Smart Policy Works was founded in 1992 – during the era of welfare reform – with the sole purpose of improving access to public benefits programs and preserving the integrity of the Social Security Disability Income programs. Our work has grown exponentially since then, but we work today toward the same purpose: to break down economic, social, and structural barriers to health and well-being.
HDA helped states interpret, adapt, and apply opportunities for older adults and people with disabilities presented by healthcare reform in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
HDA led advocacy against the “Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together” bill, demonstrating how the cuts to Medicaid would negatively impact beneficiaries, especially due to elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx program.
HDA spearheaded this $11 million national media campaign on disability and employment, launched in 2009-10, which sought to raise awareness that hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense.
HDA evaluated the resources that were available to military service members, returning veterans, and their families to identify the gaps in existing services and groups that are systemically underserved.
HDA’s analysis of services available for people with disabilities in Illinois was used to inform grantmaking by the Persons with Disabilities Fund at the Chicago Community Trust.
Adverse childhood experiences such as abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and parental abandonment and incarceration, are common among homeless adults. The SSI Homeless Outreach Project specializes in providing trauma-informed advocacy to persons who are homeless, disabled, and who are survivors of such experiences. It reaches out to Chicago’s homeless and mentally ill adults, connecting them with SSI benefits and supportive services.
HDA created a library of public benefits resource materials for providers and consumers designed to help individuals better access health care and public benefits programs.
Poor housing conditions, lack of health insurance, or inadequate educational supports can be damaging to a child’s health and development. Often families in these situations do not have the resources to deal with such challenges. The Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children brings together medicine, law, and social work to provide free legal assistance and advocacy to vulnerable families and children so they can access public benefits and education.
A state-run program in Illinois, AllKids provides comprehensive healthcare benefits for children in lower-income households, the first state plan to hold forth the promise of universal health care coverage for children.
This federal class action lawsuit on behalf of 600,000 Cook County children receiving Medicaid led to major improvements in the delivery of health care services to children in low-income families.
HDA provided training and clarification on the choices and restrictions facing seniors as a result of the Medicare Modernization act, and advocated for Illinois’ pharmacy assistance program.
The SSI Coalition researched and developed “the MAP,” an outline of Illinois medical programs with a blueprint for action.
The original homepage stated “HDA seeks to assure that low-income adults, children and adults with disabilities lead secure and dignified lives. HDA advocates for policies that promote economic security and provide health coverage.”
The SSI Coalition served as state systems development specialists under contract with Cornell University and Virginia Commonwealth University, on Social Security Work Incentives programs for community-based organizations across the country. Continue reading “Trusted Advisors to SSA”