Newsletter: March 12, 2010

Northeast ADA Center March 12, 2010 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Puerto Rico ADA Trainer Network Full- Can Still Sign up for Waiting List:
Registration for the Northeast ADA Center's free Train the Trainer program scheduled for April 29-30th in San Juan, Puerto Rico is now closed however we are keeping a waiting list in case of cancellations. To be placed on the waiting list, please email Barbara Sosna,, with your name, email, and phone number. We may conduct another session later in the year- will keep you posted!

NY Judge Says People with Mental Disabilities May Begin Leaving Adult Homes:
Brooklyn, New York Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis has ruled that the state must provide the opportunity for people with mental disabilities currently living in adult homes to move out and live independently. This ruling will affect about 4,300 adults and those who decide to move out will receive special services and counseling to help them adjust to community living.  Read more at:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Disability Concerns Factor Into Obama's Health Care Proposal:
President Barack Obama has unveiled a $950 billion healthcare reform proposal which maintains elements favoring people with disabilities, including increased Medicaid funding and the Community First Choice Option. Read more at:

Federal Hiring Expo for People with Disabilities will be April 26th:
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the U. S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy are sponsoring a day-long Federal Government-wide Hiring Event, with federal agency representatives reviewing resumes and inviting candidates for interviews. In addition, three pre-Expo webinars will be held to help prepare candidates for this event. To find out how to participate, and to see a list of agencies already participating, go to:

Wounded Warrior Web site Upgraded:
The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced that its National Resource Directory (NRD) Web site,, has received a comprehensive upgrade to provide users with easier access. This Web site compiles federal, state, local and non-profit resources for Wounded Warriors, Veterans, family members and caregivers in a single, searchable site. It's new "bookmark and share" feature allows visitors to alert others to resources they find most helpful through social bookmarking and social networking tools.  

More People with Disabilities were Employed in February:
The Department of Labor has released the February employment statistics which indicated that the rate of unemployment among people with disabilities dipped to 13.8 percent in February compared to 15.2 percent the previous month. In the meantime, the number of people with disabilities in the labor force also grew. To access the statistics, go to:

Southeast ADA Center Seeks Working People with Disabilities for their Website:
The Southeast ADA Center has a new feature on its Web site, "People with Disabilities in the Workforce", which presents a real-life outlook on employees with disabilities in the workplace by offering a profile of a different employee each month. This month's profile features the Executive Director of the Alliance of Disability Advocates. The Center is looking for others to interview for an employment profile. For this month's story and to submit your own employment story, go to:

Don't Let Tax Season be a Missed Opportunity!
According to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare services, many of the 9.6 million people with disabilities and their family members who rely on Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be paying more in taxes than necessary or missing out on important credits and deductions. In this article, Allsup highlights three critical areas that can help people with disabilities minimize their taxes:

Disability Law Handbook Now Available in Hard Copy:
The National Network of ADA Centers and the Southwest ADA Center has released the new edition of the Disability Law Handbook.  This 64-page guide, written in a FAQ format, is a guide to the basics of the ADA and other disability related laws such as the Air Carrier Access Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Fair Housing Act Amendments. Free copies can be obtained by calling your regional ADA Center at 1.800.949.4232 or downloaded from

Social Security Hearings Backlog Falls to Lowest Level since 2005:
Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced that the number of disability hearings pending is down more than 71,000 cases since December 2008. In addition, the average processing time for hearing decisions has decreased to 442 days, down from a high of 514 days at the end of fiscal year 2008. "We have decreased the number of hearings pending by almost 10 percent over the last 14 months and cut the time it takes to make a decision by nearly two and a half months.  This remarkable progress shows our backlog reduction plan is working," stated Astrue. For more information, go to:

Senate Rejects $250 Stimulus Payments for People with Disabilities:
On March 3rd, in a 50-47 vote, the Senate voted no to a second round of $250 stimulus payments for people with disabilities, senior citizens, and veterans. Last year one-time $250 stimulus payments were distributed with intent to stimulate the economy. The push for a second stimulus came when it was announced that there would be no cost-of-living increase for Social Security payments in 2010. To read more, go to:

Congressional Leaders and JFAAN Announce 20th Anniversary ADA Agenda:
On February 23rd, various congressional leaders joined the Justice For All Action Network (JFAAN) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and announce their ADA 20th anniversary legislative agenda. Read all of the leaders' remarks and more about the event here:

National Council on Disability (NCD) February Bulletin:
This month's bulletin features updates and reports on emergency management, housing, tribal consultation, and the upcoming 2010 National Summit on Disability Policy:


Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar on Disability Statistics March 17th:
Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute will host a free webinar on March 17th from 1:00-2:00pm EST to present the findings of the 2008 Disability Status Report.  The recently released 2008 American Community Survey data related to disability and employment, education, poverty, income and labor earnings will be explored along with topics such as health insurance coverage, veterans service-connected disability rating, and the changes that were made to the survey's disability questions. To register, go to: .

Free Disability in Higher Education Webinar March 25th:
The Northeast ADA Center will present a "Disability in Higher Education: Legal, Practical, and Human Issues" webinar on March 25th from 1:00-2:30pm EST.  This session will review data on the prevalence of applicants/students with disabilities, share research on participation trends of people with disabilities in higher education, consider this population's legal rights, discuss different curriculum and program modifications, and review emerging dilemmas.  This program would be of interest to higher education administrators, students with disabilities and their families, disability professionals, teachers, and career counselors. To register, go to:

Assistive Technology Webinar Series Begins March 16th:
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2010 Webinar series will cover a broad range of topics to enhance knowledge of assistive technology and the evaluation skills needed to assess products. Each webinar will be 1.5 hours and presented by national leaders in their field. The first session on transitions and assistive technology will be March 16th from 4:00-5:30pm EST and costs $49.  The next one on cognitive support technology will be March 31st. To see the complete list and to register, go to:

21st Annual APSE National Conference June 8-10th:
APSE, originally known as the Association for Persons in Supported Employment, is hosting its annual conference, themed "Employment First: Not Just a Slogan", June 8-10th in Atlanta, Georgia.  Early registration deadline is April 15th. For conference and registration details, go to:


Special Spotlight: Northeast ADA Center's Puerto Rico Affiliate!

The Movement for Independent Living (MAVI according to its initials in Spanish) is the Northeast ADA Center's new Puerto Rico affiliate.  We have had the privilege of working with MAVI already on various collaborations and we're very excited to continue this relationship in a more formal capacity.  Read below for more details and comments from Yessica Guardiola, our Technical Assistance Specialist through MAVI who will be assisting us in responding to technical assistance questions from our Puerto Rico constituents. This information is in Espanol. You may visit for the English version:

El nuevo afiliado del Centro de "ADA" (American Disability Act) del Noreste en Puerto Rico es el Movimiento para el Alcance de Vida Independiente (MAVI).  Esta es una organización sin fines de lucro, fundada en 1988.  MAVI sirve a unas 1,500 personas con discapacidades significativas, promoviendo la independencia, productividad e inclusión de esta población en todos los aspectos de nuestra sociedad.  La meta principal de MAVI es aportar a una sociedad inclusiva donde la Filosofía de Vida Independiente para las personas con discapacidad sea parte integral del diario vivir.

Como Centro de Vida Independiente, el 95% de los empleados de MAVI y la mayoría de los integrantes de su Junta de Gobierno son personas con discapacidades.  Actualmente, este cuenta con 4 centros en Puerto Rico y también brinda servicios a las Islas Vírgenes.

La misión principal de MAVI es fomentar la práctica de la Filosofía de Vida Independiente, brindando a las personas con discapacidades control sobre la toma de decisiones sobre su vida.  Los servicios básicos que ofrece incluyen: información y referido, consejería de pares, intercesión, servicios de empleo sostenido y adiestramiento en destrezas de vida independiente.  Además, es representante del programa "Boleto al Trabajo" de la Administración del Seguro Social.  Todos los servicios son gratuitos.

MAVI facilita el desarrollo de metas tales como: auto-gestión, comunicación, movilidad, cuidado propio y acceso a información/tecnología, a través de servicios comunitarios, educacionales y vocacionales.  Entre los servicios complementarios se encuentran: un grupo de intercesión muy activo que cuenta con 40 participantes, transportación, seminarios y talleres, donación de equipo asistivo, clases básicas de lenguaje se señas, modificaciones al hogar y un centro de computadoras con tecnología para personas con discapacidades visuales. 

Los miembros reciben un calendario de actividades y la publicación Ecos de MAVI que se distribuye periódicamente, con información valiosa sobre actividades, servicios y los derechos de las personas con discapacidad. Anualmente, MAVI lleva a cabo 2 actividades grandes de divulgación y sensibilización: "Pasos Sin Barreras" y la "Feria de Boleto al Trabajo".

Con el fin de sensibilizar a la comunidad hacia las personas con impedimentos  MAVI ha participando y realizado intercesión en comités de asesoramiento y apoyo en diferentes lugares, como por ejemplo: el Consejo Estatal de Vida Independiente, el Comité Asesor de la Escuela Graduada de Consejería en Rehabilitación, la Asociación Puertorriqueña de Rehabilitación, el Comité Asesor del PRATP, la Asociación Puertorriqueña del Pulmón, el Tren Urbano y el Sistema de transportación AMA.

Además, MAVI brinda charlas educativas para instituciones públicas y privadas, incluyendo: escuelas, consorcios, universidades, agencias gubernamentales, patronos privados, hospitales, oficinas médicas y de servicios legales; y participa en la discusión de proyectos de ley relacionados con la población con discapacidad.  Por todas estas ejecutorias, MAVI fue seleccionado como organización sin fines de lucro modelo en noviembre de 2009, por la Red Internacional de Filantropía y el Tercer Sector.          

MAVI asume este nuevo rol como afiliado del Centro de "ADA" en Puerto Rico con mucho entusiasmo.  A través de esta oportunidad impactará más sectores de la comunidad y personas con discapacidades, para dar a conocer los derechos que tienen estos bajo la "Americans with Disabilities Act" y las alternativas que tienen disponibles.  Para más información sobre MAVI puede visitar la página electrónica en:


See you in a few weeks!