Hotline 3/13: ADA Requests
If you have any questions on this column or other policy and procedural material, please have your Hotline designee call the Policy Hotline at 617-348-8478.
Q. 1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the Department to make reasonable accommodations, in order to avoid discriminating on the basis of a disability. Accommodations under the ADA are not reasonable if they fundamentally alter the nature of DTA’s services, activities or programs. Recently, a client asked to waive the TAFDC asset limit, as an ADA accommodation. Is waiving the TAFDC asset limit considered a reasonable ADA accommodation?
A. 1. No. Waiving the TAFDC asset limit completely would fundamentally alter the TAFDC Program which is intended to provide cash assistance to financially needy families. For more information on ADA accommodations in the cash programs, refer to 106 CMR 701.390. Also see Field Operations Memo 2010-30 for further details.
Q. 2. I have a TAFDC client with a disability and she recently purchased a van to accommodate her disability. The value of her van exceeds the TAFDC asset limit because it is outfitted with special devices that help her to drive. Can I disregard the additional value in this vehicle and consider it a reasonable ADA accommodation to the TAFDC Program?
A. 2. Yes. While it would be inappropriate to waive the TAFDC asset limit in its entirety, it is reasonable and in keeping with the ADA to disregard the value of any adaptive devices added to a client’s vehicle. For more information, refer to 106 CMR 701.390 as well as Field Operations Memo 2010-30. NOTE: SNAP and EAEDC clients are also protected under the ADA and ADA regulations. See 106 CMR 360.250, 106 CMR 701.390 and Field Operations Memo 2010-30.
Q. 3. If I have more questions concerning the ADA, who can I contact?
A. 3. If you are working with an applicant or client who might be impacted by ADA or could benefit from an ADA accommodation, you can contact Attorney Ruth Greenholz, in the DTA Legal Division, at 617-348-8520 for more information.
Q. 4. My client is employed at her local Senior Service Center. Her earnings are about $160 each week. Are these earnings countable for SNAP purposes?
A. 4. It depends. When a senior applying for SNAP provides earnings verifications, remember to ask whether there are any public funding sources contributing to these earnings. The income may be excluded if it is derived from the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCEP), also known as the Mature Worker Program. Clients are often unfamiliar with the source of their employers’ funding. When in doubt, ask the client to contact the employer or assist the client in contacting the employer if he or she requests help. For more information, refer to 106 CMR 363.230 (K).