Individual & Systems Advocacy

Individual and System Change Advocacy

LIFTT provides its consumers with advocacy on all levels, including the tools needed to navigate government programs, assist with resume building, and help applying for work. We are also actively engaged with the community and its local leaders to educate, explain, and advocate for the local disabled community.

On an individual level, LIFTT helps consumers take responsibility and become active participants in their own lives by developing the skills necessary to defend against discrimination, assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other laws. LIFTT advocates for their needs with regards to housing, education, health care, benefits, employment, accommodation, and social acceptance.

As advocates for systems change, LIFTT works in a non-partisan manner with government at all levels to educate officials on the realities of life for persons with disabilities. LIFTT helps to design and advocate for legislation and policies that produce a framework within which persons with disabilities can achieve independence and self-determination. LIFTT also works to assure that once such legislation and policies are in place, they are properly enforced and administered.

Beyond government, LIFTT works with schools, businesses, and community organizations to increase public awareness of the issues facing people with disabilities as well as assisting in identifying and removing physical and programmatic barriers that limit access to full participation in community life for persons with disabilities.

Lee and Jed, Independent Living specialists with our Billings office have been active in the local city council, attended meetings, and engaged in debate about local access to roads and trails. They ask tough questions on livability and accessibility and help hold decision makers accountable.


How can Individual and System Change Advocacy work for me?

On a more personal level, LIFTT has helped individual consumers too. Robert H. in Rosebud County, came to LIFTT in February 2021 seeking assistance in finding and applying for employment, as well as reapplying for Social Security benefits.
Pleasant smiling man with prosthesis drinking refreshing drink outdoors while resting outdoors.
Jennifer Hawkinson in our Glendive office was able to help him navigate the process of making resumes, composing job applications, and other related skills and tasks. With a little perseverance, Robert was able to obtain employment as a clerk in the IGA grocery store in Forsyth in March of 2021.

With regards to Robert’s social security disability benefits; Jed Barton in the Billings office was assigned to the case. In preparing the documentation necessary to file a social security disability application, it became apparent that Robert had only recently had his benefits ceased (January of 2021). He had missed the notification of cessation of benefits and needed to file an appeal. Robert said that this was likely as he was by-in-large homeless for several months at the end of 2020. He was not able to access his mail at the address Social Security had for him on file.

After consultation with the Social Security Administration, the cessation of benefits was confirmed and Jed and Robert were able to file an appeal in April of 2021, including filing a request to SSA to waive the usual 60-day appellate limit due to Robert’s homelessness at the time of the original order.

Robert’s appeal remains pending before the Social Security Administration and Jed remains his appointed representative to the SSA. Jed is ready when further action is required on matters related to the appeal.