The San Juan Daily Star
Health Dept. division responsible for guiding people with disabilities toward independent living
By The Star Staff
Rep. Yazzer Morales Díaz announced on Wednesday the filing of a measure that seeks to carry out a detailed study on the operation of the Health Department’s Division of Integrated Rehabilitation and Independent Living, in order to verify if it meets all its objectives and responsibilities.
“With this Division of Integrated Rehabilitation and Independent Living, we seek to promote a better quality of life, social reintegration, comprehensive formation, independent life and vocational rehabilitation of the population over 22 years of age with disabilities,” the District 9 (Toa Alta and Bayamón) lawmaker said. “This serves as support and mentoring through the transition stages of the population with disabilities from childhood. The objective of this research is to verify the impact that this division has had on the population and what we can do to support its efforts.”
Law 105-2016, known as the “Law for Access, Training and Extended Support for the Social Integration of People 22 Years and Older with Disabilities,” created division, whose main objective is to empower the population of adults with disabilities with the necessary resources and tools that allow the elimination of barriers that make it impossible to achieve full development for a better quality of life. The approach to service offers the individual a treatment based on their disability, using an interdisciplinary team and emphasizing preventive services, promotion, health education and the development of broad strategies so that he or she can manage, adaptively, the demands of daily living.
The services the division is supposed to offer are contained in Title VII (A, B and C) of the federal statute known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and are aimed at people with disabilities, age 22 and older, who require independent living services and who, at the time of applying for them, are not eligible for services offered by the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration under Titles I and VI of federal Law 93-112 and Law 97-2000.
The legislation orders the House Committee on Social Welfare, People with Disabilities and Older Adults to carry out the aforementioned study.
According to the State of Disability Report (circa 2018) the prevalence of disability in Puerto Rico was 21.7% for people of all ages, 1.1% for people 4 years and younger, 9.1% for people ages 5 to 15, 8.5% for people ages 16 to 20, 18.2% for people ages 21 to 64, 35.6% for people ages 65 to 74 and 60.5% for people over 75.