Newsletter: October 27, 2011

Northeast ADA Center October 27, 2011 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Documentary on Innovative Approaches to Unemployment Airs October 30th:
"What Works", a television documentary produced by the Cornell University ILR School's Employment and Disability Institute, will air this Sunday October 30th on PBS. It shows how collaboration between schools, businesses, and students with disabilities can pay off with real jobs for young people. The 30-minute program features teens from three regions of New York State as they prepare to transition out of high school.  Read more about the study this documentary is based on at:   

NYC Mayor Must Make Taxis 100% Wheelchair-Accessible:
The Department of Justice has concluded that the lack of wheelchair-accessible taxis in New York City (NYC) violates the ADA. It was found that currently only 1.7% of the city's taxis are wheelchair accessible. NYC Mayor Bloomberg has been called upon to incorporate wheelchair-accessibility into the taxis.  Read more at: Read the NYS Governor's statement at:

Former Director Jailed After Stealing Medicaid Money from Service Provider:
In New York State (NYS), Joseph Akumu, former executive director of Guest House Community Services, Inc., a service provider to people with developmental disabilities, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for stealing over $300,000 in federal Medicaid funds. Akumu, who was arrested last August following an investigation by the NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, has pled guilty to the charges of theft and must serve his sentence and repay the stolen money. Read more at:

2011 Global Veterans' Career Expo November 7th in New York City (NYC):
The NYC Business Leadership Network is partnering with Hire Disability Solutions to host another Global Veterans' Career Expo on November 7th from 9:00am-3:00pm in NYC aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The expo is designed for any company, including those outside of NYC, who is seeking to hire qualified Veterans. For more information go to:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Social Security Announces 3.6 Percent Benefit Increase for 2012:
The Social Security Administration announced today that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent. This cost-of-living-adjustment will begin in January 2012, and increased payments to beneficiaries will begin this December. The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase too. Learn more at:

Unemployment Rises but SSD Applications Drop Among People with Disabilities: \A study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare selection services, reported that in the third quarter of 2011, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has reached its highest since tracking began in 2008, while SSDI applications have decreased. Read more at:  

Comments on New Accessibility Requirements for Airports due November 28th:
On September 29th, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed to amend its rules on implementation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The proposed amendments concern accessibility requirements such as service animal relief areas and captioning of audio-visual displays. These apply to airport facilities located in the U.S. with 10,000 or more annual enplanements that receive federal funding. Comments to DOT are due November 28th.  Learn more and access the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at:

Obama Demands High Bar for Students with Disabilities:
A new plan under the Obama administration will allow states to apply for waivers that exempt them from some requirements of No Child Left Behind. These waivers will be offered as long as the schools implement standards to ensure that all students, including students with disabilities, are "college and career ready." Find out more at:  

New State-Specific Medicaid Benefits Website Offers Guidance:
A new website, "Medicaid Reference Desk", was launched in early October to provide state-specific information on Medicaid benefits for people with developmental disabilities. The website helps individuals navigate Medicaid benefits and eligibility requirements which vary by location. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this site will also feature a glossary of terms and answers to frequently asked questions. Learn more at:

Latest News from U.S. Access Board:
The September/October edition of the Access Board's electronic newsletter, "Access Currents" is now available and features information on the proposed rights-of-way guidelines, new rules addressing access to rail stations and air travel, and upcoming Access Board webinars. Read all the news at:

Twenty-First Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010:
On October 7th, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order adopting final rules for implementing a major part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.  Read more at:

New Director at the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research:
The National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) welcomed Dr. Charlie Lakin as its new director in August. Dr. Lakin has 40 years of experience in services for people with disabilities and will also chair the Interagency Committee on Disability Research. NIDRR, which is part of the Department of Education, conducts research toward inclusion, integration, employment and independent living of people with disabilities. Find out more at:

Opportunities for You!

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Webcast Series Begins November 8th:
The 2011/2012 JAN webcast series will focus on veteran issues, Autism, self-employment strategies, and the latest on best practices in accommodations and employment provisions of the ADA. All webcasts are free of charge and held once a month from 2:00-3:00pm EST. For the complete list of webcast topics, and to register, go to:

Applications for American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) Scholarships due November 15th:
Eligible applicants must be enrolled full time in an undergraduate school or part time in a graduate school, have a documented disability, and be a U.S. citizen. Preference will be given to students majoring in public health, disability studies, health promotion, or a related field. Applications are due November 15th. For more details on the scholarship and application requirements and process, go to:


Special Spotlight-  National Disability Employment Awareness Month:

As National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) comes to a close, we at the Northeast ADA Center hope everyone will consider how this year's NDEAM theme, "Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities", can be experienced and lived all year long. Learn more about NDEAM at: Read below to learn more about local, state/territory, and national efforts to celebrate NDEAM!

NDEAM Video Message from the Office of Disability Employment Policy Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez:

People with disabilities are the most underemployed people in the United States. Read about their civil rights movement, workforce figures and more:

Brief training session from the Disability Program Navigator Initiative explains benefits of recruiting and hiring people with disabilities:

President Obama's Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment (POWER) Return to Work Council and the ODEP Return-to-Work Tool Kit:

Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, blog about the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where they are "setting the bar right here on Earth for disability hiring and inclusion":

Chief Executive of Health and Disability Advocates speaks about how the benefits of recruiting, training, and accommodating individuals with disabilities outweigh the challenges:

The U.S. Department of Defense expands their efforts to hire people with disabilities:

Report on the power of digital inclusion and technology's impact on the employment and opportunities for people with disabilities:

Employer Assistance & Resource Network article on Disability Inclusion featured in Insight into Diversity magazine:

NDEAM posters appear in Washington, D.C. Metrorail Stations:

Recently released Fact Sheet on Autism Employment written by Dr. Scott Standifier, organizer of Autism Works Conference:

The contents of this News Bulletin were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.