The Arc of Albuquerque which built “opportunity schools” for children in churches, developed special education classes for the Albuquerque Public Schools and they lobbied for legislative action. 

NMARC owns 11 group homes providing residential services to 90 adults.  The Arc purchased its first home in 1981 and since then acquired homes in Alamogordo (2), Hobbs (2), Albuquerque (2), Aztec, Belen, Santa Fe and Las Cruces.  Four were built with HUD loans and seven were purchased with proceeds from The Arc’s Recycling Program.

NMARC is the legal corporate guardian for 80 individuals at the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School, Fort Stanton, Carrizozo, Alamogordo, Clovis, Albuquerque, Farmington, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Alcalde.

In 1987 the Jackson lawsuit was filed and in1989 NMARC began addressing the lengthy waiting list.

The National Arc

-The Arc of US began to address the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities involved in the criminal justice system…Jim Ellis of Albuquerque was involved in the issue.

-The Arc works to pass legislation to authorize courts to award reasonable attorney fees to parents who prevail in special education due process.

-The Arc is involved in creating several work incentives in the Social Security Act to allow more individuals with disabilities to work.

-The Arc advocates for the passage of the Technology-Related Assistance Act to develop state wide assistive technology programs to serve individuals with disabilities.

-The Arc successfully pushed Congress to add disability as a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.

-The Arc plays an instrumental role in the creation of Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program.

-The Arc sponsors a national prevention campaign and convenes a national conference on prevention of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Arc Achievements in 2014

Public Policy

- The Public Policy Director actively attended and participated in many legislative committee meetings, public hearings and the legislative session to make sure that laws and policies are friendly towards individuals with disabilities and their families.

-The Arc hosted, in collaboration with the Disability Coalition and the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, a successful Disability Rights Awareness Day event during the legislative session.  About 200 people attended the conference on the first day with many more people attending the second day at the Capitol Rotunda. 

Programs

-The Guardianship Program helped 185 individuals with decision-making at the level that each person requires.  The Arc Guardians regularly visited and monitored each individual’s home and other environments and advocated for each individual and ensure that programs and services are in each person’s best interest.

-The Special Needs Trusts Program helped approximately 500 individuals retain their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid, SSI and SSDI because they have excess resources due to an inheritance, a lump sum back-payment from Social Security or a lawsuit settlement.

-The Representative Payee Program helped over 50 individuals with their Social Security Benefits paying for individual’s basic needs from their benefit checks, including expenses for housing, food, clothing, medical needs, and personal expenses.

-The Self-Advocacy Program provided leadership training and opportunities to hundreds of individuals statewide.

-The Arc staff in Anthony and in Silver City provided training, advocacy, information and peer support to hundreds of individuals with disabilities, family members, educators and other professionals.

-The Self-Determination Program for Individuals with Down Syndrome facilitated person-centered plans for 50 individuals, provided stipends for 27 individuals and family members to attend the Summit/Arc Annual Conference, and provided stipends to over 15 individuals and family members to attend the National Arc Conference and/or the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention.

-The Summit on Social Equality/Arc Annual Conference was attended by about 200 people and featured learning, social and networking opportunities.

Legal

-Early in the year The Arc, Disability Rights New Mexico and eight individuals receiving services on the DD Waiver filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Human Services Department and the New Mexico Department of Health regarding the SIS implementation processes, including lack of due process.

-The Arc continued to serve as an Intervener in the on-going Jackson Lawsuit.

Full Circle in Silver City

What began many years ago – more than ten years in my recollection- came full circle at a regional meeting of The Arc of New Mexico in June with an unexpected visit from a founding member of the Autism Support Circle, which was one of the only parent-run support groups for parents of children with disabilities in southwestern New Mexico all those years ago.  Though Paulette Shephard moved away from Silver City a few years ago, the group was excited to see her, and spent much of the meeting reminiscing on how far the group has come. 

The group, now more formalized and a part of The Arc chapter, began as a coffee klatch, meeting wherever space could be found; their resource library claimed space in Paulette’s living room, and communication was often spur-of-the moment and very informal.  Now, the group meets at the Disability Resource Center, where the resource library includes two rooms of shelves with important resources available for free to the community.  The center was the result of a massive community organizing effort led, in part, by members of that original group.

Now, more and more, new parents are joining the group, even just to drop in for support.  Even though people come and go with this resource remains alive and well with The Arc’s support.  The name ‘support circle’ still rings true, as hugs were exchanged and tears of both joy and concern were shed as stories were shared about how the founding members’ children are graduating high school and transitioning to adulthood. Though the meeting was bittersweet, the group feels lucky to have the support of The Arc, and of one another, as they realize the distance they have traveled on their journeys and commit to walking the road with new group members as they come.

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Supreme Court Decides ACA Case

This message is from Ellen Pinnes on behalf of The Disability Coalition and the Policy and Legislative Action Network (PLAN) at Disability Rights New Mexico.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in the case of King v. Burwell that people who enroll in health insurance through one of the new “exchanges” (also called “marketplaces”) set up under the Affordable Care Act can get tax credits to help pay the premiums for coverage, regardless of whether their state has set up its own exchange or is relying on the federal one at healthcare.gov.  This means that people in all the ACA marketplaces will continue to have access to that financial help, which makes it possible for low-income and middle-income people (up to 400% of the federal poverty level) to afford health coverage.  (400% is about $47,000 for a single person and $97,000 for a family of four people.)

The ACA calls for an exchange to be set up for each state and says that if the state can’t or won’t do it, the federal government will operate the marketplace for that state.  The plaintiffs who brought the King case claimed that the tax credits should be available only to people who enroll through a state exchange and not for the federal one.  They relied on one phrase in the ACA and asked the Court to read those four words by themselves without considering the rest of the 900-page law.

The Supreme Court refused to do that.  Instead, following long-established rules about how to interpret what a law means, they considered what the phrase meant by reading it as part of the entire statute.  The Court then ruled that it means that whether the state runs its own exchange or lets the federal government do so on its behalf, that state’s residents can get the financial help the ACA intended them to have. 

If the Court had decided the other way, it would have thrown insurance markets into chaos.  Only sixteen states have set up their own exchange.  The rest either refused to do so because they oppose the ACA or they were unable to overcome technical difficulties, so they rely on the federal government to run their exchanges.  Whether operated by the state or the feds, there’s a marketplace for each state that offers insurance plans in that state and connects with that state’s Medicaid program for enrollment of people who qualify for Medicaid.

About three-quarters of the people who have gotten insurance through the marketplaces are getting tax credits to pay their premiums.  Without that help, most of them couldn’t afford the coverage and would drop their insurance.  The ones who continued paying for coverage on their own would probably be the people who have the highest health care needs and therefore feel they need the insurance the most.  Without a broad and varied group of people – with different levels of health needs – enrolled, the cost of insurance would rise and become increasingly unaffordable, leading even more people to drop out and eventually destroying the entire insurance market – not just in the exchange, but for everyone.

As the Chief Justice noted in upholding the subsidies, the ACA was enacted to improve insurance markets, not destroy them.  The Supreme Court’s decision is a ruling in favor of helping people get health coverage and making the insurance market work better for everyone.

 The Disability Coalition and the Policy and Legislative Action Network (PLAN) are funded in part by grants from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

Commemorating 50 Years of Medicaid

The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) is continuing to recognize Medicaid’s contribution to the health and security of the most vulnerable Americans.  In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Medicaid, we are posting highlights of the people, places, and progress that represent the Medicaid program we know today.

 We’ll be posting daily between June 10th and July 30th – every day for 50 days – and we hope you’ll view and share them.  If you missed this week’s post, you can still find them on Medicaid.gov.

$60,000 to Commemorate 60 Years

Help us Achieve Our Goal to raise $60,000 in celebration of our 60th Anniversary. Please consider a gift of $6, $60, $120 or more.  Your gift will help The Arc continue to promote and protect the human rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout New Mexico. 

A memorial gift is a beautiful and lasting tribute for a loved one or to a family as an expression of sympathy.  Family and friends can be recognized with a gift in their honor.  This might be for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, holiday, wedding, retirement, etc.

You can either mail us a check or make an on-line donation at https://www.arcnm.org/donate-now/.

Since our last memo have received over $1,300 in donations from the following individuals and organizations: Francene Kilgore-Sanchez, Susan Knox, Alan and Veronica Neuman, Rebecca Montoya, Vicki Galindo, Roger Weinreich, Rosanna Soloperto, Sheehan and Sheehan, P.A.

Support The Arc Through a Bequest

One way for you to support The Arc's mission is to leave us a bequest. A bequest is a gift made to charity in your will or trust. One significant benefit of making a gift by bequest is that it allows you to continue to use the assets/property you may leave to charity during your life. Another benefit is that by making a bequest you are able to leave a lasting legacy for the work of The Arc.

Keep in mind that your gift can be for a specific amount, a percentage or some portion of the remainder (after family, relatives and friends have gotten their designated share). Below are examples of language you can use with the correct name and address of The Arc (where you wish your gift directed). 

Types of Bequests

There are a number of ways you can make a bequest to The Arc. You can leave what is called a specific bequest. A specific bequest involves making a gift of a defined dollar amount, a particular tangible asset such as real estate, a car, other property or even shares of stock. For example, you may wish to leave your home, a portion of its value or $10,000 to The Arc. Another kind of specific bequest involves leaving a percentage of your overall estate to charity. For example, you may wish to leave 10% of your estate to The Arc.

Another kind of bequest is called a residual bequest. A residual bequest is a bequest that is made from the balance of an estate after the will or trust has given away each of the specific bequests. A common residual bequest involves leaving a percentage of the residue of the estate to charity. For example, you may wish to leave 30% of the remaining value of your estate to The Arc (local, state and/or national). 

Bequest Benefits

There are no limitations on bequest gifts. Bequests may be made for a general or specific purpose. All bequests to tax-exempt entities approved by the IRS are not subject to estate taxes. Please be sure to consult your tax advisor for advice regarding your own personal situation. If you have a taxable estate, the estate tax charitable deduction may offset or eliminate estate taxes resulting in a larger inheritance for your heirs. 

Bequest Language

In order to make a bequest, you should speak with your attorney. Your attorney can help you include a bequest to The Arc in your estate plan. We have provided some basic bequest language to assist you and your attorney.

1. Outright Bequest

If you consider making an outright bequest to The Arc, we recommend the following language:

Bequest of a Specific Dollar Amount

I hereby give, devise and bequeath (XXDOLLARS) to The Arc of New Mexico, a non-profit organization located at 3655 Carlisle NE, Albuquerque, NM, Federal Tax ID 85-0167508, for The Arc's general use and purpose. 

Bequest of Specific Personal Property

I hereby give, devise and bequeath (DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY) to The Arc of New Mexico; a non-profit organization located at 3655 Carlisle NE, Albuquerque, NM, Federal Tax ID #85-0167508, for The Arc's general use and purpose. 

Bequest of Specific Real Estate

I hereby give, devise and bequeath all of the right, title and interest in and to the real estate located at (ADDRESS OR DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY) to The Arc (identify The Arc of New Mexico, a non-profit organization located at 3655 Carlisle NE, Albuquerque, NM, Federal Tax ID #85-0167508), for The Arc's general use and purpose.

 Bequest of Percentage of an Estate

I hereby give, devise and bequeath (PERCENTAGE OF YOUR ESTATE) to The Arc of New Mexico; a non-profit organization located at 3655 Carlisle NE, Albuquerque, NM, Federal Tax ID #85-0167508, for The Arc's general use and purpose 

2. Restricted Bequest

If you are considering a bequest but would like to ensure that your bequest will be used only for a specific purpose, please let us know. We would be happy to work with you and your attorney to help you identify ways to give that will ensure your charitable objectives can be met. We will also work with you and your attorney to craft language to accomplish your objectives. 

If you are making a restricted bequest, we recommend that your attorney include the following provision to give The Arc flexibility should it no longer be possible for The Arc to use your gift as you originally intended:

If, in the judgment of the Board of Directors of The Arc, it shall become impossible for The Arc to use this bequest to accomplish the specific purposes of this bequest, The Arc may use the income and principal of this gift for such purpose or purposes as the Board determines is most closely related to the restricted purpose of my bequest. 

Contact Us

Please contact us if you have any questions about how to make a bequest to The Arc or to request any additional information that might be helpful to you and your attorney as you consider making a planned gift for us. Also, if you don't have an attorney and would like assistance in finding one, please contact us. The Arc has established a partnership with The Special Needs Alliance, which is an organization comprised of attorneys from around the country, skilled in assisting families with special needs.