Disability Law - Archive

Healthy Hearing Act would provide essential services to veterans

February 26, 2015 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

Heraldindependent.com
By Thomas Crisp Contributing Columnist

February 21. 2015

The VA Fry Scholarship Program has undergone a few changes which surviving families should be aware of. This scholarship is available for children and spouses of active duty service members who die in the line of duty on or after 9/11/01.

Highlighted changes include:

• Eligible spouses and children may receive 36-months of full in state tuition, a housing stipend, and a book allowance.

• Children can use the benefit until they turn 33.

• Spouses have 15 years from the date of the service member’s death to use the benefit; eligibility is voided upon remarriage.

• Spouse DIC will not be impacted by use of the Fry Scholarship. However, children cannot simultaneously receive both benefits.

You can apply for the Fry Scholarship online at www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-22-5490-ARE.pdf. For more details on these changes and any further questions on education benefits, contact TAPS Education Support Services at education@taps.org or call toll free 1-800-959-8277.

Read more about the Healthy Hearing Act 

 

Schools Favor Inclusion When Forced To Report Academic Progress

February 19, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law, Research

 

 

Disability Scoop
By MICHELLE DIAMENT
February 13, 2015

As Congress debates the role of testing, a new report finds that schools with the greatest accountability for students with disabilities are most likely to promote inclusion.

Schools held to more stringent academic reporting standards are more likely to deliberately transition kids with disabilities from self-contained to mainstream classrooms, according to the study from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences.

The findings suggest that educators may be more motivated to help students with disabilities achieve alongside their typically-developing peers when schools must account for progress.

Under federal education law, schools must regularly measure and report on the academic performance of students with disabilities as part of their obligation to make adequate yearly progress. However, the requirement is waived for some schools if their population of students with disabilities falls below a minimum threshold set by states.

Looking at schools in 12 states, researchers found that elementary schools that always reported on the progress of their students with disabilities purposefully moved children from segregated to regular classrooms at a rate that was 15.8 percentage points higher than those who never made such accountability reports. Among middle schools, the difference rose to 16.7 percentage points, the study found.

For the report, schools were asked in 2011 about the previous five years. Researchers also reviewed federal government data for the years 2005 to 2008 to identify schools considered “always accountable” — those that had to report on students with disabilities each year — and schools that never had to provide accountability during the time period.

Read More  . . . Inclusion 

Lawsuits say Harvard, MIT webcasts leave out deaf Americans

February 12, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

(Reuters) – An advocacy group for the deaf on Thursday sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, saying the elite schools had violated laws by posting online video and audio recordings for public use that lacked accurate captions.

Two lawsuits charged that Harvard and MIT said the webcast recordings were intended to provide the public free access to the schools but were unusable by people with difficulty hearing because they either lacked captions or had captions that were so poor as to be unusable.

“Harvard has largely denied access to this content to the approximately 48 million – nearly one out of five – Americans who are deaf or hard of heading,” plaintiffs, including the National Association for the Deaf, said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Boston on Thursday.

Local hospitals accused of discrimination, making patients feel ‘completely powerless’

February 10, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

 

Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms Disability Award For Employee With High-Frequency Hearing Loss

February 3, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

 

 

Chattanoogan.com
Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that an employee is entitled to the full amount of workers’ compensation benefits awarded to him by a trial court.

In 2009, Orville Lambdin retired from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company where he had worked as a tire builder for over 35 years. He later sought workers’ compensation benefits based upon his loss of hearing. At trial, Mr. Lambdin testified that he had difficulty hearing the television and car radio, that he could not hear normal conversations if he was surrounded by background noise, and that he experienced ringing in his ears. Expert medical testimony established that Mr. Lambdin’s hearing loss was caused by the noisy work environment at Goodyear.

Read more . . . Tennessee

 

VDDHH Legislative Report for 2015 Virginia General Assembly

January 29, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law

 

VDDHH Legislative Tracking 2015 General Assembly

Each tracking report will include the basic information on the bill as it appears on the Legislative Information System (LIS) plus a section on VDDHH Comments, if any, to explain our interest in the bill. For each bill, we have provided a link to the actual LIS page for that bill so that you can see the actual bill language and track the bill yourself. After the initial report on any bill included here, the information provided will be limited to the bill number (linked to the LIS) and a brief update statement.

Bills included in the VDDHH tracking report will be separated into groups of bills as follows:

1.     VDDHH – Lead Agency: These are bills which directly impact VDDHH and for which VDDHH is the primary contact agency for the administration. There should only be a few bills in this category.

2.     VDDHH – Actively Tracking/Commenting: These are bills that VDDHH will actively track and will provide specific, factual information and comments on to ensure that issues in the bill which relate to this agency and the consumers we serve are identified. “Actively Tracking” means that VDDHH will consistently check on the status of these bills. The agency may, if necessary and appropriate, testify at committee meetings on these bills or provide input to either the patron of the bill or to the LEAD agency responsible for the bill. VDDHH is NOT the lead agency on these bills and our level of involvement may be limited.

3.     VDDHH – Not Actively Tracking/General Interest: These are bills that may be of general interest to consumers, family members or professionals who receive our tracking reports.   VDDHH is not actively tracking these bills and will not be providing comment or attending committee meetings on these bills.

PLEASE NOTE: VDDHH will only report a “position” on a bill when the Governor’s office has taken a position on that bill. Please do not assume that VDDHH “supports” or “opposes” a bill based on the information provided in this report. This report is only intended to provide the facts of a bill as VDDHH knows them.

If a bill is “killed” during the session, it will be removed from the tracking list. VDDHH may also remove bills from the list if changes are made to the bill which eliminate the specific issues of interest to this agency or the consumers we serve.

DOWNLOAD PDF – VDDHH Legislative Tracking Report 1 27 15

DOWNLOAD MS word- VDDHH Legislative Tracking Report 1 27 15

Achieving a Better Life Experience: An Overview of the ABLE Act

January 23, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

JD Supra – Business Advisor
By Nora Gieg Chatha
1/22/2015

On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 into law. The ABLE Act amended Section 529 of the IRC to enable the creation of state-specific tax free savings accounts to cover “qualified” expenses for individuals with disabilities for tax years beginning after December 31, 2014. Such “ABLE” accounts are designed to “supplement and not supplant” public benefits like Medicaid (Medical Assistance) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

ABLE accounts are allowed a tax exemption similar to a Qualified Tuition Program or Section 529 Plan, and amounts in an ABLE account are to accumulate on a tax-exempt or in some cases tax-deferred basis. Like Section 529 Plans ABLE programs will be state-run with options presumably varying from state to state, and designated beneficiaries may be changed so long as a newly designated beneficiary is likewise eligible under the program and a family member of the initially designated eligible beneficiary.

ABLE accounts are a work in progress. The Treasury Department is to draft regulations in 2015 to provide better guidance on their qualifying criteria. Agencies administering means-tested public benefits (primarily the Social Security Administration and State Medicaid Agencies) may also publish guidelines.

At this juncture qualified expenses are understood to include education, housing and transportation. Common examples of qualified expenses provided are medical and dental care, education, community based supports, employment training, assistive technology, specialized housing and disability-related transportation.

Non-tax deductible contributions may be made to an ABLE account by any person (the disable account beneficiary, family or friends), and income earned is understood to be tax-exempt or in some instances tax-deferred.

At this juncture ABLE account limitations are understood to require that:

Read This Entire Article . . . .

 

 

Related Article – Obama Signs ABLE Act – Disability Scoop – December 22, 2014

Schools Must Offer Communication Supports, Feds Say

January 22, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law

 

 

Disability Scoop
By MICHELLE DIAMENT
November 13, 2014

The Obama administration is reminding schools of their wide-ranging responsibilities to students with disabilities who struggle with speech and other communication difficulties.

In guidance issued Wednesday, federal officials said the nation’s public schools have obligations under three separate laws to “ensure that communication with students with hearing, vision and speech disabilities is as effective as communication with all other students.”

While requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act vary, schools must comply with all three laws to meet individual needs. That can mean providing assistance ranging from communication boards or Braille materials to sign-language interpreter services and portable speech-generating devices, according to documents sent jointly from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice.

In cases where assistance is needed, schools should give “primary consideration to students and parents in determining which auxiliary aids and services are necessary to provide such effective communication,” the federal guidance said.

Read More 

Action Alert – VA – HOUSE BILL NO. 1956

January 14, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

Dear Friends:
This is a very important bill in the General Assembly.
The bill requires that  facilities identify and meet the need for communication access.
If you look at the bill it is listed as 18.

18. Shall require that each licensed hospital develop a process for identifying patients who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and take steps to ensure that patients who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are able to effectively communicate with health care providers involved in the patients’ care.

 

Please call your Senator and Delegate throughout the state to see if they would co patron the bill. I think the rest of the bill is already law.  You can locate your delegate for the Virginia General Assembly on the web.  

This is so important. Please call. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Give the bill number and the patron ask that they co patron. Give them your experience in the healthcare setting.  

HOUSE BILL NO. 1956   Patron Bobby Orrock

DOWNLOAD _ VA HOUSE BILL NO. 1956 (PDF)

apriola

 

 

Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities & Their Families

December 19, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law

 

 

Posted from National Disability Institute 
Thank you to BH-News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

(Washington, D.C. – Dec. 17, 2014) – Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

“Today marks a new day in our country’s understanding and support of people with disabilities and their families,” Michael Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director, said. “A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very first time in our country’s policy on disability, recognizes that there are added costs to living with a disability.” He continued. “For far too long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for the millions of individuals living with a disability.”

NDI has long championed the ABLE Act as a critical strategy to providing a pathway to a better economic future for all people with disabilities. As the nation’s first nonprofit dedicated to improving the financial health and future of all people with disabilities, the organization has extensively documented and called attention to the daily reality and extra expenses associated with living with a disability, and the challenges of navigating the complex web of government rules to maintain public benefits eligibility.

In recognition of this unprecedented legislation, NDI has created a list of 10 items about ABLE accounts that individuals with disabilities and their families should know:

ABLE Accounts: 10 Things You Must Know

  1. What is an ABLE account?

Read More  . . .

 

 

Advocates ignore juveniles’ safety and rehabilitation programs in D.C. courts

December 9, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

 

 

Washington Post
By Lee F. Satterfield
December 5

Much attention has been paid recently to the use of safety restraints on juvenile offenders.

Those who oppose the use of these restraints ignore very real security issues, and they overlook the wide range of successful rehabilitation programs available to juveniles in this city through the court’s Social Services Division and elsewhere.

Safety is the court’s top priority.

I am chief judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. My top priority is the safety of the more than 10,000 people who walk through the front door of the courthouse each day: court staff, judicial officers, jurors, witnesses, parties to cases and the more than 60 youth who appear in our juvenile courts each day.

Judges in D.C. Superior Court’s Family Court work closely with the U.S. Marshals Service to ensure the safety of those in the courtroom because we have had incidents of restrained and unrestrained juveniles becoming aggressive in the courtroom and attempting to escape from the building.

This year, a respondent known to be volatile appeared at a hearing with a broken hand from having punched a wall at a city facility. The juvenile entered the courtroom with safety restraints on his hands and legs. Defense counsel requested that the hand restraints be removed so that the juvenile, who is hearing-impaired, could sign more easily. The judge denied the request, based on the juvenile’s propensity for violence. However, halfway through the hearing, staff removed some of the restraints. Soon thereafter, the juvenile went on a violent rampage, bucking and swinging his arms, trying to get to the judge. It took police and marshals quite a while to get the situation under control and contain him. In the process, the juvenile injured several people. This was an emotionally upsetting and chaotic experience for all who were present.

Read More  . . .

Hearing-impaired patron sues Hippodrome Theatre

December 4, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Disability Law

 

 

The Baltimore Sun
By Mary Carole McCauley,

A Baltimore woman filed suit Monday in federal court asking a judge to order the France Merrick Performing Arts Center to provide open-captioned performances for its hearing-impaired patrons.

Jessica Gill is a lifelong lover of musical theater with a severe hearing disability who became frustrated and angry after her efforts to see the musical “Newsies” at the theater were stymied. The show opens Tuesday night and runs through Sunday.

She filed suit against the Key Brand Theatrical Group, which has a contract to operate the historic theater, the nonprofit Hippodrome Foundation and the Maryland Stadium Authority, which undertook a $62 million renovation of the former vaudeville palace in 2004.

The suit alleges that by refusing to provide the closed captioning that provides a running transcription of the dialogue and lyrics — similar to supertitles in opera — the venue violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the suit, Gill communicated back and forth with the Hippodrome’s staff from last January through July attempting to find a way to attend the show and follow the action on stage. She was told that the theater provides its hearing-impaired patrons with infrared hearing devices, audio descriptions and sign interpreters, but has made no provisions for open captioning.

Read entire article  . . .

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Franciscan St. James Health to Stop Discrimination against Persons with Hearing Disabilities

December 4, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

 

 

12/03/2014

The Justice Department announced today a settlement with Franciscan St. James Health (St. James), to ensure that patients and companions who are deaf or hard of hearing receive sign language interpreters and other services necessary to ensure effective communication, in compliance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement, St. James will pay $70,000 in damages to a patient who is deaf who was denied a sign language interpreter throughout her four day stay in the hospital. The settlement also requires that St. James provide auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters, to people who are deaf or hard of hearing within prescribed time frames and free of charge; designate an ADA Administrator; utilize their grievance resolution systems to investigate disputes regarding effective communication with deaf and hard of hearing patients; post notices of their effective communication policy; and train hospital personnel on the effective communication reqwuirements of the ADA. The settlement is part of the Department’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, a partnership of the Civil Rights Division and U. S. Attorney’s offices across the nation to ensure that people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, who have HIV, or who have mobility disabilities, have equal access to medical services.

To find out more about this settlement agreement or about the ADA, please visit our ADA website at www.ada.gov.  For more information on the Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative visit www.ada.gov/usao-agreements. Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may also call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

Read full Press release

Read SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT 

EEOC Lawsuit Against FedEx Ground on behalf of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

November 20, 2014 in Disability Law, Transportation

 

 

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently filed a nationwide lawsuit against FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx Ground”) alleging that FedEx Ground discriminated against deaf or hard-of-hearing Package Handlers or applicants for the Package Handler position in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  EEOC alleges that FedEx Ground violated the ADA by, for example, failing to provide deaf or hard-of-hearing Package Handler applicants or employees with effective communication accommodations during the hiring process, in orientation and training, and for work-related meetings and communications.   You can find more information about this lawsuit at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-10-14.cfm.

We are attempting to reach deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals nationwide who may have applied for, or worked as, a Package Handler with FedEx Ground and who may be covered by the lawsuit.  We would appreciate your assistance in circulating information about this lawsuit to your members, including by posting about it on your website and including it in newsletters, e-mails, or other communications with your members.  In notifying your members about this lawsuit, we ask that you include the following link – http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/litigation/fedex.cfm – which contains an ASL informational video about the lawsuit.  Persons who think they are covered by the lawsuit should contact the EEOC by e-mailing fedexgroundlawsuit@eeoc.gov or by leaving a message, through Video Relay Service, at 215-440-2670.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank You.
___________________________

Thomas D. Rethage, Jr.
Senior Trial Attorney
U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission
801 Market St., Suite 1300
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3127
Ph: 215.440.2683
Fax: 215.440.2848

 

 

VAD Sponsored Legislative Training on Sat, Nov 15

October 2, 2014 in Community Events, Disability Law

 

 

Virginia Association of the Deaf and Gallaudet University Regional Center – Southeast is sponsoring a Legislative Training event on Saturday, November 15th.

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided by VAD
* First come, first served up to 40 participants
* Participants will receive Certificate of Attendance NAD Legislative Training

Workshop will be held at:
VA Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services 8004 Franklin Farms Drive Henrico, VA 23229

 

Register today or before November 1st to book one of the 40 available seats! 

See attachment for more information.

Download PDF Attachment

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Sent by Virginia Association of the Deaf, Inc.