Newsletter: October 10, 2008

Northeast ADA October 10, 2008 News Bulletin

What's New in the Northeast & Opportunities For YOU:

Sign up now for the DBTAC Northeast Train the Trainer Network

We are hosting a ADA Trainer Network training event on November 19th and 20th  in Amherst, NY. Participation in this program will enable you offer training on multiple disability and ADA related topics, learn how to facilitate those trainings for constituents in your area, and join the ADA Trainer Network as an active partner in building awareness, improving practices, and contributing to our understanding of how to craft powerful disability-related programs.  Deadline for registering is October 18th.  For more information and to register go to:

New ediONLINE Course Series to Begin November 4th

The Employment and Disability Institute of Cornell University is one of the leading providers of Social Security related distance learning in the nation. Our faculty and curriculum developers have had decades of advocacy and policy experience directly involving the Social Security Administration and recipients of both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Securing SSDI and/or SSI benefits for your client is only the beginning of a long, and often bumpy, road. SERIES 4 will take you beyond the application stage and into the post-entitlement areas of daily importance to your clients.  For more information on this series and to sign up, go to:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

President Bush Signs the ADA Amendments Act

On September 25, 2008 President Bush, with his father looking on and without much fanfare, signed the ADA Amendments Act into law:

Read more on how this law intersects with the disability and business realm in the Special Spotlight section on page 4.

Economic Bailout Leads to Better Mental Health Coverage

Starting January 1, 2010, more than one-third of all Americans will begin receiving better insurance coverage for treatments of mental health issues including autism, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse thanks to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses. Read more at:

Four New Members Appointed to the Access Board

President Bush recently named four new members, whose terms will begin in December, to the Access Board, an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. The Board, a leading source of information on accessible design, develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and electronic and information technology and functions as a coordinating body among Federal agencies. The new members have more than 125 years of combined experience in project management and engineering in the construction, facilities, and software fields.  For more information on the new members, go to:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Going On Now

To read messages from President Bush and Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Neil Romano, and learn more about this month's focus, go to:

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) Form Alliance

As part of their "Alliance Initiative", ODEP has forged a new partnership with the USBLN to promote the employment of people with disabilities. This collaboration will provide USBLN members and other employers with guidance and resources on recruiting, hiring, and advancing employees with disabilities. To read more about this partnership, and ODEP's overall Alliance Initiative, go to:

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Launches Next Generation Website

JAN's new interactive Website,, is custom-designed to address the unique needs of employees and individuals with disabilities.  Innovative features include a portal for individuals with disabilities, publication and presentation libraries, a Searchable Online Accommodation Resource, and no-cost personal consultations. To take a virtual tour, go to

Expanded Air Carrier Access Act Includes Foreign Carriers

The Air Carrier Access Act mandates air travel accessibility for people with disabilities. It has been updated to include regulations which will apply to all commercial flights to and from the U.S. including any operated by foreign air carriers, effective May 2009. New rules will improve both the access to facilities such as terminals and lavatories and the safety assistance provided by airport staff to travelers with disabilities. Read more about the specific rules at:


Election 2008 News:

This section highlights important issues and information related to the 2008 Election that can or do impact the disability community. 

Allsup and AAPD Team Up to Increase the Power of the Disability Vote

Allsup, the country's leading Social Security disability representation company which offers services to support the financial well-being of those with disabilities, including assistance with Social Security and Medicare benefits, is joining forces with the American Association of People with Disabilities in their "Activate the Power of the Disability Vote" campaign. This non-partisan effort focuses on why the 50 million Americans with disabilities should register to vote.  Read more at:

Where the Presidential Candidates Stand

The Ohio Legal Rights Service (OLRS) prepared a comparison chart listing the candidates' positions on disability-related issues as obtained from their Websites and other sources. Please note that the DBTAC does not endorse any political party or candidate and is providing this for educational and informative purposes only:

Resources to Make Voting More Accessible

What the Help America Vote Act of 2002 says about Accessible formats for sample ballots and other materials posted at polling sites:

  • Materials should be in large print (up to 24-point font) printed in high contrast (black print/white background)
  • The centerline of posted material should be at 54"- a level which is viewable from both a standing and a seated position
  • Braille versions(hand held) should be available
  • Directional signage should contain the international symbol of accessibility

For more information on what types of materials should be posted go to:

Accessible Polling Places Checklist provided by the Department of Justice:

Special Spotlight: ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA):

Now that the ADA Amendments Act has passed and will go into effect January 1, 2009, it is important to understand what this will mean for individuals with disabilities as well as employers.  Since the ADAAA has specified what is considered a disability, there may be more requests by employees with disabilities to seek workplace accommodations. However experts say employers who have been following the law will likely not be affected because the ADAAA's primary objective was to restore the ADA to its original intent in the aftermath of Supreme Court rulings that narrowed the ADA's interpretation and definition of disability.  Nonetheless, it is advised that employers review their existing policies, handbooks, and job descriptions to determine whether they are in line with both the original ADA and the ADAAA.  Read more at:

ADA Changes: What HR Professionals and Employers Need to Know:

Labor & Employment Law: Management lawyer advises employers to ready themselves for changes to ADA:


See you in a few weeks!!!