How We Can Help
Intake and Referral Process
Intake is the process Disability Rights Florida uses to gather general information about an individual’s reason for contacting us, along with some demographic information to meet our federal reporting requirements. The information you give us helps us decide what type of assistance we may be able to provide to you.
Our services are free and confidential.
Our goals and priorities are developed from public input we receive through surveys and other outreach. Our Board of Directors reviews our goals and priorities annually to make sure they reflect the input we receive as well as the mandates of our federal partners.
Disability Rights lawyers review all cases to make sure we follow case selection criteria and other policies and procedures.
Only individuals with disabilities are eligible for our services, although anyone may contact us for disability-related information and referral. Only our small PATBI grant allows us to serve both the individual with the traumatic brain injury as well as the family.
Our contact is only with the individual with a disability unless the contact is the parent of a minor child or the individual’s legal guardian. If an individual is already represented by an attorney, we will refer the individual back to his/her legal counsel.
Here are some examples of information and referral services:
- 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 is having difficulties on the job, related to the disability, and is looking for resources to contact for information and assistance.
Any incidents of abuse or neglect in facilities or institutional settings or by caregivers should be reported immediately to the Florida Abuse Hotline. The Florida Department of Children and Families has an online abuse reporting tool for the Florida Abuse Hotline. This reporting tool is available to professionally-mandated reporters, as well as the general public, as an additional way to report suspected cases of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or exploitation of children or vulnerable adults. The new online reporting tool is in addition to the existing toll-free line at 1-800-96-ABUSE, TTY 1-800-453-5145, and fax at 1-800-914-0004.
If a call relates to a possible rights violation, an abuse or neglect allegation, or another type of problem within our goals and priorities and there is no attorney already involved, we may request more details about the reason for your contact to assist us with our case evaluation. This helps us understand when the incident took place, where it happened, what happened, who was involved and any steps the caller may have taken to resolve the matter.
The following examples of some of our priorities 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 a facility or institutional setting, needs assistance in hearing other participants during meetings and alleges the staff is not providing adequate accommodations.
- 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 a facility or institution contacts us to report a need for medical services. The individual has notified staff of the need for treatment but the staff is taking no steps to provide the requested medical attention or assistance.
- An applicant or client of a vocational rehabilitation agency (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation/Division of Blind Services) is requesting assistance from our Client Assistance Program (CAP) grant obtaining services on their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
Following an intake interview, our intake staff may refer your information for additional evaluation within Disability Rights Florida to determine if the matter meets the criteria for more in-depth services. In deciding whether we can represent you directly, we will consider:
- The specifics of your case
- Other resources available to you
- Your ability to advocate for yourself
- Whether your problem falls within one of our priorities as determined through public surveys and board approval
- Availability of staff or other resources within our organization
- Statewide benefit to others with disabilities
Please remember that we only represent people with disabilities.
Disability Rights Florida does not represent individuals with disabilities in all legal matters. For example, Disability Rights Florida does not provide legal representation in criminal defense matters, divorce or custody disputes, attempts to obtain guardianship, real estate, property or mortgage issues, Social Security disability eligibility determinations or appeals, professional malpractice, cash assistance or any issue not related to the individual’s disability.
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 or contact us for more information.
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)
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.
- View our Disability Rights Florida Brochure and Ten Steps to Effective Self-Advocacy on our Publications page
- View the Are You Prepared for an Emergency? brochure on our Disaster and Emergency Preparedness page
- View our Financial Assistance document
- Visit our Access The Vote website to find Voter Registration and Supervisor of Elections information