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White House Disability Update


Thursday, September 12, 2013

White House Disability Update

Dear Friends,

In this White House Disability Update, you will learn about recent and upcoming Obama Administration efforts to advance equality, inclusion and access on behalf of the disability community.


Claudia L. Gordon
White House Office of Public Engagement

DOL to Host Twitter Chat on New Rules on Friday, September 13th

Recently, Vice President Biden announced two new rules that will improve job opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities.

One rule updates the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, or VEVRAA. The other updates Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Both rules add – for the first time – real metrics to the affirmative action obligations that federal contractors and subcontractors have been required to meet for nearly 40 years.

The Labor Department invites you to join them (@USDOL) for a Twitter chat to discuss these new rules.

DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program Director Patricia A. Shiu will be tweeting along with Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez from DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and National Programs Director Ruth Samardick from the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). They will be joined by Mark Perriello, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities and Jill Houghton, Executive Director of the US Business Leadership Network.

During this chat, you’ll have the chance to ask these experts questions about what the new rules mean for federal contractors and for millions of American workers.

To join the discussion, tweet using the hashtag #AccessJobs between 2 and 3 p.m. EDT on Friday. You can also submit your questions in advance by using that same hashtag or by sending an e-mail to If you can’t make it to the chat, a full recap will be posted on the DOL blog next week.

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM).  It is a time to prepare yourself and your family for emergencies and disasters. Please be sure to read the Presidential Proclamation on National Preparedness month.

FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination provided the following information on how to prepare if you or someone in your life has access and functional needs.

In the event you must go without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days, follow these four steps:

  • Be Informed
  • Make a Plan
  • Build a Kit
  • Get Involved

If you or someone close to you has a disability or other access and functional needs, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family. Each person's needs and abilities are unique, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and put plans in place. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation.

Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs or the needs of your family. It's possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore. Plan to make it on your own, at least for a period of time. Identify what kind of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are limited or not available. Build a Kit with your specific needs in mind. What do you need to maintain your health, safety and independence?

For more information, check out: 
FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

Watch “Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Others Who Also Have Access and Functional Needs” Video (Closed Captioning and American Sign Language Available)

Follow us: @Readygov
Email us: or
Order publications: call 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585
Monthly Preparedness text messages: Text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to receivemonthly preparedness tips (msg/data rates apply).

Agency Update

Department of Justice Settles Claim with Dominion Hospital for Failure to Provide Effective Communication Services to Deaf Individuals

On September 4, 2013, the United States Attorney’s Office announced a $55,000 settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Dominion Hospital, which is located in Falls Church, Virginia and is part of the HCA Virginia Health System, to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in the provision of medical services.

This case is a part of the Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, which seeks to enforce the ADA’s prohibition of discrimination against individuals with disabilities by health care providers, including hospitals. Through the Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, U.S. Attorneys' offices across the nation and the Department's Civil Rights Division target their enforcement efforts on a critical area for individuals with disabilities – access to medical services and facilities. The Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative is a multi-phase initiative that includes effective communication for people who are deaf or have hearing loss, physical access to medical care for people with mobility disabilities, and equal access to treatment for people who have HIV/AIDS.

Americans with Disabilities Act Champions of Change Blogs Now Live

On July 25th, the White House honored eight Champions of Change who embody the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the ADA with these next generation leaders was inspiring and motivating. They have each written blogs about their life experience that are now posted on the Champions of Change blog. Their biographies are available here.

Stay Connected

Visit us at the White House Office of Public Engagement website at Be sure to join the online conversation by following Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett at @VJ44, Office of Public Engagement Director Paulette Aniskoff at @PAniskoff44, and Director of Specialty Media Shin Inouye at @Inouye44.

Note: If you received this email as a forward and would like to be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list, please visit our website at and fill out the “contact us” form in the disabilities section, or email us at and provide your full name, city, state, and organization.

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The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111


Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.