Thursday, April 3, 2014

SNA Blog: Tough Choices: People with Disabilities Face Housing Crisis

Here's an excerpt from a recent Blog posting at the Special Needs Alliance:

 

This is the first in a series of articles addressing scarce housing for people with disabilities.

 

The shortage in housing for individuals with disabilities has reached crisis proportions, with some special needs attorneys citing it as their clients’ number one issue.

 

“Pricing Out in 2012,” a joint study by CCD (Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities) and the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), found that “as many as two million non-elderly people with disabilities reside in homeless shelters, public institutions, nursing homes, unsafe and overcrowded board and care homes, at home with aging parents or segregated group quarters-often due to lack of affordable housing in the community.”

 

The situation results from a perfect storm of demographic trends, failed promises and budget tradeoffs. Prior to the 1970s, most people with significant disabilities lived in public institutions or at home with family caregivers. The history of institutionalization predates the nation’s founding, with the 1773 establishment of the first Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Mind in Williamsburg, Virginia.

 

Read the rest here.

April 3, 2014 in Discrimination, Housing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Justice Dep't announces ADA Title II settlement with Blair Co., PA

The Justice Department has announced a settlement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Blair County, Pa., to greatly improve physical accessibility at the county’s polling places for individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids and for individuals who are blind or have vision impairments.  The settlement agreement resolved an ADA title II complaint that the County’s polling places were not accessible.  The agreement requires the County to provide polling places that are accessible to voters with mobility disabilities and voters who are blind or have vision impairments. 

Find out more about this settlement agreement here.

March 18, 2014 in Discrimination, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 29: DD Aware Day

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to mark the occasion, The Arc is inviting everyone with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make plans to go out somewhere in public on Saturday, March 29 to break down social barriers, dispel myths and raise awareness.

Please share this message and encourage those you know with I/DD, their colleagues, friends and families to make plans to hit the movies, the park, a local shopping center or restaurant for a day out and maybe spark some conversation in the process.T

Check the landing page on thearc.org with more information and launch an email and social media campaign to encourage folks to join in. Plus, we have a couple of guest bloggers lined up for March to share their personal experiences on the topic of social barriers on The Arc’s blog (blog.thearc.org). Spread the word using the hashtag #DDAware on social media during the month of March. And, follow us  on Facebook or Twitter where we will be sharing photos and stories from everyone’s March 29 activities.

March 14, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Study Documents Relationship Between Parental Caregiving and Reduced Economic Welfare

Article:  The Vicious Cycle of Parental Caregiving and Financial Well-being: A Longitudinal Study of Women

Authors:  Yeonjung Lee1, Fengyan Tang2, Kevin H. Kim3 and Steven M. Albert4

Abstract:  This study examines the relationship between caring for older parents and the financial well-being of caregivers by investigating whether a reciprocal association, or vicious cycle, exists between female caregiver’s lower household incomes and caring for elderly parents. Data for women aged 51 or older with at least 1 living parent or parent-in-law were drawn from the Health and Retirement Survey 2006, 2008, and 2010 (N = 2,093). A cross-lagged panel design was applied with structural equation modeling.   The authors found support for the reciprocal relationship between parental caregiving and lower household income. Female caregivers were more likely than noncaregivers to be in lower household income at later observation points. Also, women with lower household income were more likely than women with higher household income to assume caregiving at later observation points. 

This study suggests that there exists a vicious cycle of parental care and lower household income among women. A key concern for policy is female caregivers’ financial status when care of older parents is assumed and care burden when women’s financial status declines.

Read the full article in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B

March 10, 2014 in Discrimination, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 17, 2014

DOJ says state bar committees may be violating ADA with mental-health inquiries

Via the ABA Journal:

Asking would-be lawyers standard questions about their mental health, including their history of diagnosis and treatment, could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  In a lengthy Feb. 5 letter (PDF) to the Louisiana Supreme Court, its committee on bar admissions and the state attorney disciplinary board that is likely to reverberate throughout the country, the division says some, but not all, of the questions asked in a standard National Conference of Bar Examiners questionnaire are unduly broad and violate the ADA. The DOJ also found that the state violates the ADA in evaluating bar applications from individuals with a history of mental health issues and admitting them to practice conditionally.

Read more.

 

February 17, 2014 in Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Legal Practice/Practice Management | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

President will sign Executive Order raising minimum wage for government contracts--including for those with disabilities

FACT SHEET - Opportunity For All: Rewarding Hard Work

 

Raising the Minimum Wage through Executive Order to $10.10 for Federal Contract Workers

& Calling on Congress to Finish the Job for All Workers by Passing the Harkin-Miller Bill

 

Today, continuing to fulfill his promise to make 2014 a year of action, the President will sign an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.

 

The Executive Order the President will sign today will benefit hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government who are making less than $10.10 an hour. It will also improve the value that taxpayers are getting from the federal government’s investment. Studies show that boosting low wages will reduce turnover and absenteeism, while also boosting morale and improving the incentives for workers, leading to higher productivity overall. These gains improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government.

 

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged to both take executive action wherever he can and work with Congress to increase opportunity for all Americans. Consistent with that pledge, the President will continue to work with Congress to finish the job to raise the minimum wage for all Americans and pass the Harkin-Miller bill so that all workers can be paid at least a $10.10 minimum wage. 

 

Details of the Executive Order

 

Ø  The Executive Order will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 effective for new contracts beginning January 1, 2015.   The higher wage will apply to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts.  Boosting wages will lower turnover and absenteeism, and increase morale and productivity overall. Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government.

Ø  Benefits hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans. There are hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government to provide services or construction who are currently making less than $10.10 an hour.  Some examples of the hardworking people who would see their wages go up under this Executive Order include nursing assistants providing care to our veterans at nursing homes, concessions workers in National Parks, people serving food to our troops, and individuals with disabilities working to maintain the grounds on military bases.

Ø  Includes an increase in the tipped minimum wage.  This executive order also includes provisions to make sure that tipped workers earn at least $10.10 overall, through a combination of tips and an employer contribution.  Employers are currently required to pay a minimum base wage of $2.13 per hour, a base that has remained unchanged for over twenty years, and if a worker’s tips do not add up to the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Under the Executive Order, employers are required to ensure that tipped workers earn at least $10.10 an hour.  The Executive Order requires that employers pay a minimum base wage of $4.90 for new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts put out for bid after January 1, 2015.  That amount increases by 95 cents per year until it reaches 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, and if a worker’s tips do not add up to at least $10.10, the employer will be required to pay the difference.   

Ø  Covers individuals with disabilities.  Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected because of their disabilities may be paid less than the wage paid to others doing the same job under certain specialized certificate programs. Under this Executive Order, all individuals working under service or concessions contracts with the federal government will be covered by the same $10.10 per hour minimum wage protections.   

Ø  Improves value for the federal government and taxpayers.  One study showed that when Maryland passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can help ensure better quality. The increase will take effect for new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts put out for bid after the effective date of the order, so contractors will have time to prepare and price their bids accordingly.

 

More info here.

February 12, 2014 in Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feds Announce An Inter-Agency Enforcement Effort between the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor re Employment of Persons with Disabilities

Across the nation, people with disabilities are often excluded from the middle class and from accessing real jobs in their communities. Instead, they are often segregated in sheltered workshops where they work alongside only other people with disabilities and earn far less than minimum wage. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, is working to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to the services and supports they need to have the opportunity to work in real jobs in the community, rather than just in segregated settings.

  • In June 2013, DOJ entered into an Interim Settlement Agreement with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence, resolving the kinds of violations that result in Americans with disabilities spending their days in segregated employment.  DOJ worked collaboratively with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a first-of-its-kind enforcement effort between the agencies to achieve relief for adults and youth with disabilities.
  • DOL recently announced that it has secured more than $250,000 in back wages for student workers with disabilities who spent their days in a school-based sheltered workshop in Providence, where they were routinely paid less than $2 an hour, if at all, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Together, DOJ and DOL are working to ensure that, under the ADA and FLSA, Americans with disabilities receive the protections they are entitled to.

Read the DOL press release.

 

February 4, 2014 in Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New report from SSA's Office of Retirement and Disability Policy addresses SS, SSI participation rates by African Americans

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey

Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)

Intro/summary:  African Americans encounter significant economic disadvantages, making them a critical focus for social insurance programs. Examining how the African American population uses Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI, or Social Security) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments clarifies the role these programs play in supporting at-risk populations.

Earlier research has explored various facets of the relationship between Social Security and African Americans. For instance, many studies investigate African Americans' low retirement benefit receipt rates relative to whites (Abbott 1977, 1980; Thompson 1975; Huntley 1979; Parsons 1980; Gibson 1987, 1991, 1994; Farley 1988; Hayward, Friedman, and Chen 1996; O'Rand 1996; Gendell and Siegel 1996; Choi 1997; Hendley and Bilimoria 1999; Gustman and Steinmeier 2004; Bridges and Choudhury 2007, 2009; Favreault 2010). Others examine the prominent role of children's benefits for African Americans (Newcomb 2003/2004; Tamborini, Cupito, and Shoffner 2011). This analysis contributes to that body of research by using a relatively new, publicly available, and comprehensive data source, the American Community Survey (ACS), to document the demographic and economic characteristics of African American OASDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients. It is designed to lay the groundwork for future detailed analyses of how African Americans interact with Social Security and related programs.

In this note, we first discuss the strengths of the ACS and the methodology of this analysis. Next, we present the demographic and economic characteristics of the African American population in the 2009 ACS. Then, we present ACS data on OASDI and SSI participation and benefit levels, comparing African American participants with overall participants in three age distributions: the full age range for which benefit statistics are available in the ACS (15 or older), working age (18–61), and retirement age (62 or older).

Access the article here.

January 18, 2014 in Discrimination, Retirement, Social Security, Statistics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

After almost 30 years, will airlines finally become fully accessible?

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its ongoing effort to ensure equal access to air transportation for all travelers, is requiring airline websites and automated airport kiosks to be accessible to passengers with disabilities.  In addition, DOT will allow airlines to choose between stowing wheelchairs in a cabin compartment on new aircraft or strapping them to a row of seats, an option that will ensure that two manual, folding wheelchairs can be transported at a time.

 

The new rules are part of DOT’s continuing implementation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986.

 

“All air travelers should be treated fairly when they fly, regardless of any disabilities they may have,” said Secretary Foxx.  “These new rules build on our past work in ensuring that our air transportation system is accessible for everyone, while balancing both airlines’ and passengers’ need for flexibility.”

 

Under the new websites-and-kiosks rule, covered airlines are required within two years to make pages of their websites that contain core travel information and services accessible to persons with disabilities, and to make all of their web pages accessible within three years.  Websites are required to meet the standards for accessibility contained in the widely accepted Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  The requirement applies to U.S. and foreign airlines with websites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United States.   

 

The rule also requires ticket agents to disclose and offer web-based discount fares to customers unable to use their sites due to a disability starting within 180 days after the rule’s effective date.   Airlines are already required to provide equivalent service for consumers who are unable to use inaccessible websites.  Under the new rule, airlines must also offer equivalent service to passengers with disabilities who are unable to use their websites even if the websites meet the WCAG accessibility standards.

 

In addition, any automated kiosks installed at U.S. airports for services -- such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags --must be  accessible to passengers with disabilities until at least 25 percent of all kiosks at each airport location are  accessible.  Even if no new kiosks are installed, 25 percent of kiosks at each airport location must be accessible within 10 years.  The standards for accessible kiosks are based on those set by the U.S. Department of Justice for ATM and fare machines in its 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act rule as well as the Section 508 standards for self-contained closed products, such as copiers.

Read more about the new rules.

November 14, 2013 in Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Travel | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cornell ILR webcast will address the benefits of hiring workers age 50+

Register Now!


"The 50+ Workforce:
High Potentials You Might Be Overlooking"



Webcast Date:  Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
Time:  12-1 p.m. (EDT)
This webcast is free of charge and will be closed-captioned.

Click here to view an introductory video from the webcast presenters:
One in five American workers is age 55 or older. Almost half of the American workforce will be 45 or older in the next decade. Do employers fully realize the roles highly experienced workers can play and the value they can provide? Are 50-plus workers prepared to extend their careers another decade or two?

This webcast explores what employers should know about a group that has been called the largest trained pool of future employees, and sheds light on challenges and opportunities faced by mature workers.

Panelists:
  • Susanne Bruyère, ILR School associate dean, director of the Employment and Disability Institute, and professor of Disability Studies, will share recent research, including findings of an employer survey focused on mature workers;
  • Linda Barrington, executive director of ILR’s Institute for Compensation Studies, studies employment and pay issues, and will offer perspectives on implications for maturing workers;
  • Emily Allen, vice president of income impact, AARP Foundation, will talk about strategies to effectively engage the 50-plus workforce as a solution to worker and skill shortages.
What have you always wanted to know about the maturing workforce? Submit your question when you register, and we’ll incorporate as many as we can into the webcast.

ILR Online webcast series programs feature expert insight and the latest research on today's world-of-work issues, giving you practical information that can improve your workplace and advance your organization. 

For more information about
upcoming webcasts, please contact Lori Biechele, Cornell University ILR School, 607-254-8941, [email protected]

October 11, 2013 in Discrimination, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New DOL Rules will assure minimum wage and hour protections for most home care workers

The Department of Labor has issued new regulations ensuring that, effective January 1, 2015, most direct care workers will be entitled to receive federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections.  Direct care workers are workers who provide home care services, such as certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, caregivers, and companions.  The rules are a response to the Supreme Court's 2007 decision in LONG ISLAND CARE AT HOME, LTD. v. COKE (No. 06-593) , 462 F. 3d 48 (2007), in which the Court upheld an exemption to wage and hour laws for many domestic workers. 

DOL has set up an area within its website explaining the effect of the new rules on workers, employers, and individuals needing home care.  Check out the new rules and the website here.

September 18, 2013 in Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Some employers see the wisdom in hiring older workers

Via the Ocala (FL) Star-Banner:

Older people searching for jobs have long fought back stereotypes that they lack the speed, technology skills and dynamism of younger applicants. But as a wave of baby boomers seeks to stay on the job later in life, some employers are finding older workers are precisely what they need.

"There's no experience like experience," said David Mintz, CEO of dairy-free products maker Tofutti, where about one-third of the workers are over 50. "I can't put an ad saying, 'Older people wanted,' but there's no comparison."

Surveys consistently show older people believe they experience age discrimination on the job market, and although unemployment is lower among older workers, long-term unemployment is far higher. As the American population and its labor force reshape, though, with a larger chunk of older workers, some employers are slowly recognizing their skill and experience.

About 200 employers, from Google to AT&T to MetLife, have signed an AARP pledge recognizing the value of experienced workers and vowing to consider applicants 50 and older.

Read more here.

September 14, 2013 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Call for Papers: "Applied Feminism and Health"--deadline Nov. 1

The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Seventh Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  This year’s theme is “Applied Feminism and Health.”  The conference will be held on March 6 and 7, 2014.  For more information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf.
 
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) and renewed attacks on reproductive health in the United States, the time is right to consider the relationship between feminism and health across multiple dimensions.  This conference seeks to explore the intersections between feminist legal theory and physical, mental, public, and community health in the United States and abroad.  Papers might explore the following questions:  What impact has feminist legal theory had on women’s health policy and practice? How might feminist legal theory respond to the health challenges facing communities and individuals, as well as increase access to health care?  What sort of support should society and law provide to ensure good health?  How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the role of the state in relation to health rights and reproductive justice?  What are the links between health, feminist legal theory, and sports?  Are there rights to good health and what are their foundations?  How do health needs and conceptions of rights vary across cultural, economic, religious, and other identities?  What are the areas where health justice is needed and how might feminist legal theory help?

This conference will attempt to address these and other questions from the perspectives of activists, practitioners, and academics.  The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories.  We hope to deepen our understandings of how feminist legal theory relates to health and to move new insights into practice.  In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers.

The conference will begin the afternoon of Thursday, March 6, 2014, with a workshop for conference participants.   This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees as participants in an interactive discussion and reflection.   On Friday, March 7, 2014, the conference will continue with a day of presentations by legal academics, practitioners and activists regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to issues involving health.   The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar.


To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday, 5 p.m. on November 1, 2013, to [email protected].  It is essential that your abstract contain your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address where you can be reached.  In the “Re” line, please state:  CAF Conference 2014.  Abstracts should be no longer than one page.  We will notify presenters of selected papers in mid-November.  We anticipate being able to have twelve paper presenters during the conference on Friday, March 7, 2014. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review.  Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume.  Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication.  Regardless of whether or not you are publishing in the symposium volume, all working drafts of papers will be due no later than February, 14, 2014.   Abstracts will be posted on the Center on Applied Feminism’s conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees.  

We look forward to your submissions.  If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Michele Gilman at [email protected]

And just a short note from the editor:  Feminists were nowhere to be found when Congress was discussing the CLASS Act provisions of the ACA, nor when CLASS was repealed.  Maybe someone can use this as an opportunity to point out the role that feminist organizations can play in assuring that women generally, or lower income women, do not get saddled with the obligations of "informal" (read:  unpaid) and low-paid caregiving for older persons as our elderly population skyrockets.

 

September 11, 2013 in Discrimination, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Comparative Elder Law: Analyzing European Court of Justice Cases on Elder Rights

Professor Israel Doron, thoughtful and prolific researcher from the University of Haifa, has an interesting new article analyzing 16 years of data from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on cases considering "elder rights." 

The May 2013 article, "Older Europeans and the European Court of Justice," is published in the British Geriatrics Society's  international journal, Age and Ageing.

While the total number of cases discovered (123) is fairly low, the outcomes largely favor the older adult, thus suggesting the potential importance of judicial remedies.  The cases studied predate the 2010 adoption of Article 25 of the UN Charter on Human Rights that recognizes core rights for older persons and others.

An example of the cases is provided by Professor Doron: "A man born in June 1935 was employed by the English Post Office until he retired. In 1998, aged 62, he was in receipt of a pension. However, he was denied a ‘winter fuel payment’, a payment that under State Regulations would have been paid to him if he was a woman."  The ECJ concluded the discriminatory treatment could not be justified as necessary to financial equilibrium of the social security system or to insure consistency in the benefit plans at issue.    

August 29, 2013 in Discrimination | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Upcoming Webinar: Defining and Delivering “Disability-Competent Care”

Leading Healthcare Practices and Training:
Defining and Delivering “Disability-Competent Care”
 
The CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office is facilitating a webinar series for interested providers and health care professionals, front-line staff with health plans and practices, and stakeholders to introduce and explore the many uses of the Disability-Competent Care (DCC) Model.  The DCC model is a resource for providers, health plans, and healthcare organizations to enhance capacity to integrate care for adults with disabilities.  Webinars will be tailored by audience and topic within this subject area.
 
Meeting the needs of persons with disabilities is of increasing importance as individuals live longer and the prevalence of adults with functional limitations and disabilities rises. With this in mind, this webinar will present the Disability-Competent Care model which is centered on the individual, delivered by an interdisciplinary team, and focused on achieving and supporting an individual’s maximum function.  Providers serving adults with disabilities developed the care model. 
 
This webinar series, and subsequent presentations geared toward specific audiences (e.g. front-line staff), will also seek the input from participants regarding how best to disseminate these and other Disability-Competent Care resources to healthcare professionals who connect with adults with disabilities at all points in the healthcare delivery process.
 
Please contact [email protected]  or [email protected] if you have questions in advance of this event.
 
The Disability-Competent Care model was developed by the Disability Practice Institute (DPI).  DPI is founded by three plans: Commonwealth Care Alliance, Community Health Partnership, and Independence Care System.  The Lewin Group, under contract with the CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office, partnered with DPI to create the Leading Healthcare Practices and Training: Defining and Delivering Disability-Competent Care webinar series.
 
Interested participants are encouraged to pre-register for each webinar in the series here.


Participant Dial-in #: (866) 615-1886 Access Code: 301728
Date (first webinar): Wednesday September 4th, 2013
Time: 2 – 3PM EDT
All presentations will be recorded and available for download.

August 28, 2013 in Discrimination, Health Care/Long Term Care, Webinars | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage: New Mexico Judge Orders County Clerk to Issue Licenses

Following up on Becky's posting today on same-sex marriages and federal benefits, it is timely to report that another state, New Mexico, has taken a major step towards confirming marriage rights for same-sex couples. 

On Monday, August 26, New Mexico District Court Judge Alan Malott granted mandatory injunctive relief in the state's most populous county (Bernalillo, surrounding the city of Albuquerque), ruling that New Mexico's Constitution prohibits discrimination in marriage licensing on the basis of sexual orientation.  Last week a similar ruling in favor of same-sex marriages was issued in Santa Fe County's District Court. 

News reports indicate that the Bernalillo County Clerk's office began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples today, August 27, 2013.

For those who might ask "why are these cases case reported on an Elder Law blog?," remember the lead plaintiff in U.S. v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, decided June 26, 2013, was an older adult, challenging the adverse estate tax consequences of the IRS's refusal to recognize the validity of her marriage, following the death of her long-time partner. 

August 27, 2013 in Current Affairs, Discrimination, State Cases | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Justice Dep't announces ADA settlement with NC

he Justice Department announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the state of North Carolina to ensure the state is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The agreement will transform the state’s system for serving people with mental illness. Under the settlement agreement, over the next eight years, North Carolina’s system will expand community-based services and supported housing that promote inclusion and independence and enable people with mental illness to participate fully in community life.

View the documents

To learn more about the Department’s efforts to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. and about the Americans with Disabilities Act, go to www.ADA.gov

August 23, 2012 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 20, 2012

18% of senior voters lack gov't issued ID, lose right to vote in many states

oting is easy, right? You simply show up. If the poll worker isn’t a neighbor, you might be asked for identification, but most anything will do. Then your name is checked off the list, and you vote.

Not so fast, James Madison. Over the past 18 months, state legislatures around the country have passed laws requiring voters to present government-issued IDs before they can cast a ballot. Some of the battles over the new requirements have moved from statehouses to courthouses.

See also: Follow our Election 2012 bloggers for campaign news.

Voter ID Laws can restrict older voters, Woman in an office holding a little stop-sign and paper that reads Voter ID Required

The government-issued voter ID requirement is an obstacle for many older voters. — Photo by Corbis

Proponents of the laws say they are needed to fight voter fraud. Opponents say there is little evidence of voter impersonation. They say the laws not only raise unnecessary obstacles to exercising constitutional rights, but also disproportionately hamper certain segments of the population, including older voters.

Eighteen percent of voters over 65 lack a current, government-issued photo ID, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. If the most stringent photo-ID laws stand, hundreds of thousands of eligible citizens could be disenfranchised Election Day, Nov. 6.

AARP voiced its position on a number of voter ID bills, and has gone to court to challenge the laws, as have the League of Women Voters and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“AARP does not view these cases through a partisan lens at all,” says Daniel Kohrman, senior attorney for AARP Foundation Litigation. “We should not be a society where voters are forced to jump through so many hoops in order to vote, particularly if they’ve been voting for decade.

Source/more:  AARP

August 20, 2012 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Center for Medicare Advocacy to offer webinar on LBGT rights, cultural competency, and health care

Interactive Webinar:
Cultural Competency/LGBT Issues for Medicare Beneficiaries

Scroll down to register now.

This webinar will focus on the topic of disparities in healthcare access and services experienced by LGBT people, identify certain advocacy tools available under the Medicare program and other federal laws to assist LGBT people in getting appropriate healthcare coverage and services, provide an update on the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards of the office of Minority of Health, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and offer suggestions on creating service environments that are welcoming of LBGT people.

Presenters: Deputy Director Brad Plebani and managing Attorney Alfred Chiplin.

The Seminar is June 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm ET, and will last one hour.

Cost is only $99.00 per site - so invite your friends!

No other organization will match our depth of information, insider knowledge, and practical tips. 

More info/register.

June 12, 2012 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Arizona Tops 50-State Ranking Of Disability Services

Via United Cerebal Palsy:

Arizona’s Medicaid program provides the best services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to a national ranking released Wednesday.

The annual list produced by United Cerebral Palsy compares services and quality of life for people with disabilities all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Arizona, Michigan, California, New Hampshire and Vermont came in at the top of the list this year.  Meanwhile, for the sixth year in a row, Mississippi was dead last, with Illinois, Arkansas and Texas rounding out the low performers. (Find out where your state stands »)

The analysis looks at a number of factors including the way people with disabilities live and participate in their communities in each state, how satisfied people are with their lives and how easily they are able to access services and supports.  The latest ranking is based primarily on data from 2010, the most recent available. Even though some states outperformed others in the ranking, those behind the report caution that all states have room for improvement. They point out that 268,000 Americans with disabilities are currently on waiting lists for Medicaid waivers which would allow them to receive home and community based services.  On a positive note, however, the analysis found that in 36 states at least 80 percent of residents with developmental disabilities are now being served in the community. 

 

June 6, 2012 in Discrimination, Food and Drink, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)