Small Businesses No Longer Have an Excuse to Not be ADA Compliant

Treppen
Photo Courtesy of The Spinal Post

Posted on: January 18th, 2013 by Mariah Kilbourne

——————————————————————————–

The sun is shining bright and a fun-filled day is about to begin. First up for the day, breakfast. My friends and I heard about the perfect pancake house. A small mom and pop shop – with unmatched flavors – cinnamon streusel, pumpkin spice and even red velvet pancakes. Mmm! Our mouths are watering and we cannot wait to try them all.

After parking my wheelchair accessible van, we arrive at the restaurant. And I cannot get inside. Due to cerebral palsy, I get around using a manual or power wheelchair – which I refer to as “The Beast.” Unfortunately, the small restaurant is only accessible by stairs and a curb entrance. Disappointed and hungry, we have to take our business elsewhere. Before we left, I asked the business why they don’t have ramp access. They apologized and said that making the accommodations would be too expensive.

Unfortunately, this is a common misconception of many small business owners.

Because business owners percieve the cost of access improvements as too expensive, people with disabilities continue to face undue architectural barriers. These barriers make it impossible to access goods and services offered by said business. And without access, the more than 57 million Americans with disabilities make up a huge, untapped market for many small business owners.

The good news is that financial assistance is available to help small businesses comply with ADA Federal regulations which prohibit the discrimination of people with disabilities and open doors for full participation in all aspects of everyday life. To help small businesses welcome customers with disabilities, the IRS offers two tax incentives to remove access barriers.

4 Tax Incentives to Improve Access and Make Your Small Business ADA Compliant
A small business is defined by the IRS: “as a business that for the previous tax year had either revenues of $1,000,000 or less or 30 or fewer full-time workers.” Make sure your business takes advantage of these valuable incentives.

1. TAX CREDIT

The first incentive is a tax credit. The tax credit was established under Section 44 of the Internal Revenue Code. It was created in 1990 specifically to help small businesses cover ADA-related “eligible access expenditures.” The credit can be used for architectural adaptations, equipment acquisitions and services.

Small businesses may take a credit of up to $5,000 (half of eligible expenses up to $10,250, with no credit for the first $250) to offset their costs for access. These costs include:

Barrier Removal – such as widening a doorway or installing a ramp
Provision of Accessibility Services – such as having sign language interpreters
Provision of Printed Materials in Alternative Formats – such as large print, audio or Braille
Fees for Consulting Services
The credit cannot be used for the costs of new construction. It can be used only for adaptations to existing facilities that are required to comply with the ADA.

2. TAX DEDUCTION

The second incentive is a tax deduction. The tax deduction was established under Section 190 of the Internal Revenue Code. Businesses can take a business expense deduction of up to $15,000 per year for the cost of removing architectural or transportation barriers.

3. TAX INCENTIVES IN COMBINATION

Small businesses can use both of these incentives together. If a small business expenses exceed $10,250 for the maximum $5,000 tax credit, then the deduction equals the difference between the total spent and the amount of the credit claimed.

4. ANNUAL INCENTIVES

Both the tax credit and the tax deduction can be used every year. A small business may not carry over expenses from one year to the next and claim a credit or deduction for the portion that exceeded the expenditure limit the previous year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Request IRS Publications 535 and 334 for further information on tax incentives, or Form 8826 to claim your tax credit. Visit: http://www.ada.gov or http://www.irs.gov for more information. Or call the Department of Justice ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301. Contact The Mobility Resource to get in touch with the author

Independence Mall responds to allegations of discrimination against woman in a wheelchair

 RePosted:// Jan 16, 2013 8:34 PM EST Updated:// Jan 17, 2013 4:35 PM EST
By: Ashlea Kosikowski –
  

Ilse Rosenberg, a Holocaust survivor, with her caregiver Ilse Rosenberg, a Holocaust survivor, with her caregiver

 

We try to get answers inside Lee Nail Salon We try to get answers inside Lee Nail Salon

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The general manager of the Independence Mall is reacting to allegations of discrimination at one of the salons located within the mall. 

The family of a woman from Wilmington says that she was the victim of discrimination after Lee Nail Salon reportedly tried to charge the 86-year-old an extra fee because she is in a wheelchair.

In a statement, Helen Lewis, the GM of the mall, wrote:

“We regret that a member of our community had an unpleasant experience while visiting an Independence Mall retailer.  Retail landlords do not have the ability to control individual tenant policies and procedures, but we do expect them to comply with state and federal laws.  We are also bound and confined by our lease provisions and tenant laws as set forth by the state of North Carolina when dealing with tenants, and have taken every action allowed to us under those provisions to address the situation.”

Earlier this week, Ilse Rosenberg, a Holocaust survivor, was with her caregiver, Melissa Padgett, who took her to Lee Nails for a manicure and pedicure.

“After she gets her feet in the chair and she’s comfortable and her feet are in the water, he [an employee at the salon] said because she is in a wheelchair and it’s an inconvenience of her being transferred in the chair, it is a $30 dollar up charge,” said Padgett.

But Padgett, who is a CNA, said she had already transferred Rosenberg into the salon chair.

Still, she says that the salon manager told her to leave if she didn’t want to pay the extra fee.

“I went back to Ilse, and at this point, I’m crying because I’m humiliated,” she said. “When I saw her face, and I had to tell her we had to leave or pay an up charge, it broke my heart.”

Rosenberg’s family is outraged by what happened.

“She’s only in a wheelchair because of her age, and she’s been through a lot,” said Ilse’s son, Robert Rosenberg. “And she loves life, and it’s very disappointing to find that this nail salon treated her so badly. It’s discrimination.”

“She went there to have her nails done and to feel beautiful and walked away humiliated,” said Ilse’s daughter-in-law, Charlotte. “That’s just wrong.”

On the phone, salon employees told WECT that they charge an extra $30 for those in wheelchairs because “it takes more time” for their workers to give them manicures and pedicures.

However, when we went to the salon to try to talk to the manager or owner on camera, we were escorted out of the business and out of the mall by security officers.

Now, her family is asking the community to boycott the business.

They filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

BBB officials said if the salon is charging more for those in wheelchairs, they are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability.

The family also complained to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

A representative from that office said they have forwarded the family’s complaint to the US Department of Justice, which handles investigations into ADA violations.

Independence Mall posted this statement on its Facebook page:

“Dear Friends, we have been made aware of a potential situation at Independence Mall where a valued customer may have received sub-par treatment. Our first concern is the safety and enjoyable experience that all of our customers have at our center, and we are looking into this reported incident. That said, all of the merchants at Independence Mall establish their own individual policies, and we encourage them to adhere to best practices in all situations.”

The Disability Resource Center, a local non-profit that helps and fights for equal treatment for disabled people in our community, investigated this case.

The center’s director, Gloria Garton, said she also called the nail salon to inquire about what happened. She said they also admitted to her that they charge more for people in wheelchairs.

Given their willingness to talk openly about this, Garton thinks it’s likely that others have paid this extra fee but didn’t think anything was wrong with it or were too humiliated to say anything.

She hopes other businesses learn from what happened.

“We hope that for the business’s sake, it’s a learning experience for them and it doesn’t get duplicated anywhere else and that other businesses realize you just can’t do this kind of thing to people,” Garton said.

If you think you have been the victim of discrimination under the ADA, you can email a complaint to ada.complaint@usdoj.gov. The Disability Resource Center can also be reached at info@drcwilmington

crosswalk, audible pedestrian signals for the visually impaired and blind, protested by the upper manhattan rich and spoiled as “Too noisy”

UPPER EAST SIDE — Plans to install audible pedestrian signals to help blind New Yorkers safely cross streets have been attacked for causing “noise pollution” on the Upper East Side.

Some neighborhood residents spoke out against Department of Transportation plans that would add two dozen disabled-accessible signals at yet-to-be finalized locations across the five borough.

The critics called them a “colossal waste of money” and are threatening to circulate a petition to stop it. 

“How much noise pollution do we need? It repeats over and over again, a drone of an announcement,” Peter Renehan, who lives on the Upper East Side, said at Wednesday’s Community Board 8 meeting.

“I’ve never once seen a blind person cross the street by themselves. These people are assisted because we are a neighborhood. We don’t need more noise to assist people to cross the street,” he added.

He said he would “bring petitions in from people from other buildings around the neighborhood” to stop it.

According to the DOT, there are currently 48 such aids in place at intersections across the city, including one at 59th Street near Lexington Avenue. Some of the proposed Upper East Side locations include East 72nd, 79th, 86th and 96th streets.

But Renehan said the signals are unnecessary, especially at night when he said there are few people using the crosswalks.

“At 2 or 3 in the morning, how many blind people do you see walking down the street in our neighborhood?” he asked.

“This is the worst proposal I’ve ever heard of for a neighborhood that doesn’t need it. This is a colossal waste of money.”

Josh Orzech, a community liaison for the DOT, explained at the meeting that the signals placed in residential areas would likely not be as loud as near East 59th and Lexington Avenue, a commercial area.

“The sounds adjust based on ambient noise,” he said.  “Obviously, it’s louder because of the trucks and cars.”

However, Orzech said that signals would make some noise, even if they were quieter.

“They have to click so that a sight-impaired person can find it,” he said.

Michele Birnbaum, a CB8 board member, opposed the signals on the grounds that “residents will be very much affected by this” and warned of getting “carried away with what seems to be a good thing.” 

“Whether or not it has merit for some is not necessarily the reason to have them installed,” she said.

“You can prove to me that this would be good on many street corners, but that doesn’t mean that the majority of people in the community want it.”

Dr. John Jacoby, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, said he opposed the signals because there’s already too much noise in the neighborhood.

“This is just horrible,” he said. “We can’t sleep enough on this corner already.”

Some CB8 members disagreed.

Rita Popper said she understood noise concerns, but said busy intersections like East 71st Street and First Avenue are a real danger for the visually impaired.

“I think this is very dangerous,” she said.

“I think we’re sending them into a problem. If you send a sight-impaired person from north to south or south to north, you’re not taking into consideration that cars are turning in,” she said.

“We’re sending them into traffic. It’s not that all the traffic stops and that the person can cross safely.”

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130107/upper-east-side/audible-cross-signals-for-blind-too-noisy-for-ues-critics-say#ixzz2HPFp87Fk

Today is the international day of the disabled!!! Wow we get one whole day what happens the other 364?

The United nations has declared today the international day of the disabled and today the UN will vote on a message to the world to put in place laws everywhere for we the dis and otherwise abled to have equal rights.

Sounds like a shoe in doesn’t it? I mean who wouldn’t want that? well I can tell you the newyork landlords association and the American retailers association the New York taxi cab owners association and the groups who own private buses for hire and the restaurant owners association, the hotel and bar owners association just to name a few. I could keep going on because all these groups have hired lobbyists to jump into action, whenever the topic is brought up.

In the recent election debacle Romney said he thought the Americans with disabilities act was oppressive and unnecessary.

What kind of world do we live in where human rights decency and giving everyone a fair go are considered oppressive?

Politicians play to the crowd, and I can tell you according to the vox populis we the disabled do nothing, go nowhere and we have people to wipe our collective asses and clean the dribble from our chin while they spoon feed us.

Whenever I am at the climbing gym I can guarantee someone will comment “Oh wow surely your people can’t climb?” Or “oh poor thing it must be hard watching others climb bet you wish you could”

Giving us a National day is both a good thing and a bloody horrible thing,the good is the media pays attention but the horrible is the rest of the year you are pushing shit uphill for a teen with camera phone to pay attention let alone a major media outlet  because disabled  doesn’t sell!

John Mc Cain today made a long flowery speech in support of us today, and would have raised his hands in praise  if he could get them past his elbows. Yet just a month ago he is on record agreeing with the Romney-bot   that equal rights for us were oppressive?

So If you are disabled or love someone who is or god forbid are both a loving caring compassionate human and vote, tell your senator and congress and councilman or woman to get off their asses and support the disabled. To the war mongers who bought the “weapons of mass destruction” bullshit and sent our boys and girls off to this war if you sent them to war and they came home broken and you don’t support equal rights for them I’ll vote your ass out of office.

I am off to Manhattan  right now,  and I can assure you  that there will be at least a dozen episodes  of abuse and stupidity, that’s not a problem that’s just a Monday. It would be great if they actually could read signs that say “PLEASE ALLOW WHEELCHAIRS ON FIRST” or “THESE SEATS ARE FOR THE DISABLED AND ELDERLY”  or if they could read the 2 inch high bright white sign on Zeus’s back and right and left side that read SERVICE DOG  and not think a service dog  is a breed that  were just so proud of we put it on a vest.

We have rights folks,

 We have the right to be treated with decency

, We have the right not to be abused

We have the right to not be assaulted

 We have the right to not be refused entry because your fragile sensibilities are offended

They are just the ones that being born should guarantee us, without even getting into actual federal and state laws.

But here’s a concept COMMON DECENCY TOWARDS ALL, try it on the next person you see who is disabled, who knows you might like the way it makes you feel.

Today and every day RESPECT OUR EXISTANCE OR RESPECT OUR RESISTANCE

Emergency list for the disabled incase hurricane sandy hits *please printout and use as a check list*

When there are emergency services banging on your door at three in the morning yelling “you have to leave” most grab their wallet their purse and pull on clothes and go, not so If you’re disabled.

If you’re disable otherwise abled or just no longer able to care for yourself, or in a wheelchair for any reason you have to plan ahead.

1/ have an emergency person who has promised to call and come round if phones are down, or tell emergency services you need help if they do not hear from you by a certain time.

2/ Make sure you have spares for your chair and a repair kit, you never know when you’ll be allowed back home. I.E. spare tubes, tires, tools to change a flat and a hand pump and also a box of garbage bags so you can cover your upholstery if you have to go out in the weather.

3/ Until the emergency passes keep all your meds and refills and a list of doctors names  addresses , numbers and email addresses in your hand bag. If like me your life is on your laptop every night until the all clear is called pack it in a bag inside two plastic bags, and put all your credit cards and money and purses and important documents in a bag.

4/ If you have a medic alert bracelet or necklace wear it! If you don’t have one write your diagnosis on a card and put it in a plastic holder like the MTA cards go in and attach it to a key ribbon you can wear, and  include anything you’re allergic to.

5/Tell neighbors on your floor you’re home alone, and ask they check on you.

6/ If the storm does hit tape paper to your door, and write in large letters” IN CASE OF EVACUATION A  DSABLED PERSON  LIVES HERE  if you’re deaf or blind include that on the sign.

7/ If you have pets make sure you have a carrier, MOST important if you have a service dog  make sure when you go to bed each night you leave him in his vest and leash ready to go and include some baggies and small containers of food for him.

8/ Put a box in an open place where you could find it in the dark fill it with candles, matches ,batteries  place bottled water next to it and any bandages and first aid kits place them in the middle of the dining room table. Also things like can openers pens and  paper a torch with extra batteries and your wet weather gear and a change of clothes and socks all in the one place and a list of every relative and friends number.

Most Of all even if you’re like me and won’t let anyone touch your chair or push or help, please get over it you must be compliant these people are busy and you’re not the only rescue they’ll be handling time is of the essence.

LASTLY in case you live in a secluded area where help might not be coming, map out your escape route or find a safe place in your house and if it’s somewhere not obvious again stick a note on your door.

If you can’t get out but you need to, email me at disabledaccessdenied@gmail.com  if you can still go online go to my blog www.disabledaccessdenied.com  for a list of emergency contact information in your area.

                                            Please print this out and use it as a check sheet

Brooklyn bridge contractor uses his flashing light and police window pass to illegally block disabled ramp in queens?

As anyone else with wheels under their asses knows rolling our great nations sidewalks is hard enough when their cracked or broken, but what makes it worse is getting to the side street to find no down or up ramp or even worse a car parked across it illegally what do you do?

Well I have been known to read the riot act to the driver in anyone of a dozen languages but of late I have been trying really hard, (honest tsultrim) to keep my Buddhist vow of non violence.

Well this Sunday it was my favorite time of the week, it was poppa time? What time you say? poppa time it is when Ella (she who must be obeyed) and I roll to her father’s place, we sit we talk in Russian and he remembers. Sometimes we cry when he remembers momma his late wife, and he asks if Ella is looking after me properly so I tease and say no she is terrible and we laugh, it is the bright light in my week.

To get to poppas we have to roll ½ a block to parsons boulevard then turn left roll down 6 blocks( that’s 6 side streets to cross ) and turn right 7 blocks (7 more side streets ) to Kissena boulevard and then 1 more block and were there .

That’s 15 street crossings, if the local council remembered and didn’t slack off there should be 15 down ramps and 15 up ramps there never is. The only thing worse than no ramp or a broken ramp is when thoughtless individuals park on the cross walk and slack uncaring ticket writers do nothing and I am left on a 12 inch high curb unable to cross unless I roll over the top of the car.

Well not only did this happen it happened when a member of a Zen Buddhist temple (in name only the place is a sham) pulled up in a government car, placed his “BROOKLYN BRIDGE MAINTENANCE CONTRACTOR ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS “sign in the window and paced his huge amber flashing light on the dash and parked blocking the cross walk and 8/10ths of the down ramp (see below)

When I spoke to one of the senior members of the temple I got “who are you a cop?” I looked and he was parking in front of a fire hydrant chatting to a friend parking in a bus stop and they were locking up and going inside to worship, FYI the bus stop is the only one where wheelchairs can load on in the vicinity if the bus can’t pull up to the curb the wheelie can’t get on but I digress.

We went to poppas  andwere there an hour  then we did some  and had lunch and rolled back and they were all still illegally parked but the service was over they all were chatting and didn’t move even when asked? ONLY IN AMERICA.

Is it the Americans with disabilities act or the lets act to disable Americans act? Advocacy only works if someone down the chain actually stops and cares.

 Parking in the disabled park is thoughtless because blocking the ramp blocks my right to continue on with my day, and parking in the bus stop means someone in a wheelchair loses a job because their boss is sick of them being late when they leave home with plenty of time but you think your right to a park outweighs their right to employment.

Syracuse University Applies to Run Agency That Polices Abuse of Disabled People

 reposted from a story By

See original story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/nyregion/syracuse-university-applies-to-run-agency-that-polices-abuse-of-disabled-people.html?_r=0

ALBANY — The Cuomo administration is strongly considering a surprise bid from Syracuse University to run a new federally financed nonprofit agency that will monitor treatment of people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses, according to people involved in the process.
The university’s application, however, is being questioned by some disability advocates. Syracuse is proposing to create a nonprofit group under its auspices that would run the oversight agency, a departure for the university, which is largely known for its research and policy expertise in the field. And while the group is supposed to be independent, the university is proposing to allow one-third of its board members “to be elected with input from the governor.”
The only other applicant is Disability Advocates Inc., a nonprofit group that has extensive experience with oversight work as a state contractor charged with advocating for disabled people. The organization has brought litigation against the state over care for people with disabilities.
The Commission on Quality of Care released the applications on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information request.
The administration is exploring a potential collaboration between Syracuse and Disability Advocates.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo backed legislation this year to create a new state agency, the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, that will police abuse and neglect of vulnerable populations. He is expected to sign that legislation in the coming weeks.
The federal government has pressured New York to also create a nongovernmental oversight group, similar to those found in most other states, because of longstanding lapses in oversight by government officials and widespread problems of abuse, neglect and financial mismanagement among providers of services to people with disabilities.
“We felt that we could bring a fresh perspective and new approach,” said Michael Morris, executive director of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, an interdisciplinary research center focusing on the challenges of people with disabilities.
Mr. Morris said the governance structure of the board “is open to more discussion.”
“We have been asked to engage in conversations with D.A.I.,” he added. “The state does see strengths in both their proposals.”
Curtis Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, a trade association for federally financed groups that oversee the care and treatment of disabled people, expressed concern about the Syracuse University bid. But he said his organization would welcome whatever group was selected.
“We don’t want a governor stacking a board,” Mr. Decker said, adding, “You need a really independent, aggressive agency to be a counterpoint to the Justice Center.”
He also expressed concern that Syracuse might not be as aggressive about seeking court intervention as Disability Advocates.
Before any final decision is made, there will be a hearing followed by a public comment period.