Connecticut Department of Social Services

New Haven, CT: (Sep-10-07) A class action lawsuit was brought against the state of Connecticut, seeking to make its Department of Social Services (DSS) facilities, equipment and staff more accessible to more than 300,000 disabled clients. The suit sought modifications and improvements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1972. Filed in January 2003, the suit was spurred after DSS began shutting down its satellite offices in such places as Ansonia and Norwalk and laying off employees. As a result, access to state services often meant longer trips to DSS offices, which many disabled clients were unable to make. Occasionally, that led to some services being discontinued because the clients were either late or did not reapply for re-certification.

In a settlement reached, the state greed to spend nearly $12 million in making its Department of Social Services facilities, equipment and staff more accessible. Sources claim that the people impacted by the settlement include those with learning disabilities, physical impairments, mental health and competency issues. The settlement will also ensure that DSS workers will make accommodations for the disabled without receiving a supervisor's approval; DSS staff will be trained in recognizing disabilities and providing the necessary accommodations; DSS will upgrade its telephone and computer systems. The telephone systems will be equipped with automated answers to common questions. [CONNECTICUT POST: DISABILITLY ACCESS]

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