Focusing on What’s Important: Raaj and Justin’s Story

A photo of two men, one standing and one sitting on a motorcyle, with orange and navy blue decorative elements on the right side.

Managing your own support or the support of a family member is complex and often time-consuming. Between overseeing a budget and finding staff to provide care, there are many barriers that can be challenging to navigate. As an approved Financial Management Service provider in Minnesota, Lifeworks brings our experience to our partners navigating programs like the Consumer Support Grant or PCA Choice. Our goal is to ensure our customers have more time to do the things they love. 

For Justin and his son Raaj, this means spending more time with family.  

“Like most families, we celebrate good food and good times. Whether or not we’re meeting as a group or impromptu, food is always involved,” says Justin. When Raaj was in school, he participated in swimming, wrestling, and football. These activities helped Raaj build confidence as he took on new challenges and met other people his age. Justin saw the impact Raaj’s involvement in sports had on him, saying, “I think the camaraderie was more important than I knew. Initially, he was timid to be with the other children because he knew he was different. There were a few swimmers who really challenged him. He wasn’t just along for the ride. He was really racing!”  

A photo of Raaj, a young man wearing a purple sweater, sitting in his family's dining room.Now that Raaj is out of school, Justin and Raaj are intentional about keeping community activities a central part of Raaj’s life. Raaj still enjoys swimming, traveling on his own, going to the park, and even joining Justin on his motorcycle. Justin and Raaj are part of a club for people who are passionate about motorcycles and want to have discussions focused on making a change in their communities. “Whenever I go to the clubhouse, he follows behind me.” Justin and Raaj have more time to be involved in their community and spend time together thanks in part to their partnership with Lifeworks. 

Raaj and Justin first connected with Lifeworks when Justin applied for a waiver with the county nearly a decade ago. Justin worked with a county caseworker to identify services that could assist in managing the waiver budget to provide support for Raaj. “[Raaj] went to a transitional school after high school, and as soon as he got out of there, we got involved with Lifeworks,” says Justin. The county caseworker recommended Lifeworks to Justin and Raaj as they began to consider what support Raaj would need as he transitioned into adult life. “[Lifeworks] had the most reputation. The caseworker was very comfortable with them as an organization. I took her suggestion and her lead. I haven’t looked back.” 

Justin and Raaj currently access individualized home supports and respite through Lifeworks. They trust Lifeworks to manage the budget Raaj has received through their waiver. “I didn’t expect anything other than support to manage and administer his in-home support and respite needs. We just have a budget, and [Lifeworks] makes it easier for us, because that’s less that I have to worry about,” says Justin. “I get the support I need, no question about it. If I have a concern, I bring it to their attention, and I’ll get it addressed immediately. [They’re] very responsive, and they’ve been a good partner.”

Lifeworks partners with over 3,300 people with disabilities and their families around Minnesota annually. Our partnerships are guided by what the individual wants to achieve and the support they want to receive. For Raaj and Justin, partnering with Lifeworks means leaning on our know-how so they can focus on what is important to them in their lives – like riding motorcycles A photo of Justin, a middle aged man wearing a brown cardigan, talking to his son Raaj, wearing a purple sweater, while Raaj sits on their green and white motorcycle.and connecting over good food. When the need arises, Lifeworks is there to support Raaj and Justin. What matters most to them is that Lifeworks continues to be their strong partner. “My experience tells me they’re responsive, responsible, proactive, and supportive. We’ve been with them for almost 10 years and without a glitch,” Justin shares. Whether you’ve been accessing our services for 10 years or are just beginning to navigate the complexities of disability waiver services, we are here to partner with you at every step along the way.