Newsletter: May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012 Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Governor Christie creates a new "Employment First" policy for New Jersey
On Thursday, April 19th, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a new policy that encourages the hiring of people with physical, developmental, or psychiatric disabilities. Becoming the 14th state to adopt such a policy, New Jersey's "Employment First" policy will require the state government to eradicate any barriers, practices, or disincentives that prevent individuals with disabilities from attaining and retaining a job. To learn more about the initiative, visit: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/gov_christie_touts_employment.html     

New York's MTA Looks to Create a Cost-Cutting Plan for Accessible Rides
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has revealed a new plan for cutting the costs of the Access-A-Ride program, a para-transit van service for people with disabilities. The MTA wants to encourage users of Access-A-Ride program to transition to regular fixed route bus and subway services. MTA is offering those eligible for  the Access-A-Ride services  free bus and subway travel. In developing the plan, the MTA took into consideration how the savings gained from reducing the costly Access-a-Ride travel would outweigh the money lost by offering free transit fare. To learn more about the proposed plan visit, http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-04-30/news/31503153_1_access-a-ride-wheelchair-accessible-cabs-cabs-and-livery-cars  

Disability Advocates, Inc. Lacks Standing to Bring Case, According to the Second Circuit
The Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that Disability Advocates, Inc. (DAI), does not meet the qualifications for associational standing in order to bring suit against various New York state agencies. DAI, is a nonprofit organization that provides services in compliance with the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act.  The Circuit thus revoked the provision of the District Judge ruling in favor of DAI and ordered New York to modify the state's mental health system in compliance with what is known as the integration mandate. While holding that DAI lacks standing, the Second Circuit affirmed that the nonprofit can still fulfill its duty to provide legal assistance in ensuring the protection of individuals with mental illness. Read more about this case here: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/6d508c0f-2198-4541-9159-83ff1eea5914/4/doc/10-235_opn.pdf   

The New York Times Reports an Increase in ADA Shakedown Lawsuits
According to the New York Times there has been an increase in accessibility lawsuits against Main Street businesses in New York City.. These suits are brought by  lawyers, including some from out of state, who target businesses that are not in compliance with the ADA accessibility requirement and aggressively recruit plaintiff's with disabilities. The cases result in settlements in which the lawyers  accrue thousands in legal fees, a small payment for the plaintiff in the case, and a promise to fix the problem. To learn more about these shakedown operations, visit: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/new-york-times-covers-ada-shakedown-lawsuits/. To learn more about the simultaneously beneficial and negative implications of these lawsuits, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/nyregion/lawyers-find-obstacles-to-the-disabled-then-find-plaintiffs.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

New Jersey County Announces Office on Aging and Disability Resource Connection
The Salem County Office on Aging will be named the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC). Beth Timberman, chairwoman of the Department of Social Services stated that  "The ADRC is a program to connect seniors age 60 and older and people with physical disabilities 18 years of age and older with the services they need to continue living independently in the community for as long as possible." To learn more about this announcement, visit:  http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2012/04/salem_county_office_on_aging_i.html

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

The Cost of Disability Benefits for Veterans Soars
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs anticipates spending $57 billion on disability benefits for veterans next year. This amount is a twenty-five percent increase percent increase from this year and a four-fold increase from the amount spent in 2000. The increase in costs of VA benefits, since 2000, reflects the detriments of engaging in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about "633,000 veterans-one out of every four veterans of the 2.3 million that served in Iraq and Afghanistan-have a service connected disability." Read more about this concern at: http://www.wesh.com/r/30964782/detail.html

Poll Finds Most Companies Seek Disability Hires
A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations School Employment and Disability Institute indicates that despite the still high unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities, most companies are making steps to recruit people with disabilities.  The survey, which polled 662 human resources staff, at various companies, found that almost two-thirds included disability as part of their diversity plans and trained staff on interview protocol. Additionally, it was also learned that more hiring managers are reaching out to local groups that advocate for the employment of individuals with disabilities. To read more about the survey and its results, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/04/13/poll-companies-hires/15391/  

Study Finds Rise in Unemployment Rate for People with Disabilities
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is back on the rise according to a quarterly disability study conducted by Allsup. The study found that the unemployment rate had declined considerably at the end of 2011; however, the rate has increased significantly back to above 14 percent during the first quarter of 2012. This raises a concern when compared to the unemployment rates of the general population. To learn more about the study's findings, visit: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/income-risk-unemployment-rate-people-140000660.html

The Office for Civil Rights Settles Americans with Disabilities Act Allegations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has reached a voluntary resolution agreement with the Town of Simsbury, Connecticut. The agreement requires that "the town recreation department adopt a policy on diabetes management for children attending its summer camp program." OCR conducted an investigation after the father of an eight year child, filed a complaint claiming that the town's failure to provide reasonable modifications to its summer camp program was a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The modifications called for camp staff to administer blood glucose testing and diabetes-related care to his daughter. Read more here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hhs-settles-americans-disabilities-act-200300161.html

New Campaign Urges for "Visitability"
A campaign created by The Equal Rights Center, a national civil rights group, and the Washington D.C. Office of Human Rights, advocates for newly built single-family homes to comply with visitability standards. Visitability standards require that at least one entrance to a home is wheelchair accessible, that the doors are at least 32 inches wide and that a the first floor restroom is wheelchair accessible -thus making it possible for people with disabilities to visit the home. The campaign hopes to create awareness of the large number of single-family homes are not accessible to people with physical disabilities. Single-family homes are not federally mandated to abide by any accessibility standards. To learn more about the campaign and its goals, visit http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/04/18/campaign-greater-accessibility/15416/

 

Opportunities for You!

Applications for New Awards; Centers for Independent Living in New Jersey, Iowa, California, and American Samoa
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education released notice for funding opportunity to invite applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2012.
Dates: Applications available May 8, 2012 - Deadline transmittal June 7, 2012

For further information on the application process:

ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education

Email: edpubs@inet.ed.gov

Website: www.EDPubs.gov

Telephone: (877) 433-7827 (V); (877) 576-7734 (TTY, TDD)

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/08/2012-11081/applications-for-new-awards-centers-for-independent-living

Hotel ADA Training
Open Door Organization, ADA National Network and EIN SOF Communications are sponsoring the "Hotel ADA Training". This training is to provide information and guidance on the New ADA Title III regulations, which came into effect (excluding for existing pools and spas) on March 15, 2012. These new changes to Title III impact the lodging industry. The training is Tuesday, May 22, 2012 from 9am-4pm CST in Chicago, Illinois. To register, email: emma@opendoorsnfp.org or call (773) 388-8839.

National ADA Symposium
National ADA Symposium, sponsored by the ADA National Network, is designed to offer the most up-to-date information on ADA regulations and guidelines, implementation strategies, and best practices through lively, interactive sessions.
Date: May 30-June 1, 2012
Location: Indianapolis, IN 
To Register
Email: HamburgL@missouri.edu
Website: http://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1036929
Telephone: 573-882-3600

Accessible Air Travel: Flying Made Easier for Travelers Using Wheelchairs
The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) is offering a free educational webinar, titled "Accessible Air Travel: Flying Made Easier for Travelers Using Wheelchairs"
Date: Thursday, May 31, 2012.
Time: 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Location: Webinar (Fully Accessible Virtual Conference Room)
For further information contact: Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR); Email: info@flyfriendlyskies.com; Website: http://www.flyfriendlyskies.com

Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Careers after School
GLADNET invites you to register for the next webinar in its 2011-2012 Online Seminar Series, "Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Careers after School".
Date: Monday, June 11, 2012
Time: 8:00 - 9:30 AM EDT (GMT - 4:00)
Location: Webinar
To Register

If you are a current GLADNET member and wish to register, simply:

•·       Log onto the GLADNET website at http://www.gladnet.org/secure/m-login.cfm

•·       Enter your User Name and Password and click 'Submit.'

•·       Click on the registration link 'Click here to Register' for the relevant webinar and complete the registration form

Registration Open for 2012 National Transition Conference
The U.S. Department of Education is sponsoring the 2012 National Transition Conference. This year's theme is "College and Careers for Youth with Disabilities". The conference will offer a forum for the creation of an action agenda; unit critical partners in the transition community to exchange ideas and approaches; demonstrate knowledge gained from policy implementation; share transition practices and research findings; and encourage and facilitate the creation of networks and relationships.
Dates: May 30-June 1, 2012
Location: Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC
To Register: Website: http://www.transition2012.org/

 

Special Spotlight: Office of Disability Employment Policy

ODEP Updates Its Return-to-Work Toolkit
ODEP's web-based Return-to-Work Toolkit has been refreshed and updated with the latest tools and resources. The toolkit promises to educate both employers and employees about optimal return-to-work practices. To view the Return-to-Work Toolkit, visit: http://www.dol.gov/odep/return-to-work/

ODEP Signs Alliance with the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG)
Assistant Secretary Martinez and National Industry Liaison Group Chair Valerie J. Vickers signed an alliance agreement to encourage the hiring of persons with disabilities by the federal contractor community. ODEP will work with NILG to offer contractors information, direction and resources that will support NILG members to recruit, hire, retain and advance employees with disabilities.  To read the DOL Newsletter story, visit http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/2012/20120426.htm#odep. To read the news release: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20120811.htm. To visit the NILG Alliance web page: http://www.dol.gov/odep/alliances/nilg.htm

New 'Employers' Topic Page is Unveiled on ODEP's Website
The new 'Employers' topic page offers resources and tools for employers as they develop and implement disability employment policies and practices in their workplaces. To read the 'Employers' topic page, visit: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/Employers.htm

 

The contents of this News Bulletin were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.