How to Help DTA Clients with Disabilities- Harper and Accommodations

Thousands of people with disabilities turn to DTA for help each year.  Often, their disabilities can make it harder to get or keep the benefits they need and qualify for.
  • Do you have clients who have trouble applying for benefits or completing a cash reevaluation or SNAP recertification because of a disability?
  • Do you have clients who have trouble getting verifications DTA asks for because of a disability?
  • Do you have clients who need specific accommodations from DTA, like an ASL interpreter or home visits?
  • Do you have clients who have been offered an accommodation by DTA that seems not to meet their needs?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, DTA is required to provide access to clients with disabilities to ensure that if they’re eligible, their disabilities don’t interfere with getting or keeping benefits (SNAP, TAFDC, or EAEDC).  Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) settled a major lawsuit in 2013 regarding disability access issues (Harper vs. DTA).  Because of the lawsuit, DTA made many changes to how it works with clients with disabilities.  Members of the GBLS Harper litigation team have shared the attached resources to help you assist your clients with disabilities. 
The purpose of the attached documents is to inform local legal services advocates and community partners about:
  • DTA’s obligations to accommodate clients with disabilities
  • Changes made at DTA to improve access for people with disabilities
  • How to protect your client’s benefits through accommodations
  • What kinds of accommodations may help your clients & how to get them
  • Who to contact at DTA about these issues
  • How to get help from Greater Boston Legal Services on these issues

Attached are the following materials and resources:

  1. A Powerpoint describing Harper, accomodations, ways to assist your client and more. 
  2. A tool kit GBLS developed to help assist you in helping your clients. 
  3. A chart of common accommodations
  4. 2 Sample accommodation requests- one for a client with primarily physical issues and one for a client with a combination of physical, psych and cognitive issues.

For up to date contact information for the Client Assistance Coordinator at each local DTA office, click here for a list on the DTA Contacts page. 

To view papers from the Harper v. DTA litigation, click here.