Our Mission

The Mission of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. is to protect, promote and expand the rights of people with disabilities.

Belief Statement

The ODLC mission reflects the belief that people with disabilities are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect; to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination.

The ODLC mission also reflects the belief that people with disabilities are entitled to equal rights and to equally effective access to the same opportunities as are afforded other members of society.




UPDATE 5/19/21:   In addition to the legal concerns we identified previously, with further research we now find that HB 2899 also violates the terms set forth by CMS for states receiving increased federal Medicaid money under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“CMS expects states to demonstrate compliance with section 9817 of the ARP, beginning April 1, 2021, and until the state funds equivalent to the amount of federal funds attributable to the increased FMAP are fully expended. To demonstrate compliance with the requirement not to supplant existing state funds expended for Medicaid HCBS, states must:
• Not impose stricter eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures for HCBS programs and services than were in place on April 1, 2021;
• Preserve covered HCBS, including the services themselves and the amount, duration, and scope of those services, in effect as of April 1, 2021; and
• Maintain HCBS provider payments at a rate no less than those in place as of April 1, 2021.”


ODLC was made aware of language added to HB 2899 late Thursday. The language of the bill adds a requirement that a person must be a resident of Oklahoma for 5 years before they can apply for a Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) waiver for persons with Intellectual Disabilities through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

ODLC believes this duration of residency requirement is not allowable for the following reasons:

  • Creates a severe Olmstead problem because it only applies to HCBS so a person moving to Oklahoma could be admitted to a nursing home or intermediate care facility for persons with intellectual disabilities under SoonerCare but not get HCBS in a less restrictive setting.
  • Creates a residency requirement that is not allowed under Federal Medicaid Statute and Regulations –42 U.S. Code § 1396a(b)(2) and 42 CFR 435.403 (j)(1)
    • Oklahoma Medicaid Regulations mirror the Federal Language (no doubt put here to satisfy Federal requirements)OAC 317:35-5-26(a)
  • Not allowable under 1915(c) Waiver design
  • Violate reasonable promptness requirements that are not waived/waivable under 42 U.S. Code § 1396n(c)
  • Duration of Residency Requirements have been long held as unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and or the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    • U.S. district courts have held that requiring a Medicaid applicant to reside in-state for a period of time before their benefits are determined is a violation of their fundamental rights to interstate travel as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution
  • Creates discriminatory limits on one population
    • This places restrictions only on services for those who have intellectual disabilities and poses no such limits on services for those eligible for services under the ADvantage Waiver or the Medically Fragile Waiver.

If you would like additional information, please contact our office at 800-880-7755


ODLC wants to help ensure Oklahomans with disabilities can access the COVID-19 Vaccine

Are you a person with a disability who is having trouble getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Oklahoma? Let us know how we can help! 

person wearing scrubs holding a heart shaped sign that reads "vaccine"

The U.S. Department of Education Issued Additional Guidance to Address Special Ed Issues Related to COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Education issued question-and-answer documents in recent weeks in response to questions the Education Department has received from stakeholders across the country about how to provide services to students with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Two guidance documents were issued, the first guidance document is aimed at services for older students and makes clear how services designed to prepare those with disabilities for employment can continue in light of COVID-19 restrictions. The guidance states that work-based learning experiences for students with disabilities can take place online rather than in-person.

The second guidance document addresses services for infants and toddlers under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The guidance addresses Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meetings, service provision, and timelines.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s Special Education services call our office at 800-880-7755.


Oklahoma County Detention Center Reaches Monitoring and Investigation Agreement with Oklahoma Disability Law Center


October 27, 2020


Brian Wilkerson, Director of Litigation and Legal Services

Oklahoma County Detention Center Reaches Monitoring and Investigation Agreement with Oklahoma Disability Law Center

The Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. (ODLC) recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oklahoma County Detention Center (OCDC) to promote their mutual goal of protecting the human and legal rights of individuals with disabilities, including mental illness, and developmental disabilities.  The purpose of this agreement is to build a constructive working relationship between OCDC and ODLC and to facilitate ODLC’s access to the OCDC, its inmates, staff, and records to the fullest extent allowed under federal law.

Melissa Sublett, ODLC’s Executive Director, said, “As the Protection and Advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Oklahoma, ODLC is in the unique position of having federal access authority to monitor and investigate abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities in facilities, including jails and prisons. We believe this agreement is a major step toward improving medical and mental health care for inmates at the Oklahoma County Detention Center.”

The Memorandum of Understanding spells out OCDC’s agreement to facilitate ODLC’s access to the facility, staff, inmates, and records as permitted under federal law.  The agreement ensures ODLC staff will have full investigative and monitoring rights and access as outlined in the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (“PAIMI”) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10801, et seq., the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (“DD”) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15043, and Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (“PAIR”) Program; 29 U.S.C. § 794e and their accompanying regulations (The Acts).

“Our office has conducted investigations at OCDC in the past and sometimes we experienced obstacles or delays.  This agreement clearly defines our access rights and should make the process easier for both our staff and the staff at OCDC.  Our main goal with this agreement is to expedite the process of identifying and resolving any gaps or barriers to medical and mental health care.  We hope this agreement will result in both timelier access to care and improved quality of care for those individuals who need it.” said ODLC’s Director of Monitoring and Investigation, Joy Turner.

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OK County Detention Center MOU-Signed 10-13-2020 (1)

60 Minutes reports on how thousands of people with disabilities are being systematically denied the right to vote

Wesley Lowery reports from Oklahoma, with the story of how thousands of people with disabilities are being systematically denied the right to vote. If you have questions about your voting rights, call our Voter Hotline 855-468-VOTE(8683)

Prisoners Ruled Eligible for Economic Stimulus Checks

Please Note: ODLC is unable to assist prisoners applying for stimulus payments, or provide advice regarding these applications.

On September 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an injunction, and certified a class of prisoners incarcerated from at least March 27, 2020, that enjoins the U.S. Treasury from withholding Covid-19 stimulus checks from prisoners.

Claims must be filed before October 15, 2020 (according to the most recent information).

People who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return are urged to file a claim with the IRS before October 15, 2020, in order to receive a payment. If the prisoner filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or received Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board Benefits, they do not need to file a claim. However, if they did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and their income was below $12,200 (or $24,400 if filing jointly) in 2019, then a claim must be filed through the IRS’s website.

Prisoners without access to the internet can have someone file a claim for them, or they can complete a paper application. The instructions for a paper application are available here.

You can read a copy of Judge Hamilton’s full Order.

More information on the recent ruling regarding prisoners and CARES Act stimulus checks can be found here.