WIOA NPRMs Now Available on Federal Register Public Inspection Website

Five notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), enacted on July 22, 2014, are available for public inspection on the Federal Register Public Inspection website. The NPRMs will be published in the Federal Register soon, at which time the official 60-day comment period will begin. Until the time of publication, the NPRMs are available for unofficial viewing only. The public may use this time to become familiar with the content of the NPRMs and to begin to prepare comments for submission. Once the NPRMs are published in the Federal Register and the 60-day public comment period begins, written comments can be submitted online through Regulations.gov. This website has instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket. Hard copy comments may be submitted via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Each NPRM contains specific instructions for submitting hard copy comments related to the proposed regulations in that particular NPRM in the “Addresses” section.

JAN Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series Now Archived

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN)’s three-part Federal Winter Webcast Series is now available on the JAN website. The series includes the webcasts “Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Individuals with Disabilities,” “Promoting Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Workforce,” and “Best Practices for Complying with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act.” The archive provides access to each recorded training as well as the presentation materials and accessible transcripts.

“Do Ask, Do Tell:” New Report Explores Disability Disclosure in the Workplace

The Conference Board recently released a report on challenges to and strategies for encouraging disability disclosure based on a survey of 98 companies. Titled “Do Ask, Do Tell,” the report was developed with support from ODEP’s National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center).

LEAD Center Releases Two New Publications

The LEAD Center released two new publications this week: “The LEAD Center Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability” and its “LEAD On!” quarterly publication. The Policy Update includes articles on employer compliance with mental health parity laws, home and community-based services and upcoming ODEP webinars on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The quarterly publication contains articles on the White House Summit on Disability and Employment, updates on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and a profile on the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities. The LEAD Center is a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations dedicated to a single mission: advancing sustainable individual and systems level change to improve competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for all people across the spectrum of disability.

Know It 2 Own It: Helping People with Disabilities Access Middle Class Careers

The work of the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative was the topic of a recent blog on Homeroom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education. In the post “Know It 2 Own It: Helping People with Disabilities Access Middle Class Careers,” the co-chairs of the initiative discussed the plans for the upcoming “Year of Action to Expand Equal Employment Opportunities and Economic Mobility for Individuals with Disabilities.” The Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative is co-chaired by Chai Feldblum, Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Robert Williams, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy at the Social Security Administration; and Eve Hill, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

U.S. DOT Announces Reasonable Modification Rule to Improve Access to Public Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the publication of a Final Rule clarifying that public transportation providers are required to make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Final Rule applies to public entities providing fixed route, dial-a-ride and complementary paratransit services.

IRS Programs Provide Free Assistance Preparing Tax Returns

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers free tax preparation help through two programs. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is usually limited to people who make $53,000 or less, individuals with disabilities and the elderly, and people who speak limited English. Trained volunteers help prepare tax returns and help determine eligibility for special credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. This program specializes in tax issues like retirement and pensions that are unique to seniors.