Newsletter: March 25, 2013

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - March 25, 2013

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

NEADA Center Launches Veterans with Disabilities Online Toolkits!

The Northeast ADA Center has added additional "Making Work Happen" online toolkits aimed at improving the employment experience for veterans with disabilities. These three toolkits (one for employers, one for disability service providers and one for veterans themselves) provide strategies and practices for the full inclusion of veterans with disabilities in employment.  To learn more and to utilize these toolkits, visit:  http://www.makingworkhappen.org/Veterans.cfm

What is New in Our Region:

6th Annual Autism Conference in Virgin Islands in April

The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) will host the Virgin Islands' 6th Annual Autism Conference.  The keynote speaker will be Dr. Georgina Peacock, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This conference is scheduled for April 17th in St. Thomas, and April, 18th in St. Croix. To register for the conference, visit: http://autism.viucedd.org/.

Opposition to Cuomo's Plan to cut $120 Million for the People with Disabilities

A coalition of New York State lawmakers has emerged in opposition to Governor Cuomo's proposed plan to cut $120 million in state funding for non-profits that serve individuals with developmental disabilities. Lawmakers opposing the budget cuts say that the cuts would have too great of an impact on services for individuals with disabilities. This can potentially lead to the closure of institutions that provide services to individuals. The proposed cuts came in response to a change in the way the federal government intends to reimburse New York State for services provided to individuals with disabilities, which led to a $500 million deficit in the state's budget. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/nyregion/cuomos-plan-to-cut-funding-for-disabled-becomes-a-flash-point-in-budget-talks.html

New York State Seeking Comments on Resignation of Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance Programs

Governor Cuomo has recently proposed to re-designate the not-for-profit Disability Advocates, Inc. as the service provider for the Protection and Advocacy System (P & A) as well as the Client Assistance Program (CAP). The CAP and P & A are both mandated under federal laws and are intended to serve the needs of New York residents with disabilities, for example by providing advocacy services or assisting in applying for vocational rehabilitation services. The re-designation will remove those programs from the prevue of the state agency the Commission on Quality of Case and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. The State believes that the re-designation it will lead to enhanced services for New York residents with disabilities as well as eliminate potential conflicts of interest.  The State is seeking comments about the re-designation until April 5th and will hold a public meeting on the issue on April 9th at 1 pm in Albany, NY.  For more information, visit: http://cqc.ny.gov/uploads/PressReleases/Notice%20of%20Intent%20to%20Redesignate%20.pdf

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Settles Disability Lawsuit

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have reached a settlement regarding complaints that the school unlawfully discriminated against two applicants with disabilities. The two students applied and were admitted to the school; however, their admission was revoked once the school discovered that the applicants had Hepatitis B. The DOJ determined that there was no basis for revoking admission given that the students would not have to perform invasive surgical procedures and the fact that the school's actions violated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidance on the issue. The settlement requires the school to adopt a policy based on the CDC's Hepatitis B recommendations and to permit the applicants to enroll in the school, among other remedies. To read more, visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/March/13-crt-271.html

Trial on New York City's (NYC) Defective Disaster Plans Begins

Trial has begun on the nonprofit organization Disability Rights Advocates lawsuit against NYC regarding the city's large scale disaster plans. The organization, which is the lead counsel in the case, says that the city's disaster plans inadequately addressed the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities. The lead plaintiffs in the class action suit include independent living centers and two New York state residents with disabilities. The ultimate aim of the lawsuit is to get the city to actively plan for the unique needs of the residents with disabilities as part of future emergency planning. To read more, visit: http://www.dralegal.org/pressroom/press-releases/trial-on-nycs-defective-large-scale-disaster-plans-will-show-unnecessary

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Hiring Requirements Eased for Individuals with Disabilities

The federal government has announced changes to its hiring process for individuals with intellectual, psychiatric, and severe physical disabilities, who are applying through the Schedule A hiring process.  The new rules announced by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management mean that individuals with disabilities will no longer have to prove their "job readiness," when applying for federal government jobs. Prior to these rule changes, applicants with disabilities had to provide letters from third parties, such as medical or rehabilitation professionals, stating their ability to perform the jobs for which they were applying. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/02/25/hiring-requirements-eased/17363/ 

EEOC Soliciting Comments Regarding Their Proposed Revision of the "Demographic Information on Applicants for Federal Employment" Form

The EEOC is seeking comments from the public on a proposed change to the form used to collect demographic information on applicants during the federal hiring process. The proposed change to the form would include disability as part of the demographic information collected, theoretically allowing federal agencies to better measure their progress towards meeting President Obama's executive order to increase the number of people with disabilities employed by the federal government. To read more, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/15/2013-03528/agency-information-collection-activities

HUD and HHS Partner to Provide Permanent Housing and Services to Low-Income People with Disabilities
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Health and Human Services have announced a new partnership which aims to prevent homelessness and institutionalization among individuals with disabilities. The partnership will provide approximately $98 million to 13 housing agencies throughout different states. The agencies will use the funds to provide rental assistance to low income individuals with disabilities. The list of states to receive funding will include states like Pennsylvania and Maryland.  The new funding will assist states in meeting their community integration mandates as spelled out in the Supreme Court decision in the Olmstead v. L.C. To read more, visit: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2013/HUDNo.13-024

Sandy Survivors with Home Accessibility Needs Should Contact FEMA
Individuals with disabilities impacted by Hurricane Sandy should know that if they have home accessibility needs because of the Hurricane, FEMA may be able to provide them with assistance.  For example, if Hurricane Sandy caused the elevators in a building to stop working, then FEMA may be able to provide individuals with temporary rental housing assistance. FEMA specialists are available to assist people with disabilities and others in determining what types of assistance they are eligible to receive. To read more, visit: http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/02/15/sandy-survivors-home-accessibility-needs-should-contact-fema

National Business & Disability Council Teams Up with the Job Accommodation Network
The National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) have signed an agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to support job seekers with disabilities as well as to assist employers in hiring people with disabilities. The two organizations have collaborated on various initiatives in the past, so their new agreement will build on those past collaborations. A potential outcome of the renewed partnership may include expanded corporate education campaigns focused on getting employers to increase their hiring of people with disabilities. To read more, visit: http://www.nbdc.com/whatsnew.aspx

Etiquette for Communicating with People with Disabilities
United Cerebral Palsy has released a list surrounding the topic of appropriate etiquette for interacting with individuals with disabilities. The list includes tips for interacting with individuals with mobility, sensory, and other disabilities. The organization promotes using the list as a starting point for appropriate etiquette but also stresses the importance of asking individuals with disabilities about what they feel is appropriate. To read more, visit: http://www.ucp.org/resources/disability-etiquette

Accommodating Pregnancy in the Workplace

According to the National Women's Law Center, although pregnancy itself is not directly covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, women who are pregnant may still have protections under the ADA. For example, impairments resulting from pregnancy can be covered under the ADA as long as they substantially limit a major life activity. The group also states that women are entitled to workplace protections for impairments related to pregnancy under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. To learn more, visit: http://askjan.org/ENews/2013/Enews-V11-I1.htm#2

Workers with Disabilities Add Business Benefits

Cornell University in conjunction with the Conference Board has released a report titled, "Leveling the Playing Field: Attracting, Engaging, and Advancing People with Disabilities." The report explored how employers are building competitive advantages by adopting workplace practices and policies that engage people with disabilities including veterans with disabilities. The report also lays out business practices that employers can utilize to assist in preparing to hire and retain individuals with disabilities.  To read more, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/news/ConfBoardResearch_020813.html

Opportunities for You!

ADA and Lodging Webinar Series: Customizing Customer Service

This webinar is the first in a four-webinar series providing details and guidance on the implications of the ADA for hotel properties, as well as tips on how hotels can be successful in targeting customers with disabilities. The focus of this webinar will be on customer service and will provide recommendations on making dining services and other hotel amenities more welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities. This webinar will be April 14th from 2:00 - 3:30pm ET. To register, visit: http://adainfo.org/content/ADA-Lodging-Webinar-Series

Special Spotlight: Federal Sequestration and Individuals with Disabilities

Federal sequestration, which is a series of mandatory federal spending cuts, officially went into effect on March 1st. The spending cuts will affect virtually all areas and activities carried out by the Transportation Security Administration to the Department of Labor. Federal sequestration will also affect federal programs, such as those targeted towards individuals with disabilities; for example, special education funding and housing assistance for individuals with disabilities. The following links provide more background on the sequestration and its potential impacts on individuals with disabilities.

What Will Sequestration Mean for People with Disabilities?

http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/022813    

Impact of Sequestration

http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/news/RayCebula_050613.html

Sequester Threatens To Push Government Workers with Disabilities Onto Government Assistance:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/27/sequester-government-workers_n_2776708.html

Sequester To Slam Poor And Special Needs Students:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/02/27/sequester-to-slam-poor-and-special-needs-students/

Sequester will hurt people with disabilities

http://www.pantagraph.com/news/opinion/mailbag/sequester-will-hurt-people-with-disabilities/article_7c2cc1d8-85e4-11e2-8f50-001a4bcf887a.html

Sequestration and its Effects on Special Populations

http://www.ucp.org/resources/ask-ucp/2013/02/27/sequestration-and-its-effects-on-special-populations

Sequester Impact on People with Disabilities

http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/newsletters/wash_insider_Feb_2013.html#2