Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) July 21, 2014
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys celebrates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 2014. Congress enacted the ADA “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” The ADA protects people with special needs from discrimination in employment, public services and accommodations, services operated by private entities, transportation, and telecommunication.
“NAELA member attorneys work with individuals with special needs who are striving to be treated as equals in their communities every day. The Americans with Disabilities Act has made great strides in assuring that takes place,” said NAELA President Bradley J. Frigon, CELA, CAP.
“This year is particularly significant as it is also the 15th anniversary of the Olmstead decision,” Frigon noted. In 1999, the Supreme court in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), ruled that under the ADA, states must place persons with mental disabilities in the community rather than an institution when deemed appropriate by treatment professionals; not opposed by the individual; and can be reasonably accommodated given state resources and the needs of other mentally disabled individuals.
Unfortunately, even with the ADA and Olmstead, many Americans with disabilities still face significant challenges to live in their communities, in part due to the high costs of long-term services and supports they require. For instance, even 20-hour per week home care services could amount to over $20,000 per year, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
“Policymakers must find a better way to allow individuals with special needs to thrive without incentivizing impoverishment,” Frigon said. NAELA is presently assessing creative ways to deliver and finance long-term care and will continue to support changes such as the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act and the Disabled Military Child Protection Act to help those with special needs have a higher quality of life under the present system.
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.