Welcome to VAIL!

Woman and Man in Wheelchair in tech lab Front View of the VAIL Building Mario in water in Mobi-Chair and his wife Front view of VAIL-South Texas in Laredo Man in wheelchair and women awaiting bus under canopy Deaf Staff Member signing to another using Facetime on iPad Navigator students in training class.

SILC to Host Independent Living Hearing

The Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) is sponsoring a public hearing to discuss Independent Living needs and transportation needs for people with disabilities.

SILC is seeking input from people with disabilities, family members, service providers, advocates and others interested in disability issues and Independent Living needs and services in Texas.

The hearing is to be held April 14, 2015 at the McAllen Public Library, 4001 North 23rd Street, McAllen, TX 78504. For more information call Sandra Bitter at 512-371-7353, or email her at Sandra@txsilc.org

Follow the links below for more information:

SILC Meeting Flyer – English

SILC Meeting Flyer – Spanish

Some Situations Allow for Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment

VAIL Navigators are currently assisting consumers who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or need to make changes to an existing application. Special Enrollment Periods are granted to those who experience a life changing event such as losing a job, getting married or divorced, or changes in income.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that there will be a Special Enrollment Period for Consumers who did not understand the implications of not having health insurance and experienced a penalty or fine when they filed their 2014 Income Tax Return. This Special Enrollment Period will run from March 15. 2015 to April 30, 2015.

If consumers do not get coverage during this Special Enrollment Period, the may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 Income Tax Returns. Follow the link for more information.

Marketplace Page

People with Disabilities Have the Right to Vote!

Learn more about voting rights of people with disabilities. Watch the Video at YouTube from Disability Rights of Texas by following the link below:

Vote Video: Disability Rights Texas

There are certain requirements all citizens must meet before they can vote in Texas. Follow the link below to see how to meet these requirements.


Teresa Stern, VAIL Staff Member, had this to say about her first voting experience: “Voting can be very scary when it’s your first time and if you also have a disability. The first time I voted, I didn’t know what to do. My father told me who to vote for. He told me not to discuss with anyone who I am voting for. That was many votes ago, and after that first time, I always planned ahead so I would feel confident voting. Since that first time, I have always decided for myself who I want to vote for. I am a registered Voter; I listen to the candidates and vote for the one who most represents the things I believe in; and I always check with my voting place to see if anything has changed to be sure they will have the accommodations I will need to vote. Then I am ready to vote!”

Board Member Mary Jo Klein Passes Away in McAllen

VAIL staff, board members and consumers will sorely miss Mary Jo Klein, who was a founding member of VAIL in 1988, and served on the VAIL Board of Directors for the next 26 years.   She was instrumental in establishing the solid and ethical foundation upon which VAIL continues to operate.

Mary Jo Klein, Board Member

Mary Jo Klein

Through the years she participated in advocacy and accessibility marches and rallies to foster awareness of the barriers that people with disabilities face in the community.  She was always the sunshine in board meetings, and she approached advocacy with that same big smile.   She had a gentle approach, but a deep commitment to removing barriers that prevented her and her neighbors from accessing large areas of the community.

Mary Jo’s loyalty and dedication were an inspiration to VAIL board and staff.

Follow the link to read the obituary and have the opportunity to sign the Guest Book online.