The Arc of Indiana
Contributed by Brian J. Mifflin Jr., BSW, Social Work Intern
Indiana Resource Center for Autism
Indiana Resource Center for Autism
When a diagnosis of a disability is given, it often leaves the individual and/or family with stress navigating the uncertainty and costs of receiving treatment, government support, applying for programs, and understanding state and federal policies and procedures regarding the particular diagnosis. The Arc of Indiana is an invaluable resource for families because it provides such information and assists in referral and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders.
The Arc has a strong national presence and is comprised of more than 700 state and local chapters nationwide with over 140,000 members. As the nation’s largest community-based organization advocating for and serving individuals with disabilities and their families, The Arc of the United States has the manpower to stay on the front lines and up to date on information and policies that affect the disability community. The vision of The Arc is that every individual and family living with a disability in the United States has access to information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community. The Arc of Indiana, one of the Arc Network’s state chapters, strives to make this vision a reality and should be a primary resource that families in Indiana use to obtain information.
The Arc of Indiana focuses its work on four areas to assist all people with disabilities in realizing their goals of learning, living, working, and playing in the community:
- Providing a forum for individuals and families to join together;
- Reducing the incidence of developmental disabilities;
- Supporting the work of the local chapters of the Arc; and
- Serving as the spokesperson to the community at large for people with developmental disabilities.
The Arc of Indiana’s concentration on the four areas described above has produced a vast array of information that is up to date and relevant. Such information has enabled The Arc of Indiana to be very knowledgeable and helpful in providing information, referral, and advocacy to individuals and families. The Arc Network, a service of The Arc of Indiana, is staffed with professionals who can help with a wide range of issues including:
- Making community connections and creating natural supports.
- Obtaining information about community employment, career pathways, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR);
- Becoming a self-advocate and/or joining Self-Advocates of Indiana;
- Understanding and applying for government programs, including Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers, Social Security (SSI), and Vocational Rehabilitation;and
- Understanding policies and procedures of state and federal programs, including rights and appeals.
One of the most beneficial services offered by The Arc of Indiana is The Arc of Indiana Master Trust. The Arc Master Trust serves Hoosiers of all disabilities, including people with physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual and other developmental disabilities. The Arc Master Trust has been in operation since 1988. Some of the most respected trust and estate planning attorneys in Indiana assisted with the legal research and creation of the Master Trust program. Today, The Arc Master Trust continues to serve as a model for special needs trusts throughout the country. The Arc Master Trust includes two trust programs:
- Trust I helps families provide for the financial future of their loved one without affecting eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid, Medicaid waivers and residential programs.
- Trust II allows people with disabilities to fund their own trust–often with funds received through an inheritance, back payment from
social security, or a personal injury settlement–allowing them to maintain eligibility for government benefits.
In addition to the services noted above, The Arc of Indiana has invested many resources toward addressing public policy in Indiana. Through volunteers and staff, The Arc has a full-time presence at the Indiana State House. The Arc of Indiana collaborates with disability groups across Indiana to promote legislation in key areas. Such effort has resulted in many positive changes for people with disabilities and their families.
The Arc of Indiana is comprised of many local chapters in a majority of Indiana counties. Such local chapters are invaluable because they tend to be more aware of local services that are available in their geographic region and can be a good networking tool for meeting other people in your community that are facing similar circumstances. To see if there is a local Arc in your county please visit:
When you join at the local level, you also become a member of The Arc of Indiana and The Arc of the United States. If there is not a local chapter in your county, you can join as an "at large" member of The Arc of Indiana: you will also become a member of The Arc of the United States.
The following links may also be helpful to individuals, families, and service providers who are interested in learning more about The Arc of the United States and The Arc of Indiana:
Arc of Indiana: http://www.arcind.org/
Arc of the United States: http://www.thearc.org/
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