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2024-06-13

Colorado Disability Services Guide: Navigating Support Systems and Resources

By
Team Member
Abby Care
If you’re a Coloradan with a disability, discover vital support and resources through Colorado Disability Services, which is dedicated to empowering you.

Colorado disability services are designed to help individuals with disabilities fully participate in various aspects of life, like education, employment, and social activities. 

These services include making sure schools have what you need if you’re a student with disabilities, following rules about making things easy for you to get around, and using assistive technology to help you easily get the information and services you need.

Accessible support systems are crucial, especially for people with disabilities. They ensure equal opportunities and full participation in society. For instance, the Colorado Accessibility Law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in services, programs, or activities offered by any Colorado government entity. This means that websites, services, and programs must be accessible to everyone.

Let’s take a look at the disability services you can benefit from in Colorado.

Understanding Disability Services in Colorado

Disability rights and legislation in Colorado are designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in various areas of life. These rights are enforced through laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which says no one should be treated unfairly because of a disability. 

The ADA covers employment, public accommodations, transportation, telecommunication, and public services. Colorado also has laws and rules that provide more protection and services to people with disabilities.

Colorado Disability Services covers a wide range of disabilities. The ADA includes physical or mental impairments that make it hard to do major life activities. It also protects people with a history of disability or who others think are disabled. 

The law says that employers, governments, businesses, transportation, and telecommunication companies must treat people with disabilities fairly and give them what they need to do their jobs or use their services.

Disabilities covered by the ADA include things like:

  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Being deaf or hard of hearing
  • Having low vision or being blind
  • Epilepsy
  • Problems moving around
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Brain injuries

Governmental Disability Services in Colorado

Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)

At the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), you’ll find various programs and services designed to support Coloradans with disabilities, older adults, and veterans. Some of these programs and services include:

  • Regional Centers: These places in Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Wheat Ridge help people with intellectual and developmental challenges.
  • Disability Determination Services (DDS): DDS checks if people can get support payments from Social Security because of their disabilities.
  • Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind (CCDHHDB): This group helps people across Colorado who have trouble hearing.
  • Mindsource Brain Injury Network: This group helps people with brain injuries live better lives.

The type of help you receive from CDHS programs will depend on your situation. If you’re a person with disabilities, an older adult, or a veteran, you might qualify based on your needs. It’s usually easy to apply; simply visit the CDCH website or reach out to the local county human services department to begin the application process.

Healthcare and Medical Services for Individuals With Disabilities

Colorado’s healthcare system offers important support and services for people with disabilities, mainly through Medicaid and Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). Here’s a quick look at what you can get:

Medicaid in Colorado

Colorado’s Medicaid program, Health First Colorado, is a big help for people with disabilities. The program assists people with disabilities like brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries. It covers services such as modifying your home so it’s easier to get around and reminders to take medicine.

To get Medicaid services, you have to meet certain criteria related to your disability, health, and financial status. Health First Colorado offers various waivers like the Elderly, Blind, and Disabled Waiver (EBD) and the Developmental Disabilities Waiver (DD) to give special services and support.

Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs)

CMHCs are essential for helping people with disabilities with their mental health. They offer counseling, therapy, and other mental health services designed for people with disabilities. These centers are friendly and open to everyone, so people with disabilities can get the help they need to feel better and have a good life.

Besides these medical services, families of kids with special needs have the option to care for them at home. As a parent, you can become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Colorado and get paid to give your child the care they need. This means your child can receive the necessary assistance in the familiar environment of home rather than in a medical facility or elsewhere. Here at Abby Care, we can help you become a Parent CNA!

Educational Support for Individuals With Disabilities

Whether you’re in school or college, there are lots of ways to get help with education if you have a disability in Colorado.

Colorado Department of Education (CDE)

The CDE has special education programs which prepare students with disabilities for adult life after high school. The department also helps students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans. These plans make sure students get the support they need to do well in school.

Disability Services Offices in Colorado Universities and Colleges

The CDE and disability services offices in colleges work together to make sure students with disabilities succeed in their academic pursuits and achieve their highest potential. 

These offices offer academic accommodations or extra help with studying, assistive technology to help with learning, and counseling services. Also, Colorado universities and colleges have accessibility initiatives and campus resources to help students with disabilities have equal access to all aspects of campus life.

Accessibility Resources and Accommodations

Accessibility resources and accommodations are important for people with disabilities to participate fully in various aspects of life. Let’s look at how Colorado Disability Services helps.

In Colorado, there are transportation services that are easy for people with disabilities to use. These include paratransit services and things like ramps and elevators that make traveling safer and more independent. Colorado transportation assistance programs also help people with disabilities get around more easily.

Having a good place to live is important, too. Colorado has housing vouchers and supportive housing programs to help people with disabilities find affordable homes that are easy to get around in. These programs also help make home changes, like adding ramps or adjusting work areas, so people with disabilities can live comfortably and get the help they need.

Financial Assistance and Benefits

Financial assistance and benefits are really important for people with disabilities in Colorado. Let’s see how to get them through a couple of programs.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This program gives money and benefits to people with disabilities. To qualify, you need to have a disability that lasts at least a year or could be life-threatening. You also shouldn’t be able to do a job that pays well. You’ll need to provide some documents, like proof of your age, address in Colorado, income, Social Security number, and more.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This program provides financial assistance to people with disabilities who lack money or other resources. To qualify, you must provide documents showing your age, disability, income, and more. To learn more about SSI, check out our guide here.

Conclusion

If you are a Coloradan with a disability, it’s important to use disability services so you can get equal opportunities and support in all aspects of life. Colorado creates a more inclusive and supportive community for everyone by providing accessible resources and accommodations.

If you need help navigating Colorado disability services, contact Abby Care. We'll make sure you get the support and assistance you need to thrive.

Sources

https://cdhs.colorado.gov/our-services/disability-services

https://cdle.colorado.gov/workforce-partners-resources/disability-program-navigator

https://cdhs.colorado.gov/our-services/disability-services

https://thearcofco.org/family-resources/

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/accessibilityresources/

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