public policy

AZ Board of Regents committee rejects new major of Disability Studies

In a column for the Phoenix New Times NCDJ Advisory Board member Amy Silverman advocates for the creation of a Disability Studies major at Arizona universities. A sub-committee of The Arizona Board of Regents accepted requests for new majors last week and approved all the proposed majors except for Disability Studies. Silverman argues that there is a market demand for expertise related to disability issues. Click here to read Silverman’s full column.

Mom of daughter with Down Syndrome and heart defect fights transplant discrimination

Jackie Ward is the mother of a three-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome and a heart defect. She recently became an advocate for disability rights after experiencing discrimination from doctors while applying for a heart transplant for her daughter. Ward is now teaming up with Ohio state legislators to pass laws that will give applicants with disabilities more leverage. Check out this article and video interview with Jackie Ward from the Columbus Dispatch.

“A 2008 survey by researchers at Stanford University found that 85 percent of pediatric transplant centers consider neuro-developmental status in the eligibility process at least some of the time, Hansen said. And in the same study, 62 percent of the centers said eligibility decisions based on disability tended to be made informally, making discrimination difficult to show.”

 

DeVos & Dept of Education defend purge of “outdated” disability guides

The U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos were criticized Friday after announcing news they rescinded 72 guidance documents related to education policies for students with disabilities. according to the Washington Post, the document purge was prompted by President Donald Trump’s initiative to reduce unnecessary federal government regulations. After Friday’s announcement raised alarm amongst disability and education advocates the Dept. of Education released a followup list of explanations saying the documents were “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.” Click here to read the Washington Post’s full report.

Click here to read a full list of the 72 documents rescinded by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Arizona special-ed funding goes to schools with fewest students

A new article by Alia Beard Rau for the Arizona Republic explains how Arizona’s system for funding special education unequally benefits different schools.

“It’s a direct result of how the state funds education for students with special needs: Arizona’s spending on special education benefits schools with the fewest number of students who require it.

About one-third of Arizona students attend schools — most of which are charters — that receive more state money to serve students with special needs than those schools  actually spend for that purpose.”

Disability activists protest in Israel and D.C.

This was a busy week for protestors expressing concerns on disability healthcare and economic allowances. Today in Washington, D.C. dozens of protestors voiced objection to the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill during congressional hearing on Capitol Hill. Many protestors, including ones using wheelchairs, were forcibly removed by Capitol Police.

Meanwhile in Israel protestors on Sunday blocked a major highway through Tel Aviv in protest of stagnant disability allowances. Israeli local paper Haaretz is tracking the ongoing story, click here to learn more.

Applicants for disability benefits facing multi-year delays

The Social Security Administration faces a growing backlog of applications for disability benefits. Budget cuts have left the agency understaffed and slow to hold hearings with administrative judges responsible for reviewing cases.

Graphic shows number of people awaiting disability hearings and average wait times.
Graphic shows number of people awaiting disability hearings and average wait times.

“The average wait for a hearing is 602 days. Five years ago, it was less than a year,” writes reporter Stephen Ohlemacher for the Associated Press/Denver Post. Click here to read his full article.

Social Security disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on waitlist