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Cary LaCheen
National Center for Law and Economic Justice
275 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1506
New York, NY 10001
P 212-633-6967...
Which federal disability
rights laws apply?
Often more than one of these laws applies.
• Meaningful access and equal opportunity to
participate/benefit
• Reasonable accommodations
• No discriminatory effect fr...
• It’s about policies, procedures (with operational details)
and staff compliance
• One size does not fit all
• One except...
• Must provide effective communication with individuals
with disabilities
• Includes applicants, participants, beneficiari...
Auxiliary aids and services
For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing:
• Qualified sign language interpreters; notet...
Auxiliary aids and services continued
For blind/visually impaired individuals:
• Qualified readers; taped texts; audio rec...
Auxiliary aids and services
Which ones do you have to provide?
• What is effective for the individual
• Length, complexity...
• Must use TTY or relay services
• Telephone emergency services: provide direct access to
TTY users – not relay
• Policies...
Website accessibility
Websites must be accessible to:
• Blind/visually impaired people using assistive technology
• Vision...
Website accessibility continued
Accessibility means, for example:
• Web pages and attachments in format accessible to
assi...
Website accessibility continued
You will need:
• Knowledgeable web-designer/webmaster
• Web accessibility testing with com...
Website accessibility continued
Two technical accessibility standards:
• Section 508 standards
• WC3 Guidelines (WCAG)
Not...
• Must be accessible
Information kiosks
• Accessible Exchange websites, online applications,
information, and notices
• Call centers must be accessible
• Ability ...
• No right to first choice of auxiliary aid/service
• Can provide alternative if provides an equal opportunity to
particip...
• Meaningful access to LEP individuals
• Federal agencies - Language Access Implementation Plan
Communication with individ...
Communication with individuals with
limited English proficiency (LEP) continued
How to provide access:
• Bilingual staff
•...
Communication with individuals with
limited English proficiency (LEP) continued
In deciding what to do/for whom, should co...
Communication with individuals with
limited English proficiency (LEP) continued
Health and Human Services (HHS) requiremen...
Risks if don’t comply
Lawsuits/admin complaints have been filed against
• Social Security Administration - notices in alte...
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Cary LaCheen - The cost of poor communication with people with disabilities: A review of disability rights laws

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Presented by Cary LaCheen, JD, on September 26, 2013 at the fourth annual Center for Health Literacy Conference: Plain Talk in Complex Times.

Published in: Education, Technology, Design
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Cary LaCheen - The cost of poor communication with people with disabilities: A review of disability rights laws

  1. 1. Cary LaCheen National Center for Law and Economic Justice 275 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1506 New York, NY 10001 P 212-633-6967, f 212-633-6371 lacheen@nclej.org, www.nclej.org The cost of poor communication for people with disabilities: A review of disability rights laws Copyright © 2013 National Center for Law and Economic Justice and MAXIMUS, Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Which federal disability rights laws apply? Often more than one of these laws applies.
  3. 3. • Meaningful access and equal opportunity to participate/benefit • Reasonable accommodations • No discriminatory effect from program admin • Effective communication • Accessible electronic/information technology Federal disability rights law requirements
  4. 4. • It’s about policies, procedures (with operational details) and staff compliance • One size does not fit all • One exception does not fit all • Assumptions result in ADA/504 violations • Accommodations should be easy to get • RFP and contract language matter • Compliance monitoring is essential Rules of thumb for ADA/504 compliance
  5. 5. • Must provide effective communication with individuals with disabilities • Includes applicants, participants, beneficiaries, members of the public, and “companions” (e.g., relatives, friends, advocates) • Must provide auxiliary aids and services needed for effective communication Effective communication requirement
  6. 6. Auxiliary aids and services For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing: • Qualified sign language interpreters; notetakers; computer transcription services; written materials; written notes; telephone handset amplifiers; assistive listening devices; telephones compatible with hearing aids; closed caption decoders; open and closed captioning; and others • Voice, text, and video-based products and systems, including text telephones (TTYs); videophones and captioned telephones; videotext displays; accessible electronic and information technology
  7. 7. Auxiliary aids and services continued For blind/visually impaired individuals: • Qualified readers; taped texts; audio recordings; Brailled materials and displays; screen reader software; magnification software; optical readers; secondary auditory programs; large print materials; accessible electronic and information technology; and others
  8. 8. Auxiliary aids and services Which ones do you have to provide? • What is effective for the individual • Length, complexity of the communication • Must be provided in a way that protect privacy and independence • People with disabilities other than sensory impairments: Use low reading a level
  9. 9. • Must use TTY or relay services • Telephone emergency services: provide direct access to TTY users – not relay • Policies can have a discriminatory effect unless you make exceptions • Voicemail, auto-answering, routing systems (IVR) must be accessible • Email and texting are effective alternatives for some Telephone accessibility
  10. 10. Website accessibility Websites must be accessible to: • Blind/visually impaired people using assistive technology • Vision impaired people who don’t use assistive technology • Deaf/hearing impaired people • People with seizure disorders • People who use only a mouse, not keyboard
  11. 11. Website accessibility continued Accessibility means, for example: • Web pages and attachments in format accessible to assistive technology • Non-text elements need text description • Tables need text labels for each box • Page layout logical for screen reader user • Videos captioned and described • Text/color adjustable
  12. 12. Website accessibility continued You will need: • Knowledgeable web-designer/webmaster • Web accessibility testing with computer programs and people with disabilities • Monitoring/posting procedures
  13. 13. Website accessibility continued Two technical accessibility standards: • Section 508 standards • WC3 Guidelines (WCAG) Not the same but will be very similar after 508 standards revised. • Every state has an accessible website or technology law/policy adopting on or both standards • DOJ: website access required (no standards specified) • Complying with neither violates ADA/504 • HHS- Exchange websites: 508 compliance sufficient
  14. 14. • Must be accessible Information kiosks
  15. 15. • Accessible Exchange websites, online applications, information, and notices • Call centers must be accessible • Ability to apply online, by phone, by mail, and in person Health care reform
  16. 16. • No right to first choice of auxiliary aid/service • Can provide alternative if provides an equal opportunity to participate/benefit • Defense: fundamental alteration or undue burden - Burden is on you to prove - “It costs too much” not sufficient - Program budget/earnings relevant Limits on obligations
  17. 17. • Meaningful access to LEP individuals • Federal agencies - Language Access Implementation Plan Communication with individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP)
  18. 18. Communication with individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) continued How to provide access: • Bilingual staff • Oral interpretation (in-person and remote) • Verbal or written translations of documents
  19. 19. Communication with individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) continued In deciding what to do/for whom, should consider: • Number or portion of LEP persons • Frequency of contact with the program • Nature/importance of program/activity • Resources and costs
  20. 20. Communication with individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) continued Health and Human Services (HHS) requirements: • Translate vital documents into languages used by 5% or 1000 (whichever is less) of population eligible to be served or affected, and • Give written notice of right to get vital documents orally translated to other languages • Strong evidence of compliance
  21. 21. Risks if don’t comply Lawsuits/admin complaints have been filed against • Social Security Administration - notices in alternative formats • Treasury Department - inaccessible paper currency • Atlanta transit agency - inaccessible website, bus schedules • Universities - inaccessible technology • Banks - not accepting relay calls • Countless health care providers - no sign language interpreters Defendants lost or settled and agreed to provide accessibility ADA/504 enforcement agencies look at telephone/web/print information accessibility during investigations/compliance reviews

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