State Must Do Better in Addressing Obstacles for Those with Disabilities

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Many of us know people who, despite a physical or developmental disability, seek to live, travel and work in their community to the best of their abilities. For young adults, it is often through their parents’ tireless advocacy that they can succeed in finding a job or housing placement. They should have every right to expect such support from government programs such as Adult Career and Continuing Education Services Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR).

However, experience has shown us that positive outcomes are too few and far between, even for those who are able to meet the extensive documentation requirements. The bureaucratic hurdles are too high, and the pool of professionals who work in the field have been dwindling in recent years. This is not a problem limited to New York, but it is incumbent on us in state government to address it.

As we in the legislature seek new solutions to old problems, I will be looking forward to the comptroller’s follow-up on his July 2022 audit of ACCES-VR, so that our next steps can be informed by the most current data. I also encourage our residents with disabilities and their advocates to provide me with feedback on their direct experiences with ACCES-VR and other state programs and agencies, by writing to me at shimskym@nyassembly.gov.

I thank The Examiner for its recent reporting that shines a light on the issues faced by people with disabilities in our community and, by extension, throughout New York State.

MaryJane Shimsky
Assemblymember, 92nd District

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