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The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) have begun a partnership to establish a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices for disability employment inclusion and accessibility. The new index - currently referred to as the "Disability Equality IndexSM" - will provide employers with a transparent, objective road-map for improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The index will be released in 2013. For more, visit AAPD or USBLN.
If you or a loved on receives Medicare benefits, check out the latest edition of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' handbook Medicare & You. You will find all of the essential information for obtaining the prescription and medical coverage you need to stay healthy in 2013. You will also learn more about the new preventive services and prescription drug gap assistance, now being offered under the Affordable Care Act. Learn about this, and more in the new handbook.
Read the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Theme for 2012: Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all at UN Commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Message for 2012 . "Persons with disabilities have a significant positive impact on society, and their contributions can be even greater if we remove barriers to their participation. With more than one billion persons with disabilities in our world today, this is more important than ever." .... "Our challenge is to provide all people with the equality of access they need and deserve. Ultimately, this will create a better world for all." - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
According to the U.N. about 126 countries have ratified the Disabilities Rights convention and it is backed by the Obama administration and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, however the Senate has yet to ratify it. There are Senators opposing the treaty, so amendments are being worked on. Ratifying the treaty will cause no change to U.S. law and it would allow the U.S. to take a leadership position on disability rights throughout the world and ensure Americans with disabilities the same protections they have here in the U.S. when they travel abroad.
For more information, visit the news article from Disability Scoop: Fate Of Disability Treaty Unclear In Senate
Healthline just launched an interactive tool that shows the correlation between sun exposure, vitamin D, and MS rates. You can find it at: http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/vitamin-d. Australian researchers are about to launch the world's first large-scale clinical trial to measure vitamin D's effectiveness as a preventative treatment for MS.
Disability.gov wants to know what is your connection to disability. What's Your Connection? will run from October 30, 2012 to July 31, 2013. Join in this effort to spark conversations and build support for inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and in their communities. Share how having or knowing someone who has a disability has touched your life. You can either e-mail a photograph in JPG format, along with a 250-word maximum caption, to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload a captioned, one-minute video to your personal YouTube page. Be sure to include the hashtag, #myconnection2, in the title.
See our NHU Advocacy Alerts with information on Presidential candidates' positions on disability issues and voting at National Disability Legislation News . Did you know you can vote early? Early voting starts in many states. Visit your local municipal clerk’s office to request a ballot! Why stand in lines on election day - get out there and vote today!
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced more than $24 million will be going to 22 states to help recruit, retain and train highly-qualified special educators. Awards of between $539,304 and $2.2 million will go to Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Read the following article from Disability.gov on National Disability Employment Awareness Month - NDEAM 2012: The Value of Work By Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy (Reposted from DOL’s (Work in Progress) Blog) What can YOU do? Employers should reevaluate their needs for their labor force and people with disabilities should reevaluate their talents and work ethic. Value for both employers and employees by hiring people with disabilities. "America’s future success requires us to capitalize on the talents of all segments of the population, and the responsibility for making that happen must be shared. There is something everyone can do—every day of every month."
Philanthropist Tom Golisano recently pledged $12 million over four years to expand Special Olympics' health-related services to people with intellectual disabilities (ID). This contribution will allow for the launch of a new Healthy Communities initiative, through which 1,500 clinics will be established to address the unique health care needs of people with ID. The 4 year plan calls for clinics in Arizona, Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin and New York, as well as in a number of countries worldwide. The grant also provides for training on the specific health needs of people with ID for approximately 5,000 health care professionals as well as 60 mini-grant awards to replicate and expand the work of the Healthy Community projects. For more on this exciting initiative, check out the full press release.
July 26th, 2012 was proclaimed the 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act and a day to celebrate by President Obama. In his proclamation, the President described the work and advocacy of citizens with disabilities to tear down barriers and secure protections for the same "fundamental rights and freedoms afforded to each of us by our Nation's founding documents." With this historic piece of civil rights legilation we became the first nation to give equality to its citizens with disabilities. He outlined what his administration has done to "build on the legacy of the ADA"
1. The Affordable Care Act - insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with disabilities because of pre-existing conditions, medical history or genetic information.
2. Protect and strengthened Medicare and Medicaid by improving benefits and opposing proposals that would shift costs to seniors and persons with disabilities.
3. Establishment of the Administration for Community Living at the Department of Health and Human Services to help ensure people with disabilities have the support they need to live with respect and dignity in their communities and to be fully included in our national life.
4. New standards for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that will help measure and improve outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
He concluded with thoughts on the barriers that remain, we can pay tribute to the advocates and how Americans with disabilities have become leaders in every field and celebrate their contributions to our Nation.
The opening drew a crowd of 60,000 in the UK and more than 2 million have bought tickets to the athletic events. The International Paralympic Committee reports a record 4,280 Paralympians from 165 countries will participate in the games. The US team is sending 227 paralympians, 20 of whom are veterans. Although there is increased air time in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, NBC will show only 4 one hour highlights of the games and a 90 minute program after the games close. Visit the Huffington Post Article - Paralympics 2012: Disabled Vets Inspire Record U.S. Media Coverage
National Disability Institute, in partnership with Acorda Therapeutics will host a FREE 6-part Financial Wellness webinar series that will address financial, tax and public benefits topics for people living with disabilities, their families and care teams. The series will kick off on Wednesday, September 5, 2012, with the following schedule:
You may sign up for whichever topics are useful to you. Visit, Real Economic Impact to learn more and to register.
As protesters were out in force against Goodwill's practice of paying less than minimum wage to their employees with severe disabilities, the National Council on Disability (NCD) called for a phase out of the Federal program that allows this practice. A 1930s era federal program, knowns as 14(c), grants employers special permission to pay those with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. The reasoning behind the program is that people with severe disabilities perform at a slower pace than those without, and therefore would not be employable without a concession on wage. The NCD proposal calls for a six year phase out to allow for the transition to supported employment programs for the approximately 420,000 Americans with disabilities who are currently employed under the 14(c) arrangement.
While disability advocates cheer this proposal, parents and family members of those in the program fear the consequences of the phase out. According to one parent of an adult child with a severe disability, "My 35 year old [son] who struggles with severe cognitive limitations and Cerebral Palsy has grown and flourished in his “subminimum wage” program. There are exceptional programs that would be decimated should the 14c be phased out. My son could not “transition to a supported employment environment”. And once again it is the parents who are hung out to dry to figure out what they can do to make their children’s lives meaningful and fulfilling."
Several similar proposals never moved forward. To express your opinion, contact the National Council on Disability, 202-272-2004 (Voice), 202-272-2074 (TTY), email@example.com.
Read the Report on Subminimum Wage and Supported Employment.
Everyone Matters is a national campaign aimed at spreading the message of love and acceptance of all humans; no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and so on. The campaign encourages the sharing of photos and videos declaring who you are and what you believe in. There are also opportunities to start a blog. Check it out and give yourself a shout out!
In the Current Population Report, Americans with Disabilities: 2010, Household Economic Studies, the US Census Bureau takes an important look at how Americans with Disabilities are woven into the US economy. Key findings include:
Personnel Management (OPM) reports that more than 200,000 people with disabilities now work for the federal government, also the most in 20 years. Over 3,000 federal employees from more than 56 agencies have been trained on recruitment techniques and all cabinet level agencies have attended trainings hosted by Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The federal hiring community is better prepared to hire the talented members of the disability community by using the Schedule A excepted appointing authority to hire people with disabilities, providing reasonable accommodation, the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), and getting employees who become ill or injured on the job back to work.
Easter Seals Project Action will be hosting a free seminar that will explain the workings of community transportation voucher programs, such as the major players and stakeholders required to help start a program, the operational and policy considerations that must be examined, and marketing strategies that can be used to maximize the program impacts.
Time for registration is limited!!!! Please visit Easter Seal for registration information.
Veteran Gold Card provides Post-9/11 veterans access to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country.
My Next Move for Veterans is a Department of Labor website that allows veterans to identify careers based upon their military skill sets.
Veterans Job Bank is an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies specifically targeting them.
The recent report, Veteran Homelessness, released by HUD and the VA as a supplement to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, brings to light the alarming number of veterans who are without permanent shelter.
For more on this important initiative, visit va.gov/homeless.
On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, the National Bullying Prevention Center will host Unity Day and encourage the wearing of orange to support efforts to stop bullying. Americans and others around the world can take a stand against bullying by wearing orange, connecting on FaceBook, and distributing the bullying prevention flier. For more information about Unity Day and bullying, visit the National Bullying Prevention Center online.
For decades, citizens with disabilities have been waiting for the fulfillment of the promise of integrated, long-term care in the community. Thousands of individuals with disabilities are unnecessarily wasting away in institutions that are ill-equipped to fulfill the most basic of life needs, including belonging, participating and building self-esteem. It is hoped, however, that with the newly created Administration for Community Living (ACL), all that was promised so many years ago, will finally come to be. According to the ACL website, "the new entity will establish a formal infrastructure to ensure consistency and coordination in community living policy across the Federal government. The new agency will work with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop, refine and strengthen policies that promote independent living among all populations, especially those served by Medicaid." President Obama authorized the creation of ACL as part of his Community Living Initiative "to ensure the fullest inclusion of all people in the life of our nation." To learn more about the Administration for Community Living, visit the administration's website.
The University of California-Berkeley has long been considered one of the best post-secondary schools in the United States for students with disabilities. It's no wonder, given the comprehensive range of services provided via their Disabled Students' Program. What really sets UC-Berkeley apart are the extras that no other academic program offers; like their new Professional Development and Disability Course. Developed by Paul Hippolitus, Director of the Disabled Students' Program, Equity & Inclusion, this course addresses "the intricacies of work place culture, values and 'rules of the road'" when it comes to effectively marketing themselves as viable job candidates. "A class like this is absolutely essential in order to push aside low expectations and serious lack of knowledge about what it takes to succeed in the world of work," Hippolitus said. Offered for the first time this spring, the class has been very well received thus far. To learn more about this unique offering, check out the article UC Berkeley class prepares disabled students for competitive job market.
In the new report, Beyond Segregated and Exploited: Update on the Employment of People with Disabilities, the National Disability Rights Network reports that a vast percentage of all federal dollars earmarked for the employment of people with disabilities is going to sheltered workshops. Such workshops are often disguised as training programs that promise to provide the skills needed to move on to competetive employment. This is not the case for most sheltered employees however. They typically remain at the workshop for an extended period of time, earning less than minimum wage. This is a perfect example of the federal government saying one thing and doing another. The government has long touted the importance of integrated, competitive employment for people with disabilities, yet it is clear, the money is not following suit. The NDRN has outlined in this report, its policy initiatives and renewed commitment to ensuring workers with disabilities have access to competitive employment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"s new survey results show a rise in incidence, about 1-88 children in the United States exhibiting symptoms of autism whose cause remains unknown despite the research to date. A recent article in the Washington Post indicates that better case-finding, better diagnosis, doctors, teachers, and parents identifying children, may have something to contribute but it is evident to parents and organizations that autism has become an epidemic in the U.S. Advocacy groups are now considering environmental exposure or older parenthood as possible causes and may rule out genetic predisposition as this could not cause this significant rise in just a decade.
A model employer of people with disabilities, Walgreens recently announced that it will be launching an initiative aimed at recruiting, training and hiring people with disabilities for positions at their retail stores. This comes after a highly successful initiative at their distribution centers, which has served as a model for other larger corporations. Through this new pilot program, Walgreens is partnering with local service providers to identify and train people with disabilities for jobs as cashiers and other retail positions. The program is currently in place in Dallas, Houston, Chicago and New York as well as parts of Wisconsin and Connecticut. Visit Walgreens Disability Inclusion to learn more about this and other initiatives targeting workers with disabilities.
If you are legally blind and think technology would improve your life, the Association of Blind Citizens can help you pay for it via their Assistive Technology Fund. The fund will cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software for individuals who are blind. Eligible products must retail for a minimum of $200 with a maximum retail price of $6,000. Persons eligible to apply for assistance must be legally blind, have a family income of less than $50,000, and cash assets of less than $20,000. If applicants are selected to receive a technology grant, applicants will be asked to provide documents such as tax returns, bank statements and any other documents that the ABC board or it's designee would deem necessary to assess financial need for the grant.
Applications must be submitted by June 30th and December 31st for each grant period (two per year). Applicants may submit one request per calendar year and this request must be submitted via e-mail. Copy and paste the Assistive Technology Fund Application in a word processor for completion. Completed applications should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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