Hours that Count: Meaningful Employment

Employment supports should empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to meet others in the community, discover new potential, develop useful skills and acquire resources to be as independent as possible.

Summary of work: 

Milestone: June 27, 2017

Disability Rights Washington, together with Community Employment Alliance, Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities, Self Advocates in Leadership, and the Washington State Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment submits written comments to the Proposed Rule Making CR-102 proposed changes and terms in WSR 17-11-041 concerning employment support regulations, including proposed changes in WAC 388-828-9330 and WAC 388-845-2100.

Milestone: October 2016

Rooted in Rights, the video and social media project of DRW, releases "Bottom Dollars," a 55 minute original documentary. Bottom Dollars exposes the exploitation of nearly 250,000 people with disabilities in the U.S. that are legally being paid less than the minimum wage, on average, less than $2 an hour. The documentary calls for the phase out of the unfair practice of sub-minimum wages and sheltered workshops, and offers solutions for fair wages and inclusive employment.

Milestone: November 2014 

Findings from the summer 2014 monitoring revealed many participants of Washington’s employment programs for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities still live largely isolated lives, work in segregated environments and receive little assistance to advance to integrated or viable employment. DRW compiled its findings in its report "Hours that Count: Making Employment Supports Work for Washingtonians with Developmental Disabilities". Though Washington State is recognized as a national employment leader for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this report does a look-behind of the progressive policies and frameworks to see whether supports actually enhance employment, policy objectives and meaning in an individual’s life.

DRW submits "Hours that Count" report to Governor Inslee along with this letter [PDF] and unveils systemic employment discrimination against people with developmental disabilities in Washington. 

Milestone: September 2014 

DRW submits comments on the development of Washington State’s transition plan for implementing the new federal requirements for Medicaid-funded home and community based services, advising the state that employment and residential services need substantial changes to comply with the federal definition of “home and community based."

Milestone: June-July 2014

During the summer of 2014, DRW monitored fourteen employment vendors in six counties. DRW met with multiple individuals who receive supported employment and distributed information about employment rights and Social Security work incentives to over 120 individuals.

Milestone: April 2014 

Supplemental Budget for 2014 becomes effective, requiring DSHS to identify stakeholders to identify strategies to increase employment hours and wages for individuals employed, and review community access rules to identify ways to increase hours of service. (Sec. 205(1)(k) on p. 83).

Milestone: March 2014 

New federal regulations go into effect, requiring states to develop transition plans to implement new expectations for all Medicaid funded home and community based services to be provided in settings that ensure participants have full access to community living, including employment.

Milestone: July 2013

State Auditor’s Office releases Performance Audit report [PDF] about DDA services, noting that the number of hours individuals receiving DDA employment supports actually work are very low. (p. 29-31)