YOU HAVE THE POWER!
Letters, calls, and emails from you, as a voter, mean more to public policy makers because they work for you! Let them know what issues are important to you and how you want them to vote on issues – especially those that represent your particular voting district, whether city, state, or federal. Political action can be taken individually or in partnership with other people and organizations with the same interests as you.
EXAMPLES OF POLITICAL ACTION
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF LEGISLATION THAT WAS CREATED THROUGH SYSTEMS CHANGE ADVOCACY BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND THEIR FAMILIES
ADA – the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is one of the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation and systems change advocacy efforts ever accomplished. It provides guidelines for public accommodations, employment and government buildings and programs. For more information, click on the title at the beginning of this paragraph.
EMPLOYMENT CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTION – Several years ago, advocates worked with legislators, after the federal ADA was passed, to secure the same civil rights protection from employment discrimination in AZ law. We did pass legislation, but it only protected people with physical disabilities. We have gone back to the legislature for 8 years to add discrimination protection to people with mental disabilities. Systems change takes persistence and sometimes years to accomplish, but it is worth it! And we will keep going back until we accomplish our goal of discrimination protection for ALL people with disabilities.
IDEA– the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees the rights of students with disabilities to get accommodations in schools, have an integrated education and for students and parents to participate in the development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP). For more information,n click on the title at the beginning of this paragraph.
ARIZONA’S ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LEMON LAW – This Arizona law protects consumers from faulty assistive technology by making retailers and manufacturers responsible for repairs or replacement. For more information, click on the title at the beginning of this paragraph.
BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT– Up until 2002, only 1 in 500 people on Social Security Disability ever left the SSA rolls because of employment. We knew more people than that wanted to work, even though disabled, but feared losing health care. What would happen if their disability got worse and they could no longer work, or needed help securing employment? Over the years,disability advocates got more and more frustrated with the Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare policies and laws that made it difficult for people to return to work. Advocates knowledgeable on employment and Social Security worked together to convince Congress to create sweeping new legislation to remove employment barriers and create new opportunities.
TICKET TO WORK – The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 provided new work incentives to remove barriers to employment for people with disabilities. The Ticket includes the creation of private Employment Networks (ENs) that help individuals receiving federal disability benefits become self-sufficient through employment. It also created community Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) programs to counsel beneficiaries on the work incentives, and created the opportunity for states to have Medicaid Buy-In programs that provide health care for workers with disabilities for a small premium, and it lengthened Medicare benefits for people with disabilities who work, and much more.
The Social Security Administration’s “The Work Site,” about all things related to the Ticket to Work program.