Join IDNO at its Spring Fling, to be held at the Spaghetti Factory on Tuesday, April 21, to be confirmed.
We will also present our first-ever Mark Anderson Memorial Award: Treat Me as a Member, Not a Mission. To submit a nominee for the award given to an individual who has provided outstanding service to the disabilities community, please send a one-paragraph description of that person’s accomplishments to InterfaithDisabilitiesofOregon@gmail.com.

My name is Diana Keever and I have Cerebral Palsy and use a service dog. My experience with being accepted at church has been somewhat mixed. Most people accept me and my service dog with no problem. But, there are always some people who have issues with me because they don’t see me as more than just a disabled person. I’m a person who happens to be disabled, but there is much more to me than that. I don’t always want to discuss my disability. When I’m at church, I want to talk about other things and discuss things of God. I like to joke around with my friends like everyone else. I don’t take life as seriously as some people may think. I’m more than my disability and some people have trouble seeing beyond that.

Another issue I have is that service dogs are working dogs and some people don’t understand that. They want to pet and love on the dogs and that’s not always acceptable.

Mostly my experiences at church have been good ones. I have a lot of good friends there and I attend a regular Bible study class where I am treated like an equal.

NEWS FLASH!    The US government has now passed the ABLE Act, allowing people who qualified with a disability by the age of 26 to have a special savings account of up to $100,000 without affecting public benefits such as SSI. The new law, which permits up to $14,000 to be added each year up to the maximum allowed, permits people with disabilities to have a tax-free ABLE savings account for their benefit, including savings for education, purchase of a home, employment supports, training, medical needs, and other benefits.  |This is a terrific change in the law, which previously prevented anyone from having more than $2,000 in assets in their name.  This is the most important change in disabilities law since the original Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990.

Details include the requirement that the individual have a qualifying disability prior to the age of 26.  Each state will administer the ABLE accounts, set to be ready by the end of 2015.  They will be set up similarly to the 529 college accounts.  A word of caution:  in the meantime, do not allow your assets to exceed the current $2000 limit!

Be sure to watch President Obama’s State of the Union address, when Sara Wolff, a young woman activist with Down’s Syndrome, will be on hand when the president mentions the ABLE Act!