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Disability Advocacy Program

The Disability Advocacy Program (DAP) originally was established by Chapter 627 of the Laws of 1983, adding Section 35 of the Social Services Law, which provides for the legal representation of individuals whose federal disability benefits have been denied or may be discontinued. Pursuant to the statutory provisions, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) makes grants to not-for-profit legal services corporations, not-for-profit agencies serving the disabled and social services districts to provide for such representation. N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law §35 (McKinney 2003).

This website is designed primarily for advocates throughout New York who are funded under the DAP grant. OTDA reports to the New York Legislature biennial on the DAP program.


Defending Disability Programs
Disability programs continue to be under attack, whether in the press, the President’s proposed budget, or in Congress. But excellent defenses are available. Read More

Disability Advocacy Program Funding Means Stable Lives and Stable Communities
This year, New York State’s budget provides $8.26 million in funding. DAPWorks for New York State, the funding campaign consisting of programs throughout the state, and spearheaded by Empire Justice Center, was able to maintain a $1 million increase in funding from 2016. The program is proud to have bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly. Read More

DAP Advocate Takes Major Steps
Long-time DAP stalwart David Ralph of the Elmira office of LawNY took some major steps last year. Last Spring, David married Linda and simultaneously announced his retirement. Read More

Disability Advocacy Program: Articles


Statewide Advocates Celebrate 30th “Birthday” of Disability Advocacy Program, Calling for Renewed Investment
Members of DAPWorks, a statewide campaign led by Disability Advocacy Program (DAP) advocates and members of the New York State Senate and Assembly, gathered today at the State Capitol in Albany to celebrate three decades of successful advocacy on behalf of low income disabled New Yorkers in need of financial support. Lauding over $1 billion brought into the state by the program during that time, and 208,000 clients served, speakers urged an additional $2.24 million investment above the $4.76 million included in the Executive Budget to allow them to assist more people. Read More

Significant Victories in State Budget to Benefit Struggling New Yorkers
After an initial review of the budget agreement struck by the Governor and Legislative leaders this week, the Empire Justice Center declared victory on several important initiatives that will have a positive impact on New Yorkers who are struggling financially. Read More


Empire Justice Comments on Vocational Factors in the Adult Disability Determination Process
Empire Justice Center comments to the Social Security Administration on proposed rulemaking on vocational factors of age, education, and work experience in the adult disability determination process. Read More

Empire Justice Center Testimony at the 2015 Human Services Joint Legislative Budget Hearing
Empire Justice testimony at the 2015 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Human Services. Testimony was presented on February 4, 2015, by Tamara Frazier, Coordinator for Policy and Government Relations. Read More

Disability Advocacy Program: Policy Advocacy


January 2017 Disability Law News
The Disability Law News is a quarterly newsletter published for DAP Advocates. This issue will detail and discuss the many recent changes to the treating physician regulations. SSA's new Mental Impairments Listings which recent went into effect on January 17, 2017 is highlighted in Regulations. Court Decisions looks at a recent Second Circuit decision on a duration issue in Cutter v. Colvin. Read More

Disability Law News - September 2014 Issue
The Disability Law News is a quarterly newsletter published for DAP advocates. Featured in this issue is an in-depth article detailing New York States takeover of the State Supplement Program (SSP). Also in this issue you will find articles on new rules and regulations, court and administrative decisions as well as other useful information for advocates. Read More


Now Playing: DAP Advocate vs. the Vocational Expert - A Hearing Experience
This mock Social Security hearing gives viewers a sense of how to present vocational evidence at a hearing. "Actors" assume the roles of ALJ, the claimant, and the vocational expert (VE). Using the hypothetical case scenario of a young adult (18-25 years old) with musculoskeletal and mental impairments, an experienced advocate will demonstrate direct examination of the claimant and a cross-examination of the VE. Read More