Amends the definition of "developmental disability" to include an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of the disability.
Sponsor: PARKER Committee: MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Law Section: Mental Hygiene Law
Law: Amd S1.03, Ment Hyg L
Law Section: Mental Hygiene Law
Law: Amd S1.03, Ment Hyg L
- Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
- Feb 22, 2011: REFERRED TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
BILL NUMBER:S3431 TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to the definition of "developmental disability" PURPOSE: To clarify that in addition to meeting all the other conditions in the existing definition to classify or define someone as developmentally disabled, the individual may be found unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of the disability (the definition used to qualify someone for Social Security Disability by the federal government) or found to have a substantial handicap to such person's ability to function normally in society (the existing NYS criteria in the statute). SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends section 1.03 of the mental hygiene law to include within the definition of developmental disability the provision that, in addition to meeting all the other conditions in the existing definition, the individual may be found unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of the disability. JUSTIFICATION: The rate of autism has skyrocketed to the most recently reported national figures of 1 in 150, the majority of whom are higher-functioning. Therefore, New York State must revamp its definition of developmental disability to ensure no one needing services is falling through the cracks. Every effort must be made to provide coherent and cohesive services early on to these and similarly situated developmental disabled individuals who are currently being denied services by the Office of People with Development Disability (OPWDD). With the appropriate services, many can and do become independent and/or more productive members of society. The current definition of developmental disability requires that an individual's disability must constitute a substantial handicap to such person's ability to function normally in society. OPWDD established Advisory Guidelines in August 2001 that address issues in determining eligibility for OPWDD services. Among other things, the eligibility criteria the Guideline uses are too linked to adaptive behavior measures, which are measures that are used primarily to �determine the level of disability for people with subnormal intelligence. These guidelines have had the effect of barring many individuals who are unable to work or live on their own and meet all the other requirements for services from OPWDD, except the adaptive behavior measures. Many of these individuals, all of whom must have, among other things, a disability that began before their 21st birthday, are high functioning autistic people who may be able to score high on intelligence exams, but have significant social, emotional and behavioral impediments that make it extraordinarily difficult to join the workforce or live on their own without assistance. However, given the appropriate level of supportive services, these individuals can and do become productive members of our society. This bill does not seek to create a class of disabled individuals who will become a financial burden receiving benefits for a lifetime. Instead, this legislation will provide disabled individuals with the supportive services they need early on to transition into adulthood and independence. Eligibility for OPWDD services can currently end when you are fully employed and no longer need services to maintain that employment. However, without these vital services many people become frustrated, their conditions deteriorate and they end up needing and using mental health services for anxiety and depression throughout their lifetime and remaining dependent upon their families and society for the basic everyday needs of housing and food. Today, many disabled young adults and their families are being caught in a catch 22. They are being denied OPWDD services because they are considered too high functioning, yet because of their significant social, emotional and behavioral impairments, they find themselves unprepared and unable to function independently in society. As a result, they are being left to flounder in search of an array of services provided by many different agencies (the Office of Mental Health, VESID, etc.) and providers, none of which are equipped to address the problems they face. Some families are divesting themselves of everything, even their family home, to send their child to a program that can help them make the transition to independence. Others unable to get the appropriate services are faced with finding someone to care for their child after they die. The result is a group of young disabled individuals who are unnecessarily falling through the cracks. Not only is it morally imperative that we qualify these individuals for OPWDD services, it is financially prudent to put the up front services in place to help these disabled citizens integrate into society rather than have society pay for care over a life time in various other socially funded programs. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: S.186A/A.7787 - Died in Mental Health 2007-2008: S.8043/A.11020 - Passed the Senate, Died in Assembly Ways & Means FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined. EFFECTIVE DATE: 30 days after enactment.
S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K ________________________________________________________________________ 3431 2011-2012 Regular Sessions I N SENATE February 22, 2011 ___________ Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Mental Health and Develop- mental Disabilities AN ACT to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to the definition of "developmental disability" THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Paragraph (d) of subdivision 22 of section 1.03 of the mental hygiene law, as amended by chapter 255 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows:
(d) constitutes a substantial handicap to such person's ability to function normally in society OR RESULTS IN AN INABILITY TO ENGAGE IN ANY SUBSTANTIAL GAINFUL ACTIVITY BY REASON OF THE DISABILITY DESCRIBED IN SUBPARAGRAPH ONE OR TWO OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law. EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09453-01-1