hipnews Winter 2014 Edition
 
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Annual Meeting a Resounding Success
Social Security Disability Benefits Application
Citizen Action Alert!
January: A Good Month for “Dusty’s Law”
Independent Living – Past, Present and Future
Thank You!
Save the Date!
Special Holiday Thanks–You Brightened Many Lives!
Winter Wonderland Celebration
Welcome to Mindy!
The BARD Mobile App is Here!
Hudson hip Art Show A Coming Event
2014 Summer Calendar Raffle
TECH TALK
We Mourn . . .
2013 Annual Report
2014 Membership Year Off to a Flying Start!
hip hip Hooray!
Try Disability.gov with Questions
From Halloween...
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- hipnews Winter 2014 Edition Text Version -


  Annual Meeting a Resounding Success
  
 A comprehensive review of the Affordable Care Act, familiarly known as Obamacare, was the compelling topic of keynote speaker Diego Arias at the 2013 hip Annual Meeting on November 19th, at the Ridgefield Community Center. A full house of members and friends attentively followed Mr. Arias, health policy advocate for New Jersey Citizen Action, as he outlined in detail all aspects of this timeliest of topics. Many took notes, and the perceptive questions that followed were proof of the quality of his information and the total engagement of his listeners. While too lengthy to report in detail in hipNews, suffice it to say that this was one of the most relevant – and appreciated – subjects hip has presented at an Annual Meeting. Hudson hip staff were the organizers and hosts for the evening; assisted by the Bergen hip staff, they welcomed attendees, served a light supper, and created a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND OFFICER ELECTIONS

Also on the program was the report of the Nominating Committee, presented by Betty A. Fetzer, and elections by the full membership to the Board of Trustees. Peter Cafone was elected to his first full term, Roy Lippin to his second, and Paul Aronsohn and Joan Bermingham to their third. The Board elected Betty Fetzer to a second term as 2nd Vice Chair. Anne Marie Prendergast has retired as Secretary, and Joe Tomasko, who held that post previously, has agreed to resume that position.
Rick Hodgman, Treasurer, gave a favorable review of hip’s financial position for the year, and Lottie Esteban, Fund Development Chair, reported on the success of several fund-raising ventures in 2013, our annual dinner dance, “Beachball hip hop,” and a new venture, the Beachball Boomerang Calendar Raffle, which was a big hit with subscribers.
CEO Eileen Goff gave a review of hip’s 33rd year of service and accomplishments, but also indicated that 2014 will be a year of financial challenges, in the light of continuing cutbacks in funding at the federal and state levels. She then introduced the entire staff, assisted by Mariely Gonzalez, in the absence of Hudson director Kathy Wood. Jean Csaposs, Board Chair, closed the evening by thanking Eileen, hip founder and our ongoing dynamic CEO, for all she does to make our agency a resoundingly successful service organization.
 
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  Social Security Disability Benefits Application
  
 Social Security Disability Benefits Application, Denial & Appeals
From David Vinokurov,
District Manager – Trenton, NJ
Social Security Administration
Information for first-time applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as well as those who need to re-apply or appeal a previous denial:
You are entitled to a free, no-obligation evaluation to discuss your case and potential eligibility for disability benefits with a professional SSDI/SSI advocate or attorney. Apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Why should I apply online for Social Security retirement benefits?
Social Security offers an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes. Better yet, you can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you. There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.
How secure is my personal information?
We use the most secure technology on the Internet to keep your information private.
How do I apply online?
1) Discover your retirement options,
2) Get information about how members of your family may qualify for benefits,
3) Find instructions on how to apply for benefits and what supporting documents you may need to furnish, and
4) Complete application.
Is the process easy to follow?
Yes. We ask only the questions that pertain to your situation, and we provide links to more information. Also, there are examples to help you. You can print or save a copy of the information you enter.
Reminder Items:
You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old to apply for retirement benefits.
You should apply for benefits no more than four months before the date you want your benefits to start.
If you are already age 62, you may be able to start your benefits in the month you apply.
If you are not getting Social Security and you are not ready to retire, you should still sign up for Medicare four months before your 65th birthday.
Medicare Issues:
Close to age 65, you can find out how to apply for Medicare only. You may need to sign up for Medicare close to your 65th birthday, even if you are still working.
Some health insurance plans change automatically at age 65.
If you are getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, your Medicare Hospital Benefits will start automatically.
What happens next?
Read “Retire Online It’s So Easy!” to find out what happens after you apply.
Availability
The online forms are available to you seven days a week during the following hours:
Monday – Friday: 5 am – 1 am
Saturday: 5 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 10 pm
Holidays: 5 am – 11 pm
Contacting Social Security
For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 am – 7 pm, Monday through Friday. We can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.
For Spanish language service: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/espanol/
 
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  Citizen Action Alert!
  
 New Jersey Citizen Action is calling attention to proposed State Assembly Bill 2178, which would grant immunity to volunteer doctors at free clinics from any civil lawsuit for malpractice involving personal injury or even a patient’s death, regardless of whether the doctor acted negligently. Citizen Action feels this is a dangerous development for the hundreds of thousands of people, mostly low-income and uninsured, and including many with disabilities, who receive treatment at free clinics. The law would create a two-tiered system of health care: one for insured people and a separate one for uninsured and low-income residents. The former group would receive a higher standard of healthcare while the latter group would receive a lower standard of healthcare and would lose their legal rights simply because they are low-income. New Jersey Citizen Action and other organizations have formed a coalition to defeat this legislation, which they regard as “unjust, unfair, and unacceptable in New Jersey.” Those interested in voicing their opinion and letting their state legislators know that they oppose this proposed law should contact Naved Husain, consumer rights advocate, at 732-246-4772 ext. 28, or by e-mail at naved@njcitizenaction.org.
 
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  January: A Good Month for “Dusty’s Law”
  
 After unanimous passage in both the NJ State Assembly (January 6th) and the State Senate (January 13th), “Dusty’s Law” was signed by Governor Christie on January 21st. This landmark legislation, designed to protect guide dogs and their owners, puppies in training and puppy raisers, as well as other service animals, has become a reality largely due to the unrelenting efforts over several years of members of the NJ Association of Guide Dog Users, a division of the National Federation of The Blind. Along with other advocates, hip’s Trisha Ebel lobbied in Trenton for “Dusty’s Law,” named for a German Shepherd puppy in training as a guide dog. He was mauled by a pit-bull in July 2010 in Woodcliff Lake, and required nearly 100 stitches. His injuries and resulting trauma kept him from continuing in the Seeing Eye program.
“Dusty’s Law” makes attacking a service animal a criminal matter, requiring police response. It governs any animal that attacks, injures or interferes with any kind of service animal. A recent Seeing Eye survey found that 44% of 744 guide dogs and users had experienced at least one attack by another animal, and over 80% said they’d had some kind of interference by another animal. A person convicted of allowing an animal to kill a service dog can be punished by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
 
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  Independent Living – Past, Present and Future
  
 by Kathy Wood, Director, Hudson hip
It seems as though the term “independent living” appears in advertisements for everything from assisted living facilities for seniors to home health aide services. However, when used in reference to the disability community, the term “independent living” has a unique meaning and history. The independent living movement and the Centers for Independent Living were born out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s. The term as used in our community does not refer to where an individual lives, but rather to the right of individuals to choose where and how they live. It also refers to the right of individuals to succeed – or fail – or both, at whatever they choose to do.
Few of us who have benefited from Medicare or Medicaid realize that these programs didn’t exist until 1965 and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) didn’t exist until 1972. Many workers with disabilities have benefited from vocational rehabilitation services. But how many of us know that the “Rehabilitation Act” did not come into being until 1973 and that President Nixon signed the law only after his original veto was protested by hundreds of people with disabilities? Nowadays, it is assumed that every child with a disability is “entitled to a free and appropriate public education.” However, do we realize that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) didn’t exist until 1972 when it was known as the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act”? Thousands of people receive support and assistance from Centers for Independent Living (CILs) without realizing that federal funding for these Centers was nonexistent prior to 1978. Everyone (with and without disabilities) uses ramps and curb cuts with no thought that they barely existed until the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
So, how did this all come about? Most people are familiar with the story of Rosa Parks, the African-American woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus, and is often credited with triggering the civil rights movement. The disability community has its own “civil rights” leaders. Among the most notable are Ed Roberts, who fought for the right to attend college at the University of California/Berkeley and later established the first Center for Independent Living in the United States, and Judith Heumann who founded “Disabled in Action,” and the protest that resulted in President Nixon rescinding his veto of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Judith also fought for and won the right to become the first wheelchair user to teach in New York City’s public schools. It is through the struggles and hard-won successes of these and many more leaders that we can enjoy the freedom of access that we take for granted today.
What about the future? Can we be assured that we will always have the rights that we do now? The short answer is “no.” As I write this article, potential cuts threaten Social Security and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) programs and the federal budget for Centers for Independent Living is being negatively impacted by the Sequester. Also, if you think that everyone is in our camp when it comes to equal rights for people with disabilities, I suggest that you read “Rethinking Life and Death” by Peter Singer, a Princeton University bioethics professor.
The successes we have achieved in access and in programs by no means can be taken for granted. The right to full participation comes with the responsibility for each of us to contribute as fully as we are able and exercise our civic responsibilities which include voting and communicating with our elected officials on issues that are of concern to us as individuals and as members of the disability community. Neither can we afford to take attitudinal progress for granted. The only way we can help our fellow citizens to be comfortable around people with disabilities is to be active members of the larger community. The rights that we now have were fought for by very strong and dedicated leaders. It is up to us to continue the fight – it’s far from over!
 
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  Thank You!
  
 hip receives many contributions from individuals and the community throughout the year. We thank those listed below for their recent exceptional generosity:
Heather Broad
Adele Cannie
Jean and Jim Csaposs
Trisha Ebel*
Lottie Esteban and Family
First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack
Herman Forbes Charitable Trust
Fund for the New Jersey Blind
River Edge Lions Club
Michael Smith*
John Stanik*
Jeffrey St. Germain*
Roberta “Bobbi” Wailes
Richard S. Wolfman Family Foundation
* New Life Member
 
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  Save the Date!
  
 for hip’s Annual Dinner Dance and Fund-Raiser, featuring Music of the ‘60s. A light-hearted evening “starring” the decade that still has us dancing and singing to the music of now legendary pop stars.
When and where?
May 17th
Fort Lee Recreation Center.
Watch for details in the next hipNews!!
 
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  Special Holiday Thanks–You Brightened Many Lives!
  
 We thank all the wonderful parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge and the many individuals who participated in the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s “All Wrapped Up Holiday Giving Program.” Due to their outstanding generosity, 71 individuals and family members received an assortment of gifts and gift cards this holiday season.
Thanks also to Maywood florist Herman Hofmann for donating 20 blooming red and white poinsettia plants to grace the tables at our holiday party. All were taken home by our guests to add color to their holidays.
 
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  Winter Wonderland Celebration
  
 by Jayne Gugenheim
With a winter storm the previous day that made the trees sparkle with December snow, this year’s holiday party went off without a hitch! On the afternoon of Sunday, December 15th, hip members, families, staff, and friends joined together to celebrate the season. The ballroom at the DoubleTree Hotel in Fort Lee was decorated beautifully with a Christmas tree, a menorah at the front of the room, and poinsettias at each table.
We danced the day away with a conga line, “YMCA,” and plenty of seasonal favorites. Much appreciation to our great D.J., Greig Atkinson, for his “Back to Back Music.” After a delicious four-course dinner, staff members handed out gifts donated by Board members, family and friends. A special thanks to staff daughter Angelissa Vasquez for baking and wrapping cookies to give as gifts. The lucky winners were picked by our newest Board member, Peter Cafone. Thanks to modern technology, staff member Paula Walsh, who wasn’t able to attend the festivities, “FaceTimed” (a form of video chat on the iPhone) for a few minutes to join in and wish everyone the joys of the season.
The 50/50 was a huge hit this year! Congratulations to possibly our youngest ever 2nd prize winner, 1st grader D.J. Bethea, who took home $75! Huge congratulations also go out to 1st prize winner Lillian Rand on her $200 win! Following hip tradition, the party closed with longtime hipster Christopher Gagliardi leading the staff in “White Christmas” and CEO Eileen Goff wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
 
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  Welcome to Mindy!
  
 Mindy Geliebter joined the Bergen hip staff in October as a care manager. Previously, she was a Medicaid service coordinator for the ARC of Rockland County, working with developmentally disabled individuals. She received her bachelor’s and MSW degrees from Yeshiva University in New York City. Mindy and her family are residents of Teaneck. In her spare time, she enjoys Israeli folk dancing, cooking, and spending time with her grandchildren.
 
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  The BARD Mobile App is Here!
  
 Do you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch? We have great news! You can enjoy your Braille and Audio Reading Download files on these Apple mobile devices with the Mobile app. Members of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC) can download audiobooks, audio magazines, and Braille files from the site, provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the U.S. Library of Congress. Now, BARD has “gone mobile.”
All TBBC members who have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch (with versions 4.03 or higher of the Apple iOS operating system) can use these mobile devices to listen to BARD audiofiles or to read Braille files with a Braille output device. The free BARD Mobile app can be found in Apple’s app store.
Before you can use BARD Mobile:
• You must be a TBBC member. You can download an application from our web site: http://www.njsltbbc.org/application. Complete it, have it certified that you meet our eligibility criteria, and return it to TBBC.
• Once you are registered with TBBC, you can apply online for BARD. Find the online BARD application at https://nlsbard.loc.gov/NLS/ApplicationInstructions.html
Do you have questions?
• For help using accessibility features on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, call Apple tech support at 800-275-2273. Also, the Hadley School for the Blind has a series of seminars on using the accessibility features in Apple’s iOS operating system. Go to: http://www.hadley.edu/seminardetails.asp?sid=196
• If you have questions about BARD, the BARD Mobile app or about TBBC, call us at 800-792-8322.
• Here is a link to audio-described video tutorials, created by NLS, on the use of BARD Mobile. https://www.you tube.com/playlist?list=PLpAGnumt6iV7Aap_-C8b8pR_HCxnh_Ls
If you have an android mobile device, stay tuned. NLS expects to release that app in 2014. TBBC is thrilled to offer this app to our library members. Enjoy this leap forward in mobile device accessibility from The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
– Mary Kearns-Kaplan, MLS, MSW
Adult Outreach Services Coordinator,
NJ State Library Talking Book & Braille Center
 
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  Hudson hip Art Show A Coming Event
  
 Now that the Sandy Response team from FEMA has finished using the public space at the Secaucus Library, the Hudson hip Advisory Board will begin planning for an exhibit of works of art by people with disabilities. They are targeting a period of time during April or May for the exhibit. If you have artistic talent that you would like to share, contact the Hudson hip office. You will be included on an email list and kept updated as plans progress. Everyone at Hudson hip is looking forward to this exciting event.
 
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  2014 Summer Calendar Raffle
  
 Yes, it’s on again!! The 2013 Calendar Raffle was such a roaring success that we are repeating it this summer, by popular demand. Watch for your sign-up information in the next hipNews and in the U.S. mail.
 
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  TECH TALK
  
 One-on-One
Assistive Technology Instruction
Adam Krass, hip’s assistive technology consultant, has an amazing wealth of knowledge to share with people looking for devices to enhance their lives at home and at work. His assortment of assistive devices ranges from items as simple as “Say When” (to prevent overflow while pouring liquid into a cup) to Dragon software for your computer (voice dictation for those who have limited hand mobility). During his personalized one-on-one sessions, he targets assistive technology that he believes will be helpful based on an individual’s needs. Adam also works with each client to make sure that he or she understands how a particular device functions and can actually “make it work!”
To schedule an appointment for your customized, one-on-one session with Adam, call Trisha Ebel at the Bergen office, extension 10. Call early – appointments are booked well in advance. Drop-in visitors cannot be accommodated.
Adam’s dates: January 30th, February 27th, March 27th. Time: 9 am – Noon.
 
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  We Mourn . . .
  
 Natalina Navatta, beloved mother of Board member Anna Navatta, and a longtime friend and enthusiastic supporter of hip; also Rosemary Overton and Jane Zintz, both members of hip for many years.
 
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  2013 Annual Report
  
 The 2013 Annual Report of Heightened Independence & Progress is available. Those interested in receiving a copy should call or e-mail Trisha Ebel at the Bergen office, Ext.10.Email: tebel.ber@hipcil.org
 
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  2014 Membership Year Off to a Flying Start!
  
 We welcome the following new and renewing members of hip for 2014:
Todd Adams
Jeanne Aimone
Audy Altine
Anonymous*
Ivis Alvarez
Susan Andrews
Kevin Angelini
James Arkills
Paul S. Aronsohn*
Tom Azilides
Chandan Bagchi
Barbara Banta
Bernice Baron
Linda Barr
Megan Barron
Deborah Baumann-DaSilva
Annie Been
Tom Bengaff
Gilbert Benson
Joan Bermingham
Darrell & Tamiko Bethea*
Paula Bloom
Jerry Bojko
Ed & Lorraine Braden
Barbara Brave
Heather Broad
George Bullerdick
Mildred Bullerdick
Ruth Burke
Brenda & Jerome Calabrese
Daniel Calabrese
Terri & Christine Calautti
Tonielle Cardinalle
Mary & Al Carney
Jeanne Carney
Tom & Susan Carney
Trish Carney*
Carlos G. Castelblanco
Kay Chase*
James Cherrey
Jaesoon Choi
Sonia Cordova Chumpitaz
The Ciccone Family
Lillian Ciufo*
Barbara Comerford*
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Cook*
James Corbett
Jim & Jean Csaposs*
Ivan Cueva
Carol Dass*
Veronica De Appolonio
Joseph N. De Guilmo
Ralph M. De Simone
John De Witt*
Alex Delbert
Anthony Dinaro
Cornelius Disch
Josephine Donalson
James Dougherty
Barbara Dublin*
J. Robert Duffy*
Dennis Dusevic
George O. Dyer
Patricia & David Ebel*
Barbara Ecker
Austin Epstein
Lottie Esteban*
Anne Factor
Marie Favorito
Edward Fedush*
Glenn Feinberg
Betty Fetzer*
Virginia Flynn
John E. Fox
Irene Frank
Gerardine Galvin
Laurie Galvin
Melissa Gates
Paul F Gaughran
Natalie Glicksman*
Eileen Goff*
Alan & Lynn Gold
Diana Guerrero
Jayne Gugenheim
Mary Jo Hackett
Bill Hand
The Harries Family
Bojane Heap
Ray Heffernan
Ilse Heller
Elizabeth Cohen Hittner
Julie Hobart
Henry Hof
Jay Janiec & Family
Geraldine Kearns
Mary Keough
Timothy Kerr
George Kidney
Edwin Kindermann
& Jane Zintz**
Joan F. Klug*
John Koch*
Lorena Kos
Eric Kunkel
Ellen LaFurn
John Lampert & Frank Hopkins
Jeanne Laraia
Virginia L. Laughlin
Barbara LeBow
Susan Lee
Jay Levene
Eve & Mort Levinson
Chili Li
Gloria Lieberstein
Judy Liebman
Richard Lillis
Roy Lippin*
Diane Love
Susan & Charles Ludmer
Margaret Mahoney
Joyce & Leonard Malech
Laura McLarnon
Phillippa McLeod
Ann Melone*
Barbara Meuser
Dr. Frances Meyer*
Louise A. Micci
Joseph Molee
John Mulholland
Helen Nonas
Erich & Pilar Odenheim
Mario Olivares
Jorge Olivares
Linda Olsen
Michael Outwater
Margaret Papageorgiou
Ciera Penn
Jenny Perez
Richard Pietrzak
Marianne Pigoncelli*
Dr. Sandra R. Pinkerton
Jonathan Pixley
Noel Prussack
Kathleen Rager
Lillian Rand
Joseph Revello
Josephine J. Rizzo
Muriel Robinson
Rosemarie Rose
Ryan Roy
Joseph & Judy Ruffalo
Christopher Russo
Beverly & Richard Ryan
Nita Salileng
Mary San Filippo
Marie Sawyer
Jill Scheffler
Sherry Schulz
Sylvia Schwartz*
Paul Seals
Stephanie & Barbara Seid
Herbert Seligman
Judith C. Shaw
Lynn Smith
Maria Smith
Michael Smith*
John Stanik*
Jeffrey St. Germain*
Barbara Terry
Stephanie Thomas
Anthony Tobia
Janet Tolliver
Joseph Tomasko
Lisa Toro
Mary Urso
Danny Vaca
Joseph & Jane Valenti
Angelissa Vazquez
Michelle Vendetti
Carol & Anthony Viceconte
Ron Vida
Roberta Wailes*
Paula & Larry Walsh
Carolyn Williams
Warren Williams
Peter & Kathleen Wirt
Richard S. Wolfman*
Kathy Wood
Anthony & Mary Yorio*
Nancy & Barry Zweben

Corporate Members:
Abby Lifts, Inc.
J.S. Perlman & Company
Jerry’s Drug & Surgical – Michael Bologh
Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities
NJ Foundation for the Blind
Richard M. Hodgman & Associates
Northeast New Jersey Legal Services – Anna Navatta, Esq.

** Life member
** Deceased
 
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  hip hip Hooray!
  
 Congratulations to Bergen hip member Doreen Kovach, who has recently been appointed a Eucharistic Minister at St. Theresa’s Church in Cresskill.
Hats off to three Maywood “the spians:” Life Member Carol Dass forher starring role as Mrs. DuBois, Board Member/Life Member Betty Fetzer for her outstanding performance as Mrs. Van Dyke, and hip member Ray Heffernan, Jr. for his performance as a sailor and in other roles – all three were featured in the recent “Maywood and Music“ production of “Seesaw – A Musical Trip.”
Congratulations to Lottie Esteban, Vice Chair of hip’s Board of Trustees, on the birth of her granddaughter, Juliette Kate.
Best Wishes to Hudson hip member Victor Muniz, who recently purchased his first home.
A round of applause to staff member Trisha Ebel, who, with other advocates, successfully lobbied the NJ State Assembly for passage of “Dusty’s Law,” to protect guide dogs, their owners and trainers. (See separate story on page 1.)
Note to our readers: Let us know about happenings in your life so that we can share them with other readers of hipNews!
 
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  Try Disability.gov with Questions
  
 Try Disability.gov with Questions on Employment, Housing, Benefits
Are you looking for information about how much work you need to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, or how to apply? Are you searching for an affordable place to live, or want to find ways to make your home accessible? Do you need help finding a job, or want to learn how working might affect your Social Security disability payments?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then check out these guides on Disability.gov:
Disability.gov’s Guide to Disability Benefits
Disability.gov’s Guide to Employment
Disability.gov’s Guide to Housing
Disability.gov provides answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about programs for individuals with disabilities.
 
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  From Halloween...
  
 Lots of laughter and camaraderie, combined with good food and fun – this was the “spirit” (pun intended!) of the hip Halloween luncheon on October 30th. Twenty-five hip friends, many in costume, gathered at their favorite eatery, Main Dish in Hackensack, for a “booty-ful” time.
 
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