United States Department of Justice Releases Statement on Application of Title II of the ADA and Olmstead to State Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities
On October 31, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement on how the integration mandates of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Supreme Court case Olmstead v. L.C. apply to state and local governments’ employment service systems for people with disabilities. This includes a state’s health care service systems that also pay for employment services, such as Medicaid.
DOJ explains that a state’s employment service system violates the integration mandate in Olmstead and Title II of the ADA when it unnecessarily relies on the use of segregated settings rather than Competitive, Integrated Employment to employ persons with disabilities. This includes using policies and practices (e.g., service system design, funding and reimbursement methods) that tend to favor segregated rather than integrated settings. Under the ADA, employment service systems are required to modify their policies and practices when these policies and practices discriminate against persons with disabilities. Unjustified segregation is considered discrimination.
DOJ emphasizes Supported Employment as the most effective way to integrate people with disabilities into the competitive workforce. It states that, in order for Supported Employment services to be successful, they must: (a) be individualized and matched to the skills of each person supported; (b) be of sufficient intensity and duration to be effective; and (c) allow individuals access to the community during non-work hours. DOJ recommends that the states cultivate their integrated day services programs in conjunction with their Supported Employment services, but not be delivered at the same time.