Over 20 Years Served
Disability benefits raged to the center of national attention in the mid 1980’s as thousands of men, women and children across the country were being affected by as yet unknown disease, that took people devastatingly fast and in unstoppable numbers. As communities scrambled to serve these sick and dying individuals, many organizations sprung up across the country to support these dying individuals in any way possible at the time. At the time labeled a “gay men’s disease” did little to help the reality that this disease was affecting populations across the boards. As we now know today HIV/AIDS has no gender, ethnic or demographic boundaries and has consequently become a global pandemic.
Mr. Fortuño’s intensive benefits work began with such a grassroots organization based in San Francisco, CA in 1993. At the time AIDS Benefits Counselors (ABC) had really one objective and that was to assure these critically ill individuals that they would have adequate medical care and some sort of financial support and a roof over their heads until they died. Prior to this he work as a Case Manager at the Sacramento AIDS Foundation, CA in 1991.
Fast forward to 2009 and so much has changed. HIV/AIDS is now labeled as a chronic “managed care” condition!
No longer necessarily a death sentence if treated early and consistently. Disability Benefits are now a well known and widely needed specialty training in the corporate business world, as well as, the private sector. The lessons learned, rules and laws developed and changed over the past twenty-five plus years now serve individuals with all disabilities not just HIV/AIDS, but no one will discredit the pioneering work these HIV/AIDS organizations did to being all of this to the forefront of our national dialogue.
The one unfortunate outcome of all these fast paced changes, additions and revamped laws and guidelines concerning disability benefits; is that it has all become even more complex, misunderstood, entangled and as a result often under utilized in everyday counseling. No formal or recognized training exists and generally everyone learns by trial and error to often at the disabled individual’s expense.
Mr. Fortuño’s experience in this area is where he honed and fine tuned his abilities and programs to NOW benefit the entire disabled community.