Woman standing with walker

The purpose of the Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) program is to advocate for the legal and human rights of people with disabilities who are not eligible for our other grant programs.

People We Serve

  • People with physical, hearing or vision disabilities seeking equal access to DC government programs, services and facilities
  • People with physical, hearing or vision disabilities seeking equal access to public accommodations (privately-owned businesses like restaurants, stores and health care facilities that are open to the public)
  • People with physical, hearing and vision disabilities seeking access to quality services through DC Medicaid to enable them to live in integrated community settings
  • People with physical disabilities living in segregated facilities such as nursing facilities and seeking transitional assistance from DC government to enable them to move back to the community with the Medicaid long-term care services they need.

Examples of PAIR Activities:

  • Demand that DC government make changes required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that people with disabilities can use government services such as:
    • new equipment (screen readers) at DHS centers allows people with low vision to apply for their benefits
    • changes in security screening at DC government buildings allows entry by people with their service animals without written proof of training or certification
    • changes in the surface, entry gates, and equipment in playgrounds to allow use by children or their caregivers who use wheelchairs
    • wheelchair-accessible polling places with equipment to allow people with physical or vision disabilities to vote in-person and independently
  • Demand that DC government help people with physical disabilities access and keep their Medicaid home health services:
    • represent 3,000 people in nursing facilities on DC Medicaid who want to move back to the community in a Federal lawsuit under the ADA against DC government seeking transition assistance
    • represent people to keep their DC Medicaid home health services
  • Demand captioning, sign language interpreters, large type, electronic formats, or magnifying devices, and ramps, as appropriate, at hospitals, health care offices, restaurants, and museums as required by the ADA to ensure access by people who are deaf, have vision or physical disabilities.  

KEY CASES:

Brown, et al.  v. District of Columbia, 10-cv-2250 (D.D.C.) (DRDC represents 3,000 DC residents in nursing facilities on DC Medicaid seeking transition assistance to move back to the community with the long-term care services they need, under the ADA’s integration mandate.)
Young v. DC Housing Authority, 01-cv-00650 (D.D.C.) (DRDC obtained a court order requiring the DC Housing Authority to build or renovate 565 fully wheelchair-accessible public housing apartments for applicants in need of wheelchair-accessible public housing as required by Section 504 of the Rehab Act; case ended upon completion of the housing required).

Orozco v. Today’s Bus et al., 07-cv-444 (D.D.C.)(DRDC represented a blind man who was refused entry with his guide dog on interstate buses between DC and New York under the ADA; negotiated a settlement that changed the bus company’s discriminatory policy and practice and provided a monetary award to Mr. Orozco).

DRDC filed a complaint against the DC Department of Human Services on behalf of a woman with low vision denied accommodations in recertifying her benefits. The settlement required DHS to accommodate people with low vision and install magnifying readers in all the benefits offices.

On behalf of a woman who is blind and uses a guide dog, DRDC demanded that a ride-sharing service change its policy to require drivers to transport people with service animals.

How to Contact ULS-PAIR

To request help, call (202) 547-0198, or 877-221-4638,  (202) 547-2657 (TTY) or e-mail us at mcober@uls-dc.org. The office is located at 220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130, Washington, D.C. 20002.

Requests for assistance are assessed on a case-by-case basis under our priorities. We cannot take every case, so ULS-PAIR may be unable to help you because of limited resources.


PAIR Objectives and Priorities 2019

THE MISSION of Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services (DRDC) is to ensure that District of Columbia residents with disabilities have the legal rights to which they are entitled, including the right to be free from harm, the right to individual choice and the right to full
inclusion in the community.

The following are the priority and objectives for the Protection and Advocacy Program for Individual Rights (PAIR) for 2019:

1. Advocate on behalf of people with disabilities to ensure their access to DC government services and supports in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs and to public accommodations.


a. Advocate and litigate on behalf of people with disabilities to challenge the District’s improper termination, denial or reduction of Medicaid home health services including complaints arising from the District’s implementation of spend-down rules, the InterRAI long-term care assessment tool, and new database system.


b. Work through systemic and individual advocacy, investigation, outreach and education to ensure that public accommodations (privately-run businesses and facilities open to the public), polling sites, and governmental facilities and programs in the District of Columbia are accessible to people with mobility, hearing, and visual disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act.


c. Investigate and remedy allegations of abuse and/or neglect against people with disabilities who seek to transition from nursing facilities and/or live in the community.


d. Provide outreach and education to program administrators and staff, policy-makers, advocates, and people with disabilities, including those in nursing facilities, to promote self-determination, consumer choice, access to and preservation of high quality services for people with disabilities in the most integrated, appropriate settings.


e. Promote the rights of DC residents in nursing facilities under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to community-based alternatives, transitional assistance after the end of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program, and quality home-based personal care assistance through the Medicaid Waiver Program for People who are Elderly and/or have Physical Disabilities (EPD Waiver), the DC Medicaid State Plan, and other DC government services to enable them to move out of nursing facilities back to the community.

CASE SELECTION CRITERIA

ULS accepts cases related to protecting the legal and human rights of individuals who reside in the District of Columbia who have disabilities that fall within the aforementioned priorities.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

While we recognize that every situation is important, please note that case acceptance is dependent upon available resources, including staff time. If your case is not accepted and you wish to file a grievance, please submit your grievance in writing to the Executive Director. Current clients may also submit a grievance to the Executive Director about the quality of ULS’ representation. A client may lodge an oral grievance with a ULS staff member who shall put the grievance in writing and submit it to the Executive Director. The Executive Director may be reached at:

Jane Brown, Executive Director
University Legal Services
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-0198 Phone
(202) 547-2662 Fax
(202) 547-2657 TTY

The Executive Director shall respond in writing within thirty (30) days of receipt of a grievance from any client or prospective client, or community member who has an interest in the operation of the protection and advocacy program.

A grievant may appeal the Executive Director’s decision to the ULS Board of Directors within ten (10) days of the written decision of the Executive Director. The decision of the ULS Board of Directors shall be final and not subject to further appeal or review. Client confidentiality shall be maintained.

The Executive Director shall report grievances to the Board of Directors annually.


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