What we do

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) promotes Opportunity, Access and Choice for individuals with disabilities.


How do we help?

We assist with legal problems directly related to disabilities.  We do this in a variety of ways, which include:


Who do we help?

We provide information and referral services to over 3000 people a year. We cannot accommodate every request for direct advocacy. Many of the clients we serve are low-income and could not otherwise obtain the legal advice or representation they need.


How much does it cost?

DRO does not charge for its services. DRO is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions are tax-deductible and will help us continue to provide services to Oregonians with disabilities.


What makes DRO unique?

What is Disability Rights Oregon provides in-depth information about DRO’s status as Oregon’s Protection & Advocacy System.  It explains DRO’s access authority, the laws that mandate its responsibilities, and what DRO can do to protect Oregonians.


More about P&As

Oregon’s designated Protection & Advocacy (P&A) System since 1977, DRO has a unique role: to uphold the legal rights of people with disabilities.

Protection and Advocacy agencies (P&As) exist in all states and territories. There is also a Native American P&A in the four corners region of the Southwest. Following is information on each of the programs Disability Rights Oregon provides as the Protection & Advocacy organization for Oregon:


Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD)

PADD (42 U.S.C. § 15001, P.L. 106-402) is the first P&A program, created by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (DD) Act of 1975 (last amended and reauthorized in 2000). P&A agencies are required by the Act to pursue legal, administrative and other appropriate remedies to protect and advocates for the rights of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities under all applicable federal and state laws. The DD Act provides for the governor of each state to designate an agency to be the P&A and to assure that the P&A was, and would remain, independent of any service provider.  PADD is administered by the US Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities.


Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI)

The PAIMI Program (42 U.S.C. § 10801, P.L. 106-310) authorizes P&As to protect and advocate for the rights of people with mental illness and investigate reports of abuse and neglect in facilities that care for or treat individuals with mental illness. The Act was subsequently amended to allow P&As also to serve individuals with mental illness who reside in the community.  PAIMI was established in 1986 and reauthorized in the Children’s Health Act of 2000, It is administered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Protection & Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR)

The PAIR program (29 U.S.C. § 794e, P.L. 106-402) provides for services to persons with disabilities who are not eligible for services under PADD, PAIMI or CAP.  PAIR authorizes P&As to serve to serve persons with all types of disabilities and is an important element of a comprehensive system to advocate for the rights of all persons with disabilities. PAIR was was established by Congress under an amendment the to  Rehabilitation Act in 1993 and is administered  by the US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration.


Protection & Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT)

The PAAT program (29 U.S.C. § 3001, 3011, 3012, P.L. 105-394) was created in 1994 when Congress expanded the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (Tech Act) to include funding for P&As to assist individuals with disabilities in the acquisition, utilization, or maintenance of assistive technology devices or assistive technology services through case management, legal representation and self advocacy training. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. (DRO – AT brochure )


Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)

The PABSS program (42 U.S.C. § 1320b-21, P.L. 106-170) was established in 1999 when the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act (TWWIIA) was enacted into law.  Through PABSS, Disability Rights Oregon provides advocacy and other services to help beneficiaries of Social Security secure or regain gainful employment. PABSS is administered by the Social Security Administration. DRO – PABSS brochure


Protection & Advocacy for Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI)

PATBI (42 U.S.C. § 300d-53, P.L. 106-310) was created in 2002 to provide protection and advocacy services to individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Although P&As often served such individuals under PAIR, CAP, or PABSS, this program specifically addresses the unique needs of persons with TBI.  PATBI was authorized in the Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996 (last amended and reauthorized in the Children’s Health Act of 2000), and is administered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration, Maternal & Child Health Bureau. DRO – TBI brochure


Client Assistance Program (CAP)

CAP (29 USC § 732, P.L. 105-220) helps people who are having difficulty seeking or receiving vocational rehabilitation services from Oregon’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OVRS), Independent Living (IL) centers, Oregon’s Commission for the Blind, and tribal programs.  CAP is authorized in Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (last amended and reauthorized in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998) and administered by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. DRO – CAP Brochure


Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA) or Oregon and Southern Washington, also called “Plan for Work”

Through WIPA (42 U.S.C. § 1320b-21, P.L. 106-170, P.L. 108-203) we offer benefits counseling assistance to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries.  Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) are authorized to serve all Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities, including transition-to-work aged youth, with individualized work incentives planning, referral to appropriate vocational agencies, general information about potential health benefits coverage and other protection services.  WIPA was authorized in the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, and the Social Security Protection Act of 2004.  It is administered by the Social Security Administration.  Get Help Understanding How Work Affects SSI and SSDI


Protection & Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA)

PAVA (42 U.S.C. § 15461-62, P.L. 107-252) was established as part of the Help American Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Under this program, P&As have a mandate to help ensure that individuals with disabilities can meaningfully participate in the electoral process through voter education, training of poll officials, registration drives, polling place accessibility surveys and the like.   PAVA is administered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Developmental Disabilities. DRO – Voting brochure