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Nearly half the welfare-to-work job centers in the city fail to offer severely disabled clients the option to complete their welfare applications from home, in clear violation of both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the welfare agency’s stated policy, according to a new report from the Welfare Law Center. Federal law mandates that local welfare agencies must make “reasonable modifications,” including home visits for applicants who are too physically or mentally disabled to travel. (In New York City, a full round of applications for welfare, food stamps and Medicaid requires at least six appointments, often in disparate locations.) Based on visits by researchers to all 30 of the city’s job centers, the report found that staff at just 16 centers freely offered home visits as an option; another eight provided information once prodded. When asked how to secure a home visit for a mentally ill friend, one staffer stated that home visits were available only for mentally ill clients who were hospitalized—and suggested having the friend involuntarily committed. [06/14/04]

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