A Success! :)

I had fun at the PMHCA conference, but it truly is good to be back home.  Things seemed to be more relaxed overall  I think I heard someone say there were about 420 people in attendance, workshops were informative, and while I didn’t attend any of the caucuses, I found the reports to be very informative.

I had attended the 2008 PMHCA conference, which I believe had 620 people in attendance, and I felt more relaxed at this year’s conference then I did at the 2008.  it was crowded at times, but in general it was possible to walk from place to place without constantly being in shoulder to shoulder contact with other people unlike the 2008 conference where it was crowded and very noisy.

The atmosphere was calmer at this year’s conference, PMHCA was wonderful in helping me out by making a little announcment asking folks not to feed or pet the service dog.  I believe this also made a huge difference in how much I enjoyed the conference since everyone got that little reminder early on.  I was able to reconnect with old friends, and also meet some folks face to face I had only known on Facebook, I also met many other wonderful people.

I found out from one person that the “information overload” I feel so often and resort to things like an ipod and blue tinted sunglasses, might actually be a hypersensativity thing possibly associated with my diagnosis of ADHD.  I had known that the color blue had a calming effect on me, and that wearing my blue sunglasses seemed to help a lot, but never really figured out why it helped.  So to the gentleman who happens to wear infrared filtering glasses for a similar reason, and offered that bit of insight to me, I really appreciate the lead and will be looking into it further.

One workshop I attended was about advocating for folks in personal care homes.  I wasn’t overly surprised about what was given as examples of their findings while surveying folks residing in personal care homes.  In many ways what I had heard confirmed a lot of what I had thought I was seeing locally.

Some things that were confirmed included …

  • Isolation of folks living there.  this isolation could be geographicly induced, but many times it is because once someon is in a personal care home the ‘out of sight out of mind’ concept kicks in and former friends and even family will often loose touch with the person in the personal care home.
  • Financial issues … folks in personal care homes in Pennsylvania are suppose to receive $85 a monh from their Social Security benfits.  While there are homes that abide by this, it is not allways the case.  There are places that don’t give any of that money to their residents while others only give the resident a portion of it.
  • Often it is very difficult for someone in a personal care home to move out if they want to.  because all their money is tied up in the personal care home except maybe $85 it is nearly impossible for folks to realistically be able to save up enough money to be able to afford to pay for first/last month rent + a security deposit without the help of a friend or family member, which because of the isolation factor there isn’t always someone who can help someone move out of a personal care home.
  • Many times, personal care homes require that they also be the representative payee for the resident. Which in my opinion and the opinion of others seems like a HUGE conflict of interest.  Myself and others feel that there should be an independant 3rd party who takes this role and that there is no reason for the personal care home to take on that role for any resident.

There are more things then that that I felt like I got confirmation on indicating that the problem was wider spread then just my local area.

At any rate, the conference was awesome for me, and I’ve decided that my personal goal is to try and save enough to go next year.  The folks will begin planning for next year’s conference within the next week or so, and while they plan, I’ll be coming up with budget strdegies of my own to hopefully enable myself to be able to attend.

Thanks PMHCA for all you did for the conference, and also for everything you do beyond the conference that I’m only beginning to fully realize the immensity of the task you have chosen to take on.  Keep up the awesome job and know there are many backing you.



WDUQ’s Behavioral Health segment on the PNA raise

WDUQ out of Pittsburgh which is part of the NPR network, has started running a behavioral health segment.  Recently Erica Beras who is new to WDUQ did a segment on the Personal Needs Allowance raise for folks on SSI who reside in personal care homes.  I felt the segment was very well done.,  Here is a link that takes you to the WDUQ Archive page for the behavioral health segments.  http://wduq.org/news/BehavioralHealth/index.html

MHA in PA email release on PNA Raise

In a Wednesday, February 18, 2009 email sent out by the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHA PA) they are asking folks to send their appreciation for making the PNA  raise a reality.  The information below indicates that it did NOT cost the state anything extra to impliment this raise, so it is a win win kind of thing.

Pennsylvania residents of personal care homes living on SSI receive a personal needs allowance (PNA).  Despite an increase in living expenses, this amount has not changed since 1993. Until now.

When the federal government recently raised the SSI benefit for each individual by $37, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare issued a policy statement allowing individuals living in personal care homes to keep $25 of that money bringing the total amount of the personal needs allowance to $85. 

DPW’s decision does not cost the state more than it currently spends; and personal care homes do not lose any money.

This decision by Estelle Richman, DPW Secretary, was influenced by several lawmakers, notably Representatives Jim Marshall and Phyllis Mundy.

Please send the following email to Governor Rendell and Representatives Marshall and Mundy to let them know you are happy with this decision.

Personal Needs Allowance Raise Celebrations!

There are two celbrations planed to celebrate the successfull increase in the Personal Needs Allowance for folks on SSI in Personal Care Homes.

Pittsburgh …

The Pittsburgh event is to be held … Thursday, February 26, 2009; 10 AM – 12 noon …a PDF file with details is available at …  https://share.acrobat.com/adc/document.do?docid=3e378dfa-a23f-4043-87df-3731b2291d33


Harrisburg …

The Harrisburg event to be held … Tuesday, March 10, 2009; 10 AM – 11 AM a PDF file with details is available at … https://share.acrobat.com/adc/document.do?docid=89091900-3788-497d-9282-b633e23cff83

PNA increased from $60 to $85 per month

I have an exciting update for folks.  I have just found out that there is an increase in the personal needs allowance (PNA) for folks on SSI in personal care homes.  The increase isn’t what those of use who were advocating for the increase were hoping for but it is definitely and improvement for those who will be effected by it.  The increase is effective January 1, 2009 bringing the PNA up from $60 to  a new amount of $85

Hats off to all those who worked diligently to make this increase a reality!!

(Edited to remove non-functional links to documents belonging to outside sources and corrected a couple of spelling errors on 4/12/2014  Thank you to the reader who let me know about the issue with the links)

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