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What's New

Legal Settlement Aims at Ending Exploitation of Disabled Workers

“The Justice Department has entered into the nation’s first statewide settlement agreement vindicating the civil rights of individuals with disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. The agreement with the State of Rhode Island will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for approximately 3,250 Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This first-of-its-kind statewide agreement addresses the rights of people with disabilities to receive state-funded employment and daytime services in integrated settings, such as supported employment and integrated day services, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs with only other people with disabilities. The agreement also provides relief to transition-age youth at risk of segregation in facility-based programs. Under the agreement, transition-age youth will have access to a wide array of transition, vocational rehabilitation, and supported employment services intended to lead to integrated employment outcomes after they leave secondary school. The parties have jointly filed the settlement in federal district court and have requested that it be entered as a court-enforceable Consent Decree.”

For more general information about the Justice Department’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts, visit the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone website. To find out more about the ADA, visit Division’s ADA.gov website.

Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory

Recently, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) launched a new database to help contractors find qualified workers with disabilities and veterans, and to assist contractors with establishing relationships with national organizations and local community groups that have access to these workers.

Contractors, as well as others, can visit OFCCP’s Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory on the OFCCP Web site at http://www.dol-esa.gov/errd/resources.html. For more information and resources, visit http://www.AskEARN.org.

DRNJ's Least Restrictive Environment Cases Settles

After years of litigation, the case of Disability Rights New Jersey v. New Jersey Department of Education, which seeks to ensure that students with disabilities in New Jersey are educated in the "least restrictive environment." has been settled. For a copy of the the press release click here. For a copy of the settlement agreement click here.

Am I Eligible for Medicaid or The Children's Health Insurance Program?

Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide health coverage to nearly 60 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Under the health care law, Medicaid eligibility is expanding in many states, and more people than ever will qualify for Medicaid starting in 2014. Find out if you may be eligible for Medicaid by clicking on the link https://www.healthcare.gov/do-i-qualify-for-medicaid/

DRNJ Attorney and NY Law School Professor Publish Article

DRNJ staff attorney, Alison Lynch, and NY Law School professor, Michael Perlin, recently published "Toiling in the Danger and in the Morals of Despair: Risk, Security, Danger, the Constitution, and the Clinician's Dilemma". This article examines the intricacies of risk assessment and dangerousness prediction in the forensic mentally ill population by comparing national and international legal standards. It also discusses the ambiguities in the law that leave clinicians with difficult decisions to make when evaluating dangerousness.

To access the publication, go to http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2363494

New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Property Tax Exemptions for Supportive Housing - Positive Outcome for State’s Supportive Housing Providers

In a unanimous decision today in Advance Housing v. Teaneck, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a property tax exemption for nonprofit providers of supportive housing. Supportive housing providers, such as Advance Housing, offer permanent homes for people with mental illness or cognitive disabilities. Residents are also offered – and almost invariably accept – a wide array of services, from crisis intervention to cooking classes, that help them to live in an integrated, community setting. The Court held that supportive housing constitutes a charitable use of property and thus qualifies for a tax exemption. This decision was welcomed by Advance Housing and a coalition of nonprofit supportive-housing providers and national and state organizations, including DRNJ, representing individuals with psychiatric disabilities and their families.

To read the press release, click here.

Saving Under Social Security's Plan to Achieve Self-Support

The Social Security Administration’s Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provision to help people with disabilities return to work. The PASS program allows disability beneficiaries receiving SSI to save money, as well as things of value that an individual owns, to pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific work goal. PASS allows a person to set aside money (without affecting benefits) for installment payments or a down payment on things like a vehicle, wheelchair or computer if needed to reach a work goal. If the goal is self-employment, a business plan is required.

If you are thinking about PASS, you will need to decide on a work goal and determine the items and services that you would need to achieve it. This can include supplies to start a business, school expenses, equipment and tools and transportation. You can receive help in setting up a plan from the following:

• A Ticket to Work Employment Network
• A Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor;
• An organization that helps people with disabilities;
• Benefits Specialists or Protection and Advocacy organizations who have contracts with Social Security; and
• Local Social Security offices.

For more information, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov

New Accessible Playgrounds App

NPR is looking for information about accessible playgrounds for a new app. Go to http://apps.npr.org/playgrounds/

NEADA Center Launches Veterans with Disabilities Online Toolkits

The Northeast ADA Center has added additional "Making Work Happen" online toolkits aimed at improving the employment experience for veterans with disabilities. These three toolkits (one for employers, one for disability service providers and one for veterans themselves) provide strategies and practices for the full inclusion of veterans with disabilities in employment. To learn more and to utilize these toolkits, visit: http://www.makingworkhappen.org/Veterans.cfm

DRNJ Honored

In April, DRNJ was acknowledged by the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP at their eighth annual pro bono awards reception. DRNJ was recognized with two separate awards for work providing free legal services to individuals with limited resources.

On April 29, DRNJ was selected by the National Disability Rights Network to be a Parent Center Protection and Advocacy Agency. Only three P & A agencies throughout the United States were accorded this honor. DRNJ will be providing technical assistance to develop educational resources for NDRN’s Parent Center Network.

On May 3, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey honored Mary Ciccone, Managing Attorney for Disability Rights New Jersey, at their Hurricane Heroes Cocktail Reception & Awards Ceremony. Mary, along with other individuals and organizations, worked tirelessly to ensure that New Jersey voters could participate in the 2012 General Election in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

On May 11, Advancing Opportunities honored DRNJ at their Spring Gala. DRNJ was honored for its outstanding work advancing the independence of children and adults with all types of disabilities.

Governor Christie Announces Settlement of Olmstead Litigation During Budget Address

Governor Christie used the occasion of his budget address to announce a settlement in litigation brought by Disability Rights New Jersey involving moving individuals who no longer want to live in the state’s developmental centers and providing services to individuals in the community on the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ waiting list.

To read the announcement, click here.

To read the settlement agreement, click here.

Stakeholders Address Education Transformation Task Force Report

A coalition of stakeholders that work with individuals with disabilities, including DRNJ, have joined voices to address the Education Transformation Task Force Final Report dated September 5, 2012. To access a copy of the coalition report click here and to access a copy of the response click here.

DRNJ Submits Comments Before State Board of Education

DRNJ submitted comments during the State Board of Education's open comment session.Click here to access a copy.

Article About Proposed Regulations for Veterans with TBI

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/us/benefit-rules-eased-for-veterans-with-brain-injuries.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1354885480-1a5u73F7AVqaAq/lUUZihw

NJ211 Produces Guide

NJ 211 has produced its Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery Guide available at http://www.nj211.org/images/HurricaneSandy/NJ211HurricaneSandyResourceGuide.pdf

This guide will be updated regularly.

ERC Releases Report of Discriminatory Treatment Against Individuals Who Use Guide Dog

The Equal Rights Center, in collaboration with the American Council for the Blind, has just released a new testing-based report, which documented a 31% rate of discriminatory treatment against blind or visually impaired individuals who use a guide dog while seeking rental housing in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. You can download a the full report at our website: http://www.equalrightscenter.org/disability

DRNJ Signs Letter Supporting Keeping All Students Safe Act

Disability Rights New Jersey and over 150 national, state and local organizations show support for Keeping All Students Safe Act bills, H.R. 1381 and S.2020. These bills will protect schoolchildren from dangerous restraint and seclusion. To access a copy of the letters to the Senate, House Chair and Ranking Members, click here

DHS and DCF Message Regarding Children with Developmental Disabilities

Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, Dawn Apgar, and the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Robert Sabreen, recently released a message regarding the changes that become effective July 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012 in the service delivery for youth under age 21, currently served by the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). To access a copy of the message, click here.

Report and Videos Released by DRW and NDRN

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released "Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical Procedures that Violate Civil Rights". The report comes five years after media accounts surfaced of a Seattle girl who, when six years’ old, was kept permanently small through a set of procedures now commonly called the “Ashley Treatment.” The procedure was later found to have violated her legal rights. To access the full report, click this link .

Also, two videos have been released in conjunction with the Ashley Report Ashley’s Rights: Citizens Speak Out and NDRN’s Curt Decker on Ashley’s rights

DRNJ Submits Comments

DRNJ submitted comments opposing proposed changes to eligibility for General Assistance through Work First New Jersey. Click here to access a copy.

Traumatic Brain Injury Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey's designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities


Disability Rights New Jersey
210 S Broad Street, 3rd Floor
Trenton, New Jersey 08608
1.800.922.7233 (in NJ only) • 1.609.292.9742 (Voice)
1.609.777.0187 (Fax) • 1.609.633.7106 (TTY)
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DRNJ is an Equal Opportunity Employer and provides services to all persons with disabilities regardless of race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, marital status, familial status, sex, sexual or affectional orientation, ancestry or disability. Any concerns regarding the agency’s compliance with these non-discrimination efforts may be brought to the attention of the Executive Director.

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