Newsletter: February 28, 2011

Northeast ADA Center February 28, 2011 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region: 

New Jersey
Help Line for Parents of Children with Disabilities:
A new pilot program in New Jersey is attempting to make life a little easier for parents of children with disabilities by providing a 24-hour help line offering support, information and resources. The help line, known as Mom2Mom, is staffed by both mothers of children with disabilities and mental health professionals. Organizers say the help line is a needed support system for parents of children with special needs who face unique challenges and stress. Modeled after similar help lines for police officers and veterans, Mom2Mom is primarily targeting two New Jersey counties, but will accept calls from throughout the state. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/01/11/special-needs-help-line/11893/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=January+11%2C+2011%3A+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term

The 2010/2011 Metro New York Special Needs Resource Guide Now Available:
This comprehensive guide contains over 25 categories of help including vocational training, legal aid, advocacy, developmental disabilities, and financial assistance programs, in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, New York City, Westchester, Staten Island and Long Island.  The services are searchable by category and location and each agency listed has a brief description of their services, contact information, web sites and identifying markers showing the age of the population they serve, types of disabilities they handle and all locations they serve. To obtain the guide, call 516.521.1099 or contact Guide@LongIslandSNAP.com.


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

File Your Taxes for Free at One Stop Career Centers:
The Department of Labor's (DOL) One Stop Career Centers and a public-private partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a number of tax software companies have made free, online tax filing available to an estimated 70 percent of all taxpayers.  The Free File program allows an estimated 70 percent of all taxpayers to file their returns for free online and some of the software companies offer their software in both English and Spanish.  Computers at DOL's One Stop Career Centers are available for those who wish to file online. Read more about FreeFile and the One Stop Career Centers in Secretary Solis' blog post

EEOC Settles Disability Discrimination in Hiring Lawsuit with Hussey Copper:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found Hussey Copper in violation of the ADA after the company refused to hire a qualified candidate because of his record of a disability.  According to the EEOC, Hussey Copper offered the applicant a position but later rescinded the job offer because he had a disability.  Hussey has agreed to pay the applicant $85,000 and hire him, as well as revise their policies around disability employment practice. Read more at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-11-11.cfm

Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN) Launches New Website:
Employers nationwide now have an improved resource for assistance in recruiting, hiring, and retaining individuals with disabilities.  The National Employer Technical Assistance Center, funded by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to Cornell University, launched www.askearn.org as EARN's new official website which includes a guided search tool, quick reference guides, and a comprehensive list of useful resources to support employers in the hiring and employment of people with disabilities.  EARN offers employers free consultation for successful workplace integration of people with disabilities.  To learn more about EARN services, go to www.askearn.org or call toll-free 1-855-ASK-EARN (275-3276 V/TTY). 

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Now Available:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made new resources available to the media, consumer groups, states, health care providers, and others to increase awareness of the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a health plan created by the Affordable Care Act, for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. The plan was created to provide comprehensive health coverage, at the same price that otherwise healthy people pay, for uninsured Americans living with such conditions as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease who have been unable to obtain affordable health insurance coverage. HHS is also working with the Social Security Administration to organize a comprehensive outreach campaign about the program. Enrollment in the PCIP is ramping up steadily and has increased by 50 percent in the past three months to more than 12,000 Americans. Read more at: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/healthcare/

Delta Fined $2 Million for Violations in Serving Passengers with Disabilities:
Delta Airlines, the world's second-largest carrier, must pay a $750,000 fine and spend an additional $1.22 million on an automated wheelchair tracking system, customer service surveys and compliance audits for its treatment of passengers with disabilities.  During a review in 2007 and 2008, the Department of Transportation (DOT) found "a significant number" of violations of rules for serving passengers with disabilities. The DOT also said it found an "upward trend" in the number of complaints since Delta was fined $1.3 million in 2003 for its treatment towards individuals with disabilities. Read more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-delta-penalty-20110218,0,2463934.story

Los Angeles Judge Rules City Ill-Prepared to Meet Needs of People with Disabilities in Emergencies:
In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a federal judge found that Los Angeles is ill-prepared to meet the needs of residents with disabilities in the event of an emergency, as emergency plans do not properly account for individuals who may need accessible shelters, transportation, communication services or other assistance. Attorneys for the city argued that the American Red Cross and the individuals themselves are responsible for preparing for emergencies. The judge ruled however, that the city's plan does exclude residents simply because they have disabilities and that the plan is in violation of the ADA. Los Angeles officials were ordered to meet with the advocates who brought the suit within three weeks to discuss ways to improve the city's emergency plan.  Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/02/15/judge-la-emergency-ruling/12304/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February+15,+2011:+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term

ADA
2010 Regulations Technical Assistance Document Now Available:
The Department of Justice has issued revised regulations for Title II and Title III of the ADA. They have created a new technical assistance document, entitled, "ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Effective Date, Compliance Date" and it is available in HTML format and in PDF format

Federal Job Bias Claims Set New Record Due to Disability Surge:
Federal job bias complaints climbed to record levels last year, led by a surge in workers claiming discrimination based on disability.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says charges of disability discrimination rose by about 17 percent.  Overall, the agency received nearly 100,000 claims during the 2010 fiscal year- a seven percent increase and the highest number in its 45-year history.  The spike in disability claims began in the months after Congress approved the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The changes made it easier for people with treatable conditions such as epilepsy, cancer or mental illness to claim they have a disability.  The enforcement and litigation statistics, which include trend data, are available online at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm 

SSA Releases "What's New in 2011?" for Work Incentives Provisions:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released guidance regarding changes to the benefits rates and maximum earnings that apply to Work Incentives provisions. Each year, the SSA provides a user-friendly reference guide called the Red Book to assist professionals and programs in understanding work incentives for persons with disabilities and how to implement them. While the 2011 Red Book is not yet available, the "What's New in 2011?" guidance is available at: http://www.ssa.gov/redbook/newfor2011.htm.  The 2010 Red Book, including the Spanish language version, is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook.

 

Opportunities for You!

ADA National Network Audio-Conference Series:
Each month the National Network of ADA Centers, through the Great Lakes ADA Center, provides an audio-conference on a relevant disability-related issue. The next session is March 15th, "In's and Out's of Conducting a Self-Evaluation for Local Government".  To see the full list of audio-conferences and to register, go to: http://www.ada-audio.org/Schedule/   

Employment Teleconference & Webinar Series for Independent Living Centers:
The CIL-NET, a national training and technical assistance project that works to strengthen the independent living movement, presents a four-part teleconference and webinar series, "The Strategic Management Series: Sound Employment Practices for Centers for Independent Living" which will run every two weeks beginning March 2nd until April 13th from 3:00-4:30pm EST. The cost for the entire series is $150. Covered topics include effective hiring practices, supervision and evaluation, discipline and departure, and managing workplace risks. The presenter is Melanie Lockwood Herman, Executive Director, Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Register at: https://secure.xo.com/ncil.org/store/index.php   

Scholarship Competition for Students with Disabilities Ends March 4th
disABLEDperson, Inc.'s Spring 2011 nationally based scholarship competition for college students with disabilities will end March 4th. The award is $1,000 and applicants must be a U.S. citizen, a full time student enrolled in a two or four year college or university, and a registered member of disABLEDperson.com. To register and/or apply, go to www.disABLEDperson.com.  

 

Special Spotlight-  President Obama's Budget:

On February 14th, President Obama released his $3.73 trillion budget proposal request for fiscal year 2012, which begins this October. This proposal has the potential to impact programs that affect people with disabilities in both positive and negative ways. Special education received a boost- $200 million in extra funds for state grants for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, and added $50 million to help young children with disabilities.  Certain programs, such as Social Security and funding for autism research were left largely untouched. Unfortunately other programs for Americans with disabilities may not fare as well, including funding to ensure voter access and for building accessible housing, both of which were either eliminated or reduced.  Read more about the proposed budget at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/02/14/obama-budget-2012/12282/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February+15,+2011:+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term=.  Also available is a 2012 Federal Budget Disability Fact sheet:  http://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USEOPWHPO/2011/02/15/file_attachments/16878/2012_Disability_Fact_Sheet.pdf

 

 See you in a few weeks!