Newsletter: October 24, 2008

Northeast ADA October 24, 2008 News Bulletin

What's New in the Northeast:

Deadline Extended for the DBTAC Northeast Train the Trainer Network

Participate in the ADA Trainer Network event on November 19th and 20th in Amherst, NY!  Through this program, you will learn how to facilitate trainings on multiple disability and ADA related topics, as well as 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.  New deadline for registering is October 30th.  For more information and to register go to:

HUD Charges New York City Co-op with Disability Discrimination:

On October 9th the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it has charged the Townsend House Corporation, a private cooperative in NYC, with violating the Fair Housing Act for refusing to allow tenants to obtain an emotional support animal.  Read more at:

New Jersey Jury Finds in Favor of Deaf Patient in a Denial of Interpreter Case:

A Hudson County jury awarded $400,000 to a deaf plaintiff who sued their doctor under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination for refusing to provide a sign language interpreter during appointments. The plaintiff's attorney says that this award is a national record for such a case in the nation. Read more about this case at:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Social Security Announces Benefit Increase for 2009:

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 55 million Americans will increase 5.8 percent in 2009, marking the largest increase since 1982. The 5.8 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) will begin for over 50 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2009 and increased payments to over 7 million SSI recipients will begin December 31st. Read more at:

Minorities with Disabilities Report Poorer Health:

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 43 million Americans have some type of disability. A recent CDC study found that black, Hispanic, and Native Americans with a disability reported fair or poor health at excessively higher rates than white or Asian Americans. To access a U.S. News and World Report article on this study, go to:

Office of Congressional Accessibility Services Established:

In September, the Senate unanimously passed the Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008 which will establish an Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS).  The purpose of this office is to improve the level of accessibility to Congress and its activities for people with disabilities as well as provide training and information to staff regarding accessibility.  Read the Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008 (H.R. 5159) at:


Election 2008 News:

New Video on Voting Rights:

The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York's consumers, with staff guidance, filmed an eight minute video about the rights and accessibility issues of voters with disabilities. Watch at:

Presidential Candidates Reference Special Needs Population in Final Debate:

Children with disabilities, autism, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as the need for funding these issues, were all mentioned by both candidates during their final debate on October 15th held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  To read more about this and to access a full transcript of the debate, go to:

Are You Preparing a Polling Site for the November 4th Election Day

If so, you will want to peruse these resources for making voting more accessible:

Information on what types of materials should be posted:

Accessible Polling Places Checklist:

Additional information and resources from

Where the Presidential Candidates Stand

This link is to a comparison chart provided by the Ohio Legal Rights Service (OLRS) that lists the candidates' positions on disability-related issues (Note that neither the OLRS nor the DBTAC endorses any political party or candidate):


Opportunities for YOU:

FREE Online Webinar about the 2007 Disability Status Report:

Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics have discovered that in 2007, 36.9 percent of working age people with disabilities were employed compared to 79.7 percent of people without disabilities. Furthermore 24.7 percent of working age Americans with disabilities lived in poverty compared to 9.0 percent of those without disabilities. Learn more about these and other findings of the 2007 Disability Status Report through a FREE online webinar November 12th from 12:00-1:00pm EST.  Cornell University experts in disability statistics and research will lead this webinar that will explore 2007 American Community Survey data related to disability and employment, education, poverty, household income and labor earnings while emphasizing the relevance of these statistics to the process of policy development and implementation that relates to Americans with disabilities.  To register please go to:

Leadership Summit on Medicare Calls for Presenters:

The World Congress 5th Annual Leadership Summit on Medicare, Solutions to Maximize Profitability, Maintain Compliance and Ensure Program Solvency in the New Era of Healthcare Reform to be held July 13-14, 2009 in Washington, D.C., is actively seeking speakers. The conference will address and discuss issues facing Medicare today and in the future. All speakers will receive free admission to the event. For consideration and to receive information on proposal guidelines, e-mail Ann McGrath at  Submission deadline: Friday, November 7, 2008.


Special Spotlight: National Disability Employment Awareness Month:

For 20 years now, October has been designated "National Disability Employment Awareness Month". This effort to educate Americans about disability and employment issues actually began in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In the early '60's the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Then in 1988, Congress expanded the effort from a week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month". To learn more, go to:  Read more below about specific national and regional efforts to support and celebrate this issue!

Disability Mentoring Day Held on October 15th:

Disability Mentoring Day (DMD), sponsored annually by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), is a large-scale national effort to help students and job seekers with disabilities learn about careers and build critical mentoring relationships through a variety of activities including job fairs and on-site job shadowing with the goal of earning internship and employment opportunities. DMD connects nearly 20,000 job-seekers with disabilities with thousands of employers in more than 300 locations in every U.S. State and Territory and in more than 24 countries worldwide each year. It is recognized nationally on the third Wednesday of every October as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and is coordinated and promoted at local and state levels through a network of DMD Coordinators. To learn more about Disability Mentoring Day efforts at the national and local levels, and to find a Disability Mentoring Day Coordinator in your area in preparation for next year, go to:

Federal Government Agencies Encouraged to Tap Hidden Talent:

The National Security Agency and the Federal Disability Workforce Consortium is working to reverse a troubling trend in federal hiring. Despite federal agencies' access to hiring authorities and funding to employ people with disabilities, their numbers have declined steadily over the last ten years with the ranks of disabled employees being only .9 percent of their workforce. Advocates in government say that agencies should increase this to 2 percent by 2010. The Federal Disability Workforce Consortium is also sending the message, particularly this month, that hiring disabled employees is not just about social justice, it is good business sense for agencies to look to the underemployed community of disabled individuals to fill their rapidly growing number of open job positions. Read more at:

The Department of Labor Honors Ernst & Young with the 2008 New Freedom Initiative Award:

Cutting-edge technology to help employees with disabilities perform efficiently, accessibility efforts that go above and beyond ADA compliance, and their disability-aware corporate culture and empowering environment are among the reasons why Ernst & Young was the recipient of this prestigious award that honors corporations, non-profits, and small businesses for their efforts to further the employment and work environment for individuals with disabilities. The New Freedom Initiative, introduced by President George W. Bush in 2001 and coordinated by the Office of Disabilities Employment Policy, is a government-wide effort to promote disability inclusiveness into mainstream American life. Read more about this initiative and Ernst & Young's achievements at:



See you in a few weeks!!!