Newsletter: November 18, 2009

Northeast ADA November 18, 2009 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

New Jersey (NJ) Bridge Project Violates ADA:
The new Route 36 Highlands Bridge project in NJ has not been including curb cuts as required by state and federal laws including the ADA. Unfortunately adding them now to correct this huge oversight could end up costing tax payers more money than if the curb cuts had been correctly included in the first place. To read the full article, go to: http://www.bayshorenews.com/publication/show/1224

New York (NY) Offers Supported Housing to Persons with Mental Illness:
NY Governor Patterson has announced that a plan that would offer Supported Housing to individuals with mental illness who currently reside in certain adult homes in NY. If implemented, this plan would not require these individuals to move into Supported Housing if they don't want to. Also, it will only put people in Supported Housing who are clinically appropriate for the program. Supported Housing units, funded by the Office of Mental Health, are apartments for people with mental illness who are able to prepare meals, clean, budget, and manage medication with minimal assistance. For more information, go to: http://thegovmonitor.com/world_news/united_states/new-york-offers-supported-housing-to-persons-with-mental-illness-14381.html

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

New Report Discusses Correlation between Poverty and Disability:
A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, "Half in Ten", http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/poverty-disability-2009-09.pdf  states that almost 50 percent of working-age adults experiencing poverty for at least a year have one or more disabilities, accounting for a larger share of those in poverty than in all other minority, racial, and ethnic groups combined. The report outlines several steps, including universal health care, which can be taken to ensure that disability does not automatically lead to poverty. For more, go to: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/press-releases/press-releases/disabilities-ignored-poverty/

EEOC Settles with Company Regarding Applicant Disability Discrimination:
A large skin care products company will pay $30,000 to settle a disability discrimination suit brought by the EEOC who charged that the company violated the ADA when it refused to hire a job applicant due to her disability. The company must also comply with prohibitions against further discrimination, post and distribute a non-discrimination policy, train its employees, and report to the EEOC. For more, go to: http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/38531/

Decision Against American Airlines (AA) for Employee Discrimination Upheld:
An Appeals Court held that an AA employee was fired for a perceived mental disability. The employee was awarded $1.24 million for pain and suffering.  To read more, go to: http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/11/appeals-court-upholds-124-mill.html.

Disability Coalition Applauds House for Passing Health Care Reform Bill:
On November 7th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed health care legislation that will expand coverage for people with disabilities. Key points of the legislation include expanding coverage to the uninsured and making it illegal for insurance to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. The bill must now be considered by the Senate, hopefully before the end of 2009.  Here are two articles about this: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/11/disability-coalition-applauds-health-care-legislation-that-expands-coverage-for-people-with-disabili.html and http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2009/11/09/health-care-reform/6077/

New Web-based Initiative to Address Disability Employment Barriers:
The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy has launched "ePolicyWorks", (www.epolicyworks.org) a web-based policy-making initiative to address disability employment barriers.  It is a collaborative, information-sharing initiative, facilitating real-time communication, among national policymakers designed to address specific barriers to employment for people with disabilities. For the press release, go to: http://www.dol.gov/odep/media/press/wbc.htm.

The Elderly and People with Disabilities Still Confront Voting Access Problems:
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) voter accessibility report based on a national survey from Election Day 2008 was just released showing that there are still barriers to allowing the elderly and voters with disabilities to vote comfortably. 46% of polling places surveyed had voting systems that were technically accessible yet still posed problems for people who use wheelchairs. For the article and GAO report, go to: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/10/voters-with-disabilities-still-confront-access-problems.html

U.S. Cities Declare Disability.gov Day in October:
Assistant Secretary Martinez asked mayors of cities recognized for accessibility and contributions to the disability community, to declare a Disability.gov Day during National Disability Employment Awareness Month:   http://www.disability.gov/home/press_room/2009_disability.gov_day_proclamations

Disability Unemployment Continued to Rise in October:  
In October, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 16.5 percent, compared with 9.2 percent of those without. For more statistics, go to: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsdisability.htm

Human Resources Article Addresses Helping Hard-of-Hearing Employees:
A Human Resource Executive Online article details simple and inexpensive accommodations for employees who are hard-of-hearing and discusses how these accommodations can enhance the employee's ability to contribute to the company: http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=274558521

Survey Shows Wide Acceptance for Capabilities of People with Disabilities:
A national Greenfield Online® survey polled 1,000 adult Americans about their attitudes on the capabilities of people who have visual or other disabilities to create quality products and services. Results showed that more than 9 out of 10 believe the government should support employment opportunities for these individuals. Read more at: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS155510+23-Oct-2009+PRN20091023

Self-Advocate Speaks on Technology Access and Barriers:
The former Vice President of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) spoke on employment and outreach issues at an October Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Workshop. The workshop focused on broadband access for people with disabilities and gathering more information for development of the National Broadband Plan due to Congress in February. More details at: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/10/selfadvocate-speaks-on-technology-access-and-barriers.html

Latest Disability Rights Online from Department of Justice (DOJ):
For the November issue of the DOJ's Disability Rights Online News, a bi-monthly update about the Civil Rights Division's disability rights enforcement activities, go to: http://www.ada.gov/disabilitynews.htm

 

Opportunities for You!

Access Board and National DBTAC Network Partner to Conduct Webinars:   The U.S. Access Board and the national network of DBTAC ADA Centers will conduct a series of webinars and audio conferences over the next year on different topics of accessibility pertaining to the built environment, information technology, and transportation. Sessions will be held each month and the first will be December 3rd from 2:30-4:00pm EST on the final guidelines for outdoor developed areas. For more schedule and registration information, go to: http://access-board.gov/news/webinars.htm

Disability & Rehabilitation Research Program Funding Available!
The U.S. Education Department (DOE) has announced it expects to award a maximum of 10 discretionary grant opportunities to support a research program aimed at improving services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their full inclusion and integration into society. This opportunity is open to state, county, city, township or special district governments; Native American tribal governments and organizations; independent school districts; higher education institutions; non- and for-profits; housing authorities; and public or private agencies. The funding opportunity number is ED-GRANTS-102909-001 (CFDA 84.133) and the application deadline is January 6, 2010.

 

Special Spotlight: Veterans with Disabilities!

November 11th was Veterans' Day which always provides us an opportunity to both remember the contributions and sacrifices of these women and men, and highlight the positive impact they make on the national and local community that they have returned home to. More and more large and small businesses are realizing that hiring returning vets is not just a good thing to do, it also makes good sense.  The following articles and resources reflect initiatives throughout the country that not only celebrate and respect our veterans, but also work toward reintegrating them back into their rightful place in our workforce:

Department of Labor's annual Salute to VETS:  http://www.dol.gov/odep/

President Obama Launches Major Veterans Employment Initiative:

-http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-launches-major-veterans-employment-initiative   

-http://www.fedshirevets.gov/

-http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123177131

-http://blog.taragana.com/n/obama-signs-executive-order-that-aims-to-transform-govt-into-model-employer-of-us-veterans-223891/

Social Security's website specifically for wounded veterans which includes information and fact sheets about disability benefits and expediting disability applications for wounded warriors: www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors

Social Security's "Military Service and Social Security" publication: www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html

America's Heroes at Work: the DOL's project addressing the employment challenges of veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/

National Resource Directory: online tool for wounded Service Members, Veterans, their families, and those who support them: http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/nrd/public/DisplayPage.do?parentFolderId=6006

Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) for Service Members: http://www.tricare.mil/cap/wsm/

The World Institute on Disability's EQUITY November Newsletter: Our nation's veterans with disabilities: building assets, starting small businesses, becoming economically self-sufficient: http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=8691d817361852883eedcbfbb&id=c9407f2a4c&e=ddae477bb8

 

See you in a few weeks!!!