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October 2014 Highlights



Important RSA Deadlines for 2014
Below are important RSA deadlines for obligating and liquidating funds, as well as approval to extend financial and data reporting submission dates:

  • December 15, 2014 or sooner: Deadline for programs to send requests to RSA for approval to extend FY 2013 liquidation
  • December 15, 2014 or sooner: Deadline for programs to send requests to RSA for approval to extend submission dates for FY 2013 SF-425 financial reporting form
  • December 15, 2014 or sooner: Deadline for programs to send requests to RSA for approval to extend FY 2014 RSA-572 annual data collection for SGAT. This also applies to RSA-662 and Telework ICs.
  • December 31, 2014: Deadline for liquidation of FY12 funds (depending on how the end of the year falls)
  • December 31, 2014: Deadline to mark FY 2013 SF-425 as final
  • December 31, 2014: Deadline to mark FY 2014 SF-425 as annual

If you have concerns or questions, please contact Robert Groenendaal with RSA at

Comments for the Renewal of the 1820-0664 State Plan for Assistive Technology
Individuals are invited to submit comments for the renewal of the 1820-0664 State Plan for AT information collection (IC) instrument. The State Plan for AT expires before the end of the calendar year. RSA has requested that OMB approve a three-year renewal of the current instrument. After annual AT data has been submitted in the MIS by the end of December, we anticipate that FY 2015 State Plans for AT will be due in mid-February. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at by selecting Docket ID number ED–2014–ICCD–0114. If you have questions, please contact Robert Groenendaal with RSA at

RESNA Catalyst Project Director Gives Two Keynote Addresses in New Mexico
Joey Wallace provided keynote presentations at this year’s Southwest Conference on Disability, October 7-10th in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for both the AT pre-conference session and full conference speaking on Innovations in AT. According to the conference planners, over 1,100 people from all over the country had a great time in Albuquerque, including a balloon show over the hotel. In addition, Joey accepted New Mexico’s AT Program Director Tracy Agiovlasitis’ ALS ice bucket challenge, and in turn challenged his staff Paul and Jason.

Virginia Commonwealth University/RESNA Catalyst Project Webinar
The Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities is sponsoring a webinar on the RESNA Catalyst Project, which describes the Project’s mission, partners, and resources. The webinar is scheduled November 13th at 2p.m. Eastern Time. To participate, please register at

RESNA Catalyst Project and ATIA Webinars for 2015
In 2015, the RESNA Catalyst Project will continue its partnership with ATIA to offer live and archived webinars to all AT Act Entities! A total of 650 seats will be available through September 2015. The webinar subscription code is 15PDRESNA. This is referred to as the “Discount Code” in the online registration form and is the same for all registrations. The discount code must be used during the webinar and conference recording registration process to ensure the system does not charge any additional fees. Multiple attendees and multiple webinars can be registered during one registration transaction. However, each person for each webinar and conference recording counts as one registration. To access the online registration process visit: Online directories of Live Broadcast and Archived Recording webinars are available at: Each listing includes full details of the webinar and an option to register.

Upcoming Events

Webinar Series for AT Act Programs: AT & Employment
This six part series presented by Ron Hager, National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN), and Jim Sheldon, NLS, will offer 75 minute webinars on a host of AT and Employment related topics:

  • Webinar One: Wednesday, June 25, 2014, Obtaining or Retaining Medicaid While Working: The Section 1619(b) and Medicaid Buy-In for Working People Programs- Archive at:
  • Webinar Two: Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Funding Work-Related Assistive Technology for the Transition-Aged Special Education Student- Archive at:
  • Webinar Three: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies: Using VR Agency to Fund Assistive Technology to Support a Work Goal- Archive at:
  • Webinar Four: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, SSI’s Plan for Achieving Self Support: Using the PASS to Fund Assistive Technology to Support a Work Goal- Register at:
  • Webinar Five: Wednesday, November 19, 2014, A Review of Lesser Known Funding Sources and Funding Strategies for Work-Related Assistive Technology- Register at:
  • Webinar Six: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Funding of Work-Related Assistive Technology through Medicaid and Medicaid Waivers-Registration:
    Note: Each AT & Employment Webinar will start at 2p.m. Eastern Time and will run for 75 minutes. In addition, the RESNA Catalyst Project will provide live captioning. RESNA CEUs will be available for this series for a $16 fee.

Recent Events

Webinar Series for AT & Education
This two part series was presented by Janice Carson, Idaho Statewide AT Program, Ron Hager, NDRN, and Dave Edyburn, Professor, Department of Exceptional Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Each 60 minute webinar provided detailed information on assessments, AT, and education. Both webinar are now archived on the RESNA Catalyst Project Website at:



CATADA’s Data Technical Assistance Webinar
CATADA’s Data Webinar was held on October 27, 2014, and reviewed State AT Program data reporting into MIS for FY14. Diane Golden, CATADA Staff, and Rob Groenendaal with RSA reviewed the procedures for entering data into MIS including access information. To view the archived webinar, visit

Save The Date - ATAP’s 2015 Statewide AT Program Conference
For 2015, ATAP will sponsor the Statewide AT Program Conference on July 13 – 15, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The conference will feature sessions from Federal policy makers, invited presenters, the RESNA Catalyst Project, CATADA, and AT Connects. A Hill briefing with Congressional staff and an ATAP membership meeting will also take place at the conference. The conference agenda planning is currently in process, and more information will be available soon from ATAP. Mark your calendars today!

White House "Champions of Change" Awarded to the West Virginia Assistive Technology System

The West Virginia Assistive Technology System, a part of the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at West Virginia University, uses TapToTalk to help first responders and public transit drivers communicate with those who may have communication limitations or for whom English is not their primary language. The Federal Emergency Management Agency named this project as one of the 2014 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award winners! The awards recognize programs and individuals who have taken action to prepare their communities for disasters and helped to make their communities more resilient. These winners were recently recognized at the White House as "Champions of Change." Congratulations to Brittany Valdez, Regina Mayolo, Jamie Hayhurst, and the entire staff at the West Virginia Assistive Technology System. Job well done!

New Program Assists Kentuckians Hard of Hearing
A new program may increase access to hearing aids for Kentuckians with hearing impairments. The Kentucky Assistive Technology Service, or KATS, Network is accepting hearing aids of any age or condition through its Statewide Hearing Aid Assistance and Reuse Program known as SHARP. KATS Director Jimmy Brown said there were nearly 695,000 Kentuckians last year who were deaf or hard of hearing. That’s nearly 20 percent of the state’s population. Brown said he is excited about the potential impact of SHARP. “There’s no way to gauge the importance of being able to communicate with those around you and simply put, these devices are not affordable to everyone," Brown said. "This program, hopefully, will make these devices more accessible to Kentuckians who otherwise may not have the resources necessary to obtain them." Medicare and most health insurance plans do not cover hearing aids, which can cost from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Those who qualify and receive a hearing aid from SHARP are expected to cover audiologist fees. Donated hearing aids will be refurbished with a one-year warranty or used for parts. For more information about the program, contact the KATS Network at 1-800-327-5287.
Source: Allison Crawford, WKMS

Nebraska’s Assistive Technology Partnership Celebrates 25 Years!
The Nebraska Assistive Technology Partnership (ATP) celebrated 25 years on
November 1, 2014. ATP was one of the first nine states funded under the original Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988. ATP used their anniversary as a marketing opportunity to promote their success. Anniversary activities included creating a time capsule filled with ATP photos, videos, technology, and printed materials. The capsule will be opened on ATP¢s 35th anniversary in 2024. Another activity was to present certificates of appreciation to individuals, agencies, advisory councils, and partners, including Nebraska VR and Nebraska Health and Human Services for their support and partnership. Recipients were made a “Tech Star” coordinating with the anniversary theme. “We are grateful for the many partnerships that have made our success possible, and we look forward to helping more individuals be successful using assistive technology”, said ATP Director Leslie Novacek. For more information contact Nancy Noha at ATP, Congratulations!

Recent Events

Deaf Hard of Hearing Work Group Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 3p.m. Eastern Time
This Work Group is designed to share in, and address, technical issues and solutions current to technologies for individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. In addition, a LinkedIn Group page is avaialble to share information and resources. To participate in this LinkedIn Group, visit
During this call, Laura Plummer presented on “Telecoils 101” followed by a group discussion. The next Work Group will take place in early Februaury, 2015. More detials to follow soon.

Statewide AT Program New Directors Webinar/Call-Thursday, October 30th, 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act), as amended, statewide AT programs are responsible for planning, administering, overseeing, and carrying out responsibilities of the statewide AT program grant. This webinar/ call featured information found in the third module of the New Director’s Curriculum ( In addition, Alan J. Knue, Program Director for the Washington Assistive Technology Act Program, was the featured speaker, and he talked about his Program’s experiences developing their state plan. Details on the next webinar/call will be avaialble soon.



Readers should note that Medicare Part B can be a source of funding for a wide range of durable medical equipment, including speech generating devices and a range of power mobility devices (including power wheelchairs and scooters, subject to the requirement that the wheelchair or scooter be needed in the home).
Medicare Part B Premium to Remain at $104.90 in 2015

  • Most individuals served by PAAT projects and AT Projects receive Medicare as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries.
  • Typically, the Part B premium is automatically deducted from the SSDI payment.
  • Keep in mind, however, that many individuals will qualify for a Medicare Savings Plan to pick up the Part B premium.

Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) – a Way to Pay for Part B Premium and, in Some Cases, to Pay for Co-Pays, Coinsurance, and Deductibles
There are three different MSPs:

  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB) program - for individuals with gross monthly countable income up to $973 a month (or $1,311 for a couple) and assets up to $7,160 ($10,750 for a couple) in 2014. Pays for premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
  • Specified Low-Income Beneficiaries (SLMB) program – for individuals with gross monthly countable income up to $1,167 per month (or $1,573 for a couple) and same asset limits as QMB in 2014. Pays for premiums only.
  • Qualified Individual - 1 (QI-1) program - monthly countable income up to $1,313 per month (or $1,770 for a couple) and same asset limits as QMB in 2014.
  • Some things to keep in mind about MSPs:
    • Income and asset limits are typically adjusted each year (typically new limits announced no earlier than late February).
    • Several states have either higher asset limits or no asset limits.
    • If eligible for QMB, the program can pay the entire 20 percent co-pay on an expensive item such as a speech generating device or power wheelchair.
    • The MSP is required to follow all SSI income exclusion rules, e.g., the first $65 and 50 percent of remaining earned income is not counted.
    • An individual applies for an MSP through the local Medicaid agency.
  • A great resource for MSPs is on the Center for Medicare Rights website at

Center for Medicare Advocacy Sues to Fix Broken Medicare Appeals System
The following is excerpted from an article on the Center for Medicare Advocacy website at The complaint is available on that site. On August 26, 2014, the Center for Medicare Advocacy filed a nationwide class action lawsuit in United States District Court in Connecticut (Lessler et al. v. Burwell, 3:14-CV-1230, D. Conn.). The five named plaintiffs, from Connecticut, New York and Ohio, have all waited longer than the statutory 90-day limit for a decision on their Medicare appeals. The current average wait time is over five times the congressionally mandated time limit. The Medicare Act requires Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to issue decisions within 90 days after a request for a hearing. Yet, as of July 2014, the current wait time for a decision averaged 489 days. Due to an unjust and time-consuming Medicare appeals process that essentially “rubber stamps” denials at the first two levels of appeal, the ALJ hearing is the third level of appeal, and represents the first chance for a meaningful review of a beneficiary’s appeal – which can include the chance to provide oral and witness testimony.



Congratulations to our Newest Grant Recipients!
The RESNA Catalyst Project extends a congratulations to Jill Pleasant representing Arizona, Michael Morris representing New Jersey/New York, and Alicia Johns representing the District of Columbia, on your successful grant applications for developing an Alternative Financing Program! The competition was incredibly close, and these three applications rose to the occasion. We at the RESNA Catalyst Project look forward to working with you!

Individual Technical Assistance Calls with Loan Program Directors
The RESNA Catalyst Project, in conjunction with RSA, is setting up individual calls for loan program directors to discuss program needs. These are short, usually lasting approximately 30 minutes. Keep an eye out for contact from Jason Luciano to schedule a time.

AFP Annual Conference Information Coming Soon!
Watch your inboxes for upcoming information on the 2015 AFP Conference! This will be held separately from the statewide conference in 2015. The steering committee will be establishing dates and an agenda soon, so stay tuned!

Recent Events

New Grantee Call – October 16, 2014
The latest monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was held October 16, 2014, at 4:00p.m. Eastern. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – October 28, 2014
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace, hosted an all Loan Program Directors call to the Loan Program Directors Forum. Much like the successful forums for Statewide Program Directors, this forum is designed for Directors to talk informally about programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations. In addition, this forum is intended to provide for open discussion and sharing across programs. This call was recorded and will be posted on the RESNA Catalyst Project’s Website soon!

Upcoming Events

New Grantee Call – November 20th at 4:00p.m. Eastern
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees will be November 20, 2014, at 4:00pm Eastern. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced in mid-October the launch of—a comprehensive web portal spearheaded by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). From educational articles to interactive tools to expert interviews, has something for everyone. Stop by, explore, and get excited about accessible technology today!

AbleData Publication: Try AT Products before You Buy
AbleData has released a new guide to assist individuals in finding ways to try AT products before buying them. Link to source:

EnableMart Free Webinar Series
According to their website, EnableMart has teamed up with some of our top vendors to present helpful webinars covering a variety of products and brands related to special education, speech therapy, and assistive technology. If you are looking for information on any of these products, new ideas on using assistive technology in the classroom, or want to learn how to use products you already own in new ways, these webinars are for you. All the webinars are free and many of them will contain coupon codes for the products or brands presented. Access webinars at

TAPit Trail Program
TAPit is an interactive learning station designed to provide full access to the screen with easy adjustments that adapt to individualized needs. Statewide AT Act Programs can take advantage of the TAPit Trial Program. This program allows schools and institutions to use the device for a 30-day trial period at their location at no charge. This program ends at the end of the 2014 calendar year. For more information, call 844.881.2088.

AT Radio & Podcasts in Indiana
INDATA has launched an internet radio station. broadcasts 24/7 and includes a wide variety of AT programs. Programs include INDATA’s two podcasts as well as various AT training sessions. To view and listen to the growing list of episodes, visit: INDATA will include audio content from other AT projects. To submit radio content or to learn more about INDATA's AT radio and podcasts contact Wade Wingler at

Follow the RESNA Catalyst Project on Twitter today! @ResnaCatalyst
The RESNA Catalyst Project now has a Twitter feed on the homepage at Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read "tweets", which are text messages limited to 140 characters.

Follow what is happening with the RESNA Catalyst’s Online Calendar
The RESNA Catalyst Project’s event calendar is on the homepage at This interactive calendar allows individuals to access information on upcoming events as well as visit recent ones. Most events reported in these Highlights Newsletters will now be a simple click away to download, register, and share!

Product Disclaimer

AT product information contained above is distributed by the RESNA Catalyst Project for informational purposes only. Endorsement or recommendation is neither intended nor implied, and the RESNA Catalyst Project, RESNA, RESNA employees, collaborators, and partners take no responsibility for individual decisions, and shall bear no liability for any loss or damages resulting from the use of this information.

The RESNA Catalyst Project provides technical assistance to Statewide Assistive Technology Programs, Alternative Financing Programs & Access to Telework Programs, and Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology Programs. RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, is the premier professional organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions.

This newsletter is produced by the RESNA Catalyst Project under a grant funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education (RSA/ED) through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of RSA/ED or RESNA and no official endorsement of the materials should be inferred.

Contact Information: RESNA Catalyst Project, 1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540, Arlington, VA 22209-1903; (703) 524-6686 (voice), (866) 342-6572 (voice), (703) 524-6630 (FAX), (703) 524-6639 (TTY). Email:; Website: