Recent Blog Posts

Are Doctors or Hospitals Required to Provide Interpreters for Deaf Patients and what are the penalties for not doing so?

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

A Deaf patient has the right to participate in his or her care to the same degree as a hearing person, including conveying and receiving medical information from doctors or a hospital.  The ultimate result of the treatment does not matter as much as having the ability to understand the entire treatment.

AFTEREFFECT – A SWAT team, an autistic man, an American tragedy.

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

  Aftereffect is a podcast produced by WYNC Studios, and hosted by Audrey Quinn.  In this series, Audrey weaves Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s story and explains how Florida is ill-equipped to provide adequate community-based services for him, and what he went through.  The synopsis of the eight episode series is as follows:  In the summer of… Read More »

Hooters Logo - Orange Letters saying HOOTERS with the two eyes of the owl as the two o's

How Hooters killed a Bad Florida Pro-Business ADA Protection Law

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

A settlement is an agreement between two parties as a resolution of a case and does not affect the rights of any third party.  Even a judgment only affects the parties involved.  The only method to insure compliance with the ADA or any other statute that includes standards for compliance – is to comply with such standards.  With the Americans with Disabilities Act, It’s been almost 28 years since the statute has been enacted.  For defense attorneys who do not obtain compliance with the standards to obtain a settlement, their clients will always be subject to additional suits.  In other words, it’s a gamble, and it could be penny wise and pound stupid.

Office Animals for Wellness

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

The question for all persons who focus on wellness is how to maintain mental, spiritual, and physical balance when being besieged by crisis (both real and perceived) from all sides. In this issue, I give my answer – Lucy. To quote my favorite industrialist, Willie Wonka, – “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”  #WellLawyer

Justine Chichester with a red orchid in her hair

The View From Here

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

It’s amazing to think so many emotions can be tied to pieces of cloth hanging in your closet. It happens to all of us, though. Not just after a traumatic experience. We all keep the jeans we wore in college, or the pretty dress from that special first date. It’s not necessarily the article of clothing itself is that special; it is the connection that piece of cloth represents to an important moment of time in your life.

Sandra Faye Twiggs, a 59 year old Black woman in a wheelchair grimacing as she is being berated by the judge

Lessons From the Humiliation and Death of Sandra Faye Twiggs

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

On Sunday April 15, 2018, Judge Merrilee Ehrlich stripped any shred of dignity or humanity from a 59 year-old woman, who appeared before her, in her first appearance before the court after being arrested.  In as much as the video and the transcript demonstrate how unhinged Judge Ehrlich acted towards this women, and how the Court staff and lawyers, like palace eunuchs, allow such unabated behavior to continue.  However, the outrage from the surface must be examined, and lead to thorough introspection and change, and not merely the retirement and resignation of this long-time judge.

Justine Chichester with a red orchid in her hair

The View From Here

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

So, I thought I could add my two cents to the conversation and suggest an alternative to the negative term, “wheelchair bound.” I think we can, and we should do better. The next time you find yourself describing someone like me, who rocks a chair, try this one out for size: –“Do you know Justine? Yes. I do. I heard she’s Wheelchair Strong.”

Justine Chichester with a red orchid in her hair

The View From Here

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

Through vigorous physical therapy over the past two years I am starting to walk again. First it was just a few steps, now I am able to walk outside and close to the length of a football field. I am getting my life back, all because I have had this therapy which Medicare has provided to me. I am excited about the future now and am getting back on my feet. … This is why I ask you to please vote to repeal the Medicare cap so that those of us who truly are benefiting can continue to do so, and thousands more will be able to do so in the future. The cap is currently so limiting for those of us who need more than just a few visits. And the out of pocket cost would be astronomical for patients who are making progress getting back on their feet again.

hands in handcuffs

Young children should not be arrested in school and sent to psychiatric hospitals

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By Matthew W.  Dietz and Carlos J. Martinez   Twenty years ago, when a 7-year-old had a temper tantrum in a public school, the school would suspend the child. The police would not be called, and it would be unthinkable to subject the child to an involuntary mental examination in a psychiatric ward of… Read More »

Justine Chichester with a red orchid in her hair

The View From Here

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Justine Chichester  “Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.” – Michael Josephson I’ve decided to take a new approach to my New Year’s resolutions this year.  In the past, I’ve done what most of us do, swear up and down to lose weight, exercise more,… Read More »

Logo for the Florida Hate Crime Coalition - Lets Act to Protect All Floridians

MAKE A STAND AGAINST HATE – SUPPORT THE FLORIDA HATE CRIME LAW

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Matthew W. Dietz On January 22nd, I was honored to represent Disability Independence Group and speak on behalf of The Florida Hate Crime Coalition (FHCC). They applauded the recent filing of legislation that would strengthen Florida’s hate crime law.  This bill, Florida HB 211 and SB 588, ensures that all persons are protected… Read More »

Photograph of Ed Roberts

Happy Ed Roberts Day – January 23rd

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

Disability Rights are Civil Rights, and every civil rights movement has its heroes.  For the Disability Rights movement, the father of the independent living movement is Ed Roberts.  At a time when a person with polio was expected to spend his days in an iron lung, and not expected to participate in the community, Ed Roberts persisted, lived, and participated in his life and community. 

The author of the article smiling

What is Substantial gainful Activity or SGA according to The Social Security Administration?  

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Lesly Lopez To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA… Read More »

Fake Interpreters in Florida

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

When a Sign Language interpreter gestures in gibberish, it places the lives of the members of the Deaf community at risk. This must stop, and Florida must license and regulate sign language interpreters.

Employment Support for People With Disabilities

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

  Employment support for people with disabilities If you are disabled and you are pursuing employment, you are not alone. You can find many agencies providing employment support and help you to reach your vocational goal. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or… Read More »

Justine Chichester with a red orchid in her hair

The View From Here

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By Justine Chichester I’ve been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B. In it, she writes about facing adversity, building resilience and finding joy. Sandberg writes, “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up; draw on it when you need it. In that process… Read More »

ruderman inclusion summit logo

Five Things that I’ve Learned at the 2017 Ruderman Inclusion Summit

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

I have been an active participant, advocate, and lawyer in the Disability Rights movement for the past twenty years, so I am always excited to hear new views or learn new skills.  Last week, Debbie and I attended the Ruderman Inclusion Summit in Boston where we had the opportunity to meet with about 1,200… Read More »

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Florida’s Not So Happy Anniversary Present To the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

On the same month as the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a Florida law came into effect that shields businesses from liability in ADA lawsuits. Section 553.5141, Florida Statutes, permits certification of a public accommodation as compliant with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act if an expert designs a… Read More »

Summer Fun in Sunny Florida

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Lorinda Gonzalez …it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!      – Kenny Chesney The temperature is rising and soon everyone will hit the beach. Summers in Florida are epic, and people travel from all over the world to feel the warm sun on their face. As… Read More »

Asset Building for Individuals with Disabilities

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Lesly Lopez Public benefit programs for people with disabilities, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are not aimed at increasing assets and independence for people with disabilities as a result individuals with disabilities often have very limited income and few, if any, assets. The intent of asset building initiatives is that as individuals develop… Read More »