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NILP Basic Core Service: ADVOCACY

The Northeast Independent Living Program, Inc., (NILP) as an Independent Living Center (ILC), is mandated by federal law to provide both individual and systems advocacy on behalf of and for persons with disabilities. It is one of NILP’s four core services and provided by all programs.

Individual Advocacy

NILP staff has experience dealing with issues surrounding such topics as reasonable accommodations, rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and appeals with state agencies or housing authorities. Often times a consumer might not be aware that their rights are being violated, or even that they are violating someone else’s rights. Sometimes a little education is often all that is needed in these situations.

Consumer Story

In one situation a consumer with a severe physical disability in a large apartment complex was told that she could not have an assigned parking spot by her building’s management. She was told that the complex already had a handicap spot outside her nearest entrance and that she would just have to use that space because there was no assigned parking in the lot. However, the handicap parking spot outside her entrance was frequently taken by other residents or guests, therefore she sometimes had to park far away from the entrance. An NILP Independent Living Specialist helped this consumer draft a letter educating the building management on laws regarding reasonable accommodations and to officially request a reasonable accommodation that she be assigned her own parking spot. The building manager agreed to provide this consumer with a reserved spot near the closest entrance to her apartment after receiving this letter.

Systems Advocacy


Advocates from NILP work to keep close contacts with the local and state representatives so that they are kept updated and aware of issues of importance to persons with disabilities. We hold an annual Legislative Breakfast usually in March in which NILP consumers have an opportunity to meet with their local representatives or their aides and discuss whatever issues are on their mind. Several times a year we will travel to the statehouse to meet with decision makers in the state government. We encourage any consumers who are interested in participating in this type of activity with us to please contact Jim Lyons, NILP Director of Community Development and Advocacy at 978-687-4288 ext 133.


Advocacy Events and News:


Vote! Vote! Vote!


This is what this country’s largest minority wants you to know this election year…

Register to vote if you are not already and if your disability prevents you from physically going to the polls, be sure to use one of the following forms to cast an absentee ballot:

Massachusetts Voting Forms

Voter Registration Form

Absentee Ballot Application

Request for Absentee Ballot by Family Member of Voter


One Care Ombudsman

One Care Ombudsman

The Once Care Ombudsman (OCO) is an independent program that helps individuals, their significant others and representatives address concerns or conflicts that may interfere with their enrollment in One Care or their access to One Care benefits and services in the State of Massachusetts. The One Care Ombudsman can provide information and resources, identify your options, investigate the problem, and work to resolve your concerns.

Contact the One Care Ombudsman for free, confidential help. The OCO office is located at 11 Dartmouth Street, Suite 301, Malden, MA 02148 and office hours are 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday (Drop-Ins are welcome and the offices are wheelchair accessible). Call toll free: 1-855-781-9898 (MassRelay – dial 711) to request One Care Ombudsman informational materials in an alternate format (Braille, large print or electronic format – Word document) or in Spanish. To arrange interpreter services for the Deaf or for Non-English speaking individuals. Email: help@onecareombuds Web: One Care Ombudsman

Please note that The One Care Ombudsman is not connected with any health insurance company or plan.


Implementation Council Meetings to Help Plan for One Care

The Implementation Council is a group brought together by MassHealth to help plan for One Care. One Care, previously called the “Duals” Massachusetts Medicaid and Medicare Demonstration Project, is a planned statewide experiment to improve care for disabled lower-income adults. The One Care program will serve low-income and disabled people, ages 21 to 64 in Massachusetts, whose health care bills previously have been covered by two government programs, the federally run Medicare and the state-run Medicaid, which has made it difficult to track and manage their care for the eligible population for the lowest cost coupled with the optimum outcome for the eligible enrollee needs.

The Implementation Council is a group brought together by MassHealth to help plan for One Care. More than half of the members of the Implementation Council are consumers. Your voice is needed at these meetings because having more consumers in these meetings helps to remind MassHealth and the Implementation Council members that consumers must always be at the center of discussions about One Care. Upcoming Implementation Council Meetings currently scheduled are as follows:

  • Friday, September 16, 2016, 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. 1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Boston, MA

For MBTA and driving directions to 1 Ashburton Place, click on the following link: Directions to 1 Ashburton Place

A meeting agenda and any meeting material will be distributed prior to the meeting.

Reasonable accomodations are available upon request. Please contact Donna Kymalainen to request accommodations

For more information regarding the Implementation Council including  agendas, meeting notes, and more from previous meetings, please click on the following link: Implementation Council