I greatly appreciate DRO – they’ve been an invaluable resource for us.
Thank you for your interest in Disability Rights Oregon! Our vision is a world where all individuals have opportunity, access, and choice. Achieving this vision means protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. As 2014 comes to a close, we celebrate our accomplishments and look ahead to 2015. Please take a moment to share in DRO’s accomplishments and to learn how you can support these efforts.
In 2014, in communities around the state, Disability Rights Oregon helped Oregonians with disabilities keep their jobs, their homes, and their access to health care and education. And in Salem, we advocated to create and enforce legislation and policies that protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our shared commitment to disability rights.
Your donation will help us continue to promote and defend the legal rights of people with disabilities.
2014, BY THE NUMBERS
2,752 information and referral service intakes
459 legal advocacy cases
2 class action lawsuits
276 Plan for Work beneficiaries
Over 300 guardianship petition reviews
1000’s of consumers, families, providers and policy makers participated in DRO presentations and trainings
2014, Our Stories
Social Security Benefits Jeopardized
Last spring, approximately one-thousand vulnerable Oregonians were on the verge of having their Social Security benefits suspended. After a fraud investigation by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the local “representative payee” for their benefits closed abruptly, leaving its clients without access to their funds. As people with disabilities, these individuals depended on their benefits for basic needs such as rent, warm clothing, and medication.
After attempts to resolve the matter through Congressional leadership failed, Disability Rights Oregon, along with legal advocacy organizations the Oregon Law Center and the National Senior Citizens Law Center, initiated a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed on March 24, sought to protect these individuals’ rights to continue to receive their benefits.
Voting is a Basic Right
Voting is a basic right, and Disability Rights Oregon advocates for every one of us to enjoy the right to register to vote and to cast a private and independent ballot. This year, a gubernatorial election year in Oregon, with a major primary and general election, DRO’s voting access project collaborated with county elections offices, as well as hundreds of agencies across the state to distribute materials, offer trainings, and provide DRO contact information to individual voters in need of assistance. One of the signature outcomes of these partnerships was the Easy Voters Guide (EVG). Produced in partnership with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office and the League of Women Voters, the EVG offered a nonpartisan elections guide featuring large print, accessible formatting and graphic icons to explain ballot measures and candidates priorities. In addition to these large-scale efforts, we worked with individual voters to secure voting accommodations, helping to ensure full participation in the electoral process for individuals with disabilities.
Plan for Work
Our Plan for Work program kicked off a new phase in 2014, serving both Oregon and southwest Washington. Plan for Work is a statewide benefit planning project. It consists of a statewide call center and a network of specially trained Community Work Incentive Coordinators who provide one-on-one benefits analysis and benefit planning. Plan for Work coordinators served nearly 300 individuals with disabilities who are preparing to expand their hours at work or enter or re-enter the workforce. Benefits planning helps individuals understand how employment (or increased employment) will affect their existing benefits, as well as familiarize them with available federal or state work incentives, provide general information about employer-based or federally-subsidized health benefits coverage, and refer them to appropriate employment networks or state vocational rehabilitation agencies. This year, the program conducted extensive collaboration and outreach, with a focus on reaching young adults entering into professional employment for the first time.