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Free Tax Preparation Program
Governor McDonnell Urges Eligible Virginians to Take Advantage of Free Tax Prep Program
– The VA Free File Program Helps Working Virginians Use Name-Brand Tax Prep Software for Free, Helping Them Save At Tax Time –
RICHMOND – Today, Governor Bob McDonnell urged low- and moderate-income Virginians to find out if they are eligible for the Virginia Free File program, which would allow them to prepare and file their state and federal income taxes online for free using name-brand tax software.
“In Virginia, we have worked to make tax season easy and efficient for all taxpayers. The Free File program is specifically designed to help working Virginians save on the cost of tax prep, hold on to more of their hard-earned money, and not cost a dime of taxpayer dollars. However, many Virginians eligible for the program don’t use it. If you made less than $57,000 in 2012, I urge you to visit the Virginia Department of Taxation website and learn how you can use the Virginia Free File program to save this tax season,” said Governor McDonnell.
Virginia Free File is a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Taxation and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax-software companies. The Virginian Free File program is one of 22 state programs plus the District of Columbia modeled after the highly successful Internal Revenue Service Free File program used by millions of taxpayers to e-file their federal income tax returns for free. Free File lets eligible taxpayers e-file their state and federal tax returns for free online using commercial tax-preparation software. Free File supports the Virginia 760 form for residents, the 760PY form for part-year residents, and the 763 form for non-residents.
E-filing is the easiest, fastest and safest way to file your taxes. Taxpayers who file online and request direct deposit can expect to receive their refunds in a matter of days instead of weeks for those who file on paper.
Most taxpayers who don't qualify for VA Free File can still file their taxes online for free, using the Department of Taxation’s Fillable Forms program. The Fillable Forms return is an online version of Virginia's 760 return and schedules for Virginia residents. There are no income thresholds, and simple math calculations are done for you. This is another great alternative for taxpayers who currently complete and file their returns on paper. To learn more about VA Free File and Free Fillable Forms, go to the Department of Taxation's website at www.tax.virginia.gov and click on the e-file announcement.
FULL AND PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS: AVAILABLE FOR FAMILIES WITH DEAF/HARD OF HEARING CHILDREN…CONTACT US!!!
Beginning American Sign Language
This class is an introduction to American Sign Language (ASL) and includes basic grammar, vocabulary, fingerspelling, numbers, and cultural information related to the Deaf Community.
Thursday March 19th- May 7th
From: 6:30pm to 8:30 pm
At: PRTC (Bus Station)
Upstairs Board Room
14700 Potomac Mills Road
Woodbridge VA, 22191
COST: $90.00 class (cash or check)
$15.00 (for the book) Signing By Elaine Costello
Refund Policy: Sorry, No refunds after the second class.
This class is geared towards adult learners, but we will accept high school aged students. We are looking into offering and ASL for Kids class in the future and are currently looking for location and a co-sponsor for that type of class.
Come learn ASL in a fun and supportive environment!!
AbleRoad is a website and mobile app for finding and rating accessible places – restaurants, shops, hotels, medical practices and many other venues. It’s a perfect mobile service for people with disabilities, medical conditions and their friends, family members, and caregivers.
You can access AbleRoad at the website or by using the iPhone and iPad apps. An Android App will be released sometime next month. They are all FREEso start posting reviews today!
Here are the links to get started:
Please share this announcement with everyone you know. Liking AbleRoad on Facebook (facebook.com/AbleRoadAccess) or sharing the Facebook video are other ways to help spread the word.
I truly believe AbleRoad has the opportunity to do some great things for people and businesses all over the country.
High School Students with Disabilities
(rising juniors and seniors)
Virginia’s Youth Leadership Forum Alumni have become better advocates for themselves and greater advocates for others. They have returned to their homes, schools, and communities empowered to take control of their futures and be influential leaders to others. They have taken a more active role in their academics and gotten involved in extracurricular activities, matriculated to institutions of higher learning and earned degrees; and as they’ve blossomed into adulthood, they’ve become gainfully employed, committed in relationships, and living independently. They have joined or been appointed to local or national civic organizations and become decision makers.
See the potential in your son, daughter, or student! Help us recruit new leaders to the Forum from your community! Share this email with your colleagues, parents, and members of your social organizations. And please share this opportunity with your students or children!
The YLF will offer 25 Student Delegates an opportunity to: discover their leadership potential; work in small groups to explore their plans for the future; and in large groups, be inspired by and network with peers and motivational speakers with disabilities; experience public speaking in a friendly environment, and have fun. This “life changing” experience will take place July 29-August 2 on the campus of VCU with all expenses paid and accommodations provided.
To compete for this opportunity; encourage your student or child to:
Apply Today by going online to complete the YLF Application at www.vaboard.org/ylf/htm (select Recruitment) and submitting all required paperwork as instructed by the March 29, 2013 deadline.
The YLF will be held at Virginia Commonwealth University, July 29-August 2, 2013. It is open to students who:
· rising juniors and seniors (or post seniors returning to school for at least one year)
· have a disability as defined by Americans with Disabilities (ADA)
· reside in Virginia
· demonstrate qualities of a leader or have the desire to become a leader
Thank you for seeing your child’s potential and encouraging them to apply.
Kara A. White
1100 Bank Street, 7th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
5 Hospital Rules That Are Meant To Be Challenged
Empower employees to
question certain rules when they or a family member is in the hospital.
Each industry has its own unique set of workplace operating procedures, rules and norms. Hospitals, like any other workplace, require rules. There are job descriptions that provide roles for employees, policies and procedures that exist to enhance patient safety, regulations that guide compliance with existing safety laws and, of course, employees who carry out all of those responsibilities.
But during the day-to-day operations of a hospital, just as in your organization, patients and families may bump up against rules that really aren't rules, but responses that have been crafted over time.
1. "I'm sorry, visiting hours are over." More hospitals are amending their visiting policies to be more inclusive. For a long hospital stay, check in with the nurse manager on the unit to understand what the established visiting policies are. If you anticipate a need for some flexibility, talk with her or him early on. Make sure that any decisions are communicated in writing to the appropriate resources - security, the nursing office and a copy for your family.
2. "The doctor is not able to speak with you." There is typically a hierarchy in place for physician coverage. In an academic tertiary-care center, the attending physician is the top of the food chain, while the intern or resident will likely be the most visible on the unit. In smaller, community hospitals doctors may work in shifts and oversee the care of patients. These physicians often are assigned weekly, so it can be troubling to families because it's a new face and a new style every week. Regardless, you are entitled to know which physician is making the decisions on treatment, how long the coverage period is (a week, a day, a weekend) and how you can reach the physician when you want to talk with him or her.
3. "I'm sorry, the nurse manager went home." In any hospital, during the evening or night shifts, there is a nursing supervisor who is working as the administrator or person in charge of the facility. Not only may they be responsible for staffing, but they should be making sure things are running smoothly. Should you not be getting the help or support you need from the clinical staff, get in touch with the nursing supervisor.
4. "We can't change your room." You can request that your room be changed. Tell your nurse and ask her to notify the nursing supervisor. It may have to wait until an appropriate bed opens up (after patients are discharged in the morning), but you can request a room transfer.
5. "We can't give you that information." This can be a terribly frustrating response for family members who call in to find out how their loved one is doing. Some facilities offer families a password. Anyone inquiring about a patient's status needs to know the password, usually established and protected by the family, and known by the staff. Once the caller shares the password with the staff, patient updates should be shared.
As with most workplace issues, communication is the best method to successfully resolve any hurdle. As you counsel your employees to provide customer service, know that they're entitled to the same when their loved one is in the hospital.
Long is a registered nurse and founder of Guardian Nurses Healthcare Advocates,
a health care advocacy firm.
The contents of the CommonHealth weekly emails may be reprinted from an outside resource in the area of health, safety, and wellness and is intended to provide one or more views on a topic. These views do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth of Virginia, CommonHealth, or any particular agency and are offered for educational purposes. If you have questions or concerns about this article, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Health Check survey is a component of a comprehensive community health assessment (a health department initiative). Completion of such an assessment is a pre-requisite requirement for the Prince William Health District’s pursuit of national public health department accreditation. More importantly, there are many benefits to doing this survey including providing the most accurate picture of the entire communities’ public health needs. Feedback from the residents of Prince William County as well as Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, regarding what they view as the most significant public health issues for their communities, will provide useful information that will help the health department and community partners to prioritize public health-related needs and subsequently assist the community in the development and implementation of more targeted programs to address these priority needs.
In order to obtain the most representative picture of our communities public health needs, we are reaching out to many organizations in Prince William County, City of Manassas, and City of Manassas Park to ask for their support in disseminating the survey. Please send the links out in your newsletter as well as post them on the school web pages. The survey will be available online athttps://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GPWAHealthCheck2013 (English) and https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GPWAHealthCheck2013Esp (Spanish).
Thank you very much, in advance, for your support and helping to keep our community healthy.
Prince William Health District
A Community of Healthy People and a Healthy Environment
NOTICE OF VIRGINIA STATEWIDE INDEPENDENT LIVING COUNCIL
PUBLIC COMMENT PROCESS
Your input is requested by the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) on the proposed State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The public comments received from Virginians with disabilities, their families and other interested parties will assist the SILC in the development of the 2014 – 2016 State Plan. The basic themes and issues addressed in the goals of this draft document were identified during an on-line survey conducted by the SILC from July 2012 through August 2012.
By a federal mandate, the purpose of the Statewide Independent Living Council is to perform the duties of a planning council to identify the independent living needs of Virginians with disabilities. Every three years, the SILC, partnering with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, develops a plan that addresses those needs. Because the SILC is a planning body and does not deliver direct services, it has the responsibility to monitor the achievements of the goals and activities within the SPIL, and to plan for the allocation of Rehabilitation Act Title VII, Part B funds.
You may review the proposed goals of the next State Plan and submit comments by accessing the following link: https://www.research.net/s/SILC_Survey_State_Plan_2013.
You may also visit your local Center for Independent Living (CIL) to complete a public input/comment form. For the nearest location, a directory of the Virginia CILs can be found at www.vadars.org/cbs/cils.htm.
Written comments may also be sent to:
8004 Franklin Farms Drive
Henrico, Virginia 23229
FAX (804) 662-7663
For comments to be considered for the 2014 – 2016 State Plan development, they must be received by March 1, 2013. However, public input to the SILC’s planning efforts is welcomed at any time.
If you require an alternate format of the proposed State Plan and/or the public input/comment form, please contact Rhonda Jeter at (804) 325–1360 (Voice/VP), (800) 464-9950 (TTY), or by email at Rhonda.Jeter@dars.virginia.gov.
WHO WE ARE:
The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is an independent planning body working with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to increase the positive impact of independent living (IL) services in Virginia. The SILC is comprised of gubernatorial appointees who represent people with significant disabilities throughout the State, the interest of Centers for Independent Living (CIL’s) and other independent living programs and services.
WHAT WE DO:
We are responsible for the development and implementation of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL, which is required by Section 704 of the federal Rehabilitation Act, is updated every three years and identifies specific objectives and timelines for ensuring that the Commonwealth is providing the appropriate planning, financial support, coordination, and other assistance to address the needs of citizens with disabilities for independent living services.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
The Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council's mission is to promote effective policies, programs, and activities that maximize independence for Virginias with disabilities by:
· developing, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the State Plan for Independent Living,
· supporting and expanding the state network of Centers for Independent Living,
· creating a culture for full integration and independence,
· advocating systems change for full access and equality in community life,
· educating policy makers and stakeholders about the importance of independent living,
· developing a strategy for collaboration among stakeholders in the disability community,
· leading to full inclusion and independence in the Commonwealth.
Free Materials for Visually Impaired
Who we are
Choice Magazine Listening (CML) is a free audio anthology for a special audience of blind, visually impaired, physically disabled, or dyslexic subscribers. CML was created in 1962 by the non-profit Lucerna Fund to offer the best of contemporary magazine writing, completely without charge, to adults unable to read standard print.
What We Do
CML selects and records
memorable writing from approximately 100 leading magazines. Every other month,
this unique, free service offers its subscribers eight hours of outstanding
unabridged articles, fiction and poetry read by professional voices and recorded
on four-track cassette tapes.
New! CML is also available on the new digital Talking Book cartridges, playable on the free digital player from the Library of Congress. Please call for details: 1-888-7-CHOICE (1-888-724-6423)
The required four-track player is provided free of charge by the Library of Congress through its Talking Book program, which is available to those who are unable to read because of visual or physical handicap. If you don't have a four-track player, we can help you obtain one.
In addition to four-track tapes, Choice Magazine Listening is also available to download, free of charge, onto your computer through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS). The new digital talking book machines, which you will need in order to listen to the downloaded material, are being distributed by the NLS. To find out more, go to nlsbard.loc.gov and click on "BARD Application Instructions."
From: Disability, Power and Pride
Rumor Buster: Vote by Phone Scam
For Immediate Release:
October 12, 2012
For More Information:
Voters Targeted with False Information on Ability to Vote by Phone Voters, especially seniors, receiving calls and told they can vote by phone
Richmond, VA – The Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) is aware that some Virginia
voters, particularly older Virginians, are receiving phone calls from unidentified individuals informing voters that they can vote over the phone. This information is false.
Virginia law does not permit voting through the telephone. Apart from voting at the polls on Election Day, eligible Virginians may vote an absentee ballot by mail or in-person at the registrar’s office or other authorized satellite location. However, voting cannot be done via the phone, email, or any other means than absentee voting by mail and in-person during the absentee voting period or on Election Day.
At this point in time, it is unclear how widespread these calls have been. However, SBE has received several complaints over the past few days. These calls may violate several state and federal laws and the State Board of Elections will alert appropriate law enforcement authorities regarding this matter and provide new information if
SBE receives additional voter complaints.
We encourage any voter who receives a call matching this description to ask for the name, phone number, and organization from where the individual is calling. We then ask voters to contact the State Board of Elections at 1-800-552-9745 and provide a staff member with that information.
Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. For information about preparing for Hurricane Sandy and for regular updates, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/. For general information about the storm, dial 211.
Presidential Proclamation - National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2012
"In the 22 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have made significant progress in giving all Americans the freedom to make of our lives what we will. Yet, in times of prosperity as well as challenge, people with disabilities have had fewer opportunities in our workplaces than those without. As we work to revitalize our economy, it is essential that each of us can bring our talents, expertise, and passion to bear in the marketplace. But a stronger economy is not enough; we must ensure not only full participation, but also full opportunity. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recognize the indispensable contributions people with disabilities make in our economy and recommit to building a country where each of us can realize the full extent of our dreams."
By Shaun Heasley
September 18, 2012
The sheer number of people with disabilities makes them an important voting block, researchers say, but turnout among the group is severely lagging.
In 2008, voter participation among people with disabilities was 11 percent lower than that of typically developing individuals, according to a new study.
“Fully closing the disability gap would have led to 3 million more voters in 2008 and 3.2 million more voters in 2010, potentially affecting many races and subsequent public policies,” the report published in the journal Social Science Quarterly found.
For the study, researchers at Rutgers University and Syracuse University examined the 2008 and 2010 Current Population Surveys, the 2006 General Social Survey and the 2007 Maxwell Poll on Citizenship and Inequality.
Despite the availability of absentee ballots, accessibility issues at the polls and transportation hurdles could account at least in part for low turnout among those with disabilities, researchers said.
The study found that people with disabilities were no more likely that their typically developing peers to align with the left or the right, but did note that in 2008 Democrats did a better job mobilizing those with disabilities.
Disability advocates are currently working to encourage wider participation in the upcoming November election. And, later this month, more than 50 advocacy organizations are sponsoring a presidential forum focused on the candidates’ views on issues important to those with disabilities.
Important Information Regarding Your Service Animal or Pet In The Event of a Disaster:
Whether they’re your eyes, ears or best friend you need to make a plan for your service animal or pet in the event of an emergency. In both cases the animal should wear an I.D. tag at all times with your home phone number and secondary phone number. Make sure the animal is licensed with the local city/county animal control bureau.
During a disaster your pet or service animal may become frightened or disoriented. Keep them confined or securely leashed or harnessed. Be prepared to use alternative ways to navigate your way around. If you go to an emergency shelter be aware that pets, unlike service animals are not allowed in many emergency shelters due to health code regulations. Attempt to locate a pet friendly animal shelter ahead of time by contacting your local Animal Control Agency. If you have to evacuate and leave your pets behind plan to have them cared for by a friend or neighbor.
What to take along for your pet/service animal:
If you evacuate taking your pet or service animal with you be sure to include these things,
For more information contact your local animal control agency:
Prince William County Animal Control: 703-792-6465
City of Manassas Animal Control: 703-257-8009
City of Manassas Park Animal Control: 703-361-1136
Fauquier County Animal Control: 540-347-6862
Eastern Loudoun County Animal Control: 703-777-0406
Western Loudoun County Animal Control: 540-882-3211
Fairfax County Animal Shelter: 703-830-1100
You can also visit the web sites below for more information:
Gov. McDonnell recognizes September as National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month, an annual nationwide effort to encourage Americans to plan and prepare for emergencies.
“Unfortunately, within the past 14 months, just about every Virginian has experienced tornados, the historic Mineral earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee or the recent severe derecho wind storm,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator of emergency management. “These are all powerful reminders that each of us is responsible to be ready for both predicted and unexpected emergencies. If you are not ready, you can pledge to prepare during September.”
Families and individuals should plan as though they must go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services. To prepare, follow these four steps:
“In any large emergency, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down. The most important thing you can do to help your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and your family,” said Cline. “The more of us who are prepared, the quicker our community will recover.”
To recognize the significance of National Preparedness Month, Governor Bob McDonnell issued a special proclamation. To view it, go to http://www.governor.virginia.gov/OurCommonwealth/Proclamations/viewproc.cfm?id=166
Many families and teachers may want to talk with children about emergency preparedness during September. The Ready Kids website focuses on weather-related emergencies and helps educate children ages 8-12 about how they can help their families prepare. In-school materials for teachers also are available at www.ready.gov/kids or by calling 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO and TTY 1-800-462-7587.
To learn more about National Preparedness Month and to join the National Coalition of people and organizations who have pledged to prepare in September, go to www.Ready.gov.
This September, ‘Pledge to Prepare” for emergencies!
TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities
Please see the below links and press release regarding a new service from the TSA for travel.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the launch of TSA Cares today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical
“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”
Since its inception, TSA has provided information to all travelers through its TSA Contact Center and Customer Service Managers in airports nationwide. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.
When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.
Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger’s abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.
TSA strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect. The agency works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. TSA holds quarterly meetings with this coalition to inform them about current training and screening procedures used in airports. TSA recently hosted a teleconference with members of these groups to announce the long-standing plans to implement TSA Cares for travelers and inform them of the upcoming launch.
All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website.
Teylor, part of the Fauquier County , loves to bead and make jewelry. She is now selling her creations at the WARF 800 Waterloo Rd Warrenton from 12-2:00 pm on Thursday's and from 1-2:00 pm on Tuesday's. This is part of her Community Based Instruction, so money skills, initiating conversation, making eye contact, service with a smile, etc. are some significant areas that Teylor will be working on. After 3 days 'on the job’, she has sold 25 bracelets! (All proceeds will be donated to Fauquier High Schools Art Department: ) Please go tothe WARF 800 Waterloo Rd Warrenton
on the days and times listed above to support Teylor’s work.
------------------------------------------------------The Military--Chronic Diseases
Source: Military Report, September 19, 2011
These conditions are supposed to be considered “presumptive.” Presumptive conditions are generally conditions that veterans are assumed to have received due to particular tours of duty or exposures.
These presumptions apply to veterans who served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater since 1990. The countries and areas considered for this are:
· Saudi Arabia
· The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
· The United Arab Emirates
· Gulf of Aden
· Gulf of Oman
· Waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea
· The airspace above these locations
Additional Information on Gulf War Illness: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/research.asp