The following information provides a listing of national and local laws designed to offer assistance, benefits, & protection to individuals with disabilities.

 

FEDERAL LAWS

 

ABLE ACT  (SSI, Medicaid and the ABLE Act)

On December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law the Achieving Better Life Expectance (ABLE) Act. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

 

National Disability Institute (NDI) has long championed the ABLE Act as a critical strategy to providing a pathway to a better economic future for all people with disabilities. As the nation’s first nonprofit dedicated to improving the financial health and future of all people with disabilities, the organization has extensively documented and called attention to the daily reality and extra expenses associated with living with a disability, and the challenges of navigating the complex web of government rules to maintain public benefits eligibility.

 

NDI applauds Congress and the Obama Administration in enacting this unprecedented piece of legislation. Going forward, at the federal level, NDI will work closely with both Chambers of Congress to expand access to ABLE accounts to more people with disabilities and, at the state level, work with legislatures to establish, implement and ensure access to ABLE accounts to their constituents with disabilities.

 

Acheiving Better Life Expectance Act (ABLE)

Ten Things You Must Know About the Able Accounts (Video)

Able Accounts: Ten Things You Must Know

 

AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel and requires domestic and foreign air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities.

 

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

Prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.

 

ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS ACT

Requires that access to facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with Federal funds meet the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS ACT

Protects the civil rights of people confined in state or locally operated institutions, such as jails and prisons, juvenile correctional facilities, state or locally-run mental health facilities; state or locally-run developmental disabilities facilities, and state or locally-run nursing homes.  Authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate reports of civil rights abuses within a publicly run institutions and take action to correct civil rights violations.

 

COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT

Encourages depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations.

 

FAIR HOUSING ACT

Prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familiar status, and disability.

 

FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Provides an entitlement of up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid during any 12-month period to eligible, covered employees for the following reasons: (1) birth and care of eligible employee’s son or daughter; (2) placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care; (3) care of an immediate family member (spouse, son, daughter, or parent) who has a serious health condition; (4) care of the employee’s own serious health condition; and (5) because of any qualifying exigency arising out of fact that the spouse, child, or parent of the employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.  It also requires that employee’s group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

Allows persons to qualify immediately for comparable health insurance coverage when they change their employment or relationships.

 

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)

Requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and to develop appropriate Individuals Education Programs (IEPs) for each child.  The specific special education and related services outlined in each IEP reflect the individual needs of each student.

 

OLDER AMERICANS ACT

Provides critical services – such as home-delivered and congregate meals, family caregiver support, in-home assistance, preventative health services, transportation, job training, protection from abuse, and other supportive services that help older adults stay as independent as possible.

 

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT

Makes it illegal for federal agencies, or programs or activities that received federal financial assistance or are conducted by a federal agency, to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities.  Also requires reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities; program accessibility; effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities; and accessible new construction and alterations.

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT

Section 255 and Section 251(a) of the Telecommunications Act require telecommunications equipment manufacturers and service providers to make their products and services accessible to people with disabilities, if such access is readily achievable.  Where access is not readily achievable, manufacturers and service providers must make their devices and services compatible with peripheral devices and specialized customer premises equipment that are commonly used by people with disabilities, if such compatibility is readily achievable.

 

TITLE V OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT

Establishes the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program which provides a foundation for ensuring the health of mothers, women, children, and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs, and their families, and seeks to assure access to quality care, especially for those with low-income or limited availability of care.

 

TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT

Establishes regulations for the Medicaid program, which provides for medical and health-related services for persons with limited income.

 

VOTING ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED ACT

Requires polling places to be physically accessible to people with disabilities for federal elections.  Also requires states to make available registration and voting aids for disabled and elderly voters, including information by telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs) which are also known as teletypewriters (TTYs).

 

WORKFORCE INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT (WIOA)

Designed to help job seekers with and without disabilities access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.  WIOA represents new opportunities for support for job seekers with disabilities that increases responsibility of Workforce Investment Boards and American Job Centers to be fully accessible and offer necessary accommodations to provide job seekers with disabilities effective and meaningful participation in the use of skills training and career pathways.  The WIOA supersedes the WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998 and in general will take effect on July 1, 2015.

 

WORK INCENTIVE IMPROVEMENT ACT

Directed establishment of a Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program which would provide SSDI and SSI disability beneficiaries with a ticket they may use to obtain vocational rehabilitation services, employment services, and other support services from an employment network of their choice.  Increased beneficiary choice in obtaining rehabilitation and vocational services; removes barriers that require people with disabilities to choose between health care coverage and work; and assures that more Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the workforce and lessen their dependence on public benefits.

LOCAL LAWS:

 

PL 11-101 ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY WARRANTY ACT

(4 C.M.C.  § 5161 et seq.)

Requires manufacturer of assistive technology devices to provide an express warranty of the assistive devices and protects consumers who purchase or rent an assistive device.

 

PL 11-38   FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1998

(2 C.M.C. §40101 et seq.)

 

Prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing -related transactions, based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, marital status, disability, or national origin and is comparable to the Federal Fair Housing Act.

 

PL 8-36 INVOLUNTARY CIVIL COMMITMENT ACT

(3 C.M.C. § 2501 et seq.)

Establishes procedures for 72-hour emergency detention and evaluation of a person with mental illness without court hearing when person poses a danger to self or others and for emergency and non-emergency involuntary civil commitment after a court hearing for specified periods of time.

 

PL 8-38   PATIENT’S RIGHTS ACT

(3 C.M.C. § 2551)

Sets forth the rights to be afforded to every person receiving assessment, evaluation, care or treatment in an evaluation or treatment facility, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, inpatient or outpatient.

 

PL 8-35 PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES PARKING ACCESS ACT

(9 C.M.C. §5651 et seq.)

Requires public and private entities to provide parking spaces for use by motor vehicles used to transport persons with disabilities in all open off-street parking areas.