Newsletter: January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011 Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Study Shows Employers Need More Help to Hire Vets with Disabilities:
The Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University's ILR School, in collaboration the National Network of ADA Centers and the National Society for Human Resource Management, recently conducted a study to assess employers' readiness to recruit, hire, accommodate and sustain employment for veterans with disabilities. Preliminary findings indicate that, though employers were somewhat committed to the idea of hiring vets with disabilities, they were largely unaware of, nor had actually used, resources that would enable them to recruit and accommodate these individuals.  To read more, go to: http://classic.cnbc.com/id/41074220

Benefits Cut for Some Elderly and Persons with Disabilities in New Jersey (NJ):
NJ has cut Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 5,000 low-income families starting this January. This mainly affects "category C" beneficiaries- families with one person eligible for SSI and the spouse is not- cutting monthly benefits from $1036.36 to $827. There may be legitimate grounds for appeal and those who have the desire should follow standard appeal procedures. Read more at:  http://www.lsnjlaw.org/english/governmentaid/ssi/benefitscut/index.cfm

DOJ Settles Disability Discrimination Suit with National Network of Schools:
The Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with Nobel Learning Communities, Inc. (NLC), a private, for-profit entity that operates a national network of more than 180 preschools, elementary schools, and secondary schools, including in New York and New Jersey. The lawsuit alleged that NLC violated Title III of the ADA by excluding children with disabilities from its programs. Read the full agreement at: http://www.ada.gov/nobel_learning.htm.  Read the article at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/01/18/private-school-stop-excluding/11948/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=January+18,+2011:+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term=

Medicaid Lawsuit Filed Against New York City (NYC):
Federal prosecutors have brought a civil fraud lawsuit against the government of NYC in regards to its improper authorization of 24-hour care for thousands of patients, having Medicaid pay tens of millions of dollars without recommendations from doctors, nurses, or social workers. However NYC's Human Resource Administration, which manages Medicaid in the city, said that if NYC truly had not followed proper procedures then Medicaid officials would have noticed. Meanwhile, disability lawyers are concerned that this lawsuit will result in a bigger push to place more people in institutions. Read more about this lawsuit at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/nyregion/13medicaid.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

EEOC Approves ADAAA Regulations:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved a final set of regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) at the end of December 2010. The EEOC's five commissioners voted privately and unanimously to approve the long-awaited regulations. The regulations have been released to the Office of Management and Budget for review. Once OMB approves the regulations, they will be published and made public. Read more at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/r-news-view.cfm?NewsID=55

Assistant Secretary Martinez Reflects on Successes of 2010:
In a recent article at Diversitybusiness.com, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez reflects on the many challenges and achievements employers experienced in 2010. In the article she comments on how understanding the value diversity adds to an organization can help enhance a business's success. To read the article in its entirety, go to:  http://www.diversitybusiness.com/news/diversity.magazine/99200856.asp 

Jobs Rise in December but Employment Does Not for People with Disabilities:
The economy added 103,000 jobs in December but that did not change the employment situation for individuals with disabilities much, according to the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate among Americans with disabilities was 14.3 percent in December, decreasing only slightly from November's 14.5 percent, while unemployment among the general population dropped to 9.4 percent, an all time low for 2010. Read more at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/

Mesaba Aviation Fined $125,000 for Failing to Accommodate Passengers:
The Department of Transportation has fined Mesaba Aviation Inc. $125,000 for its failure to provide wheelchair accommodations for passengers with disabilities when boarding and departing. Most complaints originated from passengers flying Northwest and Delta. Read more at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-07/feds-fine-mesaba-125k-over-disabilities-rules.html 

Bazelon Center Statement on Mental Illness and the Arizona Shooting:
On January 10th, two days after the horrific shooting that took place in Arizona, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law issued this statement about mental illness and violence: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/01/bazelon-center-statement-on-mental-illness-and-the-arizona-shooting.html 

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment VetSuccess Program:
The Department of Veteran Affairs, through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, has created the VetSuccess program to help veterans improve their ability to live independently. Benefits include, among others, comprehensive rehabilitation, employment services, post-secondary training, and independent living services. To learn more about benefits and who is eligible, go to: http://blog.usnavyseals.com/2011/01/vocational-rehabilitation-and-employment-vetsuccess-program.html 

Comments Sought on Proposed Rules for Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution:
The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 requires that the FCC establish a National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program to make telecommunications service, Internet service, and advanced communications accessible by low income individuals who are deaf-blind. On January 14th, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement this deaf-blind equipment distribution program.  The public is encouraged to give their comments by February 4th and reply comments by February 14th. This NPRM asks questions on a variety of issues including how the Commission should set up such a program, consumer eligibility, and covered equipment and related services: http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0114/FCC-11-3A1.doc

 

Opportunities for You! 

Policy Forum on the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA):
The Cornell University Employment & Disability Institute in conjunction with the American Association of People with Disabilities is sponsoring a policy forum on GINA February 1st from 10:00am-12:00pm in Washington, D.C. Participants can attend in-person or online via webinar. Speakers will be from the EEOC, Society of Human Resource Management and Johns Hopkins University. To register, go to: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/policyforum.cfm

Grant Opportunity: Fire Safety for People with Certain Sensory Impairments:
The Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) has a new program, "Fire Prevention and Safety for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf/Blind" to help organizations apply to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Fire Prevention and Safety Grant program. CEPIN would like more organizations to learn about accessible smoke detector distribution programs with fire safety guidance specifically for individuals with these particular disabilities. For more information on this grant, visit the CEPIN website by February 4th: http://www.cepintdi.org/firegrant2010

National Scholarship Competition for College Students with Disabilities:
disABLEDperson, Inc. has announced its Spring 2011 nationally based scholarship competition for college students with disabilities which runs from January 3rd to March 4th. The award is $1,000 and applicants must be a U.S. citizen and a full time student enrolled in a 2 or 4 year college or university. You also must be a registered member of disABLEDperson.com to participate. To register, go to www.disABLEDperson.com and click on the "sign up now" link. Once you sign up and log in, you will see a link to the scholarship. Applicants will need to write an essay to participate. More details are available at the above website.  

 

Special Spotlight-  Independent Living Gets Federal Support!

As part of President Obama's "Year of Community Living" initiative, the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services have announced a joint partnership to help nearly 1,000 non-elderly Americans with disabilities leave nursing homes or other healthcare facilities by offering them a combination of rental assistance, health care, and other supportive services to help them live independently. New York and New Jersey are among the 15 states that will get a piece of the $7.5 million worth of housing assistance vouchers that will be distributed by public housing authorities. Read more below:

Medical News Today article (January 10, 2011): http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/213202.php

Disability Scoop article (January 7, 2011): http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/01/07/independent-living-boost/11861/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=January+7,+2011:+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term

 

 See you in a few weeks!