New Developments in Disability Law

A Key To Web Accessibility

Check out this article about website accessibility:

Accessibility APIs: A Key To Web Accessibility By Léonie Watson & Chaals McCathie Nevile

“Web accessibility is about people. Successful web accessibility is about anticipating the different needs of all sorts of people, understanding your fellow web users and the different ways they consume information, empathizing with them and their sense of what is convenient and what frustratingly unnecessary barriers you could help them to avoid.”

July 2016

New Guidance from the US Department of Education on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

The US Dept. of Education issued guidance in July clarifying schools’ obligation to provide equal education opportunities under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act to students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The guidance clarifies the obligation of schools to evaluate students and provide services to students with ADHD based on their individualized needs, not just based on generalizations about the condition.  The guidance also clarifies that schools should look at students who experience behavioral challenges or present as unfocused or distractible as possibly in need of ADHD accommodations, and should pursue evaluation. The Department released a “Know your Rights” document that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD. You can see this document at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-know-rights-201607-504.pdf

To see the full DOE guidance on ADHD, go to : http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201607-504-adhd.pdf

May 2016

EEOC Issues Guidance on Employer Provided Leave and the ADA

In May, the EEOC clarified and emphasized that employers may be required to approve leave for disabled employees as a reasonable accommodation even when that leave goes beyond the amount of leave generally provided pursuant to the employer’s policies.  Among other warnings, the guidance also specifies that employers will violate the ADA with “100% Healed” policies, (requiring employees with disabilities to have no medical restrictions before they can return to the job), if the employee can perform her job with or without reasonable accommodations, unless the accommodations would cause the employer an undue hardship.  For the full guidance, see https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/ada-leave.cfm

April 28, 2016

New Accessible Technology Website

The Department of Justice has launched a new Accessible Technology section for ADA.gov, its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Web site, to further assist people in understanding how the ADA applies to certain technologies, such as Web sites, electronic book readers, online courses, and point-of-sale devices.  Covered entities have long-standing obligations to make their programs, goods, services, and activities accessible—including those they provide online or via other technology.  The new web page compiles the Department’s technical assistance and guidance about accessible technology, as well as information about the Department’s accessible technology enforcement efforts, regulation development, and other federal accessible technology resources and initiatives.

Check it out here.

April 25, 2016

DOE Issues New Process for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Loan Discharge

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new process to proactively identify and assist federal student loan borrowers with disabilities who may be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge.

Read more about it here.

December 15th, 2015

Expanded Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

In the proposed settlement of  Lane v. Brown, a federal class action law suit filed in 2012, the state of Oregon has committed to provide more opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work in competitive employment, and not just “sheltered workshops” where people generally earn less than minimum wage and don’t have opportunities for advancement or to get job skills or training that might lead to better work. Continue reading December 15th, 2015

July, 9th 2015

New Disability Savings Accounts

SB 777 Passes, Allowing People With Disabilities to Save Money in ABLE Accounts and Not Jeopardize Their Social Security Disability or Medicaid Benefits

Oregon’s Senate Bill 777 passed into law in July, 2015, directing Oregon to create ABLE Act savings accounts so that Oregonian’s with disabilities (who became disabled prior to the age of 26) can have tax free savings accounts to use for disability related expenses. Continue reading July, 9th 2015