Newsletter: April 18, 2013

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - Centro de la NEADA - April 18, 13

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar Series includes Accessibility Webinars from United Spinal

The Northeast ADA Center is offering several webinars this year and we have just added three webinars regarding ADA accessibility updates that United Spinal Association will be partnering with us to provide. The topics include updates on: swimming pools, wading pools, and spas, to be offered May 3rd; play areas, which will be June 7th; and hotels and resorts, on June 20th. To learn more about all of our upcoming webinar events and to register for any, visit: www.northeastada.org

What's New in Our Region:

Pilot Program Offers People with Disabilities Alternatives to Access-A-Ride 

The city of New York is piloting a program that would give individuals with disabilities the option of taking taxis as opposed to using public transportation or its Access-A-Ride service. The program will provide qualified individuals with disabilities subsidized rates on taxis. Additionally, implementation of the pilot will be in Astoria, Queens and in Canarsie, Brooklyn. To read more, visit: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/pilot-program-offers-disabled-alternatives-access-a-ride-article-1.1302867?localLinksEnabled=false

Federal Judge Rules New Yorkers with Disabilities Can Challenge Taxi of Tomorrow in Lawsuit Seeking Accessible Taxis

A federal judge has ruled that a class action suit brought against New York City (NYC) by the nonprofit Disability Rights Advocates can be amended to include challenges to the legality of NYC's "Taxi of Tomorrow." The city selected the Nissan NV200 van as the taxi to use in NYC for the decade; however, the van is not accessible. This would mean that for the next decade, new taxis would continue to be inaccessible to wheelchair users. The amended lawsuit contends that the selection of a non-accessible cab as the city's exclusive vehicle is a violation of Title III of the ADA. To read more, visit: http://www.dralegal.org/pressroom/press-releases/federal-judge-rules-new-yorkers-with-disabilities-can-challenge-taxi-of  

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Veterans Fight Changes to Disability Payments

Advocates for veterans with disabilities such as the American Legion, are organizing a campaign against potential changes to the federal government's payments of disability benefits to veterans with disabilities. The potential change that concerns veterans' groups would be in how the government adjusts benefits for inflation over time. President Obama has supported a new system, which would slow the rate at which social security benefits would grow. It is feared that this new system would also be applied to other disability type benefits (i.e. those provided to veterans with disabilities). The new method for adjusting benefits would largely be a cost saving measure, aimed at reducing the federal deficit.  To read more, visit: http://www.njherald.com/story/21833403/veterans-fight-changes-to-disability-payments

DOJ Ratchets Up ADA Enforcement for Health Care Providers

The "Barrier Free Health Care Initiative" is a recent initiative of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that involves using U.S. Attorneys' Offices to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not denied health care. One focus area of the initiative will be in the realm of physical limitations. In doing so, the DOJ is making sure that individuals are not denied treatment because of their disabilities, such as deafness or blindness. To read more about the DOJ's initiatives, visit: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=888a7e70-6051-4d6a-8500-ade97dc21649

Workers with a Disability are Less Likely to be Employed, More Likely to Hold Jobs with Lower Earnings, Census Bureau Reports

The US Census Bureau has released imperative data pertaining to individuals with disabilities in the workforce. The Census Bureau's findings break down statistics based on specific occupations and also reports a wage gap illustrating that employees with disabilities earn about 75% of what employees without disabilities earn. To read more on about the Census Bureau's report, visit: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/cb13-47.html

Governors Promote Employment for People with Disabilities

The National Governors Association (NGA) is making an effort to help more individuals with disabilities obtain employment. The NGA's objective is to develop plans that provide monetary benefits to individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the association tries to create a deeper sense of purpose and belonging by their work. The NGA's efforts are not only beneficial to individuals with disabilities, but also to businesses, and society as a whole. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/03/11/governors-promote-employment/17467/

Senator Introduces Bills to Improve Movie Theater Accessibility for Patrons with Sensory Disabilities 

Two bills that were recently introduced in Congress by Senator Tom Harkin would seek to broaden access for individuals with disabilities to movies. One of the proposed bills would amend the ADA to require that movie theaters offer closed captioning and audio descriptions to assist individuals with sensory disabilities such as visual impairments.  The other would mandate that captions and narration be offered for films screened in flights. To read more, visit: http://www.care2.com/causes/soon-everyone-may-be-able-to-go-to-the-movies-regardless-of-disabilities.html

Study Suggests Doctors Turn Away Patients with Disabilities

According to a study published in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, individuals with disabilities still face barriers when it comes to accessing health care with medical providers. To conduct the study, researchers called 256 randomly selected medical practices in four cities including Dallas and Boston. The call was to set up an appointment for a nonexistent individual in a wheelchair who also needed assistance being placed on an examination table. The study found that 22% of the medical practices indicated that they could not accommodate the patient. The study also found that certain types of doctors were more likely to accommodate the individual than others; in the study, only 4% of psychiatrists were inaccessible, compared to 44% gynecologists who stated that they were inaccessible.  To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/03/19/doctors-turning-away/17518/

Opportunities for You!

Accessible Information and Communication Technology Webinar April 25th

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) recently published, "Business Strategies that Work: A Framework for Disability Inclusion" which focuses on action areas regarding recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing qualified individuals with. This webinar, to be presented April 25th  from 2:00-3:00pm ET by AT&T, USBLN, and EARN, will focus on an action area that is central to the operation of 21st century business - information and communication technology (ICT). Participants will learn about the business case for ensuring that technology used by the business is accessible to the largest possible number of applicants, employees, and customers, adopting accessible online application systems, conducting training for in-house staff, and deploying accessible ICT throughout the company. To register, visit: http://www.askearn.org/webinar_registration.cfm

WebAIM Webinar on Web Site Accessibility for Employers April 26th

This webinar, provided by WebAIM and the Northeast ADA Center on April 26th from 2:00-2:45pm ET, will review the basics of web accessibility, including an overview of the laws and guidelines relevant to the topic as well as some of the tools used to evaluate website accessibility. Discussions around recent court decisions such as the case involving Netflix will take place. The final area discussed will be the business case for web accessibility; for example, relation to application systems for job applicants and benefits systems for employers covered under the ADA. To register, visit: http://northeastada.org/register/webinar-registration-2013.cfm

Special Spotlight: Online Shopping and People with Disabilities

As the internet becomes an increasingly important part of everyday life, more and more individuals are doing their shopping online. However, some individuals with disabilities still do not have full access to the Internet because some online retail sites are still inaccessible to them. Disability advocacy groups such as the National Federation for the Blind are increasing their efforts to target online retailers and websites, in an effort to make their websites more accessible. Recent legal victories have also reinforced the idea that websites are places of public accommodation under the ADA. The following links provide more information on recent developments regarding website accessibility.

People with Disabilities Sue Over Web Shopping

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324373204578374483679498140.html

Are shopping websites covered by disability law? The answer could be 'yes' in new DOJ regulations

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/are_shopping_websites_covered_by_disability_law_the_answer_could_be_yes_in_/

DOJ May Apply ADA Accessibility Guidelines to Websites

http://www.eweek.com/enterprise-apps/doj-may-apply-ada-accessibility-guidelines-to-websites/

Web Accessibility Still an Anomaly

http://blog.hisoftware.com/2013/compliance/web-accessibility-still-an-anomaly