Disability Rights Montana litigates on behalf of individuals with disabilities to insure their rights to employment, education, health care, transportation, housing, and other services. Besides litigation we also engage in a full range of other efforts to promote the rights of individuals with disabilities – such as, information and referral. training and technical assistance to service providers, state legislators and other policy makers, conducting self-advocacy training, and raising public awareness. Click here to request service.
Continuum of Services
Information and Referrals
DRM Intake Staff/Specialists provide information and answer questions about disability-related issues. Contact with client can be done in person, over the phone, or through other types of communication that accommodates individual needs. Staff helps people access services by providing information about resources, and make referrals to legal, social, health, education, employment, and other related services. Various types of written material are available and are provided in alternative formats upon request.
DRM assist clients by providing them skills and knowledge to act on their own behalf. Throughout the continuum of P&A services, staff give clients information about their rights, laws that affect them, and ways to resolve their concerns.
Advocacy Assistance (Non-Legal)
Advocates assist in eligible individuals with disabilities whose rights have been violated or who are being unlawfully denied access to services. An advocate might use various methods in representing an individual. Services might include visiting residential facilities, such as group homes, nursing homes, and psychiatric hospitals to help residents solve problems, make complaints and achieve goals. An advocate also might assist with writing letters on behalf of the clients, participate in meetings, filing a formal complaint and communicating with administrators, doctors, social workers, case managers, etc.
Disability Rights Montana develops a variety of booklets, reports, flyers, newsletters, and other resources pertaining to persons with disabilities. Publications can include tip sheets for people with disabilities on self-advocacy, model reasonable accommodation letters, guidebooks on specific areas of disability law, and reports about abuse and neglect to create systemic changes. Publications can complement all the services that we provide.
Education, Outreach, and Training
We educate others about the legal rights of persons who have disabilities through presentations to groups, participation on committees, task forces, media campaigns, technical assistance, and publications. We also provide rights trainings to clients receiving services in a variety of settings such as institutions and the community.
The enabling laws give DRM access to facilities and programs that serve people with disabilities. Staff are allowed to inspect the premises, access records, and speak to clients confidentially. A monitoring visit includes a tour of the facility where DRM can check health and safety standards and ensure clients have access to phones, their personal belongings, and information about how to contact DRM. In addition, advocates can speak to residents freely without the presence of facility staff about their daily activities and give clients the ability to express concerns about possible rights violations.
A systems issue is a disability-related problem that affects a group of individuals, DRM works to improve systems that are used by people who have disabilities in areas such as education, health, legal, social services, accessibility, and transportation. System advocacy work is carried out by teams of several staff who meet as needed to achieve a system enhancing objective.
Disability Rights Montana represent clients in areas of the law designated as priorities. Representation includes counseling, advice, research, negotiation, administrative review, administrative hearing, state office review, litigation, and class actions.
DRM provides feedback and information about disability-related legislation on a local, state, and national level. Staff can propose the creation of new laws that will benefit people with disabilities or give information about how laws can be improved to better protect the rights of people with disabilities. Legislative advocacy can be carried out by a variety of staff people at Disability Rights Montana.
The focus of Disability Rights Montana’s work is to protect and advocate for the rights of persons with all types of disabilities in Montana. We devote considerable resources to ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlements, healthcare, productive employment opportunities, as well as continuing to seek prevention of abuse and neglect. We currently have 8 programs and will be adding another one soon.
Client Assistance Program (CAP)
The primary function of this program is to assist individuals with problems they may encounter at state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies including everything from denying a person’s eligibility or failing to follow proper procedures in developing a VR plan, to not providing the level of services agreed to in a plan.
Protection & Advocacy for individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD)
We pursue legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies to protect and advocate for the rights of people with developmental disabilities.
Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI)
Disability Rights Montana protects and advocates for the rights of people with mental illness and investigate reports of abuse and neglect in facilities that care for or treat people with mental illness. We also serve people with mental illness who reside in the community.
Protection & Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR)
This program allows us to serve people with disabilities, regardless the type, to ensure their civil rights are protected.
Protection & Advocacy to receive Assistive Technology (PAAT)
The function of this program is so Disability Rights Montana can assist people with disabilities in obtaining assistive technology devices or services.
Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)
We provide our services to assist beneficiaries of Social Security to secure or regain gainful employment.
Protection & Advocacy for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI)
The purpose of PATBI is to protect and advocate the rights of persons with traumatic brain injury, in facilities and in the community, to investigate reports of abuse and neglect of persons with traumatic brain injury and maintain and operate a protection and advocacy system in Montana for persons with traumatic brain injury.
Protection & Advocacy for Voter Access (PAVA)
This program allows us to ensure people with disabilities have access to voting through voter education, training of voter officials, polling place accessibility surveys, and other activities meant to improve access to voting.
What we don’t do
Disability Rights Montana does not provide assistance in such matters as:
- Divorce, custody, support, or other family law matters, except in unusual circumstances or when serious systemic issues are involved.
- Drafting of wills, trusts, and estate planning.
- Representation in criminal proceedings.
- Malpractice cases.
- Workers’ compensation; issues related to collective bargaining agreements; unemployment compensation.
- Product liability cases.
- Bankruptcy matters.
- Personal injury cases, including intentional torts.
- Consumer protection issues.
- Tax issues.
- Pension, ERISA issues.
- Property disputes.