Services for Adults with Disabilities

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Crosswalk box, showing a blind person with a cane.Updated October 2010 | Links checked, February 2013

Once a student with a disability leaves high school, other agencies are available to assist with putting the individual in contact with helpful resources.

We have prepared this listing of resources for adults with disabilities to help you get started. Look over this list, and you will find organizations that provide information, referral, and/or direct services. A brief description of each organization’s activities is included to help you choose those organizations that seem appropriate to your needs.

Table of Contents

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Organizations and Agencies in Your State

You will find our NICHCY State Organizations Search useful in identifying resources of additional information. 

The State Organizations Search lists state offices, such as the Protection and Advocacy Agency, the Developmental Disabilities Council, and selected disability organizations. Look for disability organizations that might address your needs. Any of these groups may be able to help you directly or refer you to a local chapter or office near you. Disability groups usually serve both children and adults and are a good place for referral to sources of further education, job training, financial assistance, living arrangements, and the like.

Listed below are selected agencies concerned with the well-being of people with disabilities. These organizations are grouped by the main focus of their activities, as follows: employment issues, postsecondary education, recreation, independent living, assistive technology, and other.
 
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Employment

Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) |
To identify the VR office in your vicinity, consult your local telephone directory or visit: http://askjan.org/cgi-win/TypeQuery.exe?902
Vocational Rehabilitation is a nationwide federal-state program for assisting eligible people with disabilities to define a suitable employment goal and become employed. Each state capital has a central VR agency, and there are local offices in most states. VR provides medical, therapeutic, counseling, education, training, and other services needed to prepare people with disabilities for work. VR is an excellent place for a youth or adult with a disability to begin exploring available training and support service options.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
1.800.526.7234 (Voice) | 1.877.781.9403 (TTY)
Spanish spoken; Spanish materials available
http://askjan.org/
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

ADA National Network
For information on legislation, rights, and resources, visit:
http://adata.org/Static/Home.html
Or call: 1.800.949.4232 (Voice/TTY)
The ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of business, government and individuals at local, regional and national levels. The ADA National Network consists of ten regional ADA National Network Centers located throughout the United States that provides personalized, local assistance to ensure that the ADA is implemented wherever possible. This is not an enforcement or regulatory agency, but a helpful resource supporting the ADA’s mission to “make it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality.” (Formerly known as the DBTACs, the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers.)

Accessible Community Transportation in Our Nation (Project ACTION)
For information on transportation legislation, customer rights, and information about accessible transportation, visit: 
http://www.projectaction.org/
1.800.659.6428; (202) 347-7385 (TDD)
Project ACTION promotes universal access to transportation for people with disabilities under federal law and beyond by partnering with transportation providers, the disability community, and others through the provision of training, technical assistance, applied research, outreach and communication.

Career One-Stop (Web site)
http://careeronestop.org/
This website is a publicly funded resource for job-seekers (including those with disabilities) and businesses. Job-seekers can search for jobs—from entry level to technical to professional to CEO—locate public workforce services in their area, explore alternative career paths, compare salary data for different occupations, learn which careers are hot, get resume writing tips and job interview strategies, and much more. Employers can identify job-ready workers with the right skills.  Disability resources in particular can be found at:
http://www.careerinfonet.org/acinet/crl/library_search.aspx?Keyword=disability&x=15&y=12

Goodwill Industries International
http://www.goodwill.org/
1.800.741.0186
Goodwill’s network of 165 independent, community-based Goodwills  in the United States and Canada offers customized job training, employment placement, and other services to people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. Enter your zipcode on its website, and find Goodwill training centers in your area.

JobAccess and ABILITYJobs
http://www.jobaccess.org/
The goal of ABILITYJobs and JobAccess is to enable people with disabilities to enhance their professional lives by providing a dedicated system for finding employment. By posting job opportunities, or searching resumes, employers can find qualified persons with disabilities as well as demonstrate their affirmative action and open door policies.

National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult (NCWD)
http://www.onestops.info/
The National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult (NCWD) provides training, technical assistance, policy analysis, and information to improve access for all in the workforce development system. Areas of expertise include: accommodations and assistive technology, relationships with employers, helping clients with disabilities find jobs, and advising employers as to how to provide job-related supports.

NISH
www.nish.org

NISH is a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities by securing federal contracts through the AbilityOne Program for its network of community-based, nonprofit agencies. Providing employment opportunities to more than 45,000 people, the AbilityOne Program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities in the United States.

Office of Disability Employment Policy
U.S. Department of Labor
1.866.633.7365 (Voice) | 1.877.889.5627  (TTY)
www.dol.gov/odep

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides national leadership on disability employment policy by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies and practices, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authoritative and credible data on employment of people with disabilities. Find a wealth of employment-related information on ODEP’s website.

EARN | The Employer Assistance and Resource Network
http://askearn.org/
1.855.275.3276
The Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN)  provides federal and private employers with free consulting services and resources to support the recruitment, hiring, and retention of people with disabilities. EARN connects employers with national networks of available job seekers and also provides high quality up-to-date online information and technical assistance to promote the inclusion of employees with disabilities in the workplace. Job-seekers can use EARN’s online tools and resources to find employment opportunities, and be connected with local employment service providers. EARN Employment Specialists are also available to answer job-seekers’ questions (at the telephone number listed above).

Social Security Administration (SSA)
www.ssa.gov/work
The Social Security Administration’s Work Site provides clarity on matters affecting the employment of Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities. Its Ticket to Work Program provides most beneficiaries with more choices for receiving employment services. Under this program SSA issues ticket to eligible beneficiaries who, in turn, may choose to assign those tickets to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services necessary to achieve a vocational (work) goal. The EN, if they accept the ticket, will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help the beneficiary find and maintain employment.

START-UP/USA
http://www.start-up-usa.biz
START-UP/USA stands for Self-Employment Technical Assistance, Resources, & Training. This is a project funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. It provides technical assistance and disseminates resources nationally to individuals with disabilities interested in pursuing self-employment. This includes live web cast series with successful entrepreneurs who share their secrets for success.

If you are employed and are experiencing difficulty on the job due to your disability, you might consider contacting the following organizations.

Access Board
1.800.872.2253 (Voice) | 1.800.993.2822 (TTY)
www.access-board.gov
The Access Board is an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.  Created in 1973 to ensure access to federally funded facilities, the Board is now a leading source of information on accessible design. If you are concerned about access to a facility that may have been federally funded, you can file a complaint about it with the Access Board under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).  Find out more at the website above (look under the “Enforcement” tab) or by contacting the Board via its toll-free voice and TTY lines.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
1.800.669.4000 (Voice) | 1.800.669.6820 (TTY)
http://www.eeoc.gov/
The EEOC is a government agency that handles discrimination complaints about employment based on age, sex, race, ethnicity, and disability. The 800 number will connect callers with their local EEOC office, which can discuss complaints.

 
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Postsecondary Education

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
www.ahead.org
AHEAD is an international, multicultural organization of professionals committed to full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities. AHEAD offers numerous training programs, workshops, publications, and conferences to promote this mission.

Division of Adult Education and Literacy
Office of Vocational and Adult Education
U.S. Department of Education
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/disability.html
The Division of Adult Education and Literacy promotes programs that help adults get the basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens. The major areas of support are Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English Language Acquisition. These programs emphasize basic skills such as reading, writing, math, English language competency, and problem-solving.  The link above takes you to the Adult Education and People with Disabilities webpage of the division, where you can connect with a network of federal and state programs and initiatives for those with disabilities.

HEATH Resource Center
HEATH is the online clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. Come here if you’re looking for information about educational support services, policies, procedures, adaptations, and opportunities at American campuses, vocational-technical schools, and other postsecondary training entities for adults with disabilities.
www.heath.gwu.edu

Colleges, Career Colleges, Tech Colleges and Schools by State
Pick your state (or another!) and see what’s available.
http://www.college-scholarships.com/index.html#collegestate

DO-IT
DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) works to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. DO-IT Scholars is especially for college-capable high school students with disabilities.
http://www.washington.edu/doit/

Education-Portal.com
Your portal to degree programs, career information, school reviews, and education news
http://education-portal.com/index.html

PEPNet
PEPNet is a network of four regional centers working to advance educational options for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
http://www.pepnet.org/

 
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Recreation

Department of the Interior
Office on Accessibility, National Park Service
There are 370 parks and 7 regional offices under the National Park Service. A listing of all national parks and facilities, including general information about their accessibility, is available at the link above. However, information on accessibility of park programs, facilities, and services is best acquired directly from the park or area you plan to visit.
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm

Disabled Sports USA
Disabled Sports USA is the nation’s largest organization providing year-round sports and recreation activities to children and adults with physical disabilities. In conjunction with its nationwide network of chapters serving people in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, Disabled Sports USA offers such activities as snow skiing, water skiing, bicycling, white water rafting, horseback riding, mountain climbing, sailing, camping, and track and field. Use the link below to identify chapters in your area.
http://www.dsusa.org/chapter.html

Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
MIUSA is a nonprofit membership organization for persons with disabilities and other interested people. It works to expand opportunities for persons with disabilities to be involved in international educational exchange programs and travel. MIUSA members receive information and referral services in the areas of travel and placement in international work camps and educational exchange programs. MISUA also conducts international leadership training for persons with disabilities. Many publications are also available.
www.miusa.org

National Center on Accessibility
The National Center on Accessibility, which focuses upon making parks, recreation, and tourism accessible to individuals with disabilities, provides information on: access for individuals with disabilities to park and recreation areas and programs; training programs and opportunities; technical assistance for park and recreation professionals; and research and demonstration projects.
http://www.ncaonline.org/

National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD)
(800) 900-8086 (V/TTY)
NCPAD provides information and resources that can enable people with disabilities to become as physically active as they choose to be. They maintain searchable directories of organizations, programs, and facilities that provide opportunities for accessible physical activity; adaptive equipment vendors; conferences and meetings;and references to journal articles, books, videos and more. Fact sheets on a variety of physical activities for people with disabilities are also available.
www.ncpad.org

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH)
NLS/BPH – Library of Congress
A free national library program of Braille and recorded materials for persons with visual and physical disabilities is administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. With the cooperation of authors and publishers who grant permission to use copyrighted works, NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines in Braille and on recorded disc and cassette. Reading materials are distributed to a cooperating network of regional and local libraries where they are circulated to eligible borrowers. Reading materials and playback machines are sent to borrowers and returned to libraries by postage-free mail.
www.loc.gov/nls

Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic)
(800) 221-4792 (Customer Service)
Learning Ally is a national nonprofit service organization that provides educational and professional books in accessible format to people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, and other physical disabilities that prevent them from reading printed material. This includes individuals who are no longer in school but who are using educational books to pursue careers or personal interests. Learning Ally also accepts requests to record books that are not already contained in its 75,000-title Master Tape Library. To become an individual member, you must complete an application form (which contains “disability verification” and “certification” sections) but thanks to a  grant from the U.S. Department of Education, individual membership is now free.
https://www.learningally.org/

United States Adaptive Recreation Center
The USARC works with schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and park and recreation departments to serve children and adults with all types of cognitive or physical disabilities. A variety of summer and winger recreational opportunities are offered. Reservations, by individuals and groups, are required for all USARC programs.
www.usarc.org

 
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Independent Living

AbleData (Web Site)
AbleData provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment.  There are almost 40,000 product listings in 20 categories.
http://www.abledata.com/

Government Benefits (Web site)
The government now has available a Web site to help people find government benefits they may be eligible to receive. Its screening instrument is free and confidential.
http://www.benefits.gov/

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
NCIL is the national membership association of local nonprofit corporations known as Centers for Independent Living (CIL). Visit the address below to find your nearby SIL or the Statewide Independent Living Council for your state.
http://www.ncil.org/

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
(800) 346-2742
NARIC serves as an online gateway to an abundance of disability- and rehabilitation-oriented information organized in a variety of formats designed to make it easy for users to find and use. This includes resources for employment, advocacy, benefits and financial assistance, education, technology, and more.
http://www.naric.com/

Research and Training Center on Independent Living
The Center’s goal is to develop and disseminate practical techniques that enable people with severe disabilities to live more independently. Consumers and service providers identify their critical needs and then work closely with center staff to develop research and products that address these needs throughout project research and development phases. Check out RTCIL’s products page, at:
http://www.rtcil.org/products/index.shtml

Social Security Administration (SSA)
(800) 772-1213 (Voice) |
(800) 325-0778 (TTY)
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/
The Social Security Administration provides cash benefits (SSI and/or SSDI) to persons with a physical or mental disability that prevents them from working and which is expected to last at least a year or be terminal. Eligibility for SSI or SSDI may mean eligibility for other services, such as Medicaid, food stamps, or other social services. The amount of money and services received varies in each state. The program also includes work incentives that make it possible for individuals to work without an immediate loss of benefits. Read about SSA’s benefits at the link above.  To identify your local SSA office, use SSA’s the Social Security Online Office Locator at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp

 
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Assistive Technology

Alliance for Technology Access (ATA)
1.800.914.3017 (Voice) | 731-554-5284 (TTY)
ATA is an national and international network of technology resource centers, community-based organizations, agencies, individuals, and companies. Its mission is to increase the use of technology by children and adults with disabilities and functional limitations. Visit online and use the ResourceHub, and get quick access to information on AT, ATA centers around the country, and products for specific disabilities.
http://www.ataccess.org/

Assistivetech.net
Assistivetech.net is a free online database that lists over 20,000 products which can be searched for by function (related functional area or disability), activity (related activity or task) or vendor (manufacturer or distributor name).
http://assistivetech.net/

Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD)
The Family Center serves organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities. A range of information and services on the subject of assistive technology (AT) are offered, with excellent materials in Spanish.
http://www.fctd.info

 
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Disability Living Online

By no means a comprehensive list of the disability activities, discussions, and resources you can find online, but hopefully, this list will get you started.

ABILITY.
ABILITY Magazine is currently ranked 19th on the Top 50 Magazines in the World — and covers Health, Disability, and Human Potential.
http://www.abilitymagazine.com/

Disaboom.
What an resource for adults living with disability!
http://www.disaboom.com/

Disability Scoop.
Disability Scoop is a national news organization serving the developmental disability community including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and intellectual disability, among others.
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/

e-Bility.com.
e-Bility was launched in 1998 as a one-stop accessible destination for disability related information, resources, services and products.

Mainstream Online.
Produced by, for and about people with disabilities.
www.mainstream-mag.com/

New Mobility,
A magazine for active wheelchair users.
http://www.newmobility.com/

Ragged Edge.
This website/magazine has quite a history, and has evolved through many name changes that show the changing times and technology: Avocado Press, the Disability Rag, the Electric Edge, and now the Ragged Edge!
http://www.ragged-edge-mag.com/

SpeciaLiving.
This magazine is for those with mobility challenges and covers issues such as accessible housing, travel, health, fitness, and much more.
http://www.specialiving.com/index.asp

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Would you like to explore one of the other resource pages in this section?

If so, use these quick-jump links to hop to the page of your choice.

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NOTICE: The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) is no longer in operation. Our funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) ended on September 30, 2013. Our website and all its free resources will remain available until September 30, 2014.