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Episode Summary

In this episode of Disability Deep Dives Chris Brock, the Managing Attorney of Probate Power for CCDC (Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition) speaks to his journey through law school, his accident, and how he became one of Colorado’s most influential lawyers in disability rights, guardianships, and conservatorship.

Transcript

Jason (00:15):
Do you want to go?
Damian (00:26):
All right, welcome back. We have a great guest today. Oh Disability Deep Dives I’m Damian Rosenberg.
Jason (00:34):
And Jason Schlosky.
Damian (00:35):
We have a great guy with us today. Really insightful, informative just a good guy, Midwestern guy. I think you’ll like himfrom Camden, Ohio, Preble County. Let’s welcome, Chris Brock. Hey Chris.
Chris (00:49):
Hey Damian. Thanks for having me.
Damian (00:51):
No problem. Camden, Ohio. What’s going on there?
Chris (00:55):
Not a lot. I don’t know if I last checked about 1800, so very small, very small one stoplight. Really? We used to have four, they downgraded the one.
Damian (01:06):
Okay. Okay. It’s a suburb of Cincinnati?
Chris (01:12):
An hour away from Cincinnati. We’re a drive, but within the vicinity and you root for the Reds. I do. Joey Votto, Joey Votto.
Damian (01:21):
Just hit a big milestone.
Lot of them this year playing well, like, well, I think they’re in a wild card chase. Yes. The Padres are just bombing, which I love right now.
Damian (01:31):
So rolling off the charts, right? Shawnee high school, yep Preble Shawnee fighting arrows.
Chris (01:40):
Yeah. UI, I still call it the arrows. So yeah.
Damian (01:45):
When do you think they’ll change that?
Chris (01:46):
I don’t know. Uit’s it is conserviative Ohio yeah. I grew up in,uif anybody knows politics, John Boehner’s district. So,uyeah, we’ll probably do that. The arrows for a long time.
Damian (01:59):
UI looked it up. Jason was impressed,uand you’re saying it’s not the same, but,uit used to be the big rivalry. Was the Madison Mohawks?
Chris (02:09):
Well, when I was, I was played football, was Eaton. Uthe Eaton Eagles was the team leading our big rival, but we played Madison a lot. Yeah, they’re right down the road.
Damian (02:20):
Big kids? You mean with me playing?
Chris (02:22):
No. I mean, wherever Madison, big kids, some of them, you know, here and there. Nice.
Damian (02:27):
All right. Moving on from high school football, that’s our own podcast we’re going to start about football in Ohio.
Damian (02:36):
2008, you get a job working on the Obama campaign. How did that go down?
Chris (02:42):
yeah, that was really cool. So I was a senior in college and,for our senior capstone project and it was during the ’08 election. Our professor said, you need to work on one on a campaign. I don’t care if it’s a presidential senate, like a local referendum, you just to work on a campaign. And I’m like, I wanna for the Obama campaign? And so,uit was really interesting trying to,ufind votes in conservative, Southwest Ohio,who predominantly votes John Boehner. Yeah. Pretty red area so trying to talk a lot of my friends and coworkers and all these people that, you know, are pretty conservative. Like, Hey, look, this Obama guy. Yeah. He has a name you wouldn’t normally recognize. It’s not a, you know, John Smith sort of name. And I know it, wasn’t John McCain, you know, war hero, of course, like, you know, actually look at his policies and stuff and I think that’ll actually help you.
Damian (03:41):
So that was really interesting, did you convince anyone?
Chris (03:44):
I’m sure I did. You know, door to door. Who knows if they actually voted that way, but you know, if you want to say, I feel like I helped a little bit.
Damian (03:52):
Obama did win Ohio?
Chris (03:53):
He did. Yeah.
Damian (03:55):
What about Preble county?
Chris (03:57):
Oh, he won like 35% or something like that.
Damian (04:01):
But you were going to school at the Miami university?
Chris (04:03):
I was, yeah.
Damian (04:04):
Okay. Miami University. Where is that?
Chris (04:07):
Oxford Ohio. So just south of Preble county where I was.
Damian (04:11):
Okay. A nice liberal arts, Ohio school. Yeah. Small. I was taught full liberal arts.
Chris (04:17):
There are so many, it’s crazy how many there are. Um and then you move around Colorado and we have two major universities and a lot of our smaller ones and stuff, but it’s not nearly what we have in Ohio.
Damian (04:27):
It’s not Ohio in the middle of, you, you graduate from Miami university and I was listening to something, another podcast where you were on and it said, there’s a kid is a teenager. You knew you wanted to be in law.
Chris (04:42):
Right. So when I was in high school, just the job of being a lawyer was just sounded really interesting.
Damian (04:48):
Was it Matlock? Who, before he was an Andy Griffith?
Chris (04:52):
Well, I don’t know what it was. It was just, they want, it just sounded cool. And it was an avenue that you could do a lot of things, you know, like you didn’t even have to step through a courtroom. There’s just, you have a JD after your name.
Chris (05:05):
And, you know, sometimes doors open that JD Juris doctor.
Damian (05:09):
Jewish Doctor? Juris doctor? Okay. you decide you want to be a lawyer and somehow, how does the university of Colorado on your radar?
Chris (05:25):
I was in college. One of my professors grew up actually in Crested Butte here. And I love the guy, great guy named Kevin Armitage. And I took like five of his classes, really interesting guy. And he, he was big on the environment of criminal justice. And he said, he loved the west. Talked about the west all the time. So when it came time to choose a law school, I thought, you know, let’s go out west and maybe pursue environmental law. And so I looked for a school, had a great environmental law program. It also was big enough that if I decided not to stay in Colorado, like people actually knew what it was. Uh so I that’s what brought me to CU. Okay.
Damian (06:08):
Had you been to Colorado previous?
Chris (06:09):
Nope. my brother and I flew out after I got the acceptance letter and I flew out, I also got a second accepted in the DU. So we visited DU, visited the CU. And once I, I went to Boulder and stepped inside the law school, I was like, yep, this is it. This is home for the next three years.
Damian (06:25):
Go buffs, go buffs, right? Yeah. Just looking at timeframes. Chris when you were injured in a car accident,
Chris (06:35):
I fell out of a tree.
Damian (06:39):
Now. How old were you when that happened? 18 oh 18. So before you went to undergrad at Miami first semester, first semester Miami.
Damian (06:46):
Okay. And now how can you explain your injury? How did that happen? You fall off the tree. You’re injured. What’s the process?
Chris (06:57):
So I was, I was in a tree stand. I was deer hunting. And fall of 2000 November. Yep. It’s bow season. I had a crossbow. I was up in a tree stand about 20 feet and I got really dizzy and got really warm, you know, like kind of cold sweats and stuff. And I think I was overheating myself cause I had really big overalls on and it was actually pretty warm that day. And then I just blacked out and I fell out of the tree and broke my back.
Damian (07:29):
Okay. is that a C injury? I always get so confused.
Chris (07:33):
Uh, T6. So the further down, right. So mid, midsection.
Chris (07:39):
Okay. See, it would be higher. Yeah. It would be for quad a C three or four right there. And T would be paraplegic. So this happens in Ohio. What? You go to a hospital, obviously you go to a hospital. Where do you go?
Chris (07:56):
so yeah, I, an ambulance came, took me to a hospital,
Damian (07:59):
And how – you had people around you? You have people around, they make the call. Are you in cell service?.
Chris (08:06):
So,yeah, we were in, I was in one tree stand. My mom’s boyfriend was actually in another tree stand. We were actually at his mom’s,uhis mom’s property. So their house, her, his mom’s house is just right up the road. Okay. He saw me fall, he got out of his tree and then once he came over to me realized, oh, he can’t move. He can’t walk. You know? Were you conscious? I wake up I’m on the ground. I don’t, I don’t remember falling. I wake up on the ground and my legs don’t move. Can’t move. Okay. So he, he runs over to me realizes that I can’t move my legs. Then he runs up to the house calls 9 1 1 they come out and, you know, you know, trounce, you know, a hundred yards into the woods with the stretcher or bring me, bring me over to the ambulance. I go to a hospital in Oxford. Ohio is really the closest one’s called McCullough-Hyde. They stayed with, stabilized me there and then drive me down to C U uh,University of Cincinnati hospital. Okay. And I’m there about a week? Had the surgery there. Okay. Back surgery, they put, the, the, the metal in my back to stabilize my spine. And then I’m in, and I go to the rehab center for about two months in Ohio, in Ohio – Drapery. I wish I had known about Craig at the time, you know?
Damian (09:20):
Cause I mean the 18, how would that be on your radar?
Chris (09:23):
Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. Unless they told you at,McCullough, right. Or Drake or somebody. Yeah. So thank God for Craig.
Damian (09:30):
Oh yeah. I mean, all right. So, okay. So you’re a freshman. So this is the beginning of your freshman year at Miami. How accessible was Miami as a, as a young freshmen?
Chris (09:45):
I took the rest of the year off.
Damian (09:46):
And then you’d go back the following year.
Chris (09:48):
I took the rest of the year off and went back to
Damian (09:52):
This isn’t the this wasn’t the game plan you expected, but you adapted, right?
Chris (09:58):
So I, I stayed, I lived at home and I commuted every day. It’s only about a 15, 20 minute drive to go to college and they did pretty good accessibility wise. Like the library was great. Um the major student center was really good. Some of the buildings I had classes in were a little old. So, you know for the most part they were, but certain, certain ones had like steps in the middle of the hallway. Some places they’re being, you know, one ramp on this you know, these three stairs and this hallway, right. I can’t go down the other hallway cause that one has the stairs and don’t have the ramp or little things like that. But for the most part, they did pretty good. The disability services, there were pretty good. They were always trying to make sure I was ready. Good to go. They would check in once in a while about parking and whatnot to make sure I was able to get around campus.
Damian (10:53):
So you didn’t live in the dorms at that point. You were going back home, right?
Chris (10:57):
Yeah. I just, I need a little more help. I needed, you know, so my mom, I lived with my mom. She helped me out with time.
Damian (11:02):
Okay. So you go through four years, right? I mean, roughly, roughly four and a half, but I mean, you had to take it. You didn’t, yeah. You took a semester off, came back, but you didn’t, you didn’t stay longer. Jason and I were on a eight year.
Jason (11:19):
Mine took two decades. So yeah, that’s fine. The first degree in the twenties and second degree in the thirties. So
Damian (11:29):
You graduate you had this professor Armatage he liked environmental law. There was no, like I’m thinking of the disability. I don’t want to get this. It was environmental. Like, you’re like, this is my disability, but I don’t have to be right.
Chris (11:41):
Yeah. I, I mean, I was, like I think it was a bit of a denial and I think a lot of people with disabilities to go through that when it’s, especially if it’s, it happens to them a little bit later in life, it was a few years of, I don’t want to be around other people with disabilities. I don’t see myself that way, that sort of thing. So I kind of avoided that and was focused on, yeah, I’m still going to do environmental law stuff that lost the war eventually. That was what I wanted. Yeah.
Damian (12:11):
You thought Boulder was accessible?
Chris (12:13):
Pretty much. Uh the good thing about law school is all in one building. Right. And CU’s laws building was pretty new 2007 or something like that. And they had a guy there who worked in the Dean’s office and he said like, you know, like the first week I was there, like, come to me, if you need anything, you need to move, move a classroom, you need this, Was he with CU disability resources. Or he was with the law school, but he was kind of like the facility manager for the law school. And so he would come to me and make sure it was all good to go for me. And for anyone else, like for instance, I in also in my class we had a little person, her name was Holly and say he, he was the same with her. Like, if you need anything, let me know right now.
Damian (13:00):
And you’re new to Colorado now, where did you live when you moved? To uh Boulder.
Chris (13:04):
I lived in Superior. So Boulder was too expensive for me. So yeah, I lived in superior. I found an accessible apartment there.
Damian (13:12):
Okay. That was fun. Trying to find an accessible apartment from Ohio. Right. you know, knowing them come in superior, Colorado. Right. So we can ping superior Colorado. So you can look up what that is.
Chris (13:24):
It’s not a big town. No, it’s just south a little outside Boulder.
Damian (13:28):
And you’re, at that point, you’re self transferring. You’re doing, I mean, are you learning how to navigate by then? This is plus four years, right?
Chris (13:37):
Yeah. By then, because I took two years off college roughly. Okay. Right. So by then I didn’t need any, I was 100%, you know self-sufficient so yeah, it was a bit of a transition, like all of a sudden doing all my own shopping, all my own laundry, and all the disability stuff.
Damian (13:58):
Well, I’ll go to law school. It was, it was a busy time. Yeah. You can do anything pretty much. Right. I mean, I think anything where you work or you do all the navigating and you’re going to school, there’s a lot going on.
Chris (14:09):
Yeah. It was a, it was a intense time. I remember because law school was just constant reading. And I remember my sleep schedules time was essentially midnight to six.
Chris (14:20):
Okay. Okay. Okay. So you graduate from CU you have your JD in environmental law.
Jason (14:30):
What’s JD stand for, again, a Juris doctorate, right?
Chris (14:34):
Sure. So,JD with, in law school, you really don’t like, I mean, you take a bunch of classes and something you’re interested in,
Damian (14:41):
But it’s not like a major, you know, you just graduated the law degree and that’s what you, that’s what you have. Yep. You say, want to stay in Colorado, so you take the bar here, right.
Damian (14:50):
Okay. Bar – easy, easy?
Chris (14:51):
Uh it was eight weeks before, before the bar, it was studying eight hours a day for six to eight weeks or not a fun summer, but you got to do it. So took the bar exam bar exams two days, 12 hours each day was like six hours each day. But yeah, passed, and hopefully you never have to think of another Bar exam again.
Jason (15:15):
And this is Colorado, just my own. Is it reciprocity with other states? Are there, there is
Chris (15:22):
There are, I don’t know, 20 other states that have the same test that Colorado does. And if like, if you’re passing that score in Colorado, if it will be a passing score and Wyoming, then you could like waive in as long as you pay the fee or whatever.
Damian (15:37):
Okay. So you have this, you’re done.
Damian (15:40):
Did you had a job before you took the bar, were you offered anything? Or?
Chris (15:43):
I was so I, I got a job actually in the Dean’s office of the law school. It was kind of like a, it was a one-year position. And there was a couple of us got these Dean office fellow jobs. Okay. So you do that for a year, right.
Damian (15:58):
Then what’s the next step? How do you, cause I think how I know you and we’ll put this on the website too. We’ve talked about them before Colorado Cross Disability Coalition CCDC. So you’re, you’re in Boulder working at the Dean’s office. Right. Right. And then how would, how did they get on your radar?
Chris (16:16):
So I actually, after the Dean’s office, I actually got a job working for a judge as a clerk, working downtown at Denver district court for judge Jones as a civil judge Jones, judge Bruce Jones. Uh great guy. Good, good attorney. Good judge. So I learned a lot there and this is the natural progression you clerk, you do all these things. Right. Clerking after law school, is pretty common for a lot of young attorneys. That’s a great way to see a lot of cases, you know, learn a lot of basic legal stuff. Ujust kind of like, it’s almost like, fourth year of law school. A lot of people see it as, and so I worked for him for about a year and he had every year he got a new clerk. So I knew, I knew I wasn’t going to be there five years. So I started looking for a job. And at the time I was kinda thinking, you know, I don’t think environmental law is my thing. Cause after a couple of years of learning about it and doing a few internships and stuff, I realized that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to enjoy it.
Damian (17:22):
Who owns the sun?
Chris (17:25):
And it’s also, it’s really hard at the time. It was, it was pretty difficult to get a job with an environmental law like environmental, like environmental nonprofit group on the, in my opinion, the good guy side, you know? And so that combined with it, wasn’t something I love doing day to day, I was looking for other stuff. And at first I was like, maybe civil rights would be cool. Let me look into that. And I don’t remember who, I think somebody, I think might’ve been, the judge himself found, saw this posting from CCDC and I was like, it’s a disability rights non-profit, it’s not under the civil rights aspect of it, but it’s still in this other aspect that I never even thought about. That would be interesting.
Jason (18:10):
And that changed kind of your perspective. Cause I know you were saying that you were like, I don’t see myself as disabled, so you know,
Chris (18:16):
It, it, yes. So it actually took me coming to Colorado and getting involved with like wheelchair sports that really kind of broke that for me, that I realized like, yes, I am disabled and it’s it’s okay. And you know, in my mind and I’m around other people with disabilities all the time. You know, I play wheelchair lacrosse and do adaptive CrossFit. So I’m around these other people that have these disabilities and they’re like, they’re awesome. And I’m like, I, you know, in my mind, it’s okay to see myself that way. You know, it just took awhile. And so by then I was like getting the job with disability, nonprofit, a natural progression in your kind of all those stages of accepting. I mean, there’s not really, did you find that to be true? Did you have an angry art?
Damian (19:06):
Did you have a sad part? I mean all these things, but did you follow that script and those that.
Chris (19:09):
I did, yeah. I had times where it was like you know, moments of it’s super depressing after, you know, in the years after I got hurt, I at times very angry. And for me, I mean, I, you know, a lot of people go through that. Some who find the, where at find their way out, some people don’t for me, music was a big way that I found myself out, just creating music, listening to going to concerts using that as, okay. Metallica? Yeah heavy metal Iron Maiden, Machine Heads, Slipknot, love Slayer, Sabbath, kind of all those guys.
Jason (19:51):
Yeah. Favorite favorite concert, when and where, who and where?
Chris (19:55):
Uh favorite concert. Off the top of my head, it would be, I have two, one is I saw a Slipknot and a few other bands at Red Rocks. So the front row 5 feet, in front of the, the bands, you know and then the other was just a couple of years ago and more just, the unique experience was that I went and saw Metallica played with the symphony. It was good my brother. And it was 70 of the greatest musicians playing at the height of their power and just the, the wall of noise coming at you. It’s amazing to experience that. That’s really cool.
Jason (20:35):
I believe Damien’s was Pat Benatar?
Damian (20:36):
Uh it was it was Mickey Mickey hey Mickey, Victoria Braxton. I don’t know if that was Toni Braxton, uhh Backsteet Boys. I actually saw Iron Maiden when I was in seventh grade at,McNichols we’ll link old McNichols, pretty sure. Uthat’s really, some music helped the guy. I think that’s probably a great getting up. Uwe’re going to hit on some of the sports later, but not, and I know you’re kind of a jockey guy and you’re still playing. Uso I just want to get back to CCDC for a second. What role do you think,uCCDC has played in your life and your career?
Chris (21:28):
They’re big. I mean, career-wise, you know, I’ve been doing this for five years now. What I’m doing this special needs planning. And I mean, it’s the majority, it’s been the vast majority of my career as a lawyer is going to be going and we’re growing and it’s just, it’s a huge part of that. And then on a personal level, I mean, I didn’t know this stuff before, but realizing now what CCDC has done for the community over the past 20 years in Colorado before. I mean, I speaking of Red Rocks. I wouldn’t have been able to sit in the front row if not for Kevin Williams and a few other people and few other organizations. Kevin is an attorney, right. For these people suing Red Rocks to allow people with disabilities to exit sit in the front row. Yeah.
Damian (22:20):
Can you explain that just briefly? So what was that, what did that look like? And how many years ago was that, that they did that with the City of Denver.
Chris (22:26):
I don’t know all the details, but a few years ago,uit was just really tough. So at Red Rocks. You, somebody in a wheelchair can only sit in the front row and back row, because the, just the way it’s set up, it’s the way it’s set up. And before, before this lawsuit, a lot of times the front row would just get bought by like scalpers or people buying. Yeah.
Damian (22:48):
Sort of the lowest form of life, scalpers. It’s pretty low, low now.
Chris (22:55):
Yeah. It’s pretty good. I would agree.
Damian (22:57):
Uh landmine manufacturers, scalpers, people who feed cigarettes to kids. It’s something like that.
Chris (23:03):
Yeah. So so it was really tough to get that front row ticket, you know, because they would be bought out by fan clubs, scalpers and all these people until there was a lawsuit. And I don’t know if it was settlement and trial or whatever, but essentially now that if you want to sit in the front row, which is for people with disabilities, you have to basically prove you have a disability in that if you buy the tickets, you can not resell them to somebody else. And you who bought them have to show up there and saying, yes, I have a disability. And I bought these tickets for me and for my friends.
Damian (23:42):
I said, does that set precedent with other arenas and venues? I, I, I just like to use the word precedent. Uh so with CCDC, you’re doing probate power. What is it? How does that work? It’s it’s interesting. So we’re going to have a probate power on the the other thing as well. We’ll look into what it is
Jason (24:10):
The definition of probate power?
Damian (24:15):
We’ll have another bullet box and we’ll say probate.
Chris (24:18):
So our probate power is CCDC’s social enterprise program. So our job in probate power is to generate revenue for the nonprofit while providing services to our community. In our services we provide is special needs planning, so special needs trust, guardianships, helping with able accounts and a whole realm of protecting people’s public benefits so that if somebody receives an inheritance and they have down syndrome, they can benefit from their inheritance by putting the money into trust while still maintaining public benefit eligibility.
Damian (25:00):
So they can stay on Medicaid. Right. Okay. What do you do? What other probate you help people get make wills? Yes. So is that all part of that?
Chris (25:12):
I mean, the special needs trust are typically part of estate planning. And I, so I help the vast majority are people who have family members with special needs and disabilities. But often I have clients that come in who don’t need a special needs trust. They just want wills and a power of attorney document, for, you know, their oldest son. But,uthey just heard about me from a neighbor who has a kid with special needs. And so we help people. Who don’t need special needs planning.
Damian (25:40):
Jason, have you ever been in that stuff for yourself and your family, your lovely family?
Jason (25:45):
No. That would be a foresight and planning and I just live by the moment.
Damian (25:53):
Yeah. I need to start that. I don’t have any, I have two kids when you say I don’t have any business, but I only have two daughters but we need to be on it.
Jason (26:10):
Hey that’s a great segue. And Chris anything going on in the kids realm soon?
Chris (26:17):
Yes. So my, my wife is eight months pregnant. Wow. So
Jason (26:22):
We might be cutting this short.
Chris (26:24):
So if I get a call from my wife, I may be heading out, but she, yeah, we’re about three and a half weeks away from a baby.
Damian (26:33):
And this is your third?
Chris (26:36):
First.
Damian (26:36):
First, ah, baby girl club.
Damian (26:41):
We’re set to go St. Joe’s St. Joe. That’s where I was born. It’s a good hospital
Jason (26:47):
Lutheran over in this corner.
Damian (26:50):
Jason’s from the west side. We’re going to talk more about babies in a second. Let’s get back to
Damian (26:56):
Well, how did, how did the CCDC introduction was that just like an application online and go and meet with the crew or
Chris (27:03):
Exactly. So I applied online and I went and met with Julie who’s my boss and the executive director or CCDC. Yep. Met was Kevin Williams. He was right there in the interview committee.
Damian (27:16):
What’s his title?
Chris (27:18):
Uh uh top of my head, I think he he’s program director or something like that. How long has Kevin been there? For 40 years, but yeah. So he does all the ADA litigation, he sues, when you see Kevin rolling probably not good.
Chris (27:36):
Yeah. Start, yeah. Start making that curb cut now, right. Yeah.
Damian (27:40):
Right. And yeah. Make that, make that door accessible. Nice. So you apply, they go through it did any other people apply for that role?
Chris (27:48):
As far as I know, yes. I don’t have any names or whatever, but I know that they, they say they were looking for somebody right. And so I always like to say that me being in the wheelchair finally helped me actually get a job working for a disability rights non-profit and you talked with Julie and she said, this is how many people apply for that job.
Damian (28:09):
And you’ve got 76,000 partners in 74 people. So out of those 74 people you got that job. Wow. Nice. No, but I think, hou came in you’re, you’re an attorney you’re excited, you’re hungry. You want to make a difference, you have a lived experience. Uhnd you’re probably going to attorney.
Damian (28:29):
So, I mean, I think that’s, that’s a credit to I don’t think I’ve been on the board for our cross disability coalition for a number of years. And I’m deathly afraid of Julie, like I, I understand the power that they wield and I understand and I didn’t always understand this, but the slippery slopes talking about precedent, right? Like things, things can start off and they look benign, but they can turn really bad quickly. And I think CCDC really kind of fights. You know, Colorado is very good with a lot of the these things uh, thank God for Craig hospital. Thank God for children’s hospital. Thank God for CCDC. Uh special needs planning. What does that encompass? So everything from special needs trust, guardianships, conservatorships able accounts and able we’ll put a link to the Colorado thing. So ABLE it’s a, like a 5 23, and I don’t want to use money. It’s something like that for college.
Chris (29:26):
Yes. So similar to the college savings plan, it’s like in the same tax pillars, that’s kind of 5 29, but the whole point is it allows somebody with a disability to save more money, have more money in their name. Cause right now, if you’re on Medicaid or SSI, you’re stuck with a $2,000 asset. That’s not much. And that’s been like that since the eighties. So Able account allows somebody to save up to right now think it was $15,000 a year and still maintain public benefit eligibility. It’s a great way. So if somebody receives out of a personal injury settlement for like eight grand or a check from grandma for five grand or whatever, it, it’s a great way to put money in somewhere else, but rainy day and not just have to spend it in back in the day. I know people who are just closets of clothes they don’t need, cause they’re like, oh, I got this check, I gotta spend it now. You have nowhere to put it in an able account while there’s limits on it. Like you have to have been disabled before age 26. I don’t know why they did that, but that’s Congress.
Damian (30:33):
Um so weird metric.
Chris (30:35):
It is arbitrary, but it’s a really cool yeah. Things that people utilize. Nice. and then you’re talking also about guardianship. So just the 10,000 foot view of guardianship, conservatorship, I guess in anywhere they’re in their big news right now, Britney Spears in California.
Jason (30:59):
#Freebritney
Chris (31:02):
I actually sat in on an ABA presentation yesterday for about Free Britney all that stuff. But so various state conservatorship, basically, if you have some, if there is somebody who is incapacitated, incapacitated, and unable to make decisions for themselves as deemed, by as the, by the, essentially the courts, then it allows somebody else to be appointed to make those decisions for them. So if you have a trial that is, let’s say downs syndrome is kind of the easiest example in nature and 18 all decisions, they have all decision-making abilities for themselves like any other adult. And even though they may not understand medical decisions or financial decisions, but, you know, under the law, they’re a legal adult. And so going through the court process allows in a lot of times allows their parents to end up having that ability to make those decisions for them to go with it, to the doctor’s office, talk to the doctor and they have talk to the banks on their behalf that’s sort of thing.
Damian (32:06):
Okay. So Brittany Spears, she mental illness or whatever that, I don’t understand any of this, but it was something where mental competency was questioned. Yeah. Yeah. She had an episode years ago. I think everybody remembers. And I didn’t even know that.
Chris (32:26):
So her dad became her in legal conservator in college, in California it’s conservator and in Colorado it’s guardian. Because I think other that episode, they were afraid for, for mental health or health or finances or whatever. And now a decade later, her dad is still, or was still conservator for her, even though, you know, in a lot of people’s opinion, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t need it anymore.
Damian (32:53):
And so it’s a lot of people and saying free, Brittany, why, why does this happen? Why, why, why start to take this off of her?
Jason (33:01):
Right. Do conservatorships or guardianships with those transfer states. Like, I mean, they’re appointed in like Colorado.
Chris (33:08):
Yeah. It as a transfer to the states, wherever the, the ward, the, you know, the person that’s incapacitated, wherever they move to, do you need to transfer the guardianship.
Damian (33:17):
And is that, is that also a court process?
Chris (33:19):
It is mostly most time you only need a hearing, all of this paperwork filed from one, place to the other
Jason (33:28):
Do you work a lot with uh, Megan brand?
Chris (33:29):
Oh yeah. CFPD I’m on the board. That’s already been for people with disabilities right now. We’ll put that on the website too. So you’re on her board just going I think it was January. We work Along with them. They’re really, yeah, they’re really cool. What they do is really great and it’s, it’s great to be on the boards to kind of see how the trustee side works,
Damian (33:54):
How the sausage is made and it’s something like that. Yeah. Uso, you know, one of the things that I’ve noticed, and I, I don’t know because I’m not, I haven’t done my own stuff, but let alone someone else. So,but I see a lot of financial planners kind of getting into this work of working with people with disabilities and what are red flags families should look for when picking a planner, not names.
Chris (34:20):
Do you mean like a financial planner or, and there’s,
Damian (34:23):
I think now financial planners are finding like, oh, I need a niche. And this one happens to be working with people with disabilities or family members or financial planner. What are, what are like, what are some things that someone could say, and you’d go, oh, wait a second. I know they’re a little red flags.
Chris (34:40):
If the financial planner does not understand public benefits, if you ask about asset limits and they kind of say for what, you know, that’s a red flag.
Damian (34:49):
What if they’re way into frisbee golf?
Chris (34:55):
Well, they don’t understand Medicaid. And that’s the big one because you know, everything that I do when it comes to like a trust, what a lot of families do when it comes to planning for their children, it’s we want to make sure they are taken care of for the next 40 years in a big part of that is maintaining Medicaid because that’s a lifeline for a lot of, especially they have a child with severe disabilities that they have to maintain that you help recommend people like working adults disclose to you would help them get on the working adults Medicaid buy-in?
Chris (35:30):
I don’t help with the applications. But I refer people to those people and I, a few foundation planners. I work with that specifically work with families, that have disability and stuff, the needs that I refer people to.
Chris (35:45):
So I’ll draft the trust and then they’re referred into a financial planner to talk about life insurance, the family accounts. Yeah.
Damian (35:53):
No, I think it’s,it’s interesting. And people use, people, not in the know might use Medicare and Medicaid interchangeably and like the various programs use them. Like, they’re the same thing. We have people like, oh, I want to go to PASCO. My dad’s on Medicare and I say, oh yeah, that’s cool. But we’re Medicaid and saying, oh my dad’s on Medicare and Medicaid. My dad’s on that. And it’s like, you know, you have lawmakers that are potentially still doing this and yeah. They don’t really get it. They need, they should have renamed the program something long time ago. Right. Yeah. That’s what rename. Yeah. They sound the same. Uwheelchair lacrosse. Jason, did you have more questions about any of the planning?
Chris (36:38):
I know I was just going to mention, like, as part of the guardianship and conservatorship there, we, we have PASCO plug plug also do like the transition planning and that’s where we kind of lean on Chris Brock to handle the guardianship and conservatorship piece of it, special needs, trust planning. And then we handle just because I think when any child is entering adulthood and they’re on Medicaid and when Colorado, we have a robust waiver system here that they have to be aware that there are children waivers and adult waivers. And that’s part of the transition planning along with guardianship for a lot of our families. And so yeah, Chris has been a great resource for us here and I think it’s just another piece of proper planning. Right.
Damian (37:21):
And Chris, when you worked with this agency? Have you, have you done anything in person has this all been remote, it’s all been during COVID. We did a live stream. We’ve done during COVID I think I’ve done two or three virtual presentations to families and before COVID I’ve come here quite often to give a presentation
Jason (37:47):
In-person. And when Jason finally get some free time, he’s gonna finish a very polished video of Chris. He has the tightest 30-minute guardian presentation I’ve ever seen. It’s concise and coherent. So you’ve only seen one guardianship presentation. Now I’ve seen, I’ve seen two or three. Nice,
Damian (38:11):
Nice. Partially that’s all I think is confusing is sort of talk to someone who really knows their stuff. And I think knowing Colorado people can say they know it and Arkansas it different Medicaid rules in Arkansas than there is in Colorado. So I think if you’re working with guardianship, any of this conservatorship, anything Colorado right here in Colorado, if you’re in Arkansas, if you’re listening to this from Arkansas. Well welcome in Arkansas.
Jason (38:39):
And I will say Chris what, how much does it cost to get a consultation from you?
Chris (38:44):
Uh, consultations are free.
Jason (38:45):
Whoa. Wow. Now that is impressive. Right.
Damian (38:50):
Uh tell me about you do lacrosse, you play lacrosse. Did you play lacrosse before? Was that big in Ohio now?
Chris (39:02):
Not when I was growing up, I didn’t know. It was, I mean, I knew it was a sport, but yeah. I never watched it in person or anything, or I never saw that on TV, no high schools that I grew up around played it, it wasn’t until I came out here, I was looking after law school. UI was looking for some athletic, you know, some, some athletic to do. Cause I would push in my wheelchair, you know, up and down the streets and stuff to get exercise, but I wanted like an actual sport. And so I try, I tried,basketball one a few times. I realized I wasn’t very good when I could walk much less being in the wheelchair. So that wasn’t really the sport to me. I actually did a wheelchair curling a few times at the curling center here in Lakewood. That was a lot of fun. Yeah.
Damian (39:47):
You can play with a beer in your hand.
Chris (39:50):
Yeah. Yeah. I met and I met a guy there who was doing the curling with me. So the name is Rob Lynn and he was on the lacrosse team and he said, well, sure, come on back to our lacrosse practice and checked it out. And that was, yeah, that was about five or six years ago. And it was just a blast going and learning. Uit takes a while to learn how to carry a stick and push and catch all at the same time. Uand so I’m still not great at it, but it’s a lot of fun. I like to say I’m kind of a,uaverage to mediocre player. Um but yeah, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great workout.
Damian (40:26):
How many teams are there around the country?
Chris (40:28):
I would say we probably have,u12 to 15 teams and every year we do a national championship while, at least before COVID. Uso two years ago in 2019, it was in New York. And we, I think at the time, and the year before that we were hosted here in Denver. In those years, we had over a hundred players over, over like 10 to 12 teams that came competed and then this year. They are doing it again. UI, I’m not going because of the baby,uin a couple of weeks, but they’re doing it inSan Diego started it back up. So I’m glad it’s, it survived COVID in picking it back up.
Damian (41:05):
We’ll put a link for that. You have a special chair for that?
Chris (41:09):
I do. I have a sports chair, this,uyou know, really can bird out. So I will it prevents you from being able to flip,ueven though technically you do, if you hit them right. People, right. And you still flip
Damian (41:22):
The ball. Right. Is that the ones with like the wheels are tilted kind of inwards. Yeah. So, all right.
Chris (41:28):
Yeah. You have that. And then you have passengers on the back. So you can’t flip back to the room, but yeah. Helmets, chest pads, knee pads. Cause the ball hurts. Right. I’ve missed the enough catches it has hit me enough and I will tell you that,
Damian (41:41):
Are you always doing that thing with a stick that I see lacrosse before there? I don’t even know how to describe I’m doing that thing to keep the ball, I guess, in the neck.
Chris (41:51):
Yeah. Some people do that. I, I don’t, I’m not good enough to, to do that. So yeah, somebody of is this big and like they do that. It’s kind of like, it looks like you’re dribbling the ball in the net. With wheelchair lacrosse, you basically, it’s hard to do that while you’re pushing at the same time. So is if you can giet the ball in the net, in your stick while you’re pushing down the court, you know?
Damian (42:14):
Right. That’s pretty good. Are you playing on a, like a field? Are you playing on a court?
Chris (42:19):
It’s a court. So we mostly play on like outdoor hockey rinks. Uthat’s what, where we practice. That’s what we play on. And a lot of times it’s just really what we can find. We’ve played on a basketball court. We’ve played on tennis courts. So, you know, but usually that’s a little too fast. They outdoor hockey rinks are kind of the best thing we could find,u
Damian (42:44):
Adaptive, adaptive CrossFit too. Yeah. What was that? Just lifting your chair?
Chris (42:50):
So,uso you know, everybody knows CrossFit and it’s, you know, some people they’re really into it. Yes. So it’s definitely a community and about, yeah, about a year into playing lacrosse, my buddy, Brian Tinker, who’s on my lacrosse team. He went to CrossFit one day and he had video on like his Facebook page or whatever. And I’m like, and I texted him like, that’s really cool. This is, and it was a this place. Here in Englewood, it was a CrossFit Watchtower. And the guy who owned it, who started it was a, his named Kevin Ogar. And he was a CrossFit athlete, like one of the CrossFit athletes. And he became paralyzed a few years ago and he opened a CrossFit gym and he a few other guys, a guy named Scotty and a few other guys really took all of the CrossFit exercises and adapted them for people in wheelchairs, people who are amputees, anyone who has any sort of disability so that, Hey, even though you might have one arm, we’re still going to teach you how to do burpees or how to do a clean, you know, with one arm and same in the wheelchair, you’re going to do cleans. You’re going to do your wall balls. You’re going to do all of this sort of stuff. In your wheelchair, you’ve got to put a glossary of all of these balls.
Damian (44:20):
What was the name of that place? Kevin Ogar, what’s the name of his CrossFit? We’ll put that great.
Chris (44:28):
He was great. I mean, just even it was great working out and getting fit. And you learn that you use your body in different ways, even though I’ve been in a wheelchair now. I mean, at the time it had been a dozen years when I first started CrossFit, just learning how to use my body and how to move stuff. It was, it was a really great learning experience, learning from him in that even like to this day, I’ll move something like,uyou know, a pack of Pepsi from my lap to the counter back in the day. Like I would lose my balance doing that. And now, now I’ve learned how, like how your body works. Right. Exactly.
Damian (45:06):
And that was at Watchtower. Okay. CrossFit Watchtower. Oh, that’s really neat. All right. I saw this guy looking at his phone, got a baby coming in less than three weeks. Yeah, I girl, yeah. I got a phone call. I listened it wasn’t her.
Chris (45:23):
It was not her.
Jason (45:25):
We would have had to do this at the hospital.
Chris (45:30):
Thank you. I really your work.
Jason (45:34):
I got one more. Yeah. let’s, let’s wrap this up with a love story. How’d you meet your wife? How did you grow to enjoy vegetarianism?
Chris (45:46):
Yes, my wife is vegetarian, so I became a food opportunist. We got together. So after I graduated from law school and after the bar exam, I just got, I got on, I think it was PlentyOfFish, internet dating, dating, and we, she was on there and we met for drinks downtown at Cru on Larimer Square. And that was it.
Damian (46:08):
C R U . Yeah. Larimer Square, I think. Pretty good.
Chris (46:19):
Yeah. But yeah, that was yeah. A while ago. And now we’re married and had a baby on the way.
Damian (46:24):
And where was your honeymoon? I heard it was very beautiful
Chris (46:30):
With honeymoon. We only get to do it once. So we went to Europe and we spent two weeks in Italy, in Paris with a one day layover in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Jason (46:40):
Nice. And out of all those destinations, which one was the most accessible and which one was the least accessible?
Chris (46:48):
Most successful, most likely Paris. Paris has kind of like, kind of like New York. So curb cuts were, were pretty good and stuff and got into taxis. And the Metro is weird. Metro is, yeah, we didn’t do the Metro. There are not enough stops where accessible. Yeah. But everything else, like a lot of restaurants, are pretty good in Paris and stuff. The least accessible was definitely Venice. Or, you know, there’s a million canals there in over every canal. There’s a bridge with steps. And trying to navigate that in a wheelchair was, it’s not the most fun 24 hours that we never spent there, but it was cool to see. Now I can say I’ve seen Venice.
Damian (47:28):
Did you do any special planning for that trip. I mean, knowing with accessibility issues or was it just like going on Travelocity and did a lot of planning?
Chris (47:36):
So I, I read you know, the Ricks, the like Europe stuff. So that was great just for my restaurants and hotels and stuff. In terms of accessibility planning, I found out that you need to take, like, I took my disability, my handicap placard with me because a lot of times they want to see something like that and use yields and stuff. You know, your, a wheelchair. Like they still want it. Sometimes they still want to see them little better, I guess, thinking. But like I found out like with museums and stuff, you go, just go straight to the front door. Don’t wait. You don’t need to wait in line. They’ll let you straight in for free FastPass. Yeah, exactly. And it just, yeah. In terms of finding hotels and stuff, I did a lot of emailing in sending, sending in English, and then sending like the Italian translation in my emails to make sure that they knew what I was asking for like a Google translate.
Damian (48:25):
Yeah, exactly. And then hoping your room, their wheelchair, please. Only pretty much.
Chris (48:32):
Yeah. And they, and sometimes they were on their websites today, even have pictures of the rooms which is great, I could see kind of how it looked. And so yeah, it was really, we did pretty good about figuring all that out three weeks. Yeah. Three little, two weeks. Yeah.
Damian (48:49):
Any babymoon you already went?
Chris (48:51):
Yeah, we did. A few weeks ago. We got a hotel downtown Denver and just hung out downtown for a couple days and ate a lot and shop way too much. So much money.
Damian (49:01):
You have a dog.
Chris (49:03):
He stayed at my buddy’s house.
Damian (49:04):
Okay. well, you know, you’re going to have this little baby girl and then your dog hopefully you remember their names.
Chris (49:14):
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. It definitely dropped tier.
Chris (49:20):
Oh, she, yeah, she, I don’t know if she’s going to like that because she, she gets jealous. She will, she gets jealous now. So
Jason (49:27):
We did, we did the like the baby cap. You bring the baby cap in and then let the dog like smell it and get used to it.
Damian (49:33):
I’ve heard that. Yeah, that’s really good. And then the dogs, they love the baby dogs sort of know intrinsically don’t pass the baby because the thing that’s the baby, that’s probably doesn’t do good for dogs and the history of dogs.
Damian (49:49):
I’m pretty sure that it’s passed down. There’s something very like,
Damian (49:56):
All right. What’s the actual due date? September 15th. All. September 15 is coming up fast approach. That’s approaching well for a sprog it’s always a pleasure seeing you we’re due for some beers have a safe everything’s safe delivery. And thanks for coming by. I appreciate all the scotch coming to you. We’ll have,
Jason (50:19):
We’ll have all your contact information, you know, in the page of this and yeah, we’ll get this one up as fast as get everything
Chris (50:28):
You so much. I appreciate it. Thanks. Take care. Bye. Thanks.

Show Notes

Chris Brock
Managing Attorney of Probate Power CCDC
cdbrock@ccdconline.org

Craig Hospital

Superior, CO 13:00

CCDC 15:43

McNichols Denver 20:35

CCDC Probate Power – 24:15

ABLE Accounts 29:21

CFPD 33:29

Transition planning 36:38

Wheelchair Lacrosse  40:23

Crossfit Watchtower 44:31

Chris Brock Disability Deep Dives Podcast 1
Damian Rosenberg Disability Deep Dives Podcast 1
Disability Deep Dives Podcast 1
Wah Wah Wah Podcast Staff