School Transition Services
Turning 22 Independent Living Program
Supported Living Program
Transition to Adulthood Program (TAP)
Adult Supported Living Program
Home Care Assistance Program (HCAP)
Independent Living Centers Program
Massachusetts Independent Living Centers
Consumer Involvement Program
Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP)
Protective Services Program
Assistive Technology Program
Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program
Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP)
Mass Access: Accessible Housing Registry
The Turning 22 (T-22) youth transition system is decentralized and designed to allow an individual to remain where his/her family lives. The Bureau of Transitional Planning at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) monitors this process. The local school department, through the Chapter 766 evaluation team, makes the decision whether the individual needs additional services beyond graduation or turning 22.
An individual and/or their parents may request a referral through the local school department. The school department forwards the student's case to the appropriate human service agency two years before the termination of the individual's special education program.
The human service agency opens a case file, determines eligibility, and assists with a referral to the Social Security Administration (SSA) or to the Turning 22 Unit at the MRC. The human service agency is responsible for developing an Individual Transition Plan (ITP), but other human service agencies, school system personnel, the consumer and his/her family may participate.
The ITP is approved by EOHHS and signed by the Secretary. This plan spells out services needed and specifies those to be provided upon the individual's graduation.
All individuals referred to Chapter 688 must be receiving special education services and graduating or turning 22 years of age on or after March 22, 1984 (when the law became effective). They must be in need of continuing services and unable to work 20 or more hours per week in competitive, non-sheltered, non-supported employment.
People automatically eligible include:
Anyone receiving SSI or SSDI based on their own disability and anyone listed in the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) registry of the blind.
When Will The Individual Graduate?
Chapter 766 provides special education services to students until the age of 22 or until the student earns a high school diploma. Services mandated in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) must be provided. Once a person graduates from school, he/she is no longer eligible to receive these services.
Individuals and their parents should make informed decisions about the many options available under Chapter 766. Adult services are limited by the amount of funds appropriated by the Legislature. It's important to consider that special education services for older students age(16 to 22) may be individually designed and more vocationally oriented if the current program is no longer available.
What Is The Appeals Process?
All appeals are directed to the Bureau of Transitional Planning at EOHHS. There are two kinds of appeals under Chapter 688: an individual may appeal the eligibility decision that determined him/her ineligible for Chapter 688 or an individual may reject and appeal the ITP after it has been signed by the Secretary of EOHHS.
What Are The Key Points To Remember?
Be familiar with the adult services in your area before the student reaches graduation or turns 22. Involve yourself with a parent group since parent advocates have often been the stimulus for developing adult services. Application to the SSA for SSI eligibility determination is encouraged.
Turning 22 Independent Living Program
The Turning 22 Independent Living Program started in 1986 and is intended to help young people with severe physical disabilities to find housing and other service options after graduating high school or turning 22.
It operates under the Independent Living philosophy which means having control over your life and being able to make decisions for yourself and choose the direction of your life to the fullest extent possible.
As funding permits, the T22 Independent Living Program can purchase adaptive equipment for items designed to increase a consumer's independence. Those items can include adapted computers, computerized communication devices, automatic door openers or other adaptive equipment.
There are three components that are funded by the Turning 22 Independent Living Program:
- Supported Living Program
- Transition To Adulthood Program (TAP)
- Adult Supported Living Program
You Are Eligible If You Are:
- Leaving a 766 educational program and are not yet 22 years old;
- Someone who has a severe physical disability with a mobility impairment;
- Someone who has a 688 Individual Transition Plan (ITP) that includes independent living services;
- Ineligible for similar services from another state agency such as the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR), the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind or the MRC's Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP).
How Do I Apply?
Contact the T22 Services Coordinator at
(617) 204-3618 (voice) or (617) 204-3815 (TTY). It is extremely important to contact us early so an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) can be scheduled before you graduate.
The MRC's T22 Independent Living Program contracts with Independent Living Centers (ILCs) to provide early intervention programs for students with a disability. Most TAP participants come from the Massachusetts Hospital School in Canton, but we also work with students at other public and private schools throughout the state. Experienced disability skills trainers help you learn skills and self-confidence so you are better prepared for independence. In addition to the skills taught, having access to adult role models with disabilities will better prepare you for taking on the responsibilities of living independently in the community of your choice.
You Are Eligible If You Are:
- Aged 14 to 22 and desire to learn independent living and self advocacy skills;
- Someone who has a severe disability;
- Ineligible for similar services from another state agency, such as the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR), the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind or the MRC's Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP).
How Do I Apply?
If you are interested in receiving independent living skills training through the TAP while in school, please contact the T22 Program Coordinator at (617) 204-3626 (voice) or (617) 204-3815 (TTY) who will make a referral to the appropriate Independent Living Center.
The Adult Supported Living Program was created to enable individuals age 18 and over who have physical disabilities in combination with a secondary disability to begin or continue living independently in the community with case coordination support. The program operates utilizing the independent living philosophy in which the individual consumer has the right and responsibility to make informed choices, take risks and perhaps, at times, fail.
What Does The Adult Supported Living Program Do?
MRC contracts with several agencies across the state to provide these case coordinating services. A case coordinator meets with the individual on an as-needed basis generally in his/her home. A case coordinator is also available by phone on a 24 hour basis for emergencies and unforeseen problems. While the average individual requires approximately one 3-hour meeting per week to accomplish needed tasks, case coordination can range from a few hours per month to ten hours per week.
A case coordinator and an individual jointly develop a plan to address the specific aspects of daily life in which assistance is needed. The case coordinator does not make decisions for the individual or do any physical tasks. Rather, the emphasis is on organizing, finding resources and problem solving. Areas in which assistance can be provided are as follows:
- PCA Management
- Personal Health Care Management
- Adaptive Equipment
- Household Management
- Financial Management
- Social/Recreation Management
- Vocational/Education Management
- Transportation Management
How Do I Apply?
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: (617) 204-3628 (voice); (617) 204-3815 (TTY)
Fax: (617) 204-3877
The Home Care Assistance Program provides homemaker services to eligible adults with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 59 who are functionally limited in meeting their own nutritional and environmental needs. The assistance of a homemaker helps individuals maintain their independence in the community.
Homemaking services are defined as direct assistance with:
- Meal Preparation
- Grocery Shopping
- Medication Pick-Up
- Light Housekeeping (dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, clean-up kitchen, cleaning bathroom and changing the bed ONLY)
Homemaking services are provided either by homemakers trained and supervised by Home Care Agencies in contract with HCAP, or by individual Home Care Assistants selected and supervised by the consumers and paid through contracts with the MRC. HCAP Case Managers assess applicants for eligibility, coordinate service provision in conjunction with the Home Care Agencies and assist consumers with information and referral as needed to advance independent living goals.
How Do I Apply?
Applications are completed over the phone. If the referral is made by someone other than the applicant, the Intake Coordinator will confirm the information provided by calling the applicant.
Other comparable benefits for which the applicant may be eligible will be investigated.
HCAP staff will collect financial data, medical documentation and in-home evaluation information before making a determination of eligibility and hours.
For More Information:
Voice/TDD: (617) 204-3853 or 1-800-223-2559
Fax: (617) 727-2809
What Else You Should Know
There is a maximum of 12 hours per week of service. The average consumer receives 3-5 hours per week of assistance. HCAP conducts periodic reviews of eligibility for every consumer.
There are other in-home programs for people with disabilities.
- Those who are legally blind may contact the Mass. Commission for the Blind in Boston
1-800-392-6450, Worcester (508) 754-1148 and Western Mass. 1-800-332-2772.
- Those age 60 & over may call the Executive Office of Elder Affairs at 1-800-882-2003 for information about the local Elder Services Office.
- Children with disabilities may receive services through the Department of Public Health by calling (617) 624-5070.
- Personal care may be provided through Mass Health, Medicaid, CommonHealth or private agencies. Contact your local Independent Living Center for information or a Certified Home Health Agency (ask your doctor for a referral).
*Individuals with children under 18 years old may be eligible for services if they meet all other eligibility criteria. However, services are provided to adults with disabilities only.
What is Independent Living?
Independent living means having control over your life and being able to choose the directions of your life to the fullest extent possible. People with disabilities have been historically denied the right and opportunity to make their own decisions. Independent living is also a philosophy which advocates for the availability of a range of services in order to maximize self-reliance and self-determination in all activities.
What is an Independent Living Center?
ILCs provide the following services to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve their self-identified goals.
Peer counseling is the opportunity to tap the experience of other people with disabilities who have been successful in leading productive and meaningful lives in their communities through a peer role modeling approach. Typical counseling issues include personal growth, problem solving, socializing, etc.
Skills training is the acquisition of skills needed for living independently, such as finding housing, Personal Care Attendant management, budgeting, self-advocacy or managing benefits.
Information and referral is providing information and referrals related to disability such as where to look for accessible housing, adaptive equipment, medical providers, legal assistance and a large number of other programs and resources.
Advocacy is helping persons with disabilities to know and assert their rights with, for example, the health care system, landlords, accessing financial benefits and other community issues.
There is no cost for these services.
For more information contact an MRC
Independent Living Program Coordinator at
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's Consumer Involvement Program makes a special effort to form cooperative relationships with those individuals with disabilities who are recipients of services and known as "consumers."
MRC reaches out to consumers for their input regarding the policy making process of the agency. Staff of each MRC program - Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR), Community Living Services (CL) and Disability Determination Services (DDS) - meet regularly with former, present or potential consumers to seek their advice and feedback.
The primary mission of consumer involvement is to enhance and improve the Commission's service delivery system by working cooperatively with members of the disability community on projects of mutual interest.
The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) (appointed by the Governor and mandated by Federal Law, the Workforce Investment Act and Title IV section 105) meets with the Commissioner and members of his staff at a minimum of five times a year. Standing committees have been established on high priority issues and are directed by the full Council.
Membership includes a mix of consumers, employers, providers, advocates and other state agency representatives. The Council, often known by the acronym SRC, is charged with the responsibility of reviewing, analyzing and advising the MRC regarding its performance of its Vocational Rehabilitation Services program under the Rehabilitation Act, Titles I and 6C.
Three Regional and Four Vocational Rehabilitation Area Advisory Councils meet with staff to provide feedback and make recommendations with regard to local consumer service needs and access in the community.
The Disability Determination Services Advisory Council at the MRC provides valuable feedback to staff charged by the Social Security Administration with determining the eligibility of all individuals with disabilities who apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Massachusetts.
The Independent Living Program, Statewide Head Injury Program, Protective Services and the Home Care Assistance Program also hold regularly scheduled Advisory Council meetings. These meetings are attended primarily by parents, professionals and individuals with disabilities.
The Individual Consumer Consultant (ICC) Registry, a paid service, provides Commission staff and Councils with assistance in areas such as:
- Program planning, development or evaluation
- Assistance in studies and surveys
- Assessment of physical accessibility of office/conference space
- Staff and consumer training
- Consumer consultation in the Request For Response (RFR) process
- Consumer consultation in the development of state plans for public hearings
Sign Language Interpreters, Personal Care Attendants and travel reimbursement are provided to consumers when needed while performing ICC and/or SRC duties.
A Consumer Conference is held each year for the purpose of sharing information, presenting educational material and networking. Representatives from the IL Centers, as well as all VR Advisory Councils, take an active part in planning and developing the agenda for this conference.
Many VR area office staff assist locally based consumer groups in their efforts to build a more enlightened and accessible community, improving the environment for people with disabilities in general, and specifically, MRC consumers.
For more information:
MRC Consumer Involvement Program
Since 1985, SHIP has pioneered publicly funded services for people with traumatic brain injury. SHIP is responsible for the provision of community-based, innovative services that support individuals with brain injury and their families.
What Is An Externally Caused Brain Injury?
An externally caused brain injury occurs when the brain is damaged from an external physical force. The head may be hit, strike a stationary object or be shaken violently. This may occur in a car crash/accident, serious fall, or by an act of violence. It may result in cognitive, behavioral or social impairments. Examples of brain injury that are not externally caused and would not meet SHIP criteria are strokes, oxygen deprivation and brain tumors.
What Services Are Available?
SHIP's budget, as well as access to the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund, is determined by the Legislature on an annual basis. Services available to anyone include:
- Information and referral
- Social and recreational programs
- General technical assistance and consultation by SHIP staff and clinical specialists
- Advocacy and guidance
Services that may be available to eligible applicants:
- Service Coordination
- Regional Head Injury Centers
- Residential Services
- Case Management
- One to One Skills Training and Support
- Substance Abuse Services
- Specialized Evaluations
- Assistive Technology
How Do I Apply?
After an application is received, SHIP staff will determine eligibility through a review of all available records related to your head injury. Written notification will be sent upon eligibility determination.
SHIP staff members are available to discuss the application process with you and to answer any questions about services. Assistance with filling out your application is available on request.
(617) 204-3852 (voice),
(617) 204-3817 (TTY),
(800) 223-2559 (toll free),
(617) 204-3889 (fax),
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is responsible for the investigation of complaints of abuse of individuals with disabilities by a caretaker. The Protective Services Program conducts investigations and provides services to abused individuals to prevent further injury.
Most professionals who provide services to individuals with disabilities are mandated by state law to report situations of suspected abuse. Anyone can make a referral for investigation of alleged abuse by calling the Disabled Persons Protection Commission at 1-800-426-9009.
Individuals who report a case of suspected abuse are protected from civil suit by Massachusetts law.
Abuse can exist in different forms and in different combinations. Problems of physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse are not uncommon. While difficult to confront, these situations can be resolved with professional help. Unfortunately, these are problems which seldom go away by themselves and often get worse as time goes on.
If you or someone you know is being abused, please call 1-800-426-9009. The MRC has staff available 24 hours a day. Protective service intervention can prevent suffering, and perhaps even save a life.
The MRC offers assistive technology services to individuals eligible for services through our Vocational Rehabilitation and Community Living services.
What Is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is any device that enhances or expands a person's ability to live more independently. Many different items are considered assistive technology, including adaptive computer equipment, walkers, hearing aids, memory enhancement aids, print magnifiers, wheelchairs, vehicle modification and more. Some home modifications and vehicle purchases also are covered.
Adaptive Assistance-Vocational Rehabilitation
For consumers who require AT evaluations, devices and training in order to achieve a work outcome, a referral to the AT Department must be made by the individual's VR counselor. Once the referral is made MRC's Rehab Engineer will contact one of the agencies contracted to perform AT assessments. The AT provider will schedule an evaluation with the consumer and VR counselor and then submit a report to the AT Department. The AT Department confers with the VR counselor and if the device and training is recommended as a service in the IPE then the service will be authorized. The AT provider purchases the adaptive device(s), customizes it to the individuals' needs and sets it up at the location requested. A schedule of training for the consumer is then developed.
The Assistive Technology Program was created in 1999 to enable individuals with severe disabilities to access assistive technology devices and training. Assistive technology (AT) devices and services help to maximize an individual's control over their environment and achieve self-determined goals. The ability to use AT to perform such tasks as check or letter writing, money management, shopping, controlling their environment, using a computer and communication improvement are anticipated outcomes.
Individuals who are eligible for services from the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) and Turning 22 may also receive AT evaluations, devices and training as funding is available. The individual should contact their services coordinator to inquire.
The MRC contracts with four organizations for the provision of AT assessments, purchases and set-up of equipment, as well as training and follow-up. These organizations (Mass. Easter Seals, United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County, UMASS Project SHARE, and CLASS, Inc.) provide services on a regional basis and have on-site AT devices for use in evaluation and training.
How Do I Apply?
Individuals may apply for AT services and assessments by contacting their regional AT provider who will conduct an intake assessment.
Because of funding limitations and the high demand for services, there may be a waiting list for services. Should this be the case, individuals are placed on the waiting list on a first-come first-served basis after determination of financial eligibility.
Individuals with disabilities who are eligible to receive services from other Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) agencies should be referred to those agencies for AT services. There are no age restrictions, although school age children with disabilities who are eligible for Chapter 766 services should apply through the Local Education Authority (LEA) for school related AT equipment needs.
What are Rehabilitation Technology Services?
The MRC's Rehabilitation Technology staff provides advice and consultation regarding the availability, quality and application of technologies such as technological aids and devices.
Services can include:
- Vehicle modification and inspection
- Adaptive driving evaluation
- Environmental control systems
- Assistive technology software
- Technical assistance to employers and service providers
- Adaptive housing
- Mobility devices
- Computer hardware adaptations
- Worksite modifications
- Training and follow-up on the use of any equipment provided
- Augmentative communication devices
For more information:
MRC Assistive Technology Program
Phone: (617) 204-3851 (voice)
(617) 204-3815 (TDD)
Fax: (617) 727-1354
The Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program is funded through state and federal grants to the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and operated by Easter Seals Massachusetts in partnership with Sovereign Bank to handle loan distributions. Our mission is to expand the independence of people with disabilities by making assistive technology devices more affordable.
How Does the Program Help?
The program offers better interest rates than a traditional bank loan and repayments lengths are based on the expected useful life of the device purchased. For example, most loans for computers are repaid in three years, while vehicle modification loans can be repaid over a much longer time. This allows you to keep lower monthly payments by stretching them over longer periods. The program staff is trained in helping people through the loan process, if that is required.
For more information call the Program Director, toll free at Easter Seals Massachusetts:
800-244-2756 ext.428 or 431 (voice)
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The HMLP provides loans for access modifications to the principle residence of elders, adults and families with children with disabilities. Examples of modifications that may be eligible under this program include the installation of sensory adaptations, wheelchair access via lifts, ramps, door widening, or bathroom modifications such as grab bars and roll-in showers.
Any homeowner with a disability, has a household member who has a disability, or rents to an individual(s) with a disability may apply for a loan. Income requirements will be based on the total household gross income of the homeowner. Any household in a property with less than 10 units may be eligible. The owner of the property must apply. The unit requiring modifications must be the primary, principle residence of the individual(s) with the disability. The modifications to be made must be directly related to the specific disability of the occupant and proven necessary for them to remain living there.
What Are the Income Guidelines?
Income verification will be requested in the form of photocopies of earning statements, tax returns, benefit confirmation or pay stubs. Income guidelines will be utilized and those who show income in excess of 200% of the guidelines will be considered ineligible. If you are determined eligible, you will be informed of the type of loan for which you qualify. Households with up to 100% of median income will have a 0% interest loan; those from 100% to 200% of median income will receive a 3% interest loan.
For more information refer to our website at
Or call the MRC at 617-204-3851
Mass Access is a free program that matches people with disabilities with vacant, accessible housing. Mass Access, also known as The Accessible Housing Registry, catalogs every accessible or adaptable unit in the state and tracks its availability. Based at Citizens Housing and Planning Association, Mass Access links people with disabilities with owners and managers of accessible housing. The Mass Access includes information about state or federally assisted housing, public housing and private market-rate housing. The Mass Access database tracks a wide range of accessible and adaptable features.
Using the latest computer technology, Mass Access updates current vacancy information on its web site on a daily basis. Mass Access catalogs several pieces of information, including the type of housing, location by city or town, rent level, number of bedrooms, neighborhood features, particular adaptable or accessible features and vacancy status.
The Mass Access "What's New" page also tracks open Section 8 voucher lists and other new housing opportunities.
Who can use Mass Access?
Any person who has a disability, a family member or advocate can obtain housing information through Mass Access, regardless of age, income or type of disability.
For more information visit: www.massaccesshousingregistry.org
CHAPA: (617) 742-0820 (V/TTY),
(617) 742-3953 (FAX)
MRC: (617) 204-3851 (Voice),
(617) 204-3815 (TTY),
(617) 727-1354 (FAX)
State and Federal laws provide strong protections for people with disabilities against housing discrimination. The laws that protect the fair housing rights of people with disabilities include:
Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments
Massachusetts Housing Rights of People with Disabilities
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Americans with Disabilities Act
What Protections Do These Laws Provide?
It is illegal to discriminate against someone in housing because of their disability, the disability of someone who lives with or plans to live with the renter, or the disability of someone associated with the renter.
For more information contact:
(617) 204-3854 (V)
(617) 204-3834 (TTY)
800-734-7475 (toll free), (617) 204-3847 (Fax)
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.