RESOURCES. for Victims of Substance Impaired Driving

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1 RESOURCES for Victims of Substance Impaired Driving

2 My life was changed forever when a drunk driver driving on the wrong side of the road crashed into me. After I was released from the hospital I learned how to walk and talk again. My two kids were my motivation to heal. I used to work in healthcare, but after the crash I couldn t do that any longer and needed a different career. I connected with the office of Vocational Rehabilitation in my state. They gave me the money to go back to school to get a new job. I ve been with my company for three years now and love my job. I couldn t have done it without the help of those programs and the support of family and friends. Seeking Assistance - What to Ask? Identifying Nationwide Resources 211 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Crime Victim Compensation Centers for Independent Living Assistance for Physical Needs Assistance for Finding Work Assistance for Legal Issues Assistance for Mental/Emotional Needs Final Thoughts Index Sometimes we take things for granted, but our lives are so precious. Never give up, it will get better it doesn t seem like it, but it will.

3 When victims and survivors of substance impaired driving crashes are impacted by a crime, they often experience many types of devastation. A crash can affect every area of their lives. After the crash many people don t know where to turn for assistance. Sometimes they feel unworthy of help or feel it s impossible to get help for the things they need. Although there isn t always a resource for every situation, this guide will attempt to explore some of the resources that may be available. Asking the questions below is an important step to gaining the information you need to succeed in this process. How does one apply? What are the eligibility requirements? What is the application process?»» How long will it take?»» What information is needed? What other pertinent information is important? A crash can affect every area of a victim and survivor s life. Seeking Assistance What to Ask? Applying for resources can take time and energy, but may be essential for survival. Are there any local coordinating services? Identifying Nationwide Resources There are several resources available on a national level that may be useful for victims and survivors of substance impaired driving. Each one will have its own requirements to qualify for services, but may be some of the best ways to get help. 211 Many networks have been created to assist people with emergency needs. The network most commonly available across the nation is an information and referral resource called is a service designed to connect people with their local community resources. Anyone can dial 211 on their phone to be connected with the resource line to identify different types of community partners that may offer emergency help and other resources. The network also has the majority of its listings available online at 211.org. Some of the resources that 211 might have listed include getting help with the following issues: Utilities (Electric, gas, phone, etc.) Food Housing Transportation Medical Mental Health Emergency Funds Other Physical Needs After an individual receives information about the community programs that are needed, the next step is to call or visit those locations to see if they can qualify to receive 2

4 the assistance. Some programs give only Each program a certain amount of will have different assistance per month qualifications or year, while others to determine have aid readily eligibility to receive available most of the assistance. time. Tracking down which programs can provide the assistance needed can take time and effort, but it is likely one of the fastest ways to get assistance in an emergency. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides financial and medical assistance to those who qualify. Programs such as: Social Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid: a federal program that is a needs based program for those who may not have an income that would support their needs. It provides financial aid that makes monthly payments for those who are considered disabled Social Security Disability (SSD) and Medicare: a federal program that pays monthly benefits to those who are considered disabled and have paid into the SSD system. Sometimes even dependents can also qualify to receive benefits Veterans Benefits Medicaid Waiver Programs»» Some waiver programs may help pay for Medicare premiums Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) or other programs, which offer needs based assistance to help pay for living expenses. To find a state-bystate listing of offices that offer programs available through The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, go to healthfinder.gov. Crime Victim Compensation Crime Victim Compensation is a key resource for victims of crime. The program is a state fund for which victims can apply, that covers things like medical expenses, If eligible, funeral expenses, lost Crime Victim wages, support and Compensation counseling, if they may be able to are not covered by provide significant some other form of assistance. payment. Each state has its own separate program that determines the amount and types of coverage allowed. A victim or victim s family member or caregiver would need to apply to determine if they are eligible to receive funds. Some of the types of expenses that may be covered include: Lost wages Medical Counseling Funeral Sometimes dependents can also qualify to receive federal benefits. Ask your Victim Advocate for more information. To find a state-by-state listing of Crime Victim Compensation programs, go to nacvcb.org. 4

5 Centers for Independent Living Centers for Independent Living may help those, in a variety of ways, who are struggling with a disability. They provide four core services: 1. Information and referral 2. Independent living skills training 3. Individual and systems advocacy 4. Peer counseling 5. Employment services To find your local Center for Independent Living, visit ilru.org. Assistance for Physical Needs When someone is physically injured in a crash, their injuries can last a lifetime. When a loved one is killed, financial devastation can also be a result. Many times, the financial costs of a crash can Insurance will outweigh the benefits often not cover all covered by insurance. of the expenses Sometimes it s a faced by victims matter of finding short and survivors. term solutions to help with an emergency situation. Other times, people have to make new choices and change the way they live in order to cope with the devastation. Listed below are some of the types of assistance that are commonly needed after a crash: Utility Assistance Along with many other expenses, utility expenses may be a challenge to pay when a victim and survivor is unable to work for a period of time. Victims and survivors can contact their utility provider to see if they have an assistance program for people who may be behind on their bills. Often the assistance will come in the form of a reduced bill or payment plan. This is a good avenue for electricity, water, gas, and phone. Food Assistance There are many programs available for people in need of food assistance. Most communities will have some options available, which may include a long term need. Victims and survivors can contact their local food bank. Some churches or even grocery stores in an area may give away food on specific days of the week or for holidays. State food assistance may be available for households and individuals that qualify. Visit fns.usda.gov. Housing Assistance When a victim and survivor is unable to get to work and has lost wages, it can be difficult or even impossible for them to make ends meet. Families or individuals at risk for losing their home may be able to find help through emergency assistance programs. For rental or mortgage assistance, check with the local housing authority, or to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), at hud.gov. Often, Reaching out for assistance as soon as you can may make a difference in your long term success. 6

6 emergency assistance programs, which may be found by calling 211, may offer a one-time rental assistance payment as well. Local Transportation When a crash occurs, the victim and survivor s only means of transportation may be damaged or destroyed. They may be unable to drive due to injuries and need transportation to get to their medical appointments, work, or to simply pick up groceries. There may be assistance available to help them get to where they need to go. Whether it s for a medical transport or getting to work, many communities will have assistance with transportation. The Red Cross, redcross.org, at times will provide transportation assistance. Many communities offer assistance with transportation to the disabled using city-owned buses or vans. Medicaid offers Medicaid recipients transportation to medical appointments. Some communities or emergency assistance programs offer one-time car repair grants. State-to-State Medical Transportation Sometimes it s necessary for someone with serious injuries to travel to get the medical assistance they need to heal. It can be difficult to afford the high cost of medical transportation. For out-of-state medical transport, a victim and survivor can contact the Air Charity Network, aircharitynetwork. org. The organization that serves your area may provide air transportation free of charge under specific qualifications. Medication/ Prosthetic Assistance Medications after a crash may become an additional burden on a victim and survivor s budget. Struggling to pay for needed medications may cause them to choose between which bills to pay and which to skip. Victims and survivors can contact the manufacturer of their medication, or their doctor to Medical transportation may be available to get the medical attention you need. find out if they can provide free samples or supplies. Most drug manufacturers have this service available. Check eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare or Veterans Assistance. All three offer provisions for prescription benefits. Prosthetic limb assistance can be a challenge for those who have lost a limb. Organizations such as the Limbs for Life Foundation, limbsforlife.org, may be very helpful in identifying resources to help with prosthetic limbs. 8

7 Assistance for Finding Work Often after a crash, victims and survivors may not be able to work for a period of time. Sometimes after a short period of time they can go There may be back to work at their financial assistance old job, sometimes that can help pay they are unable to for education to return to work, or enter a new career. lose their position at their current job. It s important to be able to explore options available to enter a new career or find a job in your old career. Vocational Rehabilitation An injured victim and survivor can contact their state and local vocational rehabilitation office to inquire about assistance related to employment options for people with disabilities and injuries. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a statesupported division of services, assists individuals with disabilities and injuries who are pursuing meaningful careers. VR assists individuals with getting back to work by providing local job searches, selfemployment, telecommuting and educational opportunities. Sometimes they will pay for certain expenses to help get people back to work. To find a state-by-state listing, go to wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/programs/erod/ org_list.cfm?category_cd=svr. The U.S. Department of Labor also provides services to help people find work. They offer assessments, job listings, and a list of workers rights at doleta.gov/jobseekers. Assistance for Legal Issues Many people dealing with the consequences of a substance impaired driving crash need legal advice or assistance to navigate the civil or criminal justice systems, to understand what their Legal aid is often linked to income. rights are as victims of crime, or to bring a suit against the offending party. However, it can be difficult to find an attorney to represent them. The State Bar Association may be able to provide a referral for legal aid services instate. They will often also have listings for attorneys who provide different types of legal expertise, such as personal injury, family law, etc. In addition, many communities offer pro bono legal assistance via legal aid clinics. And some universities with law schools often manage their own pro bono clinics. Check with your local universities to see if such assistance is available. Another resource to be aware of is the National Crime Law Institute, which may 10

8 be able to provide information about crime victim s rights and state laws. Visit their website at: law.lclark.edu/centers/national_ crime_victim_law_institute/ Assistance for Mental/Emotional Needs After a crash nearly everyone impacted can benefit from some type of mental health assistance. It may be difficult for a victim and survivor to afford these services when they are already struggling with the financial burdens that have been placed on them. Here are some resources that may help: Mental health benefits may be available through a victim and survivor s insurance medical coverage. Each policy is different so benefits will vary. Sometimes employers provide assistance via an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Typically an EAP will provide short term sessions, usually over the phone with a therapist. Many mental health or counseling agencies provide short-term counseling on a sliding-scale or payment plan basis. Some churches or other faith-based organizations offer counseling by leaders or trained members. Support groups can be another place to look for assistance. Parents of Murdered Children is one source, pomc.org, another is Compassionate Friends at compassionatefriends.org. The Behavioral Health Treatment Sometimes Services Locator speaking with through SAMHSA other victims provides information can provide and referrals to great support. alcohol or substance abuse treatment centers and mental health centers across the nation. findtreatment.samhsa.gov Final Thoughts To reach out to talk with someone, find resources or to get involved, victims and survivors are encouraged to call the 24- Hour MADD Victim Services Help Line at MADD-HELP (or ). Callers will be connected to a MADD Victim Advocate who will be ready and willing to listen and help. Visit us online at madd.org/help. This product was supported by cooperative agreement number 2011-VF-GX-K015, awarded by The Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. 12

9 24 Hour Victim Services Help Line 877.MADD.HELP MADD does not discriminate against individuals or groups, either in employment or in the delivery of services or benefits, on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, income, marital status, sexual orientation, medical condition, disability or veteran status. If you believe that you have been the target of discrimination, you should file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights as soon as possible. madd.org 2015 Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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