Basic Programs & Services for People with Disabilities



This fact sheet is divided into the following sections:

This fact sheet provides a general overview of programs and services available to people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The provided contact information can tell you more about the resources and if they are right for you. If you need more in-depth information on any of the topics covered here, or have questions on a service that is not listed in this fact sheet, please call us for additional information.

ADVOCACY/LEGAL

Advocacy is working toward a goal, sometimes against resistance. You may advocate on your own behalf, or others may advocate for you. Your local independent living center, tenant organizations, town and city governments, and senators' or representatives' offices may also provide advocacy.

One important advocacy tool is reasonable accommodation. State and federal laws require that programs available to the public be accessible to you as a person with a disability. This means that if your disability makes it difficult or impossible for you to receive services, an accommodation must be made so that you can receive services.

Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD)
provides advocacy assistance to people with disabilities in Massachusetts and runs the client assistance project, which assists people who have problems with the state vocational rehabilitation agencies, MRC and MCB. (800) 322-2020 or (617) 727-7440.
http://www.mass.gov/mod

Disability Law Center
provides free legal services to low-income people with disabilities in the areas of special education, accessibility to community service, health care, disability benefits and right and conditions in facilities.
(617)723-8455, (800)872-9992
(617) 227-9464, (800) 381-0577 (TTY)
http://www.dlc-ma.org/

Legal services (or legal aid) offices
provide free legal assistance and advocacy to low-income people. To find your local legal services, visit Mass Legal Services' web site at http://www.masslegalservices.org/directory which houses a program finder by city or town.

Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (LRS)
does not provide free legal advice or make pro bono referrals to attorneys. LRS will make up to three referrals per case, one at a time. May charge $25 for the first 1/2 hour.
(866)627-7577, (617)654-0400
http://www.massbar.org/for-the-public/need-a-lawyer

To take legal action against a person or entity that has discriminated against you, file a complaint with Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
Boston (617)994-6000, Springfield (413)739-2145, Worcester (508)799-8010
http://www.state.ma.us/mcad/

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (EQUIPMENT)

For information, demonstration, or funding for medical equipment, wheelchairs, computers, or any other assistive technology, contact one of the following organizations:

MassMATCH - is the Commonwealth's Initiative to Maximize Assistive Technology in Consumer's Hands. MassMATCH assists individuals with disabilities, family members, and disability-related providers, agencies and organizations across the state with getting AT through the following programs: device demonstration program, device short term loan program, device reutilization program and state financing activities. MassMATCH's website provides a wealth of information on AT services for people of all ages with disabilities.
(877) 508-3974 Mass Assistive Technology Helpline
(617) 204-3815 (TDD)
Email: info@massmatch.org
http://www.massmatch.org/

GetATstuff (Assistive Technology Exchange in New England)
is MassMATCH's free AT device exchange program. The Equipment Exchange is similar to a "want ad" where pre-owned AT is listed in order to put people looking for AT in contact with sellers or donators. The Equipment Exchange is an opportunity to re-sell or donate, or sell used AT.
http://www.getatstuff.org/

ABLEDATA
is database of assistive technology, which contains information on more than 34,000 assistive products, description of the product's functions and features, price information (when available), and contact information for the product's manufacturer and any distributors.
(800)227-0216 or (301)608-8998.
(301)608-8912 (TTY)
Email: abledata@macrointernational.com
http://www.abledata.com/

Assistive Technology Regional Centers (ATRCs)

MassMATCH has two ATRCs where anyone can learn about and try out the latest equipment. Visit them to learn about, try out or borrow an AT device.

  • Easter Seals Demonstration and Loan Regional Center
    helps people with disabilities make informed decisions about assistive technology they can use at home, on the job or in school. Assistive technology available for loans include communication, education, hearing and vision devices.
    Meghan Fitzgerald, ATRC Coordinator
    Catherine Bly, ATRC Associate
    89 South Street, Boston, MA 02111
    (617)226-2640 or (800)244-2756
    ATRC@eastersealsma.org
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County ATRC (Covers western Massachusetts)
    Dawn Matthews, AT Demo and Loan Coordinator
    208 West Street
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    (413)442-1562
    ATRC@ucpberkshire.org

Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program (ATLP) provides low interest loans to qualified people with disabilities and their families to purchase assistive technology devices and services that will help them lead more independent lives.
Contact: Ferol Smith of Easter Seals at 1-800-244-2756 x 431 or 800-564-9700 (TTY
Email:  massATLoan@eastersealsma.org
http://www.massatloan.org/

Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP).
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) work together in offering a reduced interest rate loan program for homeowners with disabilities who need to make access modifications to their principal residence. Eligible homeowners may qualify for 0% to 3% amortizing loans up to $30,000 for modifications such as ramps, lifts, bathroom and kitchen modifications. There are six regional HMLP providers that process applications. For more information about the program contact Steve Scarano at MRC at (617)204-3724

Massachusetts Equipment Distribution Program http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/massedp/(MassEDP)
If you are a Massachusetts resident with a permanent disability that in the majority of circumstances limits your ability to use the telephone effectively you may be eligible to receive assistive telephone equipment / adaptive communication equipment at a reduced rate. Under the program, equipment is available to individuals who have cognitive, hearing, motion, speech or vision impairments. Call 800-300-5658 V / TTY.
http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/massedp/

BENEFITS

Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC)
is a program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). To be eligible for EAEDC, you must be low-income and have limited assets. You must be out of work, but the requirements for how long you have (or will have) a disability are not as strict as those for SSI/SSDI. To apply, call the DTA application unit at (800)249-2007 or (617)348-8504 or TTY: (617) 348-5599. If you are already receiving services from DTA, call (800) 445-6604.
http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dta/.
http://webapps.ehs.state.ma.us/DTAOffices/default.aspx (DTA offices)

Food Stamps
also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are also administered by DTA. If you have low income and low assets, regardless of your disability status, you can receive a food stamps "credit card" that you use at the grocery store to pay for a certain dollar amount of food every month.
For SNAP application, call DTA , (800)249-2007.
SNAP Hotline: 866-950-3663
SNAP recipient service line: (800)445-6604
http://www.gettingfoodstamps.org/ (on line application available)
http://webapps.ehs.state.ma.us/DTAOffices/default.aspx (find your DTA office)

Project Bread Food Source Hotline
connects people in need of a variety of food resources such as food pantries, soup kitchens and Meals on Wheels. Call (800) 645-8333 (v) or (800) 377-1292 (TTY), Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM to locate food sources in your area. Hotline has the ability to help hungry families in 140 languages.
http://www.projectbread.org/get-help/foodsource-hotline.html

SSI and SSDI are programs funded by the Social Security Administration to provide income to people who are unable to work due to a disability. Both programs have the same definition of disability: you must be totally unable to work for a year or more, or your condition must be expected to result in death. (Note: Children with a disability are also eligible for SSI, but instead of inability to work they are awarded benefits on their inability to do all the same social, educational, and developmental activities of other kids their age.) Keep in mind: Most people who apply for SSI/SSDI are turned down the first time. If you get denied initially, it is important to resubmit your application.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
is a cash assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration for the elderly (over age 65) and disabled. The Department works with the Social Security Administration to assist the elderly and certain categories of long-term disabled residents to receive SSI benefits. Once you are approved for SSI you will also receive Medicaid (MassHealth), health insurance for people who have low income.
http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/ssi.htm

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
is based on your work history (having paid in to Social Security) and not on your income or asset level. Two years after being approved for SSDI you will receive Medicare, government funded health care for people who are elders or who have a disability.

To apply for either program, call Social Security at (800) 772-1213 or TTY: (800)325-0778.
http://www.ssa.gov/d&s1.htm

Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application. Kits are available for adults and for children under age 1. The starter kits provide information about the specific documents and the information that SSI will request from you, general information about disability programs and social security decision-making process. http://www.ssa.gov./disability/disability_starter_kits.htm

CHILDREN'S RESOURCES

The Federation for Children with Special Needs
provides information, referral, advocacy, and support to parents and others concerned with the needs and rights of children (ages birth to 22) with disabilities, particularly in obtaining appropriate education.
Satellite office Western Mass: (413) 323-0681.
Federation for Children with Special Needs (main office)
The Shrafft Center
529 Main Street, Suite 1102
Boston, MA 02129
(617) 236-7210(V/TTY), (800) 331-0688 (Mass. only)
E-mail: fcsninfo@fcsn.org
http://fcsn.org/index.php

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
provides information and referral on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals, with a focus on children and youth (birth to age 22). Topics include early intervention, special education, family issues, transition to adult life, specific disabilities, state resource sheets and parent guides. Bilingual services offered in English and Spanish.
NICHCY
1825 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009
(800) 695-0285
nichcy@fhi360.org
http://www.nichcy.org/

COUNSELING/EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

If suicidal call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)
HelpLine: 800-221-0053

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Mass provides family to family education, support groups and information and referral.
400 West Cummings Park, Suite 6650
Woburn, MA 01801
(781)938-4048
(800)370-9085
http://www.namimass.org/

Safe Passage
provides support and services to survivors of domestic violence.
Hotline: (888)345-5282

Additional mental health organization can be found MNIP fact sheet, "Mental Illness". Hospital social work departments frequently host a variety of support groups relating to illnesses and disabilities. Another potential source of support is contacting a specific disability organization. Most organizations provide some form of emotional support, including referrals to support groups, a call-in line and contact information of others in your area with the same disability.

DISCOUNTS ON UTILITY BILLS - ENERGY ASSISTANCE

HEATLINE at (800) 632-8175 (v/TTY) or (617) 727-4259 x 535

Fuel Assistance, also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), is a government program to help low-income families and individuals pay their heating bills during the winter. The program is managed by the DHCD in conjunction with 22 regional nonprofit and local government organizations.
Eligibility for fuel assistance is based on having low income and low assets. To find out which Energy AssistanceProgram serves your area go to: http://www.masscap.org/agencies.html

A group of the state's utility companies have joined forces with The Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) and Low-Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN) to promote the programs to qualifying households. The initiative is known as Energy Bucks. http://www.energybucks.com.(Web site in English, Spanish, and Portuguese).

All electric and most gas companies have low-income discount programs. You automatically qualify for discounts if you receive food stamp benefits, MassHealth, SSI, fuel assistance, Veterans'services, if your child is in Head Start or the school lunch program. These discounts can save you 20 - 35% on each bill. To apply for discounts, call your gas and electric companies to request an application. Contact information for the major utility companies in Massachusetts: http://www.massresources.org/utilities-directory.html.

If your utility company is not listed, look on your utility bill for the Customer Service number. You may also call the Department of Public Utilities toll-free at (877) 886-5066 for information.

Electric and gas companies also offer free "energy conservation surveys" which may pay for insulation, water-saving devices, low-energy lights and provide useful tips on how to save money on utility bills. For information on either program, contact your utility company's customer service department or the Consumer Division of the Department of Public Utilities at (877) 886-5066. Additionally, water and sewer companies often offer discounts to people with disabilities, regardless of income or assets. Call your water company to inquire.

The Good Neighbor Energy Fund
operated by your local Salvation Army Office, is for those with limited income that are not eligible for fuel assistance. The fund most often helps families or individuals facing an unexpected short-term financial crisis. Your immigration status does not matter for this program. Call (617) 542-5420 (Boston residents); (800) 334-3047 (Eastern, MA); (800) 262-1320 (413 dialing area).

Citizens Energy Oil Program
allows families to purchase one time deliveries of discount home heating oil per heating up to 200 gallons of home heating oil at 40% of the retail price. Call (866) 427-9918.Check http://www.citizensenergy.com for updates.

Citizens Energy / Distrigas Heat Assistance Program (CEDHAP)
gives a $150 utility bill credit to eligible households who heat with natural gas. For application call (866) 427-9918.

Free telephone directory assistance exemptions and operator assistance exemptions are available for Verizon customers in Massachusetts if you are blind or low-vision, or mobility impaired. For additional information and application call Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities at (800) 837-4966 (v/TTY).

Department of Telecommunications and Cable
is a state agency that can assist consumers with disabilities with disputes or issues that they have with their landline telephone and or cable service. Hotline telephone number is (800) 392-6066 and email complaints can be sent to consumer.complaints@state.ma.us

Mass Equipment Distribution Program
if you are a Massachusetts resident with a permanent disability that in the majority of circumstances limits your ability to use the telephone effectively you may be eligible to receive assistive telephone equipment free of charge or at a reduced rate, depending on your income. Disabilities include deafness, hearing loss, speech, vision impairment, blindness, cognitive or motion impairment that affects use of phone. Consumers who are blind or deaf/blind or have a cognitive or motion disability are entitled to free installation and a home visit by a MassEDP agent.
http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/massedp/

Lifeline Free Wireless Cell Phone Service
is a government supported free cell phone service for Massachusetts residents with limited incomes.   There are no contracts or monthly fees.  You are eligible for Lifeline if you participate in MassHealth / Medicaid , LIHEAP Fuel Assistance, Food Stamps, TAFDC, EAEDC, SSI.

There are two Lifeline services available in Massachusetts

  • Safelink Wireless Lifeline Service
    provides a free cell phone, a choide of three different calling plans that include texting options. TracFone Wireless, a U.S. prepaid cell phone company provides the SafeLink service. For additional information or application, call Safelink at (800) 977-3768
  • Assurance Wireless
    provides a free cell phone with 250 minutes per month. 
    Virgin Mobile, provides the Assurance Wireless service.
    For additional information or application, call Assurance Wireless at 1-888-898-4888

EDUCATION

The HEATH Resource Center
is a national clearinghouse on post secondary education for individuals with disabilities. HEATH provides information and referral about educational issues for people with disabilities relating to college, vocational-technical schools and other post secondary training entities. Information about accessibility, career development, classroom adaptations, financial aid, independent living, transition resources and rehabilitation.
HEATH Resource Center
George Washington University
2134 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052-0001
E-mail: askheath@gwu.edu
http://www.heath.gwu.edu/

EMPLOYMENT

Community Work Incentive Coordinators

If you are planning on returning to work, you can talk with a Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) free of charge. Project Impact & BenePLAN programs assist beneficiaries, family members, and professionals to calculate the impact of work might have on their Social Security and other benefits.

Both programs give individuals with disabilities, their families and significant others access to information regarding social security work incentives, public health insurance, long-term care services, employment based health insurance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and federal and state housing programs.

Project IMPACT / Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
(800) 734-7475 or (617) 204-3854
(617) 204-3824 (TTY)
Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk counties
Contact: Joseph Reale, (617) 204-3709, joseph.reale@state.ma.us
Project IMPACT Referral Form

BenePLAN
(877) 937-9675, then press #3
Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcester counties.
Barbara Lee (508)856-2659 Barbara.Lee@umassmed.edu
Brian Forsythe (508)856-2513 Brian.Forsythe@umassmed.edu

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
The goal of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's (MRC) vocational rehabilitation division is to assist individuals with disabilities to enter the work force. Services include identifying job goals, vocational training, assessing work site accommodations, educating employers about applicable laws, job search assistance and job placement.
27-43 Wormwood St.
Boston, MA 02210-1616
(800) 245-6543 (V / TDD), (617) 204-3600
Local MRC offices can be found at: http://www.disabilityinfo.org/MNIP/DB/TACR/OfficeByAgency.aspx?id=15

MRC's Statewide Employment Services (SES) Department
SES provides services to individuals who have severe disabilities to enable them to choose, obtain, and retain meaningful employment.  All Program Specialists meet the qualifications of a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. They provide counseling, guidance, case management and they oversee contracts with Community Rehabilitation Providers, who assist individuals with disabilities to assess their strengths, develop career plans and place individuals in competitive employment.
600 Washington Street in Boston.  James Fratillo, Director (617) 204-3854.
http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/disability-services/vocational-rehab/ses/

One Stop Career System
37 One-Stop Career Centers throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts form the foundation of the state's delivery system for employment and training services for job seekers, employers, and their workers.
http://www.mass.gov/careercenters
http://www.mass.gov/lwd/employment-services/one-stop-career-centers/about-career-centers/find-a-career-center-near-you.html (Career Center Listing)

Jewish Vocational Services (JVS)
Job search services include vocational evaluation, resume and interview preparation, career exploration, job search assistance, job development, job placement, assistance requesting accommodations and job coaching. Serves Greater Boston area.
(617) 399-3241
Contact Madeline Wenzel, mwenzel@jvs-boston.org
http://www.jvs-boston.org/

Community Work Services (CWS)
CWS helps people who face barriers to work obtain employment and achieve greater self sufficiency through innovative job training, placement and support services. Offers short-term vocational evaluations assessments, hotel and hospitality training program, food service training program, and janitoral training program. Tours to learn about all training programs are offered on Wednesdays at 1PM.
Serves Boston area.
(617) 720-2233 x223
Contact: Eugene Gloss, eugeneg@cwsbos.com
http://www.cwsbos.com/

Easter Seals Massachusetts Job Training and Employment
offers comprehensive vocational rehabilitation, job training, employment services and individualized instruction in computer software applications to adults with a wide range of disabilities in Boston and Worcester.
89 South Street 484 Main Street
Boston, MA 02111 Worcester, MA 01608
(617) 226-2640
info@eastersealsma.org
http://www.eastersealsma.org/

Work, Inc.
Assists individuals to define their employment objectives and help them with career exploration, training, education, counseling and job placement
25 Beach Street
Dorchester, MA 02122
(617) 691-1500
Serves Greater Boston, Southeastern, North Shore Central Massachusetts
Email: info@workinc.org
http://www.workinc.org/

Work Without Limits
Info about benefits, insurance and job search tips for individuals, employers and providers in Massachusetts.
UMass Medical School
Center for Health Policy and Research
333 South Street
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
(508) 856-2710
Email: info@workwithoutlimits.org
http://www.workwithoutlimits.org/

 

HEALTH CARE

MCPHS Pharmacy Outreach Program
will answer questions about your prescription medicine and work with your doctor to reduce cost for Massachusetts residents. Call toll free at (866) 633-1617.http://www.mcphs.edu/impact/community-service-programs/pharmacy-outreach-program

Free and Low-Cost Medications are available from certain pharmaceutical companies for people with disabilities and elders.

NeedyMeds.com
is a web-based information resource for people who need assistance with paying the cost of healthcare. By going to http://www.needymeds.com/ you can find the following programs: patient assistance programs, disease-based assistance, help with paperwork and state programs. Select "First Time User" in the top menu on the homepage for help getting started.

Beginning January 1, 2006, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan will be available to Medicare beneficiaries. This new benefit was established by the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which was enacted in 2003. Information about this plan is available on the MNIP fact sheet, "Medicare New Prescription Drug Program" and at http://www.medicare.gov/

Massachusetts residents with disabilities, and their families, may also be eligible for MassHealth, public health insurance that covers medical and dental care, and prescriptions. The primary factor for eligibility is income level; assets are not counted in most cases. (800) 841-2900, TTY: (800) 497-4648. To apply for MassHealth, you should call the MassHealth Enrollment Center at 1-888-665-9993
or download an application from the MassHealth Applications page.

Most hospitals provide free care for uninsured or low-income individuals. Mayor's Health Line provides assistance to Boston residents who are low income, uninsured, or underinsured and helps them to find health services they need. Call Mayor's Health Line (800) 847-0710 or (617) 534-5050.
http://www.bphc.org/programs/cib/civicengagement/mhl/Pages/Home.aspx

Health Care For All
is available to answer your questions about healthcare in Massachusetts.
Consumer Help Line (800) 272-4232
Helpline Online Service http://www.hcfama.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=765&parentID=549

Health Connector
online tool that helps Massachusetts residents find health insurance coverage and avoid tax penalties. Commonwealth Choice offers many name-brand health insurance options. Commonwealth Care is low or no-cost health insurance for people who qualify.
https://www.mahealthconnector.org/portal/site/connector/

Health Safety Net Fund (Free Care)
Help Desk:(877) 910-2100
Main Office: (617) 988-3100
The Health Safety Net is a program for Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for health insurance or can't afford to buy it. The Health Safety Net replaced the Uncompensated Care Pool (also called Free Care) on Oct. 1, 2007. To be eligible you must be uninsured or underinsured, with no access to affordable health coverage. Most people must file a MassHealth application to get Health Safety Net (Free Care) benefits. You can file your application at a community health center (CHC) or hospital, or you can send your application directly to MassHealth.
http://www.massresources.org/hsn.html

Mayor's Health Line in Boston
Toll Free: (800) 847-0710
(617) 534-5050
Provides assistance to callers on a variety of personal and public issues in the Boston area including: primary care providers, assisting with applying for health insurance, support groups, mental health services, nutritional programs, legal and financial assistance programs and more.
http://www.bphc.org/programs/cib/civicengagement/mhl/Pages/Home.aspx

Serving Health Information Needs of Elders (SHINE)
(800) 243-4636, then press 3 to contact your local SHINE Program Office
SHINE is a state health insurance assistance program that provides free health insurance information, counseling and assistance to Massachusetts elders and individuals with disabilities in understanding their Medicare and MassHealth benefits and other health insurance options. SHINE counselors are available throughout the state at local Council on aging, senior centers, elder service agencies, hospitals and other community based agencies.
http://www.mass.gov/elders/healthcare/shine/serving-the-health-information-needs-of-elders.html

HOUSING

Rental Housing

Subsidized Housing
If you are low-income, you are eligible to apply for rental assistance. There are local, state, and federal sources of rental assistance, also known as subsidized housing.

Project-based subsidized housing
is permanent, multi-family housing for people who have low-income and/or disabilities, or who are elders; you pay 30% of your income toward your rent, with the government paying the balance. To get a list of subsidized housing throughout Massachusetts, contact The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) at One Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108-3110 or (617) 854-1000 or (617) 854-1025 (TTY) and request its "MHFA Housing List."

A mobile Section 8 voucher also allows you to pay 30% of your income towards the rent, but you can use a voucher for any apartment in the U.S. as long as it passes inspection and is within rental limits for the program. It is usually not easy to get a section 8 voucher -- generally only a few housing authorities are accepting applications at any one time, and there are often waiting lists once you apply. However, with luck and perseverance you can relieve a considerable financial burden. You may apply to as many housing authorities as you wish; you do not have to apply just in your city/town. To apply, start calling housing authorities in your area. For further information on finding affordable housing, rental assistance, or a list of Massachusetts Housing Authorities, call your local Independent Living Center (ILC). Find your local ILC.

Persons interested in Section 8 vouchers are advised to put their name on a centralized waiting list as soon as possible. Seventy two Massachusetts housing authorities utilize this one computerized list; all applicant information entered onto this list can be accessed and updated by any and all participating housing authorities. http://section8listmass.org/, (877) 868-0040.

HousingWorks
is an internet service for matching people needing subsidized, affordable, andspecial needs housing with the available housing inventory.
http://www.housingworks.net

Accessible Housing

Mass Access: The Accessible Housing Registry
helps people find affordable housing in Massachusetts. A key feature of the registry is to highlight homes for people with disabilities who need accessible or barrier-free housing. To access the database, call your local Independent Living Center or visit website, http://www.massaccesshousingregistry.org/.

Supportive Housing for Adult Children with Disabilities

Autism Housing Pathways 
provides information, support and resources for families who seek to create secure, supported housing for their adult children with disabilities.  Autism Housing Pathways will support families in forming a variety of housing models by providing a clearinghouse of information on such topics as cooperative bylaws, building plans for modular housing that conforms to legal criteria, real estate trusts, and affordable housing options.  AHP shares information about housing groups, developers, lawyers, vendors and consultants that can assist families in creating housing.
Contact Catherine Boyle at 617-893-8217
admin@autismhousingpathways.net      
http://www.autismhousingpathways.net/

Home Ownership/Modification

The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA)
offers a range of home ownership programs -- for buying or fixing up a home -- to people of low to moderate income, people with disabilities, and first-time home owners. MHFA programs include low-interest (below market rate) mortgages, home buyer counseling, home improvement loans, lead-removal financing, and septic repair loans. (617) 854-1000, TTY: (617) 854-1025.
Web site: http://www.masshousing.com/

The Home Modifications for Persons with Disabilities Loan Program (HMLP)
provides low- and no- interest loans to modify the homes of adults and children with disabilities, and elders. (617) 204-3724.
Website: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/disability-services/housing-disability/home-mod-loan/index.html

Adaptive Environments Center (AEC)
promotes accessibility through education programs, technical assistance, training, consulting, publications and design advocacy. AEC provides technical assistance materials on the ADA, universal design, home modification, pertinent laws, and disability policy related topics.
Adaptive Environments Center,
200 Portland St, Boston, MA
(617) 695-1225(v/TTY)
Email: info@humancenteredDesign.org
Web site: http://www.adaptenv.org/.

INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTERS (ILCs)

The goal of ILCs is to help people with disabilities live independently in the community. ILCs provide information and referral, advocacy, and other services to people with disabilities, such as peer counseling, housing assistance, personal care assistant programming, and independent living skills training.
Contact your local ILC for more information:

  • AdLib
    Pittsfield (800) 232-7047 / (413) 442-7047
  • Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL)
    Boston (617) 338-6665
  • Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled (CORD)
    Hyannis (800) 541-0282 / (508)775-8300
  • Center for Living and Working
    Worcester (508) 798-0350
  • Independence Associates
    Taunton (508) 583-2166, (800) 649-5568
  • Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann
    Salem (978) 741-0077
  • Metrowest Center for Independent Living
    Framingham (508) 875-7853
  • Multi-Cultural Independent Living Center of Boston
    Dorchester (617) 288-9431
  • Northeast Independent Living Program
    Lawrence; (978) 687-4288
  • Southeast Center for Independent Living
    Fall River; 508-679-9210
  • Stavros
    Amherst; (800) 804-1899 / (413) 256-0473

PERSONAL CARE

Homemakers

Homemakers assist with shopping, cleaning, meal preparation, and similar tasks. They can often be hired, at an hourly rate, through home care agencies and Visiting Nurses Associations (VNAs), or you can hire one yourself by putting a classified ad in a local newspaper. Your local ILC can provide you with tips on how best to find, to hire, and to manage home help.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)
Home Care Assistance Program
(617) 204-3853 or 1-800-223-2559
Client must have a disability that requires homemaker assistance. Homemaker tasks include: meal preparation, food planning, grocery shopping, medication pick-up, laundry and light housekeeping. Must be between ages of 18 and 59, live alone or with minor children or others with disabilities unable to help. Financial needs statement taken to assess eligibility. All disabilities except legally blind.

Massachusetts Commission for The Blind (MCB)
provides homemaker services to legally blind persons under the age of 60 who have a serious medical problem in addition to their blindness that is preventing them from performing necessary homemaking tasks. Boston area: (800) 392-6450 or TTY: (800) 392-6556; Worcester area: (508) 754-1148; Western Mass: (800) 332-2772.

If you are 60 or over you may qualify for homemaker services through Elder Services. Call the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) at (800) 882-2003, TTY: (800) 872-0166 for information regarding services offered by local Elder Services offices.

Children with disabilities may be eligible to receive services through the Department of Public Health's Division for Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs. DPH, Division for Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs, 250 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108, (617) 624-5070 or (800) 882-1435, TTY: (617) 624-6001.

Personal Care Assistant/Attendant (PCA)

The PCA program is funded by Medicaid and is administered by the Independent Living Centers (ILCs). To be eligible for the program, a person must need a certain number of hours of personal care assistance (help with food preparation, personal hygiene, bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, transferring, household maintenance, or other tasks) per week and be a recipient of MassHealth (Medicaid) or Commonhealth. To find out more, contact your local ILC (see above for contact information).

Massachusetts Directory of Personal Care Assistants
The Massachusetts directory of personal care assistants is a program of the Massachusetts PCA Workforce council. It is a Web-based service at http://Mass.gov/findpca. Working with Rewarding Work Resources, Inc., a nonprofit organization, the Massachusetts PCA directory assists Massachusetts elders, residents with disabilities of all ages, their families, and parents of children with disabilities in hiring their own PCA or direct care worker. PCA surrogates may also use the service. By using the Internet or a toll-free telephone number (866) 212-WORK (9675), Mass.gov/findpca allows PCA users to access a comprehensive database of persons interested in providing personal care services.

TRANSPORTATION

Disability Plates and Placards
You are eligible for an Disability plate or placard if you have a diagnosed long-term disease or disorder that substantially impairs or interferes with mobility. The fee for a disability plate is $50.00 for a two-year registration. There is no fee for a placard. Medical Affairs Branch, Registry of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 199100, Boston, MA 02119-9100; RMV Phone Center: (617) 351-4500 or (800) 858-3926 (within 508/413 only); Medical Affairs: (617) 351-9222, TTY: (617) 423-0965
Web site: http://www.massrmv.com/rmv/forms/medaff.htm

MBTA Services
The MBTA has a Senior and Access Pass Office and an Office for Transportation Access (OTA).

OTA oversees programs and services for people with disabilities and senior citizens, manages the MBTA's paratransit program, The RIDE; the Call-A-Lift Bus Program; and the Senior and Access Pass Office, which issues reduced fare passes. The OTA addresses customer concerns regarding station and vehicle access. OTA, 10 Park Plaza, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02116, (617) 222-5123, TTY: (617) 222-5415
Web site: http://www.mbta.com/.

Reduced Fare Passes for People with Disabilities
A Transportation Access Pass entitles you to reduced fares on all MBTA services including buses, trains, rapid transit, trackless trolleys, commuter rail, and commuter boats. Call (617) 222-5976 for application.
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) issues photo card to elgible persons with vision impairments, which allows free travel on fixed route buses, trains and subway. Call MCB at (617) 727-5550 for information.
http://www.mbta.com/fares_and_passes/reduced_fare_programs/

The RIDE
The MBTA's paratransit service, The RIDE, provides advance notice, door-to-door transportation to those who, because of a mental, physical or sensory disability, are unable to use general public transportation. The RIDE has wheelchair equipped vans and covers the same service area as the T and Commuter Rail. Call (617) 222-5123 or (800) 533-6282 for application and information. (Twenty one days allowed to process application upon receipt per ADA regulation).

 

TRIP Metro North
The Mystic Valley Elder Services has begun a pilot program called TRIP Metro North.  This is a transit program for those who are not eligible for The RIDE and who have no other transportation available.  TRIP Metro North gives elders and adults with disabilities who live in Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham and Wakefield a program to keep you moving, even if you don't drive anymore.  TRIP Metro North gives you the tools you need to recruit friends, neighbors, or relatives to drive you where you need to go - and the money to reimburse them for mileage!  With TRIP Metro North, you can get to the doctor, the market, or out to meet friends, all on your own terms and wherever you want to go.  

If you have a need for transportation, please contact the Mystic Valley Elder Services to sign up for TRIP at 781-324-7705, TTY 781-321-8880 or at info@mves.org

OTHER SOURCES OF ASSISTANCE

Local churches, synagogues, or other religious organizations; Lions or Elks Clubs, or other civic organizations are often good sources for assistance, including financial or volunteer assistance.

Additional possible financial resources can be found on the MNIP fact sheet, "Financial Resources (Possible)".

Many cities and towns have Commission on Disability (COD) and/or social service departments. To locate your local Commission on Disability go to MNIP Town / Area Office By Agency at:
http://www.disabilityinfo.org/MNIP/DB/TACR/OfficeByAgency.aspx?id=5

Also, call your city or town hall to find out what your community offers.


Fact Sheet last updated on: 9/13/2013


Disclaimer: The Massachusetts Network of Information Providers for People with Disabilities (MNIP) is pleased to be able to provide this information. Please Note: This information is not comprehensive nor is it intended to take the place of professional advice. The user is encouraged to check other resources of such information. No endorsement by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, DisabilityInfo.org, INDEX or any of its affiliates should be inferred. We reserve the right to remove, to modify, or to add any listing at any time, for any reason, and without notice.

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