Archive for August, 2013

ECNV is Hiring

Title: Director of Community Services

The Director of Community Services is responsible for directing the Community Services department at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV). ECNV is a cross-disability organization of consumers operated by the use of public and private funding.  ECNV provides independent living services to individuals with disabilities who reside within the Northern Virginia jurisdictions of Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, City of Alexandria, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church as well as all other independent cities and townships in this Northern Virginia geography. 

 The position provides programmatic oversight; frontline staff supervision; participants in senior management team; explores grant and contract opportunities; develops programmatic components of federal, state, and local grant and contract proposals both new and continuations; researches potential funders for existing and projected programs; writes grant proposals; supervises statistical and demographic reporting with particular emphasis on core IL service delivery; provides program development; liaisons to assigned Board Committees; delivers presentations before community groups and agencies; program and organizational planning. Reports to the Executive Director.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  1. Provides program oversight, supervision and support to diverse staff including up to 4-6 Peer Counselors, Core IL Systems Specialists to ensure accurate and timely IL service delivery consistent with Title VII, Part B & C of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
  2. Work on federal, state and local grants and reports and have through working knowledge of regulations and reporting requirements.
  3. Advocate for federal, state and local policies on issues related to disability.
  4. Organize and direct or co-facilitate staff meetings on a group or individual basis.
  5. Develop and implement the PC Training program.
  6. Develop or encourage staff participation in training opportunities and staff development activities.
  7. Collaborate, as a member of the Management Team.
  8. Evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of program operations across staff and inter-programs.
  9. Develop program and administrative reporting systems.
  10. Participate in Resource Development activities to include: grant research and grant proposal writing (programmatic); contract proposal writing.
  11. Program development to include: analysis of potential program opportunities, program resource and policy development, program marketing and additional program activities related to enhancement and expansion of organizational services.
  12. Designated Project Manager.
  13. Advise Executive Director on departmental issues.
  14. Oversight of program data management policies and procedures to ensure data is recorded appropriately.
  15. Undertake duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

Qualifications & Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • 5 to 7 years’ experience directing programs and services in non-profit organizations.
  • Demonstrated experience managing a staff of 4-6 and departmental budget.
  • Project management experience.
  • Genuine and demonstrated knowledge, excitement and passion for Independent Living philosophy.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including diplomacy, persuasion, public speaking, consensus building, and decision-making.
  • Proven written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven track record in grant writing and soliciting foundation support.
  • Excellent organizational skills and comfort with technology and maintaining traditional and electronic files.
  • Creative thinker.
  • Strong attention to detail, with the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.
  • Proven skills in advocacy on disability issues.
  • Demonstrated experience managing and complying with local, state and federal grant requirements.
  • A personable demeanor and a sense of humor are a plus.
  • Conflict Resolution skills.
  • Must be able to travel independently throughout the service area


• Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume, with salary requirement, to Qualified candidates with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Closing Date

• Applications must be received by 5:00pm EST, September 9, 2013


August 23, 2013 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

Social Security Disability Benefits

Sometimes life can throw you a curveball when you least expect it.  That curveball can take many different forms: a car accident, a diving accident, a stroke, complications from cancer, just to name a few.  While that curveball can take many forms, it can almost always be a life-changing event. Life-changing is the operative word in that sentence and it implies that you may need to find new ways to do a lot of things. One of those things is to have an income. If your condition makes you unable to hold a competitive job, then you might want to apply for  Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Medical Requirements

To qualify for SSD benefits, applicants must first meet one very basic requirement—the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. This is as follows:

  • Your disability keeps you from working any job.
  • Your disability is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

It is important to note that there are differences when applying for a person under 18 and a person over 18.

If you meet these criteria, you will then be evaluated based on criteria listed in the SSA’s blue book. The blue book is a manual of potentially disabling conditions and specific medical requirements and can be found at

It is important to note that the blue book doesn’t list all medical conditions. For many applicants, this means that meeting a listing is not possible (“meeting” implies that you have a medical condition listed explicitly in the blue book and that you experience each of the qualifying symptoms). If you don’t meet a listing, you may still be able to qualify if your symptoms closely mimic the symptoms and criteria under a different disease or condition.

If your condition does not meet or match any blue book listings, you may still be able to qualify under something called a Medical Vocational Allowance. Essentially, this means that based on your skill level, age, and job training, the SSA has determined that you aren’t capable of working.

Prior to submitting your application, you will need to gather medical records and documentation that pertain to your disabling condition(s). These records are required by the SSA—without them your claim may be delayed or even denied.

Disability Programs

Your eligibility for SSD benefits will also be based on technical criteria. These criteria are based on things like work history, income, financial resources, and taxes. The two disability benefit programs—SSDI and SSI—each have their own set of technical requirements.

SSDI- Social Security Disability Insurance is offered to disabled workers and their dependent family members. Eligibility for SSDI is based on “work credits”—a measure of an applicant’s earned income and the taxes they’ve paid into the program. Each applicant must have a specific amount of work credits to qualify.

SSI- Supplemental Security Income is offered to disabled and elderly individuals who have access to very little income and financial resources. This is a needs-based program, meaning that eligibility and benefit amount are determined by a person’s specific financial needs.

Social Security Disability Application Process

To begin your application, fill out the necessary forms online or at your local Social Security office. Once you submit your application you may have to wait a long time to receive a decision.

While it can be difficult to wait for a necessary financial lifeline, it is important that you remain patient.  Although not all applicants are denied in the initial application stage, you should be prepared to face this possibility. If you are, in fact, denied, you have the option to appeal the decision; this must be done within 60 days of receiving your denial letter. Responding quickly and efficiently throughout the entire process will speed up your wait for a decision.

Although applying for SSD is not easy, there are organizations that can help you with this process.

By Molly Clarke Social Security Disability Help.





August 14, 2013 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Brewster Thackeray

Incoming ECNV Executive Director Brewster Thackeray is an advocate for independence, inclusion and full opportunities for people with disabilities. Under the mentorship of the National Organization on Disability’s Founding President, Alan Reich, he worked on the quadrennial N.O.D./Harris Poll Survey of Americans with Disabilities that fueled the national disability agenda by measuring elements of American life where people with disabilities have participation gaps compared to the rest of the population. He also participated in the development and promotion of N.O.D.’s Accessible America Contest, saluting cities and towns that are role models of accessibility and inclusion.

From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Thackeray helped the nation’s largest membership association, AARP, launch its Livable Communities effort to increase opportunities for people to live and thrive in their communities regardless of their age or disabilities. As AARP’s Disability Community Liaison he built alliances between disability and aging advocates on overlapping areas of interest. Mr. Thackeray subsequently advised the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration on disability policies and civil rights issues.

A resident of Northern Virginia since 1996, Mr. Thackeray lives in Alexandria, where he is a Board Member of the Lincolnia Park Civic Association. He holds a degree in government from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, and a Master’s in Public Communication from American University in Washington, DC. He has served on the Boards and Steering Committees of national and local disability and transportation organizations and has been an advisor on disability issues to political campaigns.

August 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm 1 comment

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