Helping Promote Choices in Self Direction
In pursuit of our mission, we offer a wide range of services designed to give people with disabilities the tools and resources they need to improve independence, self-confidence, knowledge, skills and access to community resources. We also work at the community level to reduce attitudinal, architectural and communication barriers, combat discrimination, and promote the development of needed resources, programs, and policies. Our ultimate goal is increased independence, economic opportunity, and enhanced quality of life for all persons with disabilities.
Summit's Service Area
Independent living services are available to residents of Missoula, Ravalli, Mineral, Lake, Sanders, Flathead and Lincoln Counties in western Montana. Information and referral services can be accessed by anyone, regardless of place of residence. We are headquartered in Missoula with satellite offices in Hamilton, Ronan and Kalispell.
Persons with any type of physical or mental impairment that significantly impacts their ability to live independently in the home and community or to maintain employment are eligible for Summit services. Information and referral services are available to anyone, regardless of disability status, including friends and family, the business community, and the general public.
Where can I find this? or Where can I go for help?
Summit provides information and referral for local community resources in Western Montana. We can also assist with locating state and national disability-related resources. If you have a question or would like help locating services in the community, contact the Summit office in your area.
- Affordable housing
- Energy assistance
- Social Security Benefits
- Food stamps
- Assistive devises/equipment
- Employment opportunities
- Payee/bill paying programs
- Senior/Peer Companions
- Transportation services
Summit offers assistance in identifying and applying for Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, Food Stamps, energy assistance, and many other benefits you may qualify for. We can also assist you in understanding your benefits so that you understand how they may be affected if your income changes or you return to work. For more information, you may contact your local Summit office.
Montana Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities
Under Montana Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities, which was first implemented on July 1, 2010, people with disabilities can earn more money and purchase healthcare coverage through the Medicaid program on a sliding fee scale based on income. Please visit our Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities information page to learn more about this exciting program.
How can I fight this or prevent this?
Summit offers self-advocacy assistance in areas such as dealing with the bureaucratic "red tape" of government programs; securing civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act and other disability laws; filing appeals when Medicaid, insurance companies, and other service providers deny services; and a wide range of other situations requiring support and problem solving assistance. For more information, you may contact your local Summit office.
How can I receive support?
Summit provides peer advocacy & support through opportunities for one-on-one and group interaction with others who experience disability.
Summit peer advocates can offer emotional support, a positive role model, practical tips on living with disabilities, and information on community resources. Peer advocates also work on a variety of community and educational activities like school panel presentations, advisory panels/boards, community planning groups, etc.
For information about the Peer Advocacy program, to request the services of a peer advocate group of peer advocate's or to find out how to become a peer advocate, please contact the Summit office near you.
Active groups may change or new groups may be created whenever enough interest is shown in a particular area. Current support groups include:
- Women's Self-Esteem group
- Hearing Impaired Support Group
- There is a group that meets in the Kalispell and new groups can be started as needed. These groups are primarily for people using hearing aids or cochlear implants. Email Flo Kiewel at email@example.com or call her at (406) 257-0048 for more information.
- People First
- Offers monthly meetings for people with developmental disabilities.
- For more information about People First groups in your area, please contact your local Summit office.
Summit’s Missoula office offers Senior Companion one on one matches with other seniors in our immediate Missoula city area. Senior Companions are retired people who want to give back to their community and espicially wish to work with our elders who wish to continue to live independently in their homes. The matches meet once per week for up to 4 hours and companions provide a listening ear so that they can give information about community resources and services. Companions encourage seniors to review their choices so that they can make decisions about how to best maintain their independence.
The following are some things senior companions can offer:
- Support through conversation,
- Advocate as requested,
- Household management,
- Assisting with forms,
- Writing letters,
- Playing games or cards,
- Go grocery shopping,
- Accompany to a medical appointment,
- Encourage walking or other exercise, and
- Accompany to a social event.
If would are interested in Senior Companion Services, please email Jude Monson or call her at 406-728-1630.
One-on-One or Small Group Classes
Summit offers individualized and group training on a variety of topics. If you are interested in participating in one of our trainings or are interested in learning more about the different trainings we can provide, please contact your local Summit office.
Here are a few examples of the trainings we currently offer:
- Enhance Life Skills to Promote Independence
- Living Well with a Disability
- Communication & Relationships
- Self-Awareness/Disability Awareness
- IL Philosophy, Pride, and Culture
- Working Well with a Disability
- Building Advocacy and Learning Leadership Skills
Summit operates a Self-Directed Personal Assistance Services (SDPAS) program. This program is designed for people with disabilities who have long-term care needs, have full coverage under Montana Medicaid, and want to direct their in-home personal assistance services.
Under this program, in existence since 1995, consumers have total responsibility and flexibility over their own care. This includes managing a personal assistant's work schedule, length of employment, and training. A provider agency, such as Summit, provides oversight of your self-directed personal assistance services. A provider agency is an organization that enrolls with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to oversee personal assistance services. You can choose which agency you use.
Summit's SDPAS program is a home health care program designed for individuals who have long-term care needs, have full coverage under Montana Medicaid, and want to direct their in-home personal assistance services.
To participate in Summit's SDPAS program, you must require assistance with personal care tasks or health maintenance activities and be able to manage paperwork and duties required by this Medicaid program. Eligible persons may also have a family member or other personal representative direct services on their behalf.
To learn more about the SDPAS program, see if you qualify for services, or to inquire about working as a personal assistant, please, contact Mike Giddings.
What Are Personal Assistance Services?
Personal Assistance Services (PAS) are services provided to persons who reside at home and have a medical necessity for assistance with activities of daily living. Services provided in the program include assistance with the following activities of daily living:
- mobility (including transferring from place to place)
- nutritional planning and meal preparation
- personal hygiene and grooming
Medical escort to a Medicaid-reimbursed service may be authorized in addition to the above activities when assistance is needed en-route or at destination. Individuals who need help with activities of daily living may also receive help with the following:
- household tasks related to their living area
- food shopping
Additional Personal Assistance and HCBS Programs Available in Montana
Agency-Based Personal Assistance Services (ABPAS)
Under the agency-based option for care, the person selects a qualified provider agency. The agency works with the person to establish the schedule for service provision and provides the trained staff necessary for the delivery of care. A nurse from the provider agency completes an on-site visit at least once every 180 days for supervision of care.
Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
The Home and Community Based Services program (also known as the Medicaid Waiver program) is an enhancement of the basic personal assistance programs and covers services that are otherwise not covered covered under the state plan for in-home personal assistance services. Under this program people, who would otherwise be institutionalized, are more fully able to access services that greatly increase their ability to live in their own home and community rather than in a nursing home. The services are made available through the Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS) and the Senior and Long Term Care Division (SLTC).
Big Sky Bonanza Program
This is a program enhancement of the Self-Directed Personal Assistance Program and Home and Community-Based Services. The Big Sky Bonanza program enables consumers on the HCBS waiver program, with support through an Independence Advisor and Financial Manager, to direct services formerly controlled by case managers, including personal assistance services and other supports such as habilitation aids, homemaking service, purchasing adaptive equipment and environmental modifications, etc.
Turning Today's Youth into Tomorrow's Leaders!
In addition to all of our other services geared towards providing Montanans with disabilities the tools and resources necessary to lead active, independent lives, Summit is proud to be able to offer a wide range of youth oriented programs. These very youth specific programs are designed to assist youth with disabilities in understanding not only their own situations, but to also help them make sense of the world around them so that they can successfully reach for their dreams and navigate the complexities of transitioning from youth into adulthood. Afterall, these are our leaders of tomorrow.
For more information or to inquire about scheduling any of these services, please contact Summit's transition coordinator Mike Beers at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 406-728-1630.
Montana Youth Transitions Program (MYTransitions)
Summit's youth programs also works in close partnership with the Montana Youth Transitions Program (MYTransitions) to ensure that youth, families, teachers, and professionals alike have access to as much information regarding youth transition as possible as well as to encourage dialogue and discussion among all parties and around any issue that may arise throughout the youth transition process. We encourage everyone to check out the MYTransitions website if you are looking for resources to help you in the transition process as well as the MYTransitions Facebook page to engage in conversation with other youth, parents, teachers, and professionals regarding the topic of youth transition from adolescence into adulthood.
Did you know that people with disabilities hold the record for the longest take-over of any federal building? They invaded the Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) offices in order to get section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act implemented.
Summit is happy to be able to offer disability history and culture presentations and materials to schools to teach students about disability history and how disability is a civil rights movement. We can gear our presentations towards any audience you want us to present to...whether they have a disability, don't have a disability, or are a combination of the two. Summit has experience doing presentations for the entire student body, history and government classes, as well as students with disabilities.
Disability Culture is different than other cultures in that you cannot always learn it from your parents because they may not have disabilities. Learning disability history, culture, and your rights and responsibilities can help you feel proud as a person with a disability. It can help you understand disability does not make you unable to accomplish your dreams, it just means you may have to go for them in a different way than someone else might. We want to help you understand some different ways to accomplish them, and help you to speak up for your rights and take responsibilities for your future by knowing yourself, what kinds of accommodations you need, why you may need them, and how to run your IEP so that you know you and your team are working towards what YOU want.
The class consists of nine (9) class periods and is intended for youth ages 8th grade to senior.
We would be happy to do the same kinds of inservices for the teachers as we do for the students. Learn about resources, disability history and culture, and how to include your student in the IEP process and ensure their successful transition from high-school to adulthood.
We can bring in a panel of people with different types of disabilities to talk a little bit about their lives, and how they are people first, and then a person with a disability. These panels also give students the opportunity to as questions of people with disabilities so that they can better understand the lives of people with disabilities and help them realize that people with disabilities aren't all that different from them.
We are available to come to your IEP to provide information on community resources that may help for a successful transition.
In order to run your IEP, it is important to have people there who make you feel comfortable speaking up for yourself and who can be good support if you need help making sure that your needs are being heard. If you don’t know who else to invite, you can call us, and we will help you prepare for your meeting, and be able to be there to help you be successful in communicating your goals.
We understand that the best person to work with a young person with a disability on a barrier or transition issue is another young person with a disability who has been there and done that! YODA is a group of 13-30(ish) young people with disabilities who meet once or twice a month and we use each other as resources. Come check us out, figure out what we do, and be a part of a community!! Join us in breaking down barriers for people with disabilities while having fun in the process!
YODA also has a Facebook page where you can follow along, interact, and catch up with other YODA members as well as stay informed of the group's work and meeting schedule. Visit the YODA Facebook page now!
Summit Independent Living Center works with all types of disabilities and ages on finding resources in the community to help them live as independently as possible. For a student in the transition process this may include:
- Finding accessible/affordable housing,
- Applying for Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance, or Medicaid programs,
- Understanding your benefits and how employment may affect them,
- Applying for or setting up personal care assistance in your home,
- Learning how to manage finances or medical records,
- Independent Living Skills training such as Living Well with a Disability- focusing on goal setting, wellness, and living on your own, and
- Information and Referral- if we don’t do it here, we will give you the information of someone who can help.