The United States Census Bureau, in its recently released 2003 American Community Survey (ACS) Data Profile, breaks down
Disability Status of the Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population for every state in the Nation by State, city, county and even census tract for persons 5 years and older. This information is very helpful in local organizing and should be used to convince local/state officials of the need for increased accessible housing, as well as for voting accessibility, employment, transportation services, SSI/SSDI, and other issues. It should be used to ask HUD to increase the percentage of accessible units above the existing 5%. The data is available on the Census's webpage - www.census.gov, click on American Community Survey, click on 2003 Data Profile, click on you specific state, county and census tract.
For the entire United States in 2003:
Population 5 - 20 years was 63.5 m of whom 4.1 m (6.3 %) had a disability.
Population 21-64 years 165.2 m of whom 19.9 m (12.0 %) had a disability.
Population 65 and over 33.9 m of whom 13.5 m (39.9%) had a disability.
Total population 5 and over was 262.6 m of whom 37.5 m (14.3%) had a disability.
Even though the 2003 ACS data did not break down disabilities by either type or condition(this data will be released after September), the 2000 Census did and found 3.6% of the population had a sensory disability involving sight or hearing, 8.2 % with a condition limiting basic physical activities, e.g., walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting or carrying, and other 2.6% had difficulty in dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home and 8.6% had difficulty going outside the home to shop or visit a doctor.
The 2003 ACS data did provide an employment breakdown: whereas 77.5 % of the 21 - 64 population without a disability were employed, only 37.8 % of the disabled were employed. (Steve Gold)
July 16, 2004 – Adapted from the Washington Post -- Hugh G. Gallagher, 71, who died of cancer July 13 at Sibley Memorial Hospital, wrote an early civil rights law affecting the disabled and a praised biography of former president Franklin D. Roosevelt's struggle with polio.
Mr. Gallagher, stricken with polio at age 19, played a major role in the 2001 decision to add a statue of Roosevelt in a wheelchair to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington. For years he told reporters,
"Don't let them steal our hero!"
While working as an aide on Capitol Hill, he developed and drafted the language of what became the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, a lauded precursor to the sweeping Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. His legislation mandated that buildings funded with federal dollars had to be accessible to the disabled, which many opposed because of expense and aesthetic appeal.
"Hugh's most outstanding contribution to the quality of life of people with disabilities was to successfully place disability rights on Congress' agenda for the first time," former Senate majority leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) wrote for an event honoring Mr. Gallagher in 1995.
By far his best-known book was
FDR's Splendid Deception (1985), about the president's ability to radiate hope and confidence while living in great physical stress. Many critics hailed the book's unsentimental approach to a long-overlooked aspect of Roosevelt's life. [Editor’s Note – This is a great book.]
Mr. Gallagher found that among the 35,000 photographs of Roosevelt at his presidential library, only two featured him in his wheelchair.
Project Vision - Proyecto Vision is the first bilingual National Technical Assistance Center for U.S. Latinos with disabilities. Latinos with disabilities face higher rates of unemployment and often have less education and, therefore, fewer opportunities than other disabled Americans and non-disabled Latinos. For information, call 1-866-367-5361 or 212-369-2371.
It is amazing how often airline personnel tell me I must let them put my small, lightweight wheelchair in the cargo hold by checking it at the gate, but I know from the Air Carriers Access Act (access it by going to http://www.dlrp.org/html/guide_to/acaa.html) that if I am the first wheelchair user to arrive at the gate, I can fold up my wheelchair and put it in the plane’s closet.
Nevertheless, I hear excuses from flight attendants that the crew’s luggage and jackets are in the closet or my wheelchair is too heavy (it isn’t) or it won’t fit (they don’t want to try). A wheelchair takes priority over any other stuff in the closet and at least one closet in every new (built after 1990) plane over 100 seats is required to have a closet that fits a wheelchair. I now politely ask to speak to the airline’s complaint resolution official (CRO - each airline has to have one at each airport). If that does not work, I can call the Department of Justice aviation consumer disability hotline at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY).
I have decided that even if asserting my rights mean the plane takes off late, I will persist because recently an airline damaged my wheelchair by putting it in the cargo hold and it would not work when I got it back. When they brought it to me, it had 2 heavy golf bags on top of it and the battery was damaged.
There are many requirements for various disabilities in the Air Carrier Access Act. It pays to know what it says.
Did you know it is illegal for a supermarket to lock out a wheelchair user by having a locked gate or some other kind of gate system such as metal stanchions (to keep shopping carts in) which prevents wheelchair users from independently accessing the store. No one should be required to carry a key to get into the store unless everyone has to, and, of course, they do not. If you have a complaint like this, the Human Rights Commission can help. Call Ted Finkelstein at (212) 306-7330 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In June, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in a split decision that cruise ships, including those of foreign registry, are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The case, Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line, involved claims concerning barrier removal and discriminatory policies by a foreign-flag cruise line. The Court ruled that cruise ships fall within the ADA’s definitions of
"public accommodations" and
"specified public transportation." On the question on whether the ADA applies to foreign-flag cruise ships, the ruling opinion upheld coverage of the ADA to the extent that it does not interfere with the internal affairs of a foreign-flag cruise ship. For example, discriminatory practices such as charging passengers with disabilities higher fares and special surcharges would be barred under the ADA since they have no bearing on a ship’s internal affairs. Other requirements of the ADA, such as removal of barriers to access where readily achievable, would apply only to the extent that a ship’s internal affairs were not affected. The decision notes that barrier removal would not be considered
"readily achievable" where it conflicted with international legal obligations or threatened shipboard safety.
The full text of the ruling and dissenting opinions are available on the Supreme Court’s website at http://www.supremecourtus.gov.
On August 6, 2004, Shawn Rae, Citywide Director of Pedestrian Ramps for the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), was interviewed by this paper. She is only in charge of pedestrian ramps (the official name for what are commonly called curb cuts), not sidewalks, and they are only doing new curb cuts right now as a result of the lawsuit settlement a few years ago with EPVA (now known as United Spinal Association). Soon they'll be doing Community Board 2 in the Village. Then Board 1 in lower Manhattan. It's hard to find contractors to do Chinatown and lower Manhattan because of the congestion and because they get so many parking summonses.
|Hole at foot of curb cut|
Photo by Jean Ryan
When the contractors start to make curb cuts, according to Ms. Rae, they are finding that there are many more complex corners than they originally thought there were, and she said United Spinal is agreeing with the DOT that the best way to deal with them is to tweak the process and perhaps put the ramp in a different spot or make an apex ramp (diagonal one). I told her that DIA would reluctantly agree with that, too, but only if it was the difference between no ramp at all or a non-traditional one. It’s very, very difficult for blind people and people with low vision, especially wheelchair users with low vision, to safely navigate intersections when the curb cuts can be anywhere. But if there is NO curb cut at all, then a wheelchair user cannot get up onto or off of the block and must go in the street. The DOT is still identifying contractors to do the complex corners.
In 2005, work will begin in Queens to do simple corners. Staten Island will be the last borough to be done.
I asked when this phase (simple curbs) will be done and Ms. Rae said 2008-2010. She said that a capital project is needed to see which ramps need more asphalt or fixing in some other way. At the present time, because of limited budgets and priority for corners which have no curb cut at all, the City is doing almost nothing about curb cuts that are already made and are defective in some way or where the street is defective such as a hole at the base of the curb cut or when the curb cut is a few inches higher than the street.
|Eroded curb cut|
Photo by Jean Ryan
We must, as an organization, and as individuals, demand that nonfunctional and dangerous curb cuts, whether it is a problem with the sidewalk, the curb cut, or the street, be fixed in a timely manner. As one who has twice fallen over backwards in my wheelchair on bad curb cuts, I know firsthand what can happen, and I don’t want to press my luck with a third one.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, Chair of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM), announced in late May 2005, the release of a report to the White House on Human Service Transportation Coordination. The unveiling took place at the annual Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) Expo. Prepared by the CCAM in response to an Executive Order by the President, the report outlines what it takes to coordinate human service transportation in order to meet fundamental needs, CCAM member's action plans, and five broad recommendations. CCAM is composed of ten Cabinet-level members from the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, as well as the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, and the Chair of the National Council on Disability.
The National Council on Disability's recommendations outlined in the report are targeted to strengthen existing transportation services to be more cost-effective and accountable, and to help providers be more responsive to people with disabilities, lower incomes, and older adults.
The recommendations address:
For a full copy of the report, visit http://www.unitedweride.gov/.
Access Currents is a free newsletter issued by the Access Board every other month by mail and e-mail. To subscribe or to send questions or comments to the Access Board, e-mail them at email@example.com or call (800) 872-2253 ext. 0026 (voice) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY). Mailing address: 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000; Washington, D.C. 20004-1111.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a division within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for protecting the nation's transit system, has posted updated guidance for air travelers, including those with disabilities, on security screening procedures. This information explains the rights of passengers with disabilities and details necessary screening procedures. Guidance is provided concerning different types of disabilities and assistive devices. These tips are posted on TSA's website at http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?theme=156
Adapted from NY1 – July 5, 2005 - There have been so many lessons learned after 9/11, but one group says there are more to learn when it comes to dealing with disabled New Yorkers. Susan Jhun has the details in the latest NY1 For You report.
Roberta Galler has been disabled since she was 10-years-old, and she says she moved to Battery Park City in large part because of it's accessibility, something that changed dramatically on September 11, 2001.
Things like finding curb cuts in the streets or an accessible bathroom were hard to find.
Galler was not alone. She was just one of hundreds of disabled New Yorkers that the Center For Independence of the Disabled In New York assisted after 9/11.
CIDNY took experiences of disabled New Yorkers like Galler and compiled a report entitled
Lessons Learned From the World Trade Center Disaster.
The findings in CIDNY's report offer two primary recommendations.
"One is to continue working with the broad array of social service agencies and first response agencies to ensure that they try to incorporate into their emergency and evacuation planning specific needs of people with disabilities," says CIDNY Director of Administration, Sharon Fong.
"Another thing that we're trying to do is just to get more social service agencies to train their own staff in disability awareness."
CIDNY is currently presenting these recommendations to a special advisory task force that's part of the city's Office of Emergency Management.
On October 20, 2004, Governor Pataki signed the Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Waiver Bill (A.11798/S.7715) into law.
The bill authorizes the creation of a Medicaid Waiver program serving Medicaid recipients over 18 years old who are eligible for nursing facility placement. Essentially the waiver will allow enrolled individuals the flexibility to use funding that would previously have been restricted to nursing facility care for in-home services.
"We're thrilled that the Governor signed this bill," remarked Bruce Darling of the Center for Disability Rights and an organizer with New York State ADAPT.
Advocates for seniors and people with disabilities have been working for nearly five years to move New York State forward in offering the types of community-based services that will be made possible by this Medicaid waiver.
Based on a previous Medicaid waiver for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, the new waiver could potentially save state taxpayers $96 million annually.
Advocates worked closely with Senator Meier (R - Utica), co-chair of the Senate's Medicaid Reform Task Force, to develop the legislation, which was passed unanimously in both the NYS Senate and Assembly. Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D - Ulster), the Center for Disability Rights, and the Resource Center for Independent Living were also involved in getting this bill passed.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will launch a new demonstration project in 2005 to try to determine how to keep costs down for the Medicare consumers costing the system the most.
"Care Management for High-Cost Beneficiaries," a three-year program stipulated in last year’s Medicare overhaul law, targets the 15 percent of older adults and people with disabilities who, according to CMS, account for 75 percent of Medicare expenditures. While CMS Administrator Mark McClellan and others are optimistic about this demonstration, the solutions it may generate have not been explicitly articulated. (MEDICARE WATCH, Medicare Rights Center Vol. 7, No. 19: October 6, 2004)
October 26, 2004 - (Washington, DC) President Bush yesterday signed the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, which will ensure that millions of people with disabilities have access to the technology they need to help them be independent in school, at home, the workplace and in the community. Every state and US territory has an Assistive Technology Act Program (AT Program) funded under the provisions of the Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988. Legislation supporting the State AT Programs was scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2004. The AT Act of 2004 supports the continuance of State AT Programs and eliminates the sunset provision.
This website was designed to help visually impaired users by converting Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files into HTML or ASCII text.
There are two easy ways to do this. The reader can either cut and paste a link into the online form, or submit it via email.
To access the conversion tool, use the following link:
This report provides extensive recommendations for policy, program, and research initiatives regarding the interaction of consumer-directed health care and the needs of individuals with disabilities.
"Taken as a whole, these recommendations imply a major shift in the way government, private agencies, and even to some extent consumer organizations think about organizing and locating, and managing health care for people with disabilities."
National Council on Disability, Consumer-Directed Health Care: How Well Does It Work? (Oct. 26, 2004).
A print version or alternative format versions are available by calling 202-272-2004.
On June 8, 2005, the Justice Department announced the resolution of a lawsuit with Regal Entertainment Group filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit challenged the construction of stadium-style movie theaters that fail to provide persons who use wheelchairs seating and line of sight comparable to that of the general public. Regal, the largest movie theater chain in the country with 3,500 screens, agreed to place wheelchair seating near the middle of the auditorium in all future construction, and to make changes to nearly 1000 existing stadium-style theaters by moving wheelchair seating further back from the screen.
"Face"Phone Helps Hearing Impaired
A new device is currently in development that will help individuals with hearing impairments, particularly those who lip read, to communicate over the phone.
The device resembles a laptop computer and uses speech recognition software to relay the conversation to the display where a digitized face will speak the words, enabling the user to read the lips.
The following quotation reveals one of the reasons behind this new technology:
"This technology helps confirm what they thought they were hearing. When a person loses their hearing one of the things that suffers is their confidence in making telephone calls."
While there are some similar technologies currently on the market, such as video phones, this new device offers a dramatic advantage: only the user has to have one, whereas with video phones, both parties need to have a compatible device.
To read more about the device, as well as see a picture detailing what the device looks like, use the following link:
Is there a store, medical office, museum, haircutter, restaurant, deli, bank, theater, or other public place you’d like to be able to get into but can’t because there is a step? Don’t just kvetch about it. Do something! Fill out an easy One-Step form which is available in two ways on the DIA website at www.disabledinaction.org. You can print it out and mail it in (details on our website) or you can fill the complaint out right on our website in a secure form - no stamps or envelopes required. If you don’t have a computer and you want to have One-Step forms sent to you, call the DIA telephone number at 718-261-3737 and leave a message (with your name and address) asking to have the One-Step form sent to you. Irma Shore of DIA administers the One-Step program in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission. Irma says,
"For many years, DIA has been helping New Yorkers gain access to establishments in their neighborhoods and across the City. How many times have we wanted to go into a building and have been stopped by just one step?"
According to Violence and Abuse against People with Disabilities: Experiences, barriers and prevention strategies.
"a report by Laurie E. Powers and Mary Oschwald from the Center on Self-Determination Oregon Institute on Disability and Development. They found the leading ways to stop abuse of people with disabilities by personal assistance services (PAS) workers to encourage individuals to have multiple personal assistance service providers; Make back-up emergency personal assistance providers available to all individuals with disabilities who use PAS (paid / unpaid, family member / friend / formal provider); Allow individuals to choose who provides their personal assistance services; and Make it possible for individuals to pay their personal assistance providers at a competitive wage and to offer benefits.
To download the paper, go to:
MURDERBALL, winner of the Documentary Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Editing at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is a film about tough, highly competitive rugby players. Quadriplegic rugby players. Whether by car wreck, fist fight, gun shot, or rogue bacteria, these men have been forced to live life sitting down. In their own version of the full-contact sport, they battle each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs, pursuing gold medals and proving to themselves and to anyone who sees them in action that there is life after disability. The movie opened in NYC on July 8, 2005, and nationally later in the month. See www.murderballmovie.com
Recently MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) had a huge expansion and renovation, but they did not alter their auditorium where movies are shown. After the NYC Commission on Human Rights received two complaints, MOMA officials made some wheelchair spaces in the auditorium and renovated the restrooms to be wheelchair accessible.
Paul Reiss died on June 29, 2005, and a service was held for him on July 13th at Selis Manor. Paul was born severely deformed to conservative parents who didn’t want, or have the means, to deal with so imperfect a son. Paul, who had arthrogryposis (a muscle disorder that causes multiple joint contractures at birth), was raised since infancy in a series of institutions. His parents kept him isolated from real human kindness, even refusing to allow other families a chance to adopt him. Paul learned early how to use the little he had, to make himself more helpless than he really was so workers would spend more time with him.
Paul knew at an early age he had to read, write and do math, so he found visitors who’d bring him books and slowly taught himself. He managed to learn academics and get his GED. Eventually, at age 22 he found housing, personal assistant service and a power chair welded in a bicycle shop to fit his body. Then he signed himself out of the last institution and entered the world. He tried college and acting but it did not work out. Paul had problematic relationships with people. He had learned how to live in an institution but he could not function well in the real world. His health started to fail in 2002 and, although he fought hard to live and tried to change his ways, he lost his struggle.
The official attitude that a public facility is better than one’s own home must be wiped out. We must stop telling the parents of severely disabled babies that their children are always better off raised by the state. Families must have the support they need and not be torn apart.
Eastern Michigan University is using a new device called E-text to help people translate books and other text based materials into Braille. This device can convert a written test into an audio format and can take a 100 page book and turn it into Braille in 15 minutes.
Beginning in July 2004, a new voluntary standardized format for electronic files for textbooks was agreed to so that students with blindness, low vision and print disabilities could gain improved access to textbooks. The event was co-sponsored by the Departments of Commerce and Education in Washington, D.C.
When textbooks and classroom materials are produced using this voluntary standard, they will be in a standard electronic format that can be adapted to products ranging from Braille editions of textbooks to on-screen displays of text and graphics. In past years, the lack of a standardized format meant that publishers had to produce materials in multiple formats - often causing delays that meant students with disabilities did not receive their textbooks in time for the beginning of the school year. The Department of Education will fund two centers to support further development and assist states with implementing the voluntary standard, thus improving academic results for students with disabilities.
For more information on the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard, please visit:
Students with disabilities from the City University of New York (CUNY) have been working with officials to work out the kinks.
The Lives of Dwarfs: Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation, by Betty M. Adelson, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), was just published by Rutgers University Press.
The book is a social history of persons with dwarfism, chronicling their lives from ancient Egypt to the present day, with special attention given their appearance in the arts. It describes the group’s ongoing struggle to cope with ridicule, as well as the lives of ordinary and eminent individuals throughout history. The Library Journal has called this book
"perhaps the definitive study of the subject. Beautifully written. Totally absorbing."
July 9, 2004 - NY Daily News - If you hear voices at the corner of Sixth Ave. and 23rd St., and no one is standing nearby, you may not be losing your marbles. In a pilot program aimed at increasing pedestrian safety, the Department of Transportation recently installed a high-tech audio system on two corner lampposts that tells pedestrians to
"wait...wait...wait" while traffic is flowing on the avenue.
Then, when the traffic light turns red, a computerized voice from the boxes shouts,
"Sixth Ave., walk sign is on to cross Sixth Ave."
The boxes beep until the voices are activated by pressing a button.
"I had no idea what it was," Russ Lawrence of Murray Hill said.
"I heard the robotic beeping and thought it was a Geiger counter. I thought I was radioactive."
The sound systems were installed at the intersection because it's near Visions Services for the Blind at Selis Manor - a community service center and residence for the visually impaired, DOT spokesman Tom Cocola said.
The talking signals are helpful but the DOT should turn up the volume, said Hava Weiss, the center's volunteer coordinator.
"A lot of our clients are also hearing-impaired, and they say they can't hear the voice," she said.
"This could be a great thing for them, but it needs to be louder."
There are five other intersections in the city that give audible alerts - buzzing noises or even birdlike chirping signaling the all clear to cross. But this is the first intersection that talks, Cocola said.
The DOT may place the talking boxes at other crossroads near senior centers or other facilities used by the visually impaired, Cocola said.
A DIA member has worked to get 30-second public service announcements on the topics of not blocking wheelchair accessible parking spaces or curb cuts (pedestrian ramps). The announcements will reach up to 10 million people and will be shown statewide in mid-fall on major stations which Time-Warner carries.
Note from Edith Prentiss -- The Medicare wait is a major issue in the disability community, along with the fact that New York State's EPIC program, a program to assist seniors with purchasing medications, excludes the under 65. Until now, NYS has also left those of us under 62 out of the SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) program but includes disabled home owners and cooperators.
New York City, October 18, 2004 — Some of the most medically needy individuals in our society—uninsured disabled adults—are further challenged in obtaining needed health care by Medicare’s two-year waiting period for the disabled, says a new report, Waiting for Medicare: Experiences of Uninsured People with Disabilities in the Two-Year Waiting Period for Medicare from The Commonwealth Fund and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. There is no waiting period for a 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary. The report recommends that the waiting period for people with disabilities be eliminated and that coverage begin when a person is determined to have a serious disability and qualifies for SSDI.
An estimated one-third of the 1.2 million disabled Americans currently in the waiting period for Medicare lack health insurance. Nearly half have incomes below the federal poverty line, often because their disability leaves them unable to work. Many can’t obtain care that could help them better manage their conditions, remain healthy and possibly work. See the report at www.cmwf.org.