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Public Policy Committee

In order to promote public education and awareness, the NYSILC public policy committee works to develop an agenda that articulates and supports important issues that are common to the statewide network. It is imperitive to engage and collaborate with other disability stakeholder organizations in defining the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities.
 

          Archived IL Agendas

Public Policy Highlights

Employment

  • Disability Includion in MWBE Program
  • Cross Disability Small Business Tax Credit
  • Communication Support Services for Vocational Rehabilitation

Transportation

  • Energy Efficient, Accessible Transportaion Services
  • OPPOSED: Digitally connected companies providing a transportation network of private drivers.
  • Cap on fares for paratransit transportation.
  • Statewide accessible livery vehicle service.
  • Transportation sercie providers to be accessible.
  • Rental discrimination based on source of income.
  • Introduction of visitability tax credit bill.
  • New home visitability tax credit bill.

State Institutionalized Population

  • Authorize an exemption to the Nurse Practice Act (NPA) for advanced home health aides to perform certain advanced tasks under the supervision of a registerd nurse.
  • Fund a wage premium for CDPAS attendents.
  • Support passage of the Federal Disability Integration Act.
  • $5 million increase to the State Appropriation for Independent Living Centers
  • Establish an Office on Community Living (OCL).

Priority Underserved Populations & Related Issues 

  • Expand the availability of transition age youth and young adult peer support and advocacy services.
  • Strengthen the housing subsidy program for foster youth.
  • Raise the age of youthful offender status to 21.
  • Strengthen LGBTQIA
  • Support local government employment of veterans with disabilities

Other

  • OPPOSED: Patient Self-Determination Act
  • OPPOSED: New York End of Life Options Act

 

Other Related Policy Links:

Governor Markell's Blueprint for Employment

National Governor’s Association (NGA) “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities Blueprint for Governors.”

NGA 2013 Blueprint for Employment [ PDF version ]

NGA 2013 Blueprint for Employment [ text version ]

 

Related Employment Resources

Employment Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) Documents:

States as Model Employers of People with Disabilities [PDF version]

States as Model Employers of People with Disabilities [Text version]

Advancing Economic Opportunities for Business Owners and Jobseekers with Disabilities [PDF version]

Advancing Economic Opportunities for Business Owners and Jobseekers with Disabilities [Text version]

 

Sign on to the Change.org Petition.

Visit the following link: PETITION to sign the petition to encourage Governor Cuomo to improve the employability of New Yorkers with disabilities.

Forward the petition to your friends and networks!

 

Active Online Media Buzz Generated by Governor Cuomo's Executive Order

Click on the following link to view the Cision Dashboard Summary of online media activity related to the announcement of the Governor’s Employment First Executive Order.

Letter

November 24, 2014

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

            On behalf of the New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC) and the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL), we want to thank you for issuing Executive Order # 136 to create an Employment First policy and for making employment for New Yorkers with disabilities a priority of the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) through the creation of the Social Determinants of Health workgroup.

NYSILC and NYAIL are making the following priority recommendations related to Employment First to coincide with the upcoming 2015 State budget cycle and to help set the direction for the Commission before it delivers its final report. These priority recommendations are consistent with the goals of increasing employment and decreasing poverty by 5% for New Yorkers with disabilities.

First, back in late August, an effort was made to improve online portal access to the State’s 55 b and c programs to classify jobs and recruit and seek the employment of people with disabilities and veterans with disabilities to the State work force. To maximize this effort, and to further the goal of EO # 136, several strategies are recommended:

  • Create a position of Section 55-b/c Coordinator (which has existed in the past) to oversee more aggressive promotion and utilization of the program. The coordinator of the program should be a qualified person with a disability.
    • This program should be heavily promoted, including through an established network of entities which help people with disabilities find employment.  These include State agencies such as ACCES-VR, NYCB, OPWDD, DOL, One-Stop Centers, OMH, OASAS, and Division of Veterans Affairs, as well as Offices for Students with Disabilities and placement offices at colleges and universities, both public and private, high school guidance counselors, and supported employment providers throughout the state. In addition, all State agencies should be strongly encouraged to utilize Section 55-b/c to fill vacancies they may have. Lists of currently open 55-b/c designated positions and positions which could be 55-b/c designated should be circulated regularly throughout the network.
    • For the online portal, create an easy to understand step-by-step guide
  • Build upon the current commitment
  • Staff peer disability resource coordinators in every One-Stop Center.  If these positions are civil service, they should be classified as 55-b and filled with qualified individuals with disabilities.
    • Under the federal Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), New York has a disability resource coordinator at ten of the One-Stop Career Centers throughout the state.  The purpose of this position is to build on existing employment assistance services with a focus on people with disabilities, including increasing participation in the Ticket to Work program, providing credentialed benefits advisement, assisting individuals with disabilities navigate the various employment service systems, and ensuring accessibility to the one-stop centers.  While well intentioned, it is difficult for the initiative to succeed when the positions are limited and not well known or utilized. The MRT Social Determinants of Health work group recommends Disability Resource Coordinators at the one-stops on page 32 – our recommendation would be more robust.
  • Strengthening the current infrastructure: (Page 32)
    • “Implement the use of the a single employment case management system to increase coordination and information sharing among all state agencies that provide employment, vocational rehabilitation and training services to people with disabilities.”
    • “Provide tiered funding for disability service providers to offer targeted tiered benefits advisement (including SSA work incentives and the Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities).”
  • Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC): (page 45)
    • “Incentivize REDC proposals to incorporate partner organizations that work with people in the Medicaid program and weight the scoring for REDC projects to favor those that commit to hire, create on-the-job training opportunities, and create internships/apprenticeships for individuals within the Medicaid program. This is similar to the focus on veterans in the 2014 REDC competition. Such actions could be put in place for the next round of REDC funding in 2015.”
  • Supported Employment/Education: (Page 46)
    • “Introduce a comprehensive approach to the utilization of Supported Education across state systems which should include a set of individualized activities and supports consistent with the student’s post-secondary educational goals that will lead to increased employment and the attainment of long-term career goals.”

Second, adopt a requirement that State contractors promote employment for people with disabilities. Currently, state contractor policy incentivizes the inclusion of women and minority owned businesses.  The State should promote employment of people with disabilities by mirroring the current 7% federal requirement (utilization goal) - that federal contractors take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain qualified individuals with disabilities. The MRT work group recommends disability equity in State contracting. Page 38 of the report connects to Section 503 Regulations and talks about how the MWBE program could be utilized by New Yorkers with disabilities.

As a result, the State needs to encourage self-employment business opportunities by including New Yorkers with disabilities in the State procurement program. Peers could have businesses certified in the Minority Women Business Enterprise process under a “disability” minority classification. This would not increase the current percentage, but would allow participation in the program under a new classification. It is important to understand for this recommendation that preferred procurement is NOT the answer for New Yorkers with disabilities. It does not embrace the concepts of Employment First. Preferred procurement is only for specific disabilities, mostly individuals attending workshops or industries for the blind. It is not a “cross-disability” approach supporting competitive, integrated employment.  

            Third, provide adequate funding for work readiness services with a focus on working-age young adults. One of the biggest barriers to achieving employment for people with disabilities, particularly working-age young adults transitioning from higher education settings, is the lack of work readiness and “soft” skills training services.  Success during a job search and on the job is most often dependent on an individual’s ability to meet workplace expectations including providing a good resume and cover letter, understanding how to dress appropriately, showing up on time, effective workplace communication, socialization and conflict resolution skills training, etc.  Currently, access to work readiness training varies across service systems and is not adequately funded. This can be accomplished through increased funding for and utilization of ACCES-VR work readiness servicesand through increased funding for employment and training programs through DOL’s One-Stops Career Centers.

Fourth, establish a small business tax credit for New Yorkers with disabilities. While other tax credits exist, this particular opportunity is needed for the following reasons: 1) the Workers with Disabilities Tax Credit (WETC) is good for two years and only if you are a consumer of the vocational rehabilitation system seeking entry into the job market, 2) other tax credits are focused on individuals with particular disabilities identifying the need for a cross-disability application, and 3) the Small Business Administration in its Fact Sheet states that small business has accounted for 66% of all new net jobs in this country since 1970. With this in mind, a small business cross-disability tax credit to promote private sector hiring of people with disabilities is desirable:

  • Small businesses are defined as 100 employees or less. The tax credit is provided when a small business hires a full-time employee with a disability (35 hours per week) for twelve months. Small businesses that qualify will receive a $5,000 tax credit per person with a disability hired - not to exceed a maximum credit of $25,000. (A570/S1907 of 2014).

Fifth, provide adequate funding to maximize the Medicaid Buy-in for the Working Disabled. Currently, there are 10,000 enrollees in the Medicaid Buy-In. People with disabilities who are served by vocational rehabilitation programs are not currently being enrolled in the Medicaid Buy-In for the Working Disabled.  Instead, these peers who are served by State-funded vocational rehabilitation and employment programs should receive a required referral to Independent Living Centers for Medicaid Buy-In application completion, with the option to “opt-out.”  Coding barriers and training problems at Local Social Service Districts have similar issues. If addressed effectively, New York State’s Medicaid program could save $8.8 million a year. Overall, the Medicaid Buy-In program needs to be promoted during this effort as individuals make the transition from benefits to various levels of employment. This also highlights the need for an increased effort around benefits advisement and training and services that encompass economic self-sufficiency – important supports that will be needed to successfully allow individuals to move from poverty and benefits to employment. The MRT work group recommends benefits advisement and web-based calculator on page 40. It talks about the importance of numerous benefits including the Medicaid Buy-In and how individualized advisement is crucial. Further, it identifies ILCs as playing a key role in the process – to empower and educate peers in the area of benefits toward employment.

Sixth, we think the State should advance the final recommendations of the MRT Social Determinants of Health Work Group Final Recommendations related to the employment of New Yorkers with disabilities. Among the top priorities:

Last, it was felt that as individuals transition from benefits to employment, it will potentially impact both housing and transportation needs. This will necessitate an investigation of housing and transportation strategies related to employment. The MRT work group recommends transportation and employment opportunities on page 43.

We request that members of NYAIL and NYSILC be appointed to one or more of any advisory boards that the Commission may establish. We can submit appropriate members from both organizations upon request when specific opportunities are identified.

            Thank you for the opportunity to provide priority recommendations related to Employment First. We look forward to the opportunity it will provide for New Yorkers with disabilities.


Brad Williams
Executive Director
NYSILC
 

Lindsay Miller
Executive Director
NYAIL


cc:        Roger Bearden, Special Counsel for Olmstead
            Courtney Burke, Deputy Secretary for Health
            Alphonso David, Deputy Secretary for Human Rights