Newsletter: December 08, 2008

Northeast ADA December 08, 2008 News Bulletin

What's New in the Northeast:

Schenectady County, New York Improves Access to Social Service Buildings:

According to a voluntary agreement signed between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Schenectady County Department of Social Services (SCDSS), all SCDSS public buildings will be accessible to people with physical disabilities. This agreement will also bring SCDSS in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the ADA.  Read more about this agreement and its' objectives at:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Access Board Releases Revised Draft of Bus and Van Guidelines- Review Now:

The Board has released a revised draft of updated guidelines for buses and vans as part of a refresh of its guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The document is available for public comment until January 20, 2009.  An earlier draft was released for comment last year and received almost 90 comments from a variety of constituents. The new draft includes revisions made in response to this input. The Board is again seeking input from all interested.  Comments can be submitted through an input form on the Board's website. To read more about the details of the new draft, how it compares to the previous draft, and how to submit feedback, go to:

New Fact Sheets from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP):

ODEP has just released three new fact sheets in a new and easy to read format that provide constructive disability employment information for parents, youth with disabilities, and employers.  Topics raised in the fact sheets include how parents and their children with disabilities can create a path to employment together; what essential skills young people need to know to get a job; and shaping tomorrow's workforce to include the talents of young people with disabilities. Read and/or download the fact sheets at:

Budget Shortfalls Result in States' Decision to Cut Services for Elderly and People with Disabilities:

Faced with major budget cuts, several states are cutting back on support services for the elderly and disabled populations which may make it tougher for them to continue living on their own. At least 15 states are targeting such funding, mostly for programs that allow homebound individuals to receive personal care such as cooking, cleaning, and basic home health services in their own homes. These cutbacks are exacerbating the very long waiting lists for home-care that already exists in many states.  Read more about this situation at:

Air Force Sets Goal to be the Employer of Choice in the Disability Community:

The Air Force is working toward achieving a Department of Defense goal to have 2 percent of its workforce comprised of individuals with targeted disabilities by the year 2010. They plan to utilize the Schedule A hiring authority, a noncompetitive government process that allows federal employees to hire qualified people with mental retardation, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities to civilian positions. To read more about the Air Force's plan and Schedule A hiring authority process, go to:

Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) Logo Contest:

COAT has launched a Logo Contest to select which logo will be used to represent COAT and its mission to the general public, which may include use for their apparel, website, and printed materials. All entries must be accompanied by a contest entry form and received by midnight EST on Tuesday January 20, 2009. The contest winner will be announced as soon as possible thereafter.  For more information including how to access the Entry Form and Contest Rules, go to:


Opportunities for YOU:

Employment and Disability Institute Offers Certificate in Benefits Planning: 

Benefits Planning Services have become an integral part of a social security beneficiaries' return to work.  The ediONLINE webinar series can help prepare you to embark upon your new profession or help fill in the blanks that may exist while you currently provide services. Join us in January for our Certificate in Benefits Planning series...or for just a webinar or two!  Registration, trainer, and costs associated information is available at:  If you have any questions, please contact Shelia Smith, Administrative Assistant, Cornell University, Employment and Disability Institute,, 607-255-9364.

Audio Conference on Section 508 and Section 255:

The National Network of DBTAC/ADA Centers presents their Monthly Audio Conference, "Regulation Update: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act" on December 16th, 2008 from 12:00-1:30pm Mountain Time. Regulations governing the accessibility of telecommunications products and equipment covered by section 255 and electronic and information technology have been part of an on-going review and update by the US Access Board since September 2006. Join this session to learn more about the proposed changes and the process for implementing them.  Time: 1:00-2:30pm CT

For more information and to register, go to:  


Special Spotlight:  Tis the Season for Traveling:

The holiday season is typically a time for traveling for many individuals and families, and people with disabilities are no exception.  According to a 2005 study by the Open Doors Organization (ODO) in cooperation with the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), more than 21 million adults with disabilities had traveled during the previous two years. Furthermore, 9.6 million of those travelers spent $2.9 billion annually on air travel alone.  Unfortunately, 82 percent of those individuals also reported encountering obstacles at the airport.  Hopefully this percentage will decrease now that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has expanded the popular family lane concept to every security checkpoint in America.  These lanes allow families, individuals unfamiliar with air travel procedures, and travelers with special needs to go through security at their own pace. This applies to individuals carrying medically necessary liquids in excess of three ounces as well. According to TSA Administrator Kip Hawley, "Passengers have clearly demonstrated their preference to go at their own pace...expanding these lanes to every airport and directing families and passengers with medically necessary liquids to them, increases passenger convenience".  Read more at:

November 10, 2008 TSA Press Release:

How to be an Expert Traveler and Description of each Type of Security Lane:

TSA's Policy regarding Travelers with Disabilities:



See you in a few weeks!!!