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.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS - COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 27, 2020

PRESS CONTACT:

Brian Wilkerson, Director of Litigation and Legal Services
918-347-5146
brian@okdlc.org

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.


 

Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. requests Governor Stitt immediately ensure all future COVID-19 press briefings are accessible for nearly 395,700 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Oklahomans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 18, 2020

PRESS CONTACT:

Brian Wilkerson, Director of Litigation and Legal Services

918-347-5146

brian@okdlc.org

Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. requests Governor Stitt immediately ensure all future COVID-19 press briefings are accessible for nearly 395,700 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Oklahomans

Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. (ODLC) is requesting Governor Stitt and his COVID-19 task force immediately put protocols in place to ensure that all future COVID-19 press briefings have live, in frame, ASL interpretation.

It has come to ODLC’s attention that the use and provision of simultaneous American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpretation for Governor Stitt’s COVID-19 press briefings has not been consistent. While we applaud the Governor and his staff for providing this much needed and legally required accommodation for the majority of his COVID-19 briefings, we are concerned by the gaps that have occurred when effective communication was not provided for Oklahomans who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The briefings provide Oklahomans with vital public health information, including the number of confirmed COVID- 19 cases, the availability of testing and testing procedures, information and recommendations about mask wearing and social distancing and other personal safety measures to be utilized to stop the spread of the virus.  However, the nearly 395,700 Oklahomans who are Deaf or hard of hearing cannot understand Governor Stitt’s briefings without live televised ASL interpretation in frame.  The lack of ASL interpretation excludes Deaf and Hard of Hearing Oklahomans from receiving this extremely important and potentially lifesaving information.

Melissa Sublett, ODLC’s Executive Director, said, “We were troubled to learn members of the Oklahoma Association for the Deaf had reached out to Governor Stitt directly and he failed to respond with little more than automated replies.”

“Failure to provide ASL interpretation during the Governor’s press briefings violates Title II of the ADA as well as Section 504. This issue was successfully litigated against Governor Cuomo in New York. The court ordered Governor Cuomo to immediately implement in-frame ASL interpretation during his daily press briefings.  We firmly believe Deaf and Hard of Hearing citizens of Oklahoma are entitled to same accommodations and we will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that happens,” said ODLC’s Director of Litigation and Legal Services, Brian Wilkerson.

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September 14, 2020 Letter to the Governor

Learn More About Our Representative Payee Review Program

Protecting Beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Benefits

ODLC is working in collaboration with the Social Security Administration to monitor representative payees throughout Oklahoma. Through this collaboration, ODLC has expanded protection of Social Security beneficiaries by educating representative payees of their responsibilities and identifying cases of misuse.

Rep Payee Outreach Powerpoint 9-1-20 (2)