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Tag: disability

Bridges to Employment Webinar Series

A free monthly webinar series from the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition designed to assist people with disabilities to obtain and keep gainful employment

Hosted by Brenda Mosby, owner of Mosby Business Services and Dawn Howard, Director of Community Outreach for CCDC.

This month, CCDC launches the first of a five-part series designed to help individuals with disabilities overcome the misperception that working and benefits don’t go hand in hand.  

Each month we will explore a different, employment-related topic chosen to offer new skills and knowledge in the employment field. Webinars are about an hour-long, require separate registrations, and are completely FREE.

Completed Session Information and video

Part 1: Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities (Buy-In) High-level overview with Brenda Mosby and CCDC Appeals & Eligibility Director, Donna Sablan. Follow this link to view the recording and download the associated documents.

Upcoming Sessions

Contact Angela Nevin at anevin@ccdconline.org for questions or accommodation questions. (All accommodation requests must be received a minimum of three days before each event.)

Bridges To Employment Webinar Series: Videos and Supporting Documents

Information flyer for this Webinar Series:

Bridges to Employment Information Flyer (pdf)


Part 1: Medicaid Buy-In – Video and supporting documents

Part 1: Downloadable documents

 

Here is what is next in this series:
  • February 22nd, Part 2: Applying for Buy-In
    • A step-by-step application walkthrough with CCDC Appeals & Eligibility with CCDC Director of Eligibility and Appeals, Donna Sablan
    • Register Here
  • March 22nd, Part 3: Work Incentives
    • Join us to talk with a specialist about what other incentives and supports you may qualify for as a working individual with a disability.
    • Register Here
  • April 26th, Part 4: Transportation and Employment
    • CCDC transportation advocate, Jaime Lewis, will share transit options for people with disabilities, ensuring you can get to and from your new job.
    • Register Here
  • May 24th, Part 5: Personal Empowerment through Emotional Intelligence
    • Brenda Mosby shares her expertise in understanding and using emotions in
      positive ways to build relationships and succeed at work.
    • Register Here

CCDC Statement on Masks and the Americans with Disabilities Act

For Immediate Release
May 27, 2020: 

DENVER, Colorado—The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) is Colorado’s largest statewide, disability-led, disability rights organization. CCDC advocates for social justice on behalf of people with all types of disabilities (cross-disability). This Statement is made jointly by CCDC’s Executive Director, CCDC’s staff, and CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program. This Statement is not intended to be construed as legal advice. As set forth below, all information regarding how to proceed under the circumstances is made available by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

CCDC was founded 30 years ago to make sure that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became real in Colorado. To that end, we have been involved in both education and enforcement regarding the ADA. CCDC has been aggressive about requiring governments and businesses to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to enable people with disabilities to have equal access to any public accommodation. A public accommodation is any place where the public can engage in activities such as stores, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, golf courses, etc. Non-profits like CCDC’s office and meeting areas are public accommodations. (All information about what the ADA says is publicly available on the DOJ website www.ada.gov.) The ADA also applies to state and local governments (including special districts), transportation, and employment. 

We have learned that people who object to requirements to wear masks or face coverings are advising followers to state that they have a disability and that it is a violation of the ADA to require that individuals wear a mask. There are individuals with disabilities who cannot use masks at all or who can but only with great difficulty. Securing a mask may be difficult to impossible for individuals who may not be able to get a mask on and off independently and lack constant support from a caregiver or other person and for individuals with facial anomalies. However, we are aware there are others invoking this rule without cause.

It is our position that businesses and governments ARE allowed to deny entrance to people who are not wearing masks. In fact, we encourage it.

Public accommodations must also protect their employees and other customers. In fact, the DOJ already has spoken on the issue of the fraudulent claims by people who simply do not want to wear a mask and claim they have a disability as the reason why. The DOJ position states the following: “The Department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit ADA.gov for ADA information issued by the Department.” See *COVID-19 ALERT: Fraudulent Facemask Flyers* (DOJ COVID-19 ALERT). Furthermore, the ADA regulations in the section that governs public accommodations speak to this issue:

Sec. 36.208 Direct threat.

(a) This part [Title III of the ADA] does not require a public accommodation to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of that public accommodation when that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

(b) Direct threat means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.

(c) In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.

If a person claims that they are unable to use a mask, the public accommodation must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the customer in a different way. This must not involve requiring staff to take unsafe risks. A reasonable person can conclude that behaviors that are contrary to local health department guidelines are unreasonable and unsafe. Some examples of accommodations or modifications might include:

  • Telephone or video chat services
  • Curbside delivery
  • Allowing a substitute person to pick up and item with proper permission. This may include taking a credit or debit card number by phone and then allowing someone else to pick up the item with a special code
  • When possible and in some unique situations, delivering the good to the person outside of curbside delivery

CCDC recommends that businesses post a sign outside that says “Masks Required” and also provides a phone number and email address for someone to contact should they be unable to use a mask. Doing this will eliminate the need for an employee to have to debate the situation with an un-masked person.


“We want you to protect your employees. Some may have disabilities themselves, but more importantly, they are our neighbors, friends, and the essential workers that keep our community going. Why would anyone want to risk harming the people that they want to provide service to them?” Julie Reiskin, Executive Director 


Common Questions:

Can I ask the person what their disability is?

No, you cannot. You can ask why they cannot wear a mask, but it is irrelevant. You do not need to let them in.

Can I ask for proof of disability?

No. Generally, requiring an individual to prove a disability does not occur a complaint is filed and you are in court for an ADA lawsuit or before the DOJ for an administrative complaint. Remember, the person claiming a disability has the burden of proving their disability meets the strict definitions of the ADA to the court. If the individual who does not want to wear a mask does not have a disability but claims that they do and if the claim is fraudulent, the individual will lose in court. It is a risk. Fraudulent lawsuits have consequences. If someone asks for a modification of policy that is significant or maybe an undue burden, the public accommodation could ask for proof, but we recommend you avoid this and consult with an attorney before doing so. Having a condition or diagnosis does not necessarily mean that the person has a disability under the ADA. What meets the ADA definition of an individual with a disability is complicated and requires proof of a substantial limitation of a major life activity and more. All of this can be found on the DOJ website referenced above.

 What if the person has a note from their doctor?

That is irrelevant. Whether an individual is an individual with a disability is a legal definition, not a medical diagnosis.

How far must I go to provide services to this person?

A public accommodation must make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures. You need not fundamentally alter your business model or go to such extreme expense that it would cause your business undue hardship. A large business with branches would need to consider the entire company’s, not just one location’s, resources. Under no circumstances must you ever put your employees or customers in danger under the direct threat analysis.

What if my employee says they do not want to work near anyone who does not have a mask?

This is a reasonable request, and you should support this. Check with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for employee safety requirements. Also, you must follow state, city, or county orders that govern wearing a mask in a public location. You might violate the law by not wearing a mask. See also the DOJ COVID-19 ALERT referenced above.

What if the customer has a mask but it is hanging from their neck?

Instruct your staff to request that the customer secure the mask appropriately or leave. Confirm your staff knows to maintain appropriate social distancing restrictions of 6-feet as recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and other health authorities.

What if someone has a visible disability and their mask falls off? Are you obligated to help the person put it on?

No, you are not required to provide personal services like this. If you or your staff want to do so you may offer and then listen to the individual as they instruct you on how to do this. However, any staff person who feels compromised or uncomfortable must be permitted to not provide this level of assistance. 

Specific disability issues:

While there appear to be people blithely making up disabilities, there are people with real disabilities, and the rule of reasonable modification of policies always applies with the caveats set forth above. 

Deaf/Hard of Hearing:

Very few Deaf people read lips as it is rare but sometimes effective. However, some people who are hard of hearing do use a combination of lip-reading and hearing aids to understand others. If you can have at least some employees use a mask with a clear plastic panel to make the mouth visible, that will be appreciated. A face shield might be appropriate under the circumstances. You should conduct research regarding available types of masks and face coverings to ensure they are effective for the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus.

Blind:

If you have signage, please have Braille underneath.* Also, have available paper flyers in very large print (20 point font or higher) with the phone number to call for assistance. (Dial 711 for a Relay Operator)

Mental Health/Cognitive:

While some individuals may not be able to understand why they have to wear a mask or have extreme discomfort when something is over their mouth, the health risks of allowing people in who are not masked outweighs the benefit. Make sure not to challenge their experience or act like you do not believe them if they say they cannot wear a mask.

Physical:

Some people have facial structures that make mask-wearing impossible or may be unable to secure a mask if it falls off. For most of these individuals, the risk of serious illness or death from contracting COVID-19 is quite high, particularly for employees or other customers who already have respiratory problems and/or other disabilities that compromise their immune systems and are likely to understand mask policies.

Speech:

People with speech disabilities may be a bit harder to understand when wearing a mask. Feel free to ask them to repeat themselves if you do not understand. Most people with speech disabilities will be happy to repeat themselves. If they are unwilling to do so, they are not assisting you in the process of facilitating communication. Therefore, they should not be permitted to enter.

Perspectives from CCDC Staff with Disabilities


Michelle McHenry-Edrington Advocacy Coordinator and Air Force Veteran and her service dog Edgar
Michelle McHenry-Edrington Advocacy Coordinator and Air Force Veteran and her service dog Edgar

“I went into service because I wanted to protect my country and help others. I would never want to risk un-knowingly spreading this disease now even if my PTSD makes it harder to wear a mask. The mask makes me feel as though I am deployed again and in my decontamination suit.”

Michelle McHenry-Edrington Advocacy Coordinator and Air Force Veteran and her service dog, Edgar

 

 


Kevin Williams, Civil Rights Legal Program Director.
Kevin Williams, Civil Rights Legal Program Director

“As a quadriplegic with limited hand function, I cannot re-secure most masks if it slips off. I understand I may need to leave a store or find another way to shop. That is an inconvenience. However, as a quadriplegic with reduced breathing capacity and a compromised immune system, I believe it is very likely I would not survive if infected with COVID. As a result, I will do everything in my power to ensure that I have a mask on so I do not infect you.  It is a matter of simple respect and kindness for other people and should not be made a political issue or an issue of faking disability for getting an accommodation.”

Kevin Williams, Civil Rights Legal Program Director


Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing.
Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing.

“I know I am hard to understand sometimes. I am never offended if you ask me to repeat myself.”  

Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing

The Coronavirus & People with Disabilities

A Statement From the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

CCDC members have asked to hear from us about COVID 19 or the Coronavirus, and what it means for people with disabilities in Colorado. This memo will attempt to explain what we know to date. Please be assured that CCDC staff continue working (some from home and all of us safely), advocating, and ensuring the response efforts do not forget people with disabilities. We will also demand effective and accessible communication from all levels of government. If you encounter inaccessible documents, videos without captions, no ASL interpreters, or any other form of disability discrimination, please let us know immediately.  We created an email address for this purpose covid@ccdconline.org. Continue reading “The Coronavirus & People with Disabilities”

The Public Charge Rule Is Now in Effect Nationwide— What Does that Mean and What Can You Do?

Update: February 24, 2020 
From the Center for Public Representation

Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s discriminatory public charge rule goes into effect. The rule puts in place a new test for people who are applying for visas or green cards. It looks at people’s health, including whether they have a disability, and whether they have used or might one day use public benefits, including Medicaid-funded home and community-based services on which many people with disabilities rely because they are not covered by private insurance. This rule will have a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities and will discourage people already in the US from using critical public benefits to which they are legally entitled. Continue reading “The Public Charge Rule Is Now in Effect Nationwide— What Does that Mean and What Can You Do?”

Senate committee hearing on RTD oversight bill shines a light on services for disabled riders

Customers with disabilities say RTD needs to do a better job serving those who most need transit

John Barr, crossing an RTD bridge in a power wheelchair
John Barr, who has cerebral palsy, uses the wheelchair-accessible Regional Transportation District system in 2013. Lawmakers are considering an RTD oversight bill at the state Capitol. (Aaron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
By JOHN AGUILAR | jaguilar@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: February 18, 2020 at 8:31 p.m. | UPDATED: February 18, 2020 at 8:42 p.m.

Legislation that would tighten state oversight of the troubled Regional Transportation District got its first hearing in front of lawmakers Tuesday, and the focus was squarely on how well the metro area’s disabled community is being served by transit. Continue reading “Senate committee hearing on RTD oversight bill shines a light on services for disabled riders”

Block Grants and Medicaid Funding

Written by Kenny Maestas

MEDICAID MYTHS

  • Myth: Seniors, PWD, pregnant women, and children forced on Medicaid waiting lists under expansion.
    • Truth: No waiting lists to enroll in Medicaid. States must enroll all eligible beneficiaries (i.e., children, seniors, PWD)
  • Myth: Medicaid expansion led to longer waitlists for people requesting home and community-based services (HCBS)
    • Truth: Medicaid expansion has improved access to HCBS (9 of 11 states with no waiting lists are expansion states).
  • Myth: Medicaid Expansion has been an economic drain.
    • Truth: PWD, caretakers, and home care workers have all benefited directly from Medicaid expansion. Colorado added many jobs, and Medicaid helps the economy, especially in rural areas.
  • Myth: GOP Healthcare bill won’t harm seniors and PWD currently receiving HCBS.
    • Truth: Its per capita cap would make it hard for states to meet the need for HCBS, and cuts will increase yearly.
  • Myth: States will be able to manage better Medicaid funds keeping coverage for current recipients.
    • Truth: States must cover nursing home care under Medicaid. So, cuts to Medicaid will be to PWD living in the community. HCBS waiting lists will grow. Some states might end programs.
  • Myth: Medicaid expansion members are just lazy, able-bodied people.
    • Truth: There’s a minimal number of able-bodied adults not working, but they’re a distinct minority. Expansion members include many PWD, and others are low-wage workers whose employers do not provide insurance.
  • Myth: Giving expansion higher match somehow hurts those on traditional Medicaid
    • Truth: The higher expansion gave states infrastructure to improve the program. People with disabilities, elders, and children benefited from these improvements. The match for traditional populations remained uncut.
  • Myth: Medicaid patients cannot get doctors.
    • Truth: Federal statistics gathered over recent years show that the % of physicians accepting new Medicaid patients has remained around 70 percent. No support for the idea that the participation rate has declined under the ACA.

Continue reading “Block Grants and Medicaid Funding”

Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force

Overview

Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force – HCPF Website

The mission of the task force is to evaluate and set the roadmap to improve the current behavioral health system in the state. This includes developing Colorado’s “Behavioral Health Blueprint” by June 2020, with the anticipated implementation of recommendations starting in July 2020. Continue reading “Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force”

A horse is a sevice animal, of course, of course…

Listen to Colorado Public Radio (“CPR”) this afternoon, 12/30/19, at 4:50 PM to hear an interview by  CPR’s Andrew  Kenney with CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director (“LPD”), Kevin Williams, discuss service animals and the addition of miniature horses to the definition. You can find CPR on your FM dial at 90.1 (wait we do it some other way now, don’t we — sorry your Legal Program Director has been around for a while). In any event, the brief interview will air again today at that time. CCDC’s LPD also apologizes for having lost his voice on the very day the interview occurred. His very strange sounding voice is not the fault of the great people at CPR, we assure you. Continue reading “A horse is a sevice animal, of course, of course…”

Carrie Ann Lucas Obituary in the New York Times (Quoted)

View original article: Carrie Ann Lucas Obituary in the New York Times
By Katharine Q. Seelye
Feb. 27, 2019

Carrie Ann Lucas, who championed people, especially parents, with disabilities and won a major lawsuit to make Kmart more accessible, died on Sunday in Loveland, Colo. She was 47.

Carrie Ann Lucas, second from left, in 2018 in Windsor, Colo., with her children, from left, Asiza, Heather, Adrianne and Anthony. Ms. Lucas fought for the rights of the disabled, especially those who are parents.Credit...Carrie Ann Lucas
Carrie Ann Lucas, second from left, in 2018 in Windsor, Colo., with her children, from left, Asiza, Heather, Adrianne and Anthony. Ms. Lucas fought for the rights of the disabled, especially those who are parents.Credit…Carrie Ann Lucas

Her sister, Courtney Lucas, said the cause was complications of septic shock. Continue reading “Carrie Ann Lucas Obituary in the New York Times (Quoted)”


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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