CIDNY Celebrates 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act 


CIDNY’s analysis of the USDA Disaster Food Stamp manual for States and Localities resulted in the addition of numerous references to accommodating persons with disabilities in compliance with the ADA.

CIDNY completed a study of NYC sidewalks, identifying that more than 68 percent of curb cuts on intersections below 14th Street had barriers for people with mobility and vision disabilities. As a result, CIDNY filed suit against NYC's Department of Transportation for failing to have a plan to make NYC compliant with the ADA.


Federal Court Judge Furman rules in CIDNY’s favor that NYC has violated the ADA by failing to include people with disabilities in emergency preparedness planning, citing the testimony of CIDNY and other consumer plaintiffs CIDNY recruited for its case.

As a result of CIDNY’s advocacy, NYS’s contract with managed long-term care plans and managed care plans for people with disabilities for Medicare and Medicaid addresses ADA compliance of health plans as a matter of contract. 

As part of its implementation of the Affordable Care Act, CIDNY and its coalition partners advocated successfully that NYS establish a Navigators Program and a Managed Care Ombudsprogram for people in long-term care that address the health coverage needs of people with disabilities.


CIDNY was appointed to the NYS Department of Health State Health Improvement Plan Steering Committee and its Chronic Disease Work Group focused on improving the health of all New Yorkers. For the first time, these groups established goals related to improving health equity for people with disabilities.

The Federal Court Judge ruling against the Board of Elections in litigation brought to address the inaccessibility of NYC polling sites required the NYC Board of Elections to retain CIDNY on the eve of the November 2012 election to train polling site coordinators and ADA monitors to identify and resolve accessibility issues.

The NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation sought CIDNY’s assistance with deinstitutionalizing individuals from its nursing facility. CIDNY trained their staff on community services and deinstitutionalization planning and provided peer counseling that led to deinstitutionalization of more than 200 individuals.


CIDNY sued the City of New York for failing to include people with disabilities in its emergency preparedness plans. We identified consumers who became plaintiffs.

CIDNYs expert reports on accessibility of polling sites were the evidence presented by plaintiffs in voting rights litigation that resulted in a federal court judgment against the New York City Board of Elections. CIDNY acted as an expert witness in the litigation.

CIDNY released Disability Matters, the first report to provide specific breakdown on data regarding prevalence of disability for New York City and State combined with analysis of disparities.

was an expert witness in a successful federal civil rights case advocating for accessible taxis in New York City. The victory led to an agreement to make half of all taxis accessible by 2020.

CIDNY participated in NY State Department of Education Committee charged with development of model policies for local school districts to use when implementing State laws related to discrimination, harassment and bullying at schools.

CIDNY advocated successfully for legislation establishing a health insurance consumer Advocate/Ombudsperson program to provide information, advice, and advocacy on all types of health insurance statewide.


CIDNY shot its first Public Service Announcement (PSA), which will encourage people with disabilities to use the Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) to vote independently during the General Election.

The National Council on Aging selected CIDNY as its only disability-community serving partner for its national Benefits Check-up program.


As a result of CIDNYs advocacy, New York State acted to ensure that the one-time federal stimulus payment sent to most SSDI and SSI recipients did not disrupt their participation in State-funded programs critical to community integration.

The New York City Parks Department made its Asser Levy City Recreation Center accessible for users who are blind by marking exercise equipment in Braille so that blind users can operate the controls.


provided training for the New York Citizen Corps CERT Volunteers on issues affecting people with disabilities in the event of a disaster.

CIDNY advocated successfully for drug and alcohol treatment services for people with traumatic brain injury, resulting in the development of a screening tool, expanded treatment options, and treatment staff training.


advocated successfully for the creation of a State housing subsidy to enable people with disabilities to transition from nursing facilities to the community through the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver.

New York City advocated for a requirement that yellow cabs be equipped with new technology to make them accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments.

State Medicaid program removed red tape to improve access to durable medical equipment as a result of advocacy by CIDNY advocates and partner groups.


As a result of CIDNYs advocacy for linguistic and cultural competence in vocational rehabilitation services, the vocational rehabilitation program in Queens established a VESID fast-track program that will include materials in Spanish and language-appropriate counseling for Spanish-speaking consumers.

In 2006 CIDNYs advocacy led the NYC DHS to designate an alternate intake process for people with disabilities who are unable to use the standard assessment shelter process and to prepare a policy on service animals and shelters.


led the Fair Housing Coalition for People with Disabilities. The coalition conducted intensive negotiations with the Mayors Office seeking removal of the Mayors opposition to creation of the Disability Rent Increase Exemption or DRIE) which was subsequently signed into State and City law to help people with disabilities keep their affordable housing.

consumers and staff conducted a polling site survey of 85 sites during the November elections (showing barriers at more than half of sites surveyed). Survey results also were distributed to NYC Board of Elections and elected officials of the New York City Council and the New York State Senate and Assembly. In 2005, NYS Senate and Assembly enacted two pieces of voting legislation to implement the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

a result of CIDNY and its coalition partners’ advocacy efforts, twenty-seven taxi cabs were introduced into the fleet of yellow taxis in January 2005.

a result of CIDNYs ongoing participation in and advocacy at NYC VOAD meetings, the NYC Office of Emergency Management instituted a special liaison on emergency preparedness for people with special needs. Subsequently, an Advisory Committee on Emergency Preparedness for People for Special Needs was formed, with CIDNY invited to become a member of that committee.


activated its Consumer Action Network to support accessible liveries, taxis and ferries and on the transfer of private inter-borough bus lines from the NYC Department of Transportation to the MTA.

completed a survey of subway platform safety for people with visual impairments. This survey was used in a media campaign to draw public attention to lack of appropriate subway edge markings.

initiated a project to create a Statewide Housing Registry for people with disabilities that will provide readily obtainable and current information on accessible, adaptable and fully-adapted housing units.

The New
York City Division of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) selects CIDNY to lead its efforts to improve ADA compliance and enhance disability-awareness of youth employment providers funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). As a result, DYCD changed the language of its Summer Youth Employment Program RFP and contract to allow community-based organizations to exceed the price per participant for youth with disabilities, encouraging their placement.

CIDNY staff was invited by the New York City Human Resources Administration to advise it regarding barriers experienced by people with disabilities as it planned to reorganize its eligibility, enrollment, and recertification operations at its community offices.

The New York State Department of Health recruited CIDNY to become its trainer for local social service districts seeking to improve services to people with disabilities by removing attitudinal barriers within their Medicaid workforce.


studied barriers to vocational rehabilitation for Asian-Americans with disabilities, resulting in changes to vocational rehabilitation system language policies and procedures.

CIDNY piloted the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver for New York State, facilitating transitions from nursing homes to the community and documenting the savings achieved.

CIDNY surveyed more than 150 polling sites in New York City to determine their accessibility. CIDNY published three surveys of these sites, demonstrating that  a significant proportion were inaccessible. CIDNY met with the New York City Commissioner of the Board of Elections to develop an action plan to correct conditions at polling sites. The New York Times published an editorial supporting our call for voter access.


CIDNY advocates for passage of New Yorks Medicaid Buy-in law to give people with severe disabilities an opportunity to work and save to support themselves and their families. CIDNY then advises New York State on implementation of the law, to take effect in 2003.


CIDNY becomes the preeminent service coordinator for people with disabilities who were affected by 9/11 and a reliable resource on disability issues for the many public and private entities participating in the massive response and recovery effort. The Wall Street Journal quotes CIDNY on the failure of relief efforts to reach people with disabilities.


CIDNY led efforts of the disability community to shape the Department of Health guidelines for health plans on serving people with disabilities in Medicaid managed care.

CIDNY was a leader in creating Project ADA 2000, a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with a cross-country torch relay.


CIDNY negotiated a settlement of a federal lawsuit guaranteeing improvements to the Access-a-Ride program, which provides transportation for more than 40,000 people with disabilities in New York City.


CIDNY produced a study demonstrating lack of “disability literacy” on the part of health care providers and initiates its Sensitivity Plus program offering guidance for hospital staff on serving people with disabilities.


CIDNY was appointed to an advisory committee for the New York State Department of Health on Managed Care for People with Disabilities.

CIDNY participated in a disability community leadership group that outlines and successfully negotiates the creation of New York State Americans with Disabilities Act compliance guidelines for public health insurance plans. 

CIDNY was instrumental in recruiting plaintiffs, reviewing strategies and assessing remedies for a case, Hill v. Board of Elections, that resulted in the court ordering the Board of Elections to provide ramps, platforms and alternative entrances and monitoring to see that the polling sites are functionally accessible.

CIDNY joined the coalition to protect people with disabilities under the new welfare law that wins recognition by New York State that people with disabilities face barriers to obtaining employment and need to be accommodated when seeking opportunities for independence and self-support and that some people with disabilities cannot work because of their disability.


CIDNY studied the impact of managed care on people with disabilities and develops a curriculum for health plans and providers. CIDNY participates in studies leading to the establishment of the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program offering information, education and advice to consumers on all aspects of managed care.


CIDNY participated in the Rivera case to improve housing accessibility and policies and procedures of the New York City Housing Authority. CIDNY identified plaintiffs, identified the issue, consulted on remedies in the case that resulted in improved access to housing for people with disabilities.

CIDNY leads of the Coalition to Save Home Care, bringing together consumers, labor and industry to prevent drastic cuts in Medicaid.

CIDNY advocated successfully for the establishment of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program as a Medicaid program that all local social services districts are mandated to offer to eligible individuals receiving home care. CIDNY became an advisor to the Department of Homeless Services regarding strategies to work with the homeless disabled consumers in need of emergency placement and to talk about the Department of Homeless Services ADA compliance. The meeting resulted in establishment of a liaison in the Commissioners office to facilitate shelter.  

CIDNY became a provider of home and community-based services to people with traumatic brain injury who would otherwise be institutionalized.


CIDNY and NYU joined together to survey the coverage of psychosocial issues of people with disabilities in New York area medical schools that found that none of the New York metropolitan area medical schools is addressing the psychosocial issues of people with disabilities in its curriculum in a systematic way.

CIDNY educated women with disabilities on the importance of early detection of breast cancer through self-examination and produces a guide to accessible mammography sites.

CIDNY led a coalition that is successful in preventing the State from implementing its Needs Assessment Survey, which in its original form would have severely reduced the hours of care that many severely disabled people need.


CIDNY organized the Disability Independence Day March celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

CIDNY negotiated with the State of New York to prevent the State from implementing a needs assessment survey that in its original form would have severely reduced the hours of care that many people with severe disabilities receive.


CIDNY mobilized the disability community and helped to lead a broad coalition of groups responding to threatened budget cuts that would curtail or eliminate home and community-based services for people with disabilities.


CIDNY collaborated to produce an analysis of primary health care services available to meet the needs of people with disabilities in Manhattan.


CIDNY held its first fundraiser, a jazz benefit concert headlined by Oscar Brown Jr. with the Lloyd Mayers Trio. Honorary co-chairs include Lionel Hampton.


CIDNY joined the campaign for passage of the federal civil rights law, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

CIDNY joined in a lawsuit challenging New York States Medicaid utilization thresholds that put a cap on prescriptions.


joined the successful fight for new building codes requiring accessibility and adaptability in all new public and private buildings and when existing structures undergo renovation.

CIDNY participated in the March and Rally honoring the International Year of the Homeless.

negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with Local 1199 that set a pattern for benefits for home attendants in New York City.


set up a program for visually impaired older adults in response to the growing need for advocacy, training, outreach and referrals for the elderly who are blind.

representatives run in the New York City Marathon.


is the first independent living center to institute a program to help consumers navigate the vocational rehabilitation system.

CIDNY spoke out at public hearings on the homeless crisis and the lack of homeless services for people with disabilities in New York City.


helped organize the National Conference on Women and the Law and created a caucus focused on women with disabilities.

CIDNY joins with others in a transportation campaign that ends with an agreement by the MTA to install elevators in subway stations and create an integrated accessible mass transit system.


lobbied successfully for a New York City budget commitment to curb-cut installation called the “Freedom Train.

SSDI is cut and CIDNY joins other advocates pressuring Congress for a new law that enables those dropped from SSD to receive benefits while they appeal.


is a leader of the successful campaign for legislation authorizing state funding for independent living centers and the establishment of new centers.

participated in the first networking council for people with disabilities held by the largest municipal union, District Council 37.

encouraged parents of children with disabilities to participate in a skill development focused support group, Parents as Peers.


began publication of Alternatives, the only metropolitan New York newspaper for people with disabilities.

fights for and then educates the public on new laws requiring wheelchair ramps at polling sites, making voting easier for people with disabilities. CIDNY urges consumers to monitor sites to ensure compliance.

successfully advocated for a law broadening jurisdiction of the City Commission on Human Rights to accept cases of discrimination based on physical or mental disability and a law permitting wheelchair accessible vans to board or discharge and park in restricted areas.


is the command center for a sit in at the MTAs office protesting the inaccessibility of MTA trains and buses.


CIDNYs board voted to establish the CIDNY Independent Living Service as a subsidiary devoted to providing home attendant services to self-directing people with disabilities.

surveyed trends in requests for service and identifies the need for help accessing Medicaid, housing and transportation.

CIDNYs outreach efforts concentrated on reaching low-income racially and ethnically diverse people with disabilities through talks at public hospitals.

led a sensitivity workshop for social service agencies on the lower east side, dealing with disability rights and issues affecting people with disabilities.

advised NYU students on development of a program on advocacy by people with disabilities and its impact on the delivery of medical services.


developed a resource center for people with disabilities to provide information on services, benefits laws and programs.

CIDNY negotiated accessible parking at Kings Plaza shopping center.

CIDNY supported passage of Intro 18, creating a Department of Disabled and Handicapped, and advocates that people with disabilities should be on staff.

presented testimony before the Temporary State Commission on Rental Housing advocating for changes in the state building codes and the need for rent increase exemptions for people with disabilities.

The Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York is created by the National Paraplegia Foundation, New York Metropolitan Chapter. Its original leaders imagined a center for severely physically disabled individuals in all boroughs with a home attendant referral program, equipment repair services, peer counseling, sexual counseling, transportation and travel services, vocational and career planning programs, social, cultural and recreational programs, housing, and a public policy center.