Massachusetts Protection & Advocacy


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ASL Video Series
Website Content Presented in American Sign Language

The Disability Law Center is thrilled to provide this video series presented in American Sign Language (ASL).  We wanted to increase the accessibility of our website and worked closely with Cat Dvar, Esq., CI & CT, SC:L, to plan and film this series.  It is specifically designed for the Deaf community.  We have provided talking points in English for each video for those who are fluent in English.  The Disability Law Center works with people with disabilities and the Deaf community to have full access and equality, and we hope you enjoy learning all that the Disability Law Center provides.  There are five videos in the series:

  1. Welcome to the Disability Law Center

  2. About Disability Law Center

  3. What Disability Law Center Does

  4. Disability Law Center's Individual Services - What We Can and Can't Do

  5. What Happens When You Call the Disability Law Center for Help

.   YouTube The series is also on YouTube

1. Welcome to the Disability Law Center

Welcome to the Disability Law Center.  We are thrilled to provide ASL access to our website.  My name is Cat Dvar, Esq., CI & CT, SC:L.  I worked with the Disability Law Center to create this video series designed for the ASL community.  The Disability Law Center works with people with disabilities and the Deaf community to have full access and equality.  We hope you enjoy learning all that the Disability Law Center provides.



2. About Disability Law Center

The Disability Law Center (DLC) is the Protection and Advocacy agency for Massachusetts.  DLC is a private, non-profit organization responsible for providing protection and advocacy for the rights of Massachusetts residents with disabilities. DLC receives federal, state and private funding but is not part of the state or federal government.  The Disability Law Center provides free legal services. 

Our Mission:

To provide legal advocacy on disability issues that promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of Massachusetts.

Our Protection and Advocacy Agency Access Authority:

DLC is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency for Massachusetts.  The P&A system is a national network of disability rights agencies investigating abuse and neglect and providing legal representation and other advocacy services to people with disabilities.  To aid P&A Agencies in fulfilling their mandate, Congress gave them extensive access authority. 

DLC works throughout the State of MA and we have two offices – one in Boston and one in Northampton.  We often travel to meet clients and take cases from anywhere in the State.



3. What Disability Law Center Does:

Individual Representation and/or Legal Advice:

We help individual people who have disabilities and legal problems because of their disability.  We provide information, referral, legal advice and legal representation regarding legal rights and services for people with disabilities.  We will advocate and negotiate, file complaints, and mediate on your behalf.  We do not often take cases to Court.

We provide legal services to eligible people and groups whose cases meet DLC’s priorities.

Last year the Disability Law Center received over 10,000 calls and less than 10% were assigned a lawyer because of our limited resources.


We seek to strike a balance between systemic advocacy and individual representation.  We work on projects that help change laws and policies that help people with disabilities.


Our experienced lawyers and paralegals conduct trainings for community groups and other advocacy organizations.  We offer many trainings and you can contact us to request a training on a specific topic.



4. Disability Law Center’s Services for Individuals - What We Can and Can’t Do:

People with disabilities: DLC provides legal services to people in Massachusetts who have a wide range of physical, psychiatric, sensory and cognitive disabilities.

People with disability related problems: DLC serves individuals who experience discrimination, abuse or neglect or denial of services because of their disability.  DLC does not handle general legal problems such as obtaining a divorce, filing for bankruptcy or trust & estate issues.

People with disabilities whose legal problem falls within a priority: Demand for DLC’s services far exceeds our resources.  DLC adopts annual priorities based on input from people with disabilities. Priorities are available upon request or can be seen on the DLC website.

People with disabilities whose case has merit and DLC has the staff time and resources necessary to resolve the issue: Given DLC’s limited resources, DLC must concentrate staff time and funding on cases that meet our priorities and will make a significant impact for people with disabilities.

DLC has experienced staff who provide services in the following issue areas:

Access to Community Services;

Housing, Employment and Discrimination Claims;

Special Education;

Access to Health Care at Hospitals or Doctors’ Offices;

Disability Benefits; and

Rights and Conditions in Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Group Homes, and Rehab Centers.

We help in these areas when the problem is directly related to your disability.

Here are some examples of ways that DLC has helped people who are deaf and/or hard of hearing:

Helped someone get an ASL interpreter at work so they could attend staff meetings;

Helped someone get a flashing doorbell from the housing authority so they knew someone was at the door;

Helped a student transfer from a public general education classroom to a specialized classroom that teaches in ASL;

Helped a hospital set up video relay in case of emergencies when an ASL interpreter was not available;

Gave legal advice to individuals who are deaf about overpayments they had with social security; and

Helped an individual who is deaf and living on a psychiatric unit with communicating with their treatment team.

There are many areas that we do not have expertise or staffing for – here are a few examples of things that we don’t do:

criminal charges;  wills and estates; divorces; or personal injury cases.

If your legal problem is not related to your disability, we will not take your case.



5. What Happens When You Call DLC With a Question or Problem?

A support staff member will gather your contact information and ask you to briefly describe your question or problem.

An Intake Paralegal will contact you and ask you to describe your question or legal problem in detail.

The Intake Paralegal will consult with an attorney to review the issue according to DLC’s case eligibility criteria.

If DLC is able to assist you, an attorney will be assigned to your case.

If we are not able to assist you, we will provide you with referrals to organizations and private attorneys who may be able to help you.