An eNewsletter of the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities

Using Improv to Teach Advocacy: RTC:Rural Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit now available

RTC:Rural is excited to release the Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit, a new set of resources to conduct workshops that develop the advocacy skills of emerging Independent Living leaders and youth with disabilities. The toolkit contains videos, worksheets, a facilitator's guide and more! It is designed for Centers for Independent Living and others. We developed it in partnership with BASE Missoula, Summit Independent Living and Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living.

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Our State of the Science seminar on rural VR well attended and informative

Over 120 individuals registered for our 2017 State of the Science event, “Effective Rural Vocational Rehabilitation Job Development.” The live, participatory webinar was held June 22, 2017 and was attended by State Vocational Rehabilitation staff and administrators, researchers and job development providers from around the country. For those who missed or were unable to register for the live session, an archived recording of the webinar is now available. Click the button below for a full report on the event.

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Mapping Disability and Employment

Using data from the American Community Survey, RTC:Rural researchers created three maps to explore disability and employment. The three maps are: Disability in America: Employment Rates; Disability in America: Unemployment Rates; and Disability in America: Out of Labor Force. Overall, employment rates for people with disabilities are lower in rural areas, which follows the national trend of lower employment rates in rural areas. However, in some rural communities employment rates of people with disabilities are higher than the national average of 33%. The rural/urban disparity in employment rates can be explained in part by lack of infrastructure and limited access to programs and specialists, which makes the Vocational Rehabilitation agencies that serve rural communities especially important. Click the button below to view the maps!

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The Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural) conducts research on disability as part of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana.

RTC:Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Grant No. 90RT50250100 to improve the ability of people with disabilities to engage in rural community living

2017 Benefit Access Application changes

We have been diligently working with our IT Division to make several changes to the Benefit Access System which we believe should help reduce some of the frustrations you are experiencing. If all goes as planned, the following changes will be effective on  Wednesday, May 10th:

All pending applications older than 90 days will be noted as no activity (NA). Moving forward, pending applications will be closed (CL) the next business day.

All applications submitted in error (SE’s) without attachments older than 90 days will be noted as NA. Moving forward, attaching documents to SE's will no longer be available and will be closed (CL) the next business day.

The capability to copy and paste required data (SSN and name) on the  Welcome Page will not be allowed.

The internal process relating to Manager Review has been revised. The majority of the applications currently in Manager Review should be released.

If you are filing applications for claimants, please include your organization’s name, e-mail and SHAP Code as the preparer on the Submit Page. 

Thank you so much for your continue patience and all the assistance that you provide to seniors and persons with disabilities.

Please let me know if questions or concerns. 


Elizabeth Delheimer, M.A., CIRS-A/D

Illinois Department on Aging

Division Manager

Office of Community Relations & Outreach

Extreme Heat

It is that time of year again, when the crazy heat takes over.  It is only the middle of June and we already haves temps in the 90's.  Keep an eye on local seniors to make sure they are staying cool and receiving plenty of water.


Illinois Department of Public Health Safety Tips for Heat

SPRINGFIELD - With high temperatures expected over the next couple of days, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. is urging Illinoisans to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“High heat and humidity can lead to serious health problems. It’s important for people to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and take action to prevent becoming sick,” said Director Shah. “To help your body cope with high temperatures, take steps to stay cool, increase your fluid intake, decrease your activities and wear appropriate clothing.”

Stay Cool

  •  Stay in air-conditioned buildings. Cooling centers can be found by logging onto http://www.illinois.gov/KeepCool/SitePages/CoolingCenters.aspx.
  •  Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  •  Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  •  Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  •  Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  •  Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day. These may include seniors and people with chronic health conditions.

Stay Hydrated

  •  Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate.
  •  Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  •  Avoid alcohol or beverages with high amounts of sugar.

Stay Informed

  •  Check the local news for extreme heat warnings.
  •  Visit www.dph.illinois.gov for heat related information.

Normally, the body cools itself by sweating. However, if temperatures and humidity are extremely high, sweating is not effective in maintaining the body’s normal temperature. If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, a person may suffer a heat-related illness, which can become serious or even deadly if unattended. Warning signs and symptoms vary but may include:

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

  •  Heavy sweating
  •  Weakness
  •  Skin cold, pale, and clammy
  •  Weak pulse
  •  Fainting and vomiting

What You Should Do

  •  Move to a cooler location
  •  Lie down and loosen your clothing
  •  Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible
  •  Sip water
  •  If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately

Heat Stroke Symptoms

  •  High body temperature (above 103?F)
  •  Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  •  Rapid and strong pulse
  •  Possible unconsciousness

What You Should Do

  •  Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency
  •  Move the person to a cooler location
  •  Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath
  •  Do NOT give fluids

People most vulnerable for heat-related illness include the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.

The Illinois Department on Aging encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.

Never leave anyone, including pets, alone in a closed, parked vehicle. The air temperature inside a car rises rapidly during hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death.

Log onto www.ready.illinois.gov for more heat safety information and updates on statewide weather watches, warnings, and advisories.

Nutrition 1/17/17

Nutrition Documents

On December 28th, USDA/CNPP is launching the MyPlate, MyWins New Year’s Campaign to help Americans turn their New Year’s resolutions into real solutions for healthy eating. This new campaign will feature 5, week-long SuperTracker Challenges, a series of short MyPlate, MyWins animated videos and new webpages. Visit today’s blog for a preview of what’s to come!

Help create some buzz around the upcoming campaign by using these sample social media messages:

  • COMING DEC 28! New @MyPlate tools & resources to help you find real solutions for a healthier 2017! http://go.usa.gov/x8MDx #MyPlateMyWins

  • Get ready! @MyPlate has something new coming your way to help you meet your #NewYears healthy eating goals! http://go.usa.gov/x8MDx

  • When you are ready to think about YOUR #NewYears resolutions, let #MyPlateMyWins be the place you start. http://go.usa.gov/x8MDx


Client Tracker FY 12- FY 16 Comparison

FY 2016 POMP Congregate Results PowerPoint

FY 2016 POMP Home Delivered Results PowerPoint

PSA 05 2017 Nutrition Survey Report

Get in touch


1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327


Contact Us
Email: aginginfo@eciaaa.org
Phone: 309-829-2065
Fax: 309-829-6021

Seniors may call toll free:
Phone: 1-800-888-4456

Opening hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm