News

Breaking Barriers

Video on the website--- click the link below:

 

Friday, July 10, 2015 10:57 PM EDT

Breaking barriers 
Despite laws barring bias, disabled face many hurdles 
 

 

NAUGATUCK — After Bob Gorman lost his eyesight 20 years ago due to complications from diabetes, "everything changed." Simple tasks became much more difficult, especially considering his initial reluctance to ask others for assistance.

 
Eileen Healy, executive director of Independence Northwest, stands next to Bob Gorman, independent living advocate, at the organization's office in Naugatuck. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To watch more video, go to this link: http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2015/07/10/news/local/894052.txt#

 
 

P&A ADA Events

As you all probably are aware, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA is July 26th. I have attached is a flyer about ADA events that Protection and Advocacy is conducting at libraries across the state in commemoration of the anniversary. Please attend and please spread the word.

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The Importance of Reassignment as a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA

 

Disability.gov sent this bulletin at 07/06/2015 12:45 PM EDT

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The Importance of Reassignment as a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA

 

Rachel M. Weisberg, Staff Attorney, Equip for Equality

By Guest Blogger Rachel M. Weisberg, Staff Attorney, Equip for Equality

On June 11, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and United Airlines announced a landmark consent decree resolving ongoing litigation about what it means to reassign an employee as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To understand the significance of this agreement, we must first understand why reassignment as a reasonable accommodation is so important. When Congress passed the ADA in 1990, it recognized the need for a national legal framework to protect the employment rights of people with disabilities. Employment is a hugely important part of our collective lives. In addition to a paycheck, a job can provide other benefits, such as self-esteem and a sense of belonging, and for 25 years, the ADA has helped employees with disabilities obtain and maintain employment.

Read More about The Importance of Reassignment as a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA with Disability.gov.

 

This month, Disability.Blog will feature special guest posts from individuals who played a role in the ADA’s history, as well as those who continue to champion it today. Find ideas for joining the conversation online in our #DgovADA25 Social Media Toolkit.

 

 

 


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The ADA and Claiming Disability

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The ADA and Claiming Disability

Andrew J. Imparato, Executive Director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

By Guest Blogger Andrew J. Imparato, Executive Director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

This month, as we reflect on 25 years of implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is easy to focus on the letter of the law and miss the larger message of this historic legislation. For me, the greatest value of the ADA has been its role in framing disability as a natural part of the human experience and branding discrimination against children and adults with disabilities as something that is unlawful, unnatural and unnecessary.

In July of 1990, I was a brand-new lawyer trying to cope with the early stages of bipolar disorder, a condition that has stayed with me to this day. Earlier that year, as a newlywed and a visiting student at Harvard Law School, I had experienced my first serious episode of depression. Seemingly overnight, I went from being a confident, outspoken law student to an insecure, scared, unmotivated shell of my former self. With help from my wife, Betsy, and others, I made it through law school and launched a career in public interest law.

I soon found my calling as a disability advocate and I learned to think of my disability as a positive differentiator; it gave me added credibility and gravitas in my chosen profession. I was proud to be a person with a psychiatric disability who was “out” as a professional and I felt welcomed by my colleagues with a variety of disabilities in Massachusetts and beyond.

Read More about The ADA and Claiming Disability

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA with Disability.gov.

This month, Disability.Blog will feature special guest posts from individuals who played a role in the ADA’s history, as well as those who continue to champion it today. Find ideas for joining the conversation online in our #DgovADA25 Social Media Toolkit.


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Study Finds People Who Are Deaf or Who Use Wheelchairs Face Housing Discrimination

Study Finds People Who Are Deaf or Who Use Wheelchairs Face Housing Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute have released a https://www.disability.gov/wp-content/plugins/wp-external-links/images/ext-icons/ext-icon-15.png); padding-right: 15px; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">study that finds that people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who use wheelchairs, are told about fewer available rental housing units than those who aren’t. The study finds that housing providers are less likely to respond to people seeking house who use assistive technology and those who need accessible housing.

Visit https://www.disability.gov/wp-content/plugins/wp-external-links/images/ext-icons/ext-icon-15.png); padding-right: 15px; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Study Finds People Who Are Deaf or Who Use Wheelchairs Face Housing Discrimination

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LINK: https://www.disability.gov/study-finds-people-who-are-deaf-users-of-wheelchairs-face-added-discrimination-in-housing/

 

 

10 Things Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities Should Know

 

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Filing Disability Appeals Is Now Easier and Faster

Filing Disability Appeals Is Now Easier and Faster

If you need to appeal a Social Security disability decision, you can now:

  • File your appeal online and upload your supporting documents
  • File your appeal even if you’re abroad and not in the United States
  • Find a shorter appeals process online
  • Receive quicker decisions from Social Security

If you wish to submit an appeal online, be sure to provide the necessary documents to support your appeal online. Learn more about the appeals process.

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Disability.gov Update: Webinar for Young Adults with Disabilities Who Want to Work - Tomorrow, June 24

Disability.gov sent this bulletin at 06/23/2015 10:40 AM EDT

 
Disability.gov updates

Webinar for Young Adults with Disabilities Who Want to Work – Tomorrow, June 24

 

If you receive Social Security disability benefits and are thinking about working, Social Security's Ticket to Work program may be able to help you. Register for this free Work Incentive Seminar Event which will take place tomorrow, June 24, 2015 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. You’ll learn about Work Incentives and get tips for young adults who are making the move from school to work. Register online or call 1-866-968-7842 (TTY: 1-866-833-2967) for more information.

Looking for information about other job opportunities, help going back to work if you receive Social Security disability benefits, and organizations near you that can help with your job search? Check out Disability.gov's Employment Guide.

 

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Sowing New Seeds in the Garden of Disability Rights Activism

Sowing New Seeds in the Garden of Disability Rights Activism

Emily Ladau, a writer, disability rights activist, and the owner of Social Justice Media Services

By Guest Blogger Emily Ladau, Owner, Social Justice Media Services

When speaking to established activists, elected officials or anyone from generations before me whose work is deeply entrenched in the progress of the disability rights movement, I often find myself wondering if my thoughts and ideas will be considered viable contributions. It seems that to some, the ripe young age of (nearly) 24 means I’m much too young to be experienced in sparking change or well-informed enough to express anything of value. Sadly, I’ve noticed such ageism from time to time among disability activists, even as we work towards being a community dedicated to fighting prejudice and discrimination. At the same time, I’ve found some incredible mentors within the disability community – ones who have inspired me not only to learn from them, but also to consider how I can continually do my best to contribute.

As the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act approaches, I’ve been reflecting on how we can deepen connections across generations of disability rights activists and how we can remember that we share common goals. Each time I think about it, my mind is drawn to the metaphor of a garden. If you’ve read much of my writing, my words usually have more of an edge than comparing activism to a garden, so this may sound a bit sappy, but stick with me.

Assume you have a garden, one that you’ve worked on growing with love and care for decades. The garden thrives from your efforts, but as time passes, working single-handedly to keep the garden going takes its toll. Amidst the lush green you find some plants overgrown, some patches struggling to blossom. Certainly, a person to help tend the garden couldn’t hurt. But it’s your garden and to give someone else a chance to care for it feels as though you’re letting go of your hard work. That person will tend to the plants with strong roots, but also suggests sowing new seeds. How could you possibly agree to this when you’ve always gone about your gardening in a certain way?

You may not always agree on which weeds to pull first, where to place new flowers or which type of vegetable is best to grow, because no two people think exactly alike. But if you mentor the young gardener and invite the new seedlings to blossom in your garden, together, you’ll reap the bounties of keeping the garden alive.

I have found myself in this garden many times and I know it’s exactly where we all need to be to keep the Disability Rights Movement moving forward.

Just recently, I laid out my feedback about a New York State disability-related program to a senior staff member during a dinner event and wondered if my voice would be heard. And it was, along with the other young advocates who sat at the table. The staff member took the time to hear our suggestions, to say, ”Here’s my take-away from what you said.” He took the time to provide thoughtful responses, and to share his insights as to why we might have encountered certain issues and whether our ideas had potential to be turned into workable plans.

Of course, I know that in just sharing ideas, the work is far from done. And I know that after determining which ideas will be heeded and brought to action, the work still is far from done. But inviting open discussion and collaboration on furthering the movement at the very least waters and nourishes the garden of progress. To feel heard, to be listened to, to take part in planting new seeds – these are the most important things. Because without tending to a garden, a garden will never grow.

About the Guest Blogger

Emily Ladau is a writer, disability rights activist, and the owner of Social Justice Media Services. Her passion is to harness the powers of language and social media as tools for people to become informed and engaged social justice advocates. She maintains a blog, Words I Wheel By, as a platform to address discrimination and to encourage people to understand the experience of having a disability in more positive, accepting, and supportive ways. Emily invites you to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Promote Health Equity During LGBT Pride Month

 

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Promote Health Equity During LGBT Pride Month

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has unique health experiences and needs, and often faces disparities linked to prejudice, discrimination, and denial of civil and human rights.

SAMHSA is committed to addressing behavioral health disparities among vulnerable populations, including LGBT Americans, and will continue to work toward improving the access, quality, and outcomes of behavioral health services nationwide.

During LGBT Pride Month, celebrate progress toward the health and welfare of America's LGBT community, and access SAMHSA's resources for LGBT health.

Get Publications for the LGBT Community

Access Resources To Help Improve LGBT Behavioral Health



Update: United Airlines to Pay over $1 Million to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit

Disability.gov Update: United Airlines to Pay over $1 Million to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit

 

Disability.gov updates

United Airlines to Pay over $1 Million to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit with United Airlines Inc. The EEOC charged United with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by making employees with disabilities compete for vacant positions. The airline's competitive transfer policy often prevented employees with disabilities from continuing employment with United. If a disability prevents an employee from returning to work in his or her current position, an employer must consider reassignment. The ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. 

For more information about the ADA and other laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities, visit Disability.gov's Guide to Disability Rights Laws.

 

http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USODEP/bulletins/109ff4c# (link to the website)

 

 

 

Action Alert: Tell the House (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee to Ensure Increased Funding for IL in the 2016 Budget!

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Action Alert: Tell the House (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee to Ensure Increased Funding for IL in the 2016 Budget!
NCIL’s Executive Director, Kelly Buckland, testified at the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee’s public witness hearing in April, and in that testimony he requested that funding for the Independent Living line item be increased by $200 million in FY2016. NCIL members, board, and staff followed suit by echoing that request in written testimony. The US House of Representatives has not yet introduced the L-HHS-ED appropriations bill, and as budget discussions continue, it’s important for us to ensure that Committee members understand the importance of CILs in this country.
CILs provide services to millions of people with disabilities in their own homes, enabling them to be in control of their own lives and become less reliant on long-term government services. From 2012-2014, CILs provided the four core services to nearly 5 million individuals with disabilities. In that same period, CILs moved 13,030 people out of nursing homes and institutions, and provided services such as housing assistance, transportation, personal care attendants, and employment services to hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities.
The community-based services CILs provide save federal and state governments a tremendous amount of money. But in order to do this effectively, CILs need funding to restore cuts, make up for inflation costs, address the increased demand for independent living services, and carry out the new fifth core service effectively. And with IL now being the only federally funded program mandated to provide transition services, the need for funding is critical! Right now, the Independent Living Program is receiving nearly $3 million less in funding than we were in 2010. This is simply unacceptable.
CILs around the country fight every day to ensure that people with disabilities have a real choice in where and how they live, work, and participate in the community. CILs keep people engaged with their communities and save taxpayer money. We need to make sure that Congress hears this message! It’s extremely important for Congress to hear from their constituents around the country, so please call your members of Congress and ask them to ensure increased funding for the Independent Living Program in the FY2016 budget!
Note: This is important for all members, but especially for members who live in districts represented by members of the L-HHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee. Contact information for the Subcommittee members:
 
Follow NCIL: Like NCIL on Facebook Follow NCIL on Twitter
 

www.ncil.org
2013 H St. Northwest | Sixth Floor | Washington, DC 20006 US

 

 

 

 

 

Bell program 2015 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 
Contact:
Kathryn Webster
Coordinator | Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning
The National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut
 
The bells are ringing for Connecticut’s first Braille camp for blind children!
 
                The National Federation of the Blind of CT will be launching their first Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Program, In Bridgeport Connecticut. The program will commence the week of August 10th, and will focus on building blind children’s skills in reading, traveling, and even baking. The program will run weekdays from Monday to Friday8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children ages 4-12 will also be given the opportunity to learn from blind mentors, as well as being able to hone their newly acquired travel skills by going on fieldtrips. Beth Rival, former president of the NFB of CT says, “The national federation of the Blind has been cultivating Bell programs all over the country, and we are pleased that Connecticut has a Bell program that it can call its own.” The National Federation of the Blind believes blindness is not a defining characteristic of any person, and the new Bell program will give children the confidence they need to compete in today’s world. This one-week summer camp will help to foster skills of independence, that will stay with them for a lifetime. The Bell program will help children realize their potential as proud, contributing members of society.
Launched as a national program in 2009, Connecticut is among nearly 30 states hosting this enlightening and uplifting program. The Connecticut BELL Program is now accepting applications, and we invite parents of blind children to visit the above website to learn about This unique opportunity. The NFB of CT  wants to work with parents who want to give the gift of independence to their child. Please direct any questions to Kathryn Webster, State Coordinator.
 
 

Disability Resolution Update--We passed in the Senate!

Hello, Friends of the Citizens Coalition For Equal Access,

Our resolution affirming the need for better accessibility to federal buildings, especially the installation of automatic doors in U.S. Post Offices, has passed the Senate!! If you are interested in the details, scroll down to the e-mail from Khaliyl Lane, aide to Senator Blumenthal. I highlighted it in yellow further down the page.

 

The Resolution may have problems passing the House of Representatives, but it is a great victory to have the Senate go on record as to the importance of this issue. Because the House is still up in the air, we still need you to sign the petition. Here is the link:http://www.change.org/p/the-us-congress-and-president-obama-install-automatic-doors-in-all-federal-buildings-offering-some-service-to-the-public-so-that-wheelchair-users-frail-elderly-and-everyone-can-get-in-thus-achieving-equal-dignified-access-for-all

 

Congratulations to all who have worked so hard to get this to happen, most especially our Co-Treasurer Ray Elling.

Veterans' Compensation for Service - Connected Disabilities Update

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You are subscribed to VA - Veterans' Compensation for Service - Connected Disabilities for Benefits.gov. The benefit program details have recently been updated, and are now available.

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Birth Defects Assistance - Payments for Children with Spina Bifida whose Parents Served in Vietnam or Korea Update

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You are subscribed to VA - Birth Defects Assistance - Payments for Children with Spina Bifida whose Parents Served in Vietnam or Korea for Benefits.gov. The benefit program details have recently been updated, and are now available.

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Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Veterans and Servicemembers Update

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You are subscribed to Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Veterans and Servicemembers for Benefits.gov. The benefit program details have recently been updated, and are now available.

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Smart Phone street navigation Apps

Transportation iPhone Apps for the Visually Impaired

BlindSquare describes the environment, announces points of interest and street intersections as you travel. In conjunction with free, third-party navigation apps it is a powerful solution providing most of the information blind and visually impaired people need to travel independently. BlindSquare is self-voicing, announcing points of interest, intersections and user-defined points through a dedicated speech synthesizer. Available for iPhone and iPad www.blindsquare.com  Cost $24.00

Navigon MobileNavigator North America transforms the iPhone, Android or Windows phone into a fully functional mobile navigation system that uses the latest NAVTEQ map material. The app offers text-to-speech voice guidance, enhanced pedestrian navigation, a turn-by-turn Route List, location sharing via email, and a Take Me Home function. www.navigon.com/portal/us/produkte/navigationssoftware/index.html  Cost $59.99

Update: Housing Department Settles with Virginia Landlord over Disability Discrimination Complaints

Disability.gov updates

Housing Department Settles with Virginia Landlord over Disability Discrimination Complaints

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has reached an agreement with Retirement Unlimited, Inc., a rental management company based in Roanoke, VA. The settlement resolves allegations of discrimination against residents with disabilities at two of the company’s rental properties. Retirement Unlimited was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act by requiring residents who used motorized wheelchairs to pay additional security deposits and buy liability insurance.

For more information about the Fair Housing Act, help finding housing, modifications to make a home accessible and other housing topics, read Disability.gov’s Housing Guide.

 

 

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Technologies in the Works That Will Improve Quality of LifeTechnologies in the Works That Will Improve Quality of Life

U.S. Access Board Proposes ICT Update

By Guest Blogger David Baquis, U.S. Access Board

In February, the U.S. Access Board, an independent federal agency, released a proposed rule to update accessibility requirements for information and communication technologies (ICT). Long in the making, this proposal is the culmination of a decade of effort that began with recommendations from an advisory committee organized by the Board, the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee which comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders representing industry, disability groups, government agencies, and other countries.

The proposal, which is officially known as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), refreshes standards for electronic and information technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It also updates guidelines for telecommunications equipment issued under Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. The Board is updating both documents jointly to ensure consistency in accessibility across the spectrum of ICT covered, including computers, telecommunications equipment, multifunction office machines, software, websites, information kiosks and transaction machines, and electronic documents. Examples of ICT accessibility include captioning of videos, providing controls for captioning and audio description, and compatibility of websites, documents and software with assistive technology.

The proposed rule contains performance-based criteria as well as technical requirements for hardware, software, and support documentation and services. Access is addressed for all types of disabilities, including those pertaining to vision, hearing, speech and manual dexterity.

Read More about U.S. Access Board Proposes ICT Update

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Asking for your support of the Concurrent Resolutions before Congress

We need your help with an important initiative on the federal level. After several years of tireless advocacy by Ray Elling and other members of the Citizens Coalition For Equal Access, the US Congress will debate a resolution that would put the Congress on record as affirming the need for better access to federally funded facilities such as Post Offices. The whole Connecticut delegation supports the Concurrent Resolutions that have been introduced onto the floor of both houses of Congress, and we have even gotten a Republican Senator as a co-sponsor.

 

If the resolutions pass, the Congress will have affirmed that more needs to be done to make federally funded buildings fully accessible, especially the installation of power-assisted doors. The White House is also taking an interest in the Resolutions, although as of yet, the Executive Branch has not committed to doing anything concrete to support us. 

 

Below in black font is the press release that has gone out from the sponsoring legislators to all press outlets in Connecticut. Please note that the press release mentions the Citizens Coalition For Equal Access (highlighted in yellow):

 

BLUMENTHAL, AYOTTE, MURPHY, ESTY INTRODUCE RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING NEED FOR INCREASED ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AT FEDERAL FACILITIES

 

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) introduced resolutions in the Senate and House, respectively, that recognize the need to improve physical access for people with disabilities at federally-funded facilities.

 

“This resolution is about raising awareness and fulfilling promises that remain unkept,” said Senator Blumenthal (Democrat). “Tearing down barriers to individuals with disabilities is a measure of how good we are as a civilized society.”

 

“Americans with disabilities deserve equal access to federal facilities, and I support this resolution to improve access to these facilities and ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to engage as equal members of society,” said Senator Ayotte (Republican).

 

Senator Murphy said, “Since passage of the ADA more than two decades ago, the United States has led the way in helping people with disabilities integrate into every aspect of American society. Unfortunately though, accessibility for our elderly and disabled citizens at post offices, libraries, and other federally-funded buildings is still far too limited. It’s time to do our part and stand up for the equality and dignity of all Americans by passing this resolution.”

 

"Whether it's ensuring that a disabled veteran can easily enter a VA clinic or that a senior can walk into the local post office, we have an opportunity to improve access to facilities for all Americans, no matter their ability,” said Representative Esty“I'm proud to work with local advocates like Ray Elling to call on Congress to address a real need for so many families and improve access to federally-funded facilities."

The resolution is endorsed by the Citizens Coalition for Equal Access. “Thank you Congresswoman Esty and Senator Blumenthal for introducing this resolution,” said Ray Elling, CCEA Co-Treasurer and resident of Farmington, Connecticut. “Access with dignity and safety is so important and something that matters for everyone. You don’t have to be disabled—you may be elderly or just have a lot in your hands. Everyone benefits from the assistance of automated doors. Thank you for letting our voice be heard.”

 

WHAT WE NEED YOU TO DO TO HELP OUR CAUSE

1. A link to the text of the Congressional Resolution is on the CC=A Facebook page. Please go to Facebook and Like it:  CC=A (Citizens Coalition for Equal Access)

 

2. Ask your friends and family in other states to contact U.S. Representatives and Senators, urging them to co-sign and vote for S. (Senate) Con. Res. 12 and H. (House) Con. Res. 37.

 

     --If Senators agree to support S. Con. Res. 12, they should ask their staff to contact Khaliyl Lane in Senator Richard Blumenthal's office: .

 

    --If Representatives agree to support H. Con. Res. 37, they should contact Allison Smith in Rep. Elizabeth Esty's office: .

 

Thank you very much for walking the walk. We need every voice we can get.

 

 

URGENT!

We understand that the Governor's budget folks have asked the Appropriations Chairs to cut $200 million from the Appropriations Committee's budget. The Chairs are trying to hold onto as much of their restoration of the Governor's cuts as possible. They need as much help as possible. This week have your supporters call the Speaker,Brendan Sharkey;President of the Senate,Martin Looney; and, the Governor and ask them to protect your funding that has been restored in the Appropriations budget. Also have them call or e-mail any legislator they know who is supportive of your funding and ask them to talk to the Speaker, President of the Senate and the Governor to protect your funding. 

It would be good if your supporters are willing to ask these leaders to also support the full Appropriations budget and the Finance revenue package.

We are running out of time. They adjourn  We are at a crucial time around the budget I hope you can get these phone calls and letters into the leadership and Governor this week.  

Thank you.

2015 Carlson Forum & Annual Meeting: "Bullying and the Older Adult"

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The Fair Housing Act Protects People with Disabilities Against Discrimination

By Guest Blogger Bryan Greene, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

I’m Bryan Greene, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It’s a pleasure to blog again for Disability.gov in honor of Fair Housing Month. This April marks the 47th anniversary of the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing because of, among other things, a person’s disability.

In this post, I would like to highlight the issue of housing discrimination against deaf individuals, particularly the discriminatory treatment that prospective tenants who are deaf may experience when they contact housing providers. Deaf individuals who rely on assistive services, such as the Internet Protocol (IP) Relay system to conduct telephone calls, may experience less favorable treatment than non-deaf individuals. Some housing providers may refuse to discuss available units with deaf individuals, or may quote them higher prices or other inferior terms. If proven, such treatment of deaf individuals may violate the Fair Housing Act.

Recently, some of HUD’s fair housing partners have pursued cases involving allegations of discrimination against deaf prospective tenants. These groups alleged that testing they conducted revealed discrimination.

Read More about The Fair Housing Act Protects People with Disabilities Against Discrimination

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EEOC Issues Proposed Rule on ADA Compliance for Wellness Programs

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April 20, 2015

EEOC Issues Proposed Rule on ADA Compliance for Wellness Programs

The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking today that provides guidance to both employers and employees on how wellness programs offered as part of employers’ group health plans can comply with Title I of the American with Disabilities Act.

Workplace wellness programs are often used to encourage healthier lifestyles or prevent disease. Some of these programs use health risk assessments and biometric screenings to measure blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. Incentives such as lower monthly premiums can be rewarded to individuals for participation.

Although the ADA limits the circumstances in which employers may ask employees about their health or require them to undergo medical examinations, it allows such inquiries and exams if they are voluntary and part of an employee health program.  

The EEOC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking clarifies the circumstances in which employers are allowed to obtain medical information from employees under the American with Disabilities Act:

  • If an employee health program seeks information about employee health or medical exams, the program must aim to promote health or prevent disease, and not just collect information.
  • Employees are not required to participate in a wellness program, and they may not be denied health coverage or disciplined if they refuse to participate.  
  • Companies may offer incentives of up to 30 percent of the total cost of employee-only coverage in connection with wellness programs. These programs can include medical examinations or questions about employees’ health (such as questions on a health risk assessment). 
  • Discrimination based on disability is prohibited and individuals with disabilities must be provided with reasonable accommodations that allow them to participate.

 

The Commission seeks comments from the public that will shape the final regulation. The preamble includes 6 specific questions on which public comment is requested; public comment on the proposed rule and these 6 questions will inform the final content of the rule. The questions can be found on pages 19-22 of the document.  

Key issues include how voluntary disclosure should be defined in the context of this rule and how — and to what extent — notice requirements under this rule apply.

Comments can be submitted to the Federal Register until June 19, 2015.

Click here to read the proposal and make comments.

Related Content:

Click to read this set of Frequently Asked Questions from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Click to read this set of Frequently Asked Questions from Department of Labor, HHS and the Treasury.

Click to read this set of Frequently Asked Questions from the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

 

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Meeting Thursday April 23rd in Hartford!

Come together on Thursday! Here is the information regarding the face to face action up in Hartford. Taking the petition in person:

Thursday April 23rd, 10am, Room 1B Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue

•   10am Families will meet in Room 1B (our goal is to have atleast 100 families attend)

•   10:30 Press Conference 

•   Immediately following we will head to Governor Malloy's Office to present the petition and ask him to begin working with legislators to stop the DDS Cuts, restore funding and fund the DDS Waiting List.  

•   Tomorrow we will start making phone calls-details to follow.  

Keep the momentum going and continue to remind your friends, family, co-workers to "sign it and share it"! 

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-the-state-of-connecticu?mailing_id=28764&source=s.icn.em.cr&%3Br_by=10562510&r_by=2270896

Press Release from the Connecticut Association of the Deaf

Press Release from the Connecticut Association of the Deaf 4815

Resources for Youth with Autism Transitioning to Adulthood

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April 14, 2015

Resources for Youth with Autism Transitioning to Adulthood

On Sunday, April 12, Dateline NBC presented an hour-long special on the experiences of two young adults with autism as they turned 21 and lost their eligibility for school-based services and supports. The program vividly illustrates the challenges adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities often face during their transition to adulthood.

ACL’s experts have pulled together a list of resources to support youth, family caregivers, educators, policymakers and the many others who play a central role in a successful adolescent transition. 

 
 
     
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New to Medicare Presentations

New to Medicare?

Understand your Benefits and Options

Free Informational Presentations 

April 8, 2015 10:00 a.m.—noon

Agency on Aging of South Central CT

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite 1L, New Haven

April 13, 2015, 4:00 p.m.*

United Way of Greater New Haven

370 James Street, Suite 403, New Haven

April 16, 2015, 4:00 p.m. *

Burroughs Community Center

2470 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport

April 29, 2015, 4:00 p.m. *

Access Community Action Agency

1315 Main Street—Suite 2, Willimantic, CT

April 30, 2015, 4:00 p.m. *

Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging

84 Progress Lane, Waterbury, CT  

May 13, 2015, 10:00 a.m.—noon

Agency on Aging of South Central CT, 1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite 1L, New Haven

*  Please RSVP to Gabriela at 860-882-0236

 

CMS NEWS: CMS proposes mental health parity rule for Medicaid and CHIP

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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  CMS NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    Contact: CMS Media Relations       

April 6, 2015                                                         (202) 690-6145 | CMS Media Inquiries            

                                                                                                                    

CMS proposes mental health parity rule for Medicaid and CHIP

Proposed rule will strengthen access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced a proposed rule to align mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans with benefits required of private health plans and insurance. The proposal applies certain provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Act ensures that mental health and substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than medical and surgical services.

“Improving quality and access to care impacts the health of our nation. Whether private insurance, Medicaid, or CHIP, all Americans deserve access to quality mental health services and substance use disorder services,” said Vikki Wachino, acting director, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.

The proposed rule ensures that all beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or under alternative benefit plans have access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits regardless of whether services are provided through the managed care organization or another service delivery system. The full scope of the proposed rule applies to CHIP, regardless of whether care is provided through fee-for-service or managed care.

Currently, states have flexibility to provide services through a managed care delivery mechanism using entities other than Medicaid managed care organizations, such as prepaid inpatient health plans or prepaid ambulatory health plans. The proposed rule would continue this States flexibility in identifying varying delivery systems for Medicaid services provided to beneficiaries, while ensuring that enrollees of a Medicaid managed care organization receive the benefit of parity in services provided to them through these various means. States will be required to include contract provisions requiring compliance with parity requirements in all applicable contracts for these Medicaid managed care arrangements.

Under the proposed rule, plans must make available upon request to beneficiaries and contracting providers the criteria for medical necessity determinations with respect to mental health and substance use disorder benefits. The proposed rule also would require the state to make available to the enrollee the reason for any denial of reimbursement or payment for services with respect to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

“The proposed rule is a way to advance equity in the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services. The proposal will support federal and state efforts to promote access to mental health and substance use services as part of broader delivery system reform through the Affordable Care Act,” said Wachino.

The proposed rule is currently on display at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-08135.pdf and will be published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2015 online at http://federalregister.gov/a/2015-08135 , and on FDsys.gov. The deadline to submit comments is June 9, 2015.

For more information, go to http://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-program-information/by-topics/benefits/mental-health-services.html

 

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IForums 2015 - Public Housing Revitalization: Building Communities Together

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Join us at The Lyceum on Tuesday, April 21 for 
 
Public Housing Revitalization: 
Building Communities Together
 
What opportunities exist as the state undertakes
the revitalization of its public housing?

State public housing is a vital resource, providing homes to thousands of the state’s economically vulnerable households. With a 10-Year Capital Plan now available, public housing authorities are faced with new funding, development and management challenges. At the same time, new legislation provides public housing residents a prominent seat at the table in the redevelopment process.

Join us for a lively discussion looking at how housing authorities, public housing residents, technical assistance providers and funding agencies are using the redevelopment process as an opportunity to sustain a valuable resource while building inclusive and sustainable communities. Through two panel discussions, we'll look at how funding and technical assistance are being deployed, listen to first-hand accounts of the benefits and challenges of redevelopment, and share insights and lessons learned 
 

 
 
Details:
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The Lyceum, 227 Lawrence Street, Hartford, CT (directions)
8:30am – 9:00am: Coffee, pastry, conversation 9:00am – 11:30am: Program
Event is free. We expect strong attendance.

Click here for the event flyer. 
 

Click here for more information about IForums 2015
The IForums are produced annually with the continuing support of the following:
 
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Visit us at www.pschousing.org.  Contact us for more information about IForums 2015.
David Fink 

860-244-0066 

The Lyceum
227 Lawrence Street
Hartford, CT 06106
p. 860-244-0066
f. 860-247-4320
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