How We Can Help

Intake and Referral Process

Photograph of an advocacy specialist doing an intake.Intake is how Disability Rights Florida gathers general information about an individual’s reason for contacting us, along with some personal information (age, race, disability, etc.) to meet our federal reporting requirements. This information helps us decide what type of information and referral or assistance we may be able to provide.

Our services are free and confidential.

 

Begin your Request

Contact us by phone, TDD or mail. Visit our Contact Info page for details.

Or visit our Requesting Assistance page and make your request online.

Information Packet

Client Grievance Procedure

You may file a grievance if:

  • You asked for help from Disability Rights Florida but were told you could not get help;
  • You currently are getting help from Disability Rights Florida but are unhappy with the help; or
  • The help you were receiving ended and Disability Rights Florida denied further help. 

Client Grievance Procedure (Word, 88k)

Services

Although anyone may contact us for disability-related information and referral, we may only provide services beyond information and referral to individuals with disabilities.

Our contact is with the individual with a disability unless the parent of a minor child or legal guardian contacts us. If an individual is already being represented by an attorney, we refer the individual back to his/her legal counsel and may provide general technical assistance to the attorney.

We base our services on goals and priorities developed with public input and adopted by our Board of Directors. In determining which cases to accept, we must also follow our case selection criteria and other policies and procedures.

Here are examples of information and referral:

  • An individual requests general information about Disability Rights Florida and materials.
  • An individual recently diagnosed with a disability is interested in finding support groups or organizations.
  • A family member is looking for places to donate equipment, a wheelchair, or other assistive technology after the death of a family member.
  • An individual in a Baker Act receiving facility does not understand why he/she is in the facility or what his/her rights are in this situation.
  • An individual is having difficulties on the job, related to the disability, and is looking for resources to contact for information and assistance.

If a call relates to a disability rights dispute, an abuse or neglect allegation, or another type of problem within our goals and priorities and there is no attorney already involved, we request specific details of the disability rights concern. This helps us understand: the date of the incident, what happened, the individuals involved, and what steps the individual has taken to resolve the matter. The following examples may be helpful:

  • A city bus driver will not allow an individual with a service animal to board, thus limiting that individual’s ability to travel in the community.
  • An individual, in an institutional setting, reports abuse by other residents and alleges the staff is not providing adequate protections.
  • A parent calls to report a dispute with a school over a denial of service on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for their minor child with a disability.
  • An individual in an institution contacts us to report a need for medical services. The individual has notified staff of the injury but the staff is taking no steps to provide medical attention or assistance.

Our intake staff may then refer the caller's information for additional evaluation within Disability Rights Florida to determine whether more in-depth services are needed. 

Disability Rights Florida may only provide services to individuals who live in Florida. We provide general disability information to callers from other states, but if you live in another state, we encourage you to contact the Protection and Advocacy system in that state. To find help in your state, visit this National Disability Rights Network website.

Disability Rights Florida does not assist all individuals with disabilities. For example, Disability Rights Florida does not provide assistance in personal injury, criminal defense, family law, issues not related to the disability of an individual, attempts to obtain guardianship, property and probate issues, Social Security disability determinations, malpractice or direct cash assistance. Individuals requiring legal assistance may contact the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service 1-800-342-8011, your local county bar association or a Legal Aid office in your area. You may also find listings for attorneys and their specialties in the yellow pages.