RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

New York (Disability Rights New York) - H240A160064 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights New York
Address725 Broadway, Suite 450
Address Line 2
CityAlbany
StateNew York
Zip Code12207
E-mail Addresselizabeth.grossman@drny.org
Website Addressdrny.org
Phone(518)4327861
TTY (518)5123448
Toll-free Phone(800)9938982
Toll-free TTY
Fax(518)4276561
Name of P&A Executive DirectorTimothy A. Clune
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorElizabeth Grossman
Person to contact regarding reportElizabeth Grossman
Contact Person phone(518)5124959
Ext.

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas344
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas247
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)591

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff41
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)1,350

Formal Training

At a United Nations Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, DRNY educated foreign ambassadors about employment law, practices, and opportunities for people with disabilities, focusing on sheltered workshops, supportive employment, and reasonable accommodations.

DRNY trained advocates and service providers about guardianship and supported decision-making at the Southern Tier Independent Living Center.

DRNY taught the staff of the Capital District Center for Independence about the laws governing service animals.

At the request of the SUNY Brockport Disability and Access chairs, DRNY trained SUNY Brockport faculty on student and faculty rights under disability laws.

DRNY trained veterans and their advocates about the employment rights of people with disabilities.

We trained Saratoga disability advocates and service providers about DRNY services and the applicability of the ADA integration mandate to home care services.

DRNY trained students at Syracuse Law School on how to measure streets and sidewalks for ADA compliance.

After a restaurant denied access to a person with a disability because of her service dog, DRNY trained the managers and staff of the restaurant on its responsibilities under the ADA.

DRNY participated in the Veteran’s Outreach Stand Down event in Rochester.

DRNY trained members of an Multiple Sclerosis support group on their employment rights and the impact of employment on their public benefits.

We trained Suffolk County locals to evaluate bus stops for ADA compliance, including proximity of bus stops to curb cuts, width and condition of sidewalks, space for wheelchairs on the shoulders of roads where there are no sidewalks, and access to bus shelters.

DRNY presented about our work and laws protecting people with disabilities at the New York State Sheriffs' Association.

We participated in the Veteran’s Pre-Deployment Yellow Ribbon Event in Suffern.

DRNY spoke with a reporter from the Times-Union newspaper about disability discrimination in employment, DRNY’s work, and obstacles faced by people with disabilities.

DRNY spoke with students from Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Baruch College School of Public Affairs.

We worked with students from Packer High School and Brooklyn Technical High School on community service projects related to service animals and public accessibility.

DRNY is planning a day long Employment Discrimination Continuing Legal Education Training for March, 2017.

Educational Outreach

DRNY engaged in educational outreach to disability rights organizations, including MFY Legal Services, New York Legal Assistance Group, Disability Rights Advocates, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Legal Services of Central New York, Justice in Aging, Partners for Access, American Tinnitus Association, Finger Lakes Independence Center, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, Regional Center for Independent Living, Rochester Area Employment Network, AIM Independent Living Center, Syracuse Law School, Job Development Network, Project Homeless Connect, Suffolk Independent Living Center, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, Resource Center for Independent Living, Superior Alliance for Independent Living, Empire Justice Center, New York State Rehabilitation Association, New York Association on Independent Living, Taconic Resource Center, Rensselaer ARC, Brain Injury Association of New York State, LawNY, Disabled in Action, Center for Disability Rights, Westchester Independent Living Center, National Lawyers’ Guild, and the Western New York Law Center.

We engaged in educational outreach through meetings with government agencies, including the United Stated Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York, United Stated Attorneys’ Office for the Eastern District of New York, United Stated Attorneys’ Office for the Northern District of New York, United States Department of Labor, United States Department of Health & Human Services, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Monitoring

DRNY conducted prison monitoring visits, educating staff and residents about DRNY, at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Elmira Correctional Facility, Five Points Correctional Facility, Green Haven Correctional Facility, Sullivan Correctional Facility, Woodbourne Correctional Facility, Coxsackie Correctional Facility, Wende Correctional Facility and Eastern Correctional Facility.

We conducted jail monitoring visits, educating staff and residents about DRNY, at Suffolk County Correctional Facility, Warren County Correctional Facility, Schenectady County Correctional Facility, and at Rikers Island Correctional Center North Infirmary Command and Rose M. Singer Center.

DRNY conducted hospital monitoring visits, educating staff and residents about DRNY, at Erie County Medical Center, Monroe Community Hospital, the Batavia Veterans Affairs Center, and Stony Brook Hospital.

DRNY conducted nursing home monitoring visits, educating staff and residents about DRNY, at Bedford Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Brookhaven Rehabilitation and Health Care, Glengariff Healthcare Center, Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, Lawrence Nursing Care Center, Absolut Care, Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation, Terrace View Rehabilitation and Nursing, and NewRoc Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Our staff conducted an extended monitoring visit of a sheltered workshop/employment network, J.M. Murray.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles1
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website97,153
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated1,400
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

See above description of training and outreach activities.

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)120
2. Additional individuals served during the year584
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)704
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)50

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 166

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility67
2. Employment143
3. Program access18
4. Housing105
5. Government benefits/services59
6. Transportation32
7. Education51
8. Assistive technology42
9. Voting0
10. Health care87
11. Insurance13
12. Non-government services30
13. Privacy rights9
14. Access to records6
15. Abuse34
16. Neglect44
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor256
2. Other representation found31
3. Individual withdrew complaint143
4. Appeals unsuccessful13
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.35
6. PAIR withdrew from case3
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources28
8. Individual case lacks legal merit83
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy203
2. Short-term assistance224
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation138
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings9
7. Litigation (including class actions)3
8. Systemic/policy activities11

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 44
2. 5 - 2247
3. 23 - 59453
4. 60 - 6480
5. 65 and over120

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females363
2. Males341

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race69
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian9
4. Black or African American150
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White413
7. Two or more races23
8. Race/ethnicity unknown39

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent459
2. Parental or other family home54
3. Community residential home3
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home44
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement1
8. Jail/prison/detention center127
9. Homeless8
10. Other living arrangements6
11. Living arrangements not known2

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment54
2. Deaf/hard of hearing63
3. Deaf-blind2
4. Orthopedic impairment232
5. Mental illness11
6. Substance abuse1
7. Mental retardation5
8. Learning disability24
9. Neurological impairment95
10. Respiratory impairment17
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment29
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment82
13. Speech impairment1
14. AIDS/HIV6
15. Traumatic brain injury45
16. Other disability37

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities45

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes8,000

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

Architectural Accessibility

The IDNYC program, New York City’s new program designed for people who have trouble obtaining other government identification, required that applicants have their photos taken on proprietary equipment at its offices or at pop-up locations. It did not have a process for accommodating individuals who are homebound. As a result of our advocacy, the NYC Human Resources Administration, which administers the program, obtained equipment that will allow it to take photos of homebound individuals in their homes. The program also refused to take photographs of individuals with visual disabilities who wore dark glasses, until DRNY negotiated a change to this policy as well.

DRNY intervened after a drug store stopped delivering to a building with tenants with blindness, and the delivery service was reinstated, allowing the residents to receive necessary medication, food, and supplies that they were unable to get from any other neighborhood business.

When DRNY surveyed Colonie Center Mall, we found that a department store did not have accessible routes for wheelchair users that would allow them to navigate the facilities. A letter was sent out to the store manager and it is expected that changes will be implemented shortly.

DRNY negotiated with the Crossgates Mall, which did not have an appropriate container for disposing of feminine products in its accessible bathrooms, to install a proper receptacle.

Streets and Sidewalks

DRNY worked on a video series about problematic and inaccessible streets and sidewalks, to be released in fall 2016.

DRNY continued discussions with the City of Albany in addressing accessibility issues, including sidewalks, curb cuts and snow removal. In response to our concerns, Albany assigned an ADA coordinator, posted an ADA Grievance Policy and invited DRNY to participate in a newly formed ADA Advisory Council. DRNY has actively participated with the Council, and is working with the director of codes and a city council member on recommendations for policies related to accessibility. There has been a noticeable increase in the pace of curb cut installation, and the quality of the curb cuts has improved.

We surveyed the sidewalks and crosswalks of downtown Troy and found many inaccessible sidewalks and crosswalks. The information has been shared with the new Mayor of Troy and DRNY will monitor resulting efforts at improvement.

DRNY continues to monitor progress towards complete sidewalk accessibility in Mechanicville after it agreed to make improvements. Some downtown sidewalks have been repaired, and DRNY will remain involved until the project is complete.

A newly constructed pedestrian bridge in Utica did not meet ADA architectural accessibility requirements. DRNY met with the New York State Department of Transportation, which agreed to resurface the pedestrian bridge and redesign ramp entrances to the bridge to meet accessibility standards.

DRNY developed materials, including fact sheets and survey instructions, to assist pedestrians in complaining about and documenting problems resulting from inadequate snow removal.

Prison

DRNY negotiations with the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision (DOCCS) resulted in an agreement to install videophones in each prison, beginning with a pilot program at Wende Correctional Facility. The installation of videophones will allow inmates with hearing impairments to communicate with family members and others using sign language.

As a result of DRNY intervention, DOCCS agreed to create a new policy allowing inmates in the Regional Medical Units to request physical access to the law library as a reasonable accommodation.

DRNY circulated a survey about inmate wheelchair pusher programs among our clients at all DOCCS facilities, focusing on access to the pusher program, the number and availability of pushers on particular units, the training of pushers and their pay rates, and any incidents of abuse and neglect of pushers towards wheelchair users. The purpose of the survey is to gather data about the effectiveness of and issues with DOCCS’ wheelchair pusher programs.

Employment Advertising

We contacted businesses with job advertisements that included physical requirements that tend to screen out individuals with disabilities and discourage them from applying for positions for which they are qualified. In response, seven businesses removed the offending language from their job descriptions. Now, these entities use job descriptions that will allow qualified people with disabilities to compete for employment.

Website Accessibility

The majority of the online programming at a Continuing Legal Education services provider for attorneys across the country lacked closed captions and only provided transcripts for certain subscribers. In response to our advocacy, the provider agreed to make closed captions available to all subscribers, giving attorneys with hearing impairments equal access to the provider's programs.

DRNY negotiated with two large national companies to update their websites to conform to international online accessibility standards.

We successfully requested that the New York City Department of Transportation fix an inaccessible online form for reporting traffic issues, including requests for the installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals.

Transportation

DRNY worked with the City of Rochester’s Engineer to have the accessible parking spots at Cobbs Hill Park repaved and to have signage added.

In anticipation of the expansion of New York City ferry service running from Queens to the Bronx, DRNY surveyed the existing ferry terminals along the proposed new routes for wheelchair accessibility. All the terminals surveyed were wheelchair accessible.

DRNY conducted a physical survey of the accessibility of bus stops along ten major bus routes in Suffolk County, including the proximity of bus stops to curb cuts, width and condition of sidewalks, space for wheelchairs on the shoulders of roads where there are no sidewalks, and access to bus shelters. Many of the bus stops we surveyed were inaccessible. After DRNY contacted Suffolk County regarding bus stop accessibility issues, Suffolk County officials agreed to meet to discuss next steps for improving bus stop accessibility.

The Syracuse University Carrier Dome Parking Authority required individuals with disabilities to provide doctor’s notes to obtain season parking passes for men’s basketball and football games. After DRNY’s intervention, the requirement was removed.

When a landlord told tenants they would have to pay extra for accessible parking at their apartment complex, DRNY intervened with the management company, which changed its policies.

After DRNY interceded, a private business moved accessible parking spaces so that they were adjacent to the facility’s accessible entrance, allowing employees and members of the public to enter and exit safely.

DRNY’s advocacy resulted in the repaving of the parking lot of a shopping center with curb cuts that were not flush with the parking lot surface. Shoppers can now move about the area safely.

Voting

DRNY surveyed 27 poll sites in Rensselaer County and subsequently filed complaints with both the Department of Justice and the New York State Attorney General’s office alleging that all of the sites were inaccessible.

Education

DRNY established the New York Special Education Task Force affiliate in Syracuse, New York. The Task Force promotes participation and collaboration among all special education stakeholders, including parents, advocates, attorneys, school personnel, service providers, educators, government representatives, and individuals with disabilities.

DRNY serves as part of the Action for Reform in Special Education (ARISE) Coalition, which has met regularly with New York City officials to discuss the inaccessibility of public schools. As a result of these ongoing meetings, positive changes have occurred. DRNY is conducting a survey of public information as part of this process.

Auxiliary Aids and Services

After DRNY intervened, three medical providers changed their policies and/or retrained staff on the businesses’ obligation to provide interpreters.

DRNY conducted surveys regarding: (1) American Sign Language users’ experiences in obtaining interpreters in health care settings; (2) the presence of visual announcements, particularly those that can be programmed to respond to real-time information, on the New York City subway system, the Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North trains; and (3) the use of 911 by individuals with hearing or speech disabilities who cannot communicate by telephone and therefore with emergency services.

Medicaid Coverage for Speech Recognition Devices

Medicaid's standards for approving the provision of speech generation devices (SGDs) for people with disabilities underwent a transformation in 2016 that resulted in increased denials. Medicaid had required that individuals requesting speech generation devices show that they were "functional and proficient" in using the devices. The standard was problematic for people with severe impairments who required therapy and training to benefit from use of the devices. In response to a letter from DRNY, the Department of Health agreed to remove "proficient" from the standard.

Fact Sheets

DRNY developed thirty fact sheets on various subjects, which are regularly distributed by staff and are available on our website.

Service Animal Campaign

After creating a link on the PAIR Section of the DRNY website with fact sheets and other material, we wrote to businesses that displayed signs banning dogs from their stores to advise them of the right of individuals with disabilities who have service dogs to bring them into public accommodations. In response, four businesses advised their employees that service animals are allowed in their stores, and changed their "No Dogs" signs to include an exception for service animals. This change in policy will help to prevent individuals with service animals from being unlawfully excluded from public places.

In response to a request from DRNY, the Battery Park City Authority in New York City removed the “No Dogs” signs it had posted in its parks and replaced them with signs that clarified that only pets were disallowed. The replacement signs clarified that individuals with service dogs were allowed to take their service dogs into the parks, allowing them equal access to and enjoyment of the park’s amenities.

Housing

DRNY intervened when it learned that individuals with disabilities could not navigate the stairs in their apartment building. DRNY negotiated with the landlord, who agreed to install a ramp so that residents could safely enter and leave their building.

DRNY provided feedback and guidance for the development of an anti-discrimination policy, including grievance procedures, for a condominium association.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts1,000
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

DRNY filed an employment discrimination claim under the ADA, alleging failure to accommodate and retaliation, Daniel Levy v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in the Northern District of New York. Discovery is ongoing.

DRNY submitted an amicus brief in Wright v. New York State DOCCS, advocating that DOCCS engage in an individualized assessment as to whether inmates should be allowed to use their own motorized wheelchairs, and explaining how wheelchair pusher programs reduce inmate independence and increase the likelihood that they will be abused and neglected. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals accepted DRNY’s brief and ruled in favor of the inmate.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

Priority 1

Promote the integration of people with disabilities into the community, especially in regard to transitions away from nursing facilities and institutions.

Individuals with disabilities have been subjected to unnecessary institutionalization, including placement in nursing homes, due to lack of access to services in the community. We address the need for community-based services within our state by advocating for individualized support to meet the needs of our clients. We do so in a variety of ways, including representing clients who are denied home and community based services under the Medicaid waiver programs and state and local services, as well as representing clients who want to, but have not been, discharged from nursing homes. PAIR collaborates with the other P&A programs on nursing home monitoring.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 35 (no class actions)

Case examples:

DRNY successfully advocated that a client with orthopedic impairments return to her community after several years of institutionalization in a nursing facility. DRNY challenged the facility’s refusal to cooperate in discharge planning in retaliation for a disputed and unpaid bill, and worked with the Money Follows the Person program on how to proceed with the client’s discharge in the face of the facility’s resistance.

After a client with dementia was neglected by a nursing home, resulting in a broken neck, DRNY successfully advocated that he be transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

A client with various disabilities was hospitalized after he broke up with his girlfriend, who was his primary caregiver, power of attorney, and health care proxy. Client’s girlfriend revoked the power of attorney and health care proxy immediately upon their break-up. Client’s computerized communication system was nonfunctional in the hospital, so he could not communicate his basic medical needs or designate a power of attorney or health care proxy. DRNY assisted with client’s designation of a power of attorney and health care proxy in line with his expressed wishes, and continues to work with client on effectuating a safe discharge from the nursing home where he now lives.

Priority 2

Maximize autonomy of people with disabilities to make their own decisions and to control their own lives, including their finances.

This priority recognizes the importance of the rights of people with disabilities to make critical decisions impacting their lives, especially regarding finances. We advocate for the rights of people with disabilities to control decision-making by representing those who have been denied these rights and providing information and technical assistance to people involved in self-advocacy. PAIR did not engage in collaborative efforts regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 63 (no class actions)

Case examples:

A client with numerous disabilities sought removal of Jewish Association Serving the Aged (JASA) as her representative payee. She also sought termination of her originally voluntary and later required participation in JASA’s financial management plan, which JASA provides as an agent of Adult Protective Services. For years the client tried unsuccessfully to extricate herself from this unwanted control; both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and JASA ignored clear written support from three doctors. After DRNY met with New York City’s Human Resources Administration, JASA agreed to terminate all relationships with our client. The client’s resentment of JASA had prevented her from seeking assistance with her cluttered apartment, and she has now agreed to do so.

DRNY’s advocacy resulted in repayment of a client’s Social Security overpayment and reinstatement of her benefits. After DRNY was able to prove that SSA had stopped paying the client’s New York State Supplement due to the erroneous belief that she was no longer a New York resident, SSA reinstated the state supplement going forward and agreed to repay the client the total overpayment amount.

A client with a chemical brain injury whose monthly rent payments were made by a trustee was concerned that he would be held personally responsible under his lease. DRNY worked with our client’s landlord, and the landlord and our client entered into a lease renewal which holds the trustee responsible for payments.

Priority 3

Attain systemic access to public accommodations for people with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities are afforded the protection of federal, state and local laws which allow them equal access to and enjoyment of public places. Many individuals, unaware of their rights, cannot access businesses, public attractions, or community programming, all of which increase their enjoyment of life and promote their integration into the community. We address this need by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients who seek access to public places. PAIR did not engage in collaborative efforts regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 81 (no class actions)

Case examples:

When a client with blindness who uses a service dog went to a local restaurant, the manager informed her that she could not enter with her service animal, and when pressed, said she could come in, but would need to eat in a separate dining room. DRNY corresponded with the restaurant, which publicly apologized to the client on a local food blog, held a fundraiser for a guide dog organization, terminated the manager who refused to seat the client, put up a sign stating that service animals were welcome, and agreed that DRNY would conduct a training for its employees regarding the rights of individuals with service animals. The result received favorable press coverage.

A client who uses a wheelchair is a member of a seasonal beach club with an outdoor pool. Because the pool had no lift, she used a plastic step-ladder to help her get into and out of the pool, which was difficult for her as well as unsafe. In response to DRNY filing a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, the beach club installed a pool lift which is now used by the client and many others.

DRNY intervened after a drug store stopped delivering to a building with hundreds of tenants with blindness, and the delivery service was reinstated, allowing the residents to receive necessary medication, food and supplies that they were unable to get from any other neighborhood business.

A client with physical impairments that prevent her ability to walk without the assistance of a cane sought DRNY's intervention regarding a policy at a Wholesale Club that prohibited motarized shopping carts in the parking lot. This required customers with physical disabilities who needed mobility aides such as canes and walkers to carry purchases to their vehicles. After DRNY contacted the store's corporate office, its managers were instructed to allow motarized carts outisde of the building.

Priority 4

Ensure systemic access to government facilities and programs for people with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities are afforded the protection of both state and federal laws which allow them equal access to and enjoyment of government facilities and services. Many individuals, unaware of their rights, cannot access these facilities and services, which increase their enjoyment of life and promote their integration into the community. We address this need by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients who seek access to government facilities and services. PAIR did not engage in collaborative efforts regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 38 (no class actions)

Case examples:

A client with multiple disabilities which prevent him from leaving his home without the support of an ambulette or ambulance was unable to participate in the IDNYC program, New York City’s new program designed for people who are unable to get other forms of government identification. The program required that applicants have their photos taken on proprietary equipment at its offices or pop-up locations, and did not have a process for accommodating individuals who are homebound. As a result of our advocacy, the New York City Human Resources Administration, obtained equipment that will allow it to take photos of homebound individuals, and changed its policy to allow home visits, and many individuals with disabilities have been able to obtain this important resource.

A client who is legally blind was denied accommodations when she applied for benefits from the Albany Department of Social Services. She had requested large print for all her applications, or to have an employee read the application to her so she could answer the questions verbally. After DRNY intervened, an eligibility examiner set up a home visit with our client and assisted her in completing the necessary paperwork.

A client who uses a wheelchair and a ventilator, and who requires two personal care aids to be with her at all times, was unable to visit her husband, who is incarcerated in state prison, because the facility refused to allow the aides to accompany her. After DRNY negotiated with DOCCS, the client was able to bring the aids with her and to visit her husband.

Priority 5

Obtain equal access to transportation for people with disabilities.

Integration into a community is often impacted by an individual’s access to public transportation. Many people with disabilities are unable to access medical care, support, food, entertainment, and other activities due to a lack of reliable, accessible public transportation. Public transportation ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to community supports, businesses, and services. We address this need by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients who seek access to accessible public transportation. PAIR engaged in collaboration with the PABSS program regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 18 (no class actions)

Case examples:

A client with epilepsy applied for paratransit because she had seizures while on public transportation and her application was denied in full. As a result of DRNY representation in an appeals hearing, client was granted unlimited paratransit eligibility.

Two clients who use wheelchairs travelled by paratransit, and were not allowed to leave the vehicle for an hour and a half after reaching their destination because the driver was concerned about the appearance of one of the client’s wheelchairs. After DRNY wrote to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, it issued an apology to the clients and destroyed pictures of the wheelchair taken by the driver.

A client with physical impairments was unable to walk long distances, including to his bicycle storage, or comfortably use stairs to enter or leave his apartment building. DRNY negotiated with the property manager of the client’s building. As a result, our client was provided access to a rear entrance to his building which does not require the use of stairs, as well as a designated place to secure his bicycle in the courtyard close to the rear entrance.

Priority 6

Protect people with disabilities in facilities and programs from abuse and neglect.

Individuals with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect in both community and institutional settings. We address the need to prevent and remedy the abuse of people with disabilities by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients subject to abuse and neglect, as well as exercising our monitoring authority to assess institutional settings. PAIR collaborates with the other P&A programs on nursing home, prison/jail, and sheltered workshop monitoring.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 71 (no class actions)

Case examples:

DRNY assisted a 46 year old client with orthopedic impairments in asserting his right to return to the community after being placed in a nursing facility following the amputation of his leg. Among other things, the facility failed to care for his wound, refused to let him leave with his wheelchair, and would not arrange for his prescriptions to be filled in the community. DRNY also facilitated the resumption of his Social Security benefits, so he would have money to live on in his new apartment.

DRNY worked with the niece of an elderly client with Alzheimer’s disease who was hospitalized with severe dehydration caused by her nursing facility’s neglect. The facility had mismanaged our client’s need for fluids and failed to provide sufficient time and assistance for her to maintain a nutritious diet. DRNY negotiated with counsel for the facility to ensure that client would receive all life sustaining measures and that she could eat her desired food brought in from outside the facility. Our client returned to the facility and has received adequate fluid and nutrition.

An inmate at a state prison contacted DRNY to report that his wheelchair had been taken away from him and he was living unassisted on his cell floor. After DRNY intervened, the client was given his wheelchair back.

Priority 7

Remove barriers to education for people with disabilities, particularly segregation of students with disabilities and inappropriate removal of students from school.

This priority recognizes the importance of ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to schooling in integrated settings and with the accommodations necessary to provide them with equal access to and the equal benefits of education. We address this need by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients facing barriers to education.

Number of cases handled under the priority: 45 (no class actions)

Case examples:

A high school client who is hard of hearing and has a cochlear implant sought real-time captioning services for use during her classes. The school denied the client’s request because she is an excellent student who achieves high grades in advanced courses. After DRNY met with the school district’s counsel, the client was provided captioning services for all of her classes.

A client with Type 1 diabetes began kindergarten, but was soon removed from school by his parents when the school failed to train and provide appropriate staff to test the client’s glucose levels, to manage symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, and dangerously instructed the client to walk to the nurse’s office on his own when he experienced low blood glucose symptoms. DRNY participated in a Committee for Special Education meeting, after which the school fully implemented the diabetes medical management plan provided by the client’s doctor, and trained school district officials to manage and care for the client. The client returned to school with this appropriate care.

An inmate at a state prison with a visual impairment had previously been enrolled in the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. However, when he was transferred to a different facility, he was neither allowed to participate in that program nor offered an alternative. After DRNY negotiated with the prison, the client was permitted to continue with his education via cell study.

Priority 8

Prevent discrimination in housing for people with disabilities, especially the unavailability of accessible housing/inaccessible design, refusal to make reasonable modifications to rules, policies and practices, and the use of exclusionary land use practices.

Integration into a community is often impacted by an individual’s ability to obtain appropriate housing from community-based landlords or other housing providers. Access to housing within the community increases the ability of individuals with disabilities to access to community supports, businesses, and services. We address this need by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients facing housing discrimination. PAIR did not engage in collaborative efforts regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under this priority: 88 (no class actions)

Case examples:

DRNY represented a client who was paralyzed as a result of a stroke, and had requested that his landlord modify his apartment to make it accessible. The landlord responded by refusing to renew the lease. DRNY filed claims of of disability-based discrimination and retaliation under the Fair Housing Act on behalf of our client with the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). DRNY requested and the landlord’s counsel agreed to stay any eviction pending the outcome. DHR found probable cause that discrimination had occurred. Before commencing a hearing, DRNY negotiated a settlement in which the landlord agreed to renew the client’s lease for the next three years, to modify the entranceway, door thresholds and bathroom at its own expense, to create a dedicated disability parking space and to permit other modifications to be made at Medicaid (NHTD Waiver) expense.

A client with diabetes who has a service dog repeatedly received warnings that he was in violation of his lease for allowing his service dog to walk off leash to his apartment building when he carried groceries. DRNY educated the apartment complex about the rights of people with service animals to use voice controls, and the warnings ceased. The management of the building is now educated about the issue and will respond appropriately when this issue arises with future tenants.

A client who used a treadmill to manage a gastrointestinal disability was served with an eviction notice because both the treadmill and the resultant noise and vibrations violated her lease. After negotiation with DRNY, client's landlord allowed her to replace her treadmill with an elliptical machine.

Priority 9

Eliminate barriers to employment for people with disabilities, particularly in regard to the application process, requests for reasonable accommodation, harassment, and retaliation.

Individuals with disabilities are often subject to employment discrimination. Integration into a community is often impacted by an individual’s ability to obtain and maintain employment. We address the need of individuals with disability to have access to employment by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients facing employment discrimination. PAIR engaged in collaboration with the PABSS program regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under this priority: 121 (no class actions)

Case examples:

A client who worked at a retail store injured her shoulder, back and neck in a car accident, and consequently needed leave for surgeries and to recuperate. After her Family and Medical Leave Act time had been exhausted, she needed additional leave. The employer granted unpaid time off until an arbitrary date, after which it terminated our client. After the employer refused to reinstate the client, DRNY filed a New York State Division of Human Rights complaint. After a probable cause determination was issued, the matter was settled for $35,000 in compensation.

A university professor with traumatic brain injury experiences seizures triggered by loud or unexpected noises in her surrounding environment. She had requested the reasonable accommodation of lecturing via video conference from home when her seizure susceptibility is abnormally high. After DRNY contacted the university, we worked with our client’s department, the university’s information technology office, and the general counsel’s office to establish a classroom for the client’s use that is capable of interactive video conferencing, which will allow the client to lecture from home when necessary.

After a client with multiple chemical sensitivities was not given a transfer as a reasonable accommodation, she filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, after which DRNY negotiated a monetary settlement.

Priority 10

Remove communication, architectural and equipment barriers to heath care services.

Individuals with disabilities face difficulties in obtaining health care services, impacting their ability to live in integrated settings. We address the need for individuals with disabilities to obtain access to health care by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients who face difficulties accessing appropriate health care services. PAIR did not engage in collaborative efforts regarding this priority.

Number of cases handled under this priority: 18 (no class actions)

Case examples:

A client with deafness had difficulty making necessary appointments at a hospital because there were no available interpreters, and the hospital twice cancelled appointments because it could not provide an interpreter, once when he had already traveled to the hospital. As a result, he unnecessarily took time off work and paid for a babysitter. In response to intervention by DRNY, the hospital apologized, retrained staff, and compensated our client for his loss of time and money.

A client with Devic’s disease participated in a clinical trial which required her to live out of state for several months. Her home health care provider planned to terminate her coverage because she was out-of-network for longer than 30 days. DRNY worked with Medicaid to keep her services intact upon the prescription of her physician.

A client with fibromyalgia and mental illness who lived in supportive housing was threatened by her housing provider with eviction because she scheduled too many doctors’ appointments. DRNY assisted the client in obtaining necessary medical treatment and preventing eviction.

Priority 11

Assure the provision of auxiliary aids and services to ensure the availability of effective communication for people with disabilities.

This priority recognizes the importance of ensuring that individuals with disabilities can communicate effectively with service providers of all kinds. We address the need for individuals with disabilities to obtain access to health care by providing information, technical assistance, and representation to clients who are being denied the auxiliary aids and services to which they are entitled under state and federal law. PAIR engaged in collaboration with the PAAT program regarding this priority.

Number of cases handed under this priority: 38 (no class actions)

Case examples:

DRNY successfully negotiated with an apartment building manager, who agreed to provide our client with blindness tenant information in an accessible format.

A client with deafness who is an expectant father and communicates using American Sign Language (“ASL”) sought interpreting services from the office his fiancée used for maternity services. The client was denied an ASL interpreter because he was not the patient and because there was no emergency. After DRNY intervened, the medical office installed and contracted for remote video ASL interpreting services. The client was then provided remote interpreting for brief and routine appointments and was assured that an in-person ASL interpreter would be provided if any complications with his fiancée’s pregnancy arose. Further, the hospital where the client’s child would be delivered arranged an ASL interpreter for the birth.

A client with a hearing impairment at a state prison facility had requested to see an audiologist due to the fact that one of his hearing aids was broken. Despite his repeated requests, no visit was scheduled and he could not meaningfully participate in daily activities. DRNY intervened, the client saw an audiologist, and the hearing aid was fixed.

Priority 12

Conduct outreach and education to ensure that individuals throughout New York State know about the P&A system, know their rights, and can access appropriate PAIR services.

Outreach and education are effective ways to ensure the protection of our clients’ rights. We educate individuals with disabilities and others by conducting public awareness activities, promoting self-advocacy skills, and educating the availability of PAIR services to qualified individuals. We also provide training and technical assistance to health care professionals, health administrators, employers, service providers, individuals with disabilities, their advocates, and their family members. PAIR engaged in collaboration with the other P&A and CAP Programs regarding this priority.

See Training Activities Section I B for detailed information about work conducted under this priority.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

DRNY adopted the PAIR priorities for a period of three years, from Fiscal Year 2015 through Fiscal Year 2018. After that period, they will be reassessed. See Section V A for a discussion of the DRNY PAIR priorities, the needs addressed and the description of the activities carried out.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

A. DRNY received Federal (Section 509) funds under Grant award number H240A150064 in the amount of $910,236 and spent $397,256 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 and $512,980 in FY 2016. In FY 2016, DRNY received and spent $19,526 in program income. During FY 2016, DRNY received Federal (Section 509) funds under Grant award number H240A150064 in the amount of $906,482 and spent $420,952. DRNY spent $933,932 of the $1,419,462 available during the year.

B.

PAIR Grant Program FY 2015 Funds

Personnel Salaries $518,172

Fringe Benefits $176,626

Travel $31,530

Occupancy $78,507

Equipment & Furnishings $9,662

Supplies $1,602

Postage $9,931

Printing/Copies $3,145

Contractual Costs $6,270

Malpractice Insurance $17,607

Dues, Subscriptions, and Memberships $3,199

Westlaw and Other Library Fees $4,446

Business Owners Insurance $983

Payroll Services $3,426

Training (includes CLEs) $8,390

Audit Fees $6,621

Litigation Costs $7,665

Professional Services Costs $12,891

Miscellaneous Expenses $2,979

Budget for FY 2015 Funds $910,236

PAIR Grant Program 2016 Funds

Personnel Salaries $520,428

Fringe Benefits $202,963

Travel $25,424

Occupancy $74,166

Telephone $11,891

Supplies $6,388

Postage $1,483

Printing/Copies $3,164

Conferences/Workshops $5,805

Malpractice Insurance $8,293

Dues and Subscriptions $8,042

Ref Materials & Library $3,621

Business Owners Insurance $1,396

Payroll Services $2,262

Training (Includes CLEs) $1,296

Audit Fees $1,500

Litigation Costs $12,602

Professional Services Costs $15,277

Miscellaneous Expenses $482

Budget for FY 2016 Funds $906,482

C. PAIR staff included attorneys, who provided legal advice and representation; intake specialists who took the initial calls from clients and provided some information and referrals; other administrative staff, who provided a variety of support services; and supervisory and managing attorneys. DRNY paid 27 employees from Section 509 funds. The analyses of the FTE numbers are as follows:

Professional FTE: DRNY paid 15 professional staff in the 2016 fiscal year from Section 509 funds. Allowing for the timing of hires during the year as well as the percentage of indirect staff time allocated to Section 509 funds, the fifteen professional EE's equate to 6.08. During FY16 100% of the full time professional positions were filled for 12 months equating to 6.08 person years. The vacancies for FY16 equate to 0% of the positions unfilled which equals 0 FTE’s totaling 0 person years.

Clerical FTE: DRNY paid 12 clerical staff in the 2016 fiscal year from Section 509 funds. Allowing for the timing of hires during the year as well as the percentage of indirect staff time allocated to Section 509 funds, the 12 EE’s equate to 1.24 FTE. During FY16 91.25% of the full time positions were filled for 12 months equating to 1.12 person years. The vacancies for FY16 equate to 8.75% of the positions unfilled which equals 0.12 FTE’s totaling 0.13 person years. DRNY did not have any part time clerical employees during FY16.

D. A PAIR attorney was appointed by the Albany County Executive to serve on the Albany County Long Term Care Advisory Council, which assists in making the long term care system responsive to the needs of people with disabilities for services to enable them to remain in their own communities. The Council consists primarily of service providers, consumers and advocates. The PAIR representative has sought, with success, to ensure that the Council's priorities and recommendations are consistent with promoting dignity and choice for people with disabilities in Albany County.

A PAIR attorney was appointed by the Mayor of Albany to serve on the City of Albany ADA Advisory Council. The Council consists of City Department heads, the City ADA Coordinator and other outside advocates for people with disabilities, and was created after DRNY informed the City that it had shirked some of its obligations under the ADA. The council and its sub-committees have met several times, and seek to develop and implement policies and projects to make Albany accessible to all.

A PAIR attorney serves on the New York State Bar Association Committee on Disability, where he participates with, and educates, other attorneys on New York State laws and policies affecting people with disabilities.

A PAIR attorney serves as an executive council member for the Central New York Special Education Task Force.

E. PAIR received nineteen grievances, each requesting additional representation. Eight were outside of priorities, and three others had already retained other counsel. Two clients had open service requests on which DRNY was actively working. Two grievances were granted by the first level reviewer. Twelve were denied by the first level reviewer and not pursued further by the client. Five were reviewed by the second level reviewer and also denied.

F. CAP is part of DRNY. DRNY coordinates with the New York State long- term care ombudsperson program on a variety of matters, including through the Albany County Long Term Care Advisory Council.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByElizabeth Grossman
TitleDirector, PAIR
Signed Date12/15/2016