Disability Rights DC

Disability Rights DC (DRDC) provides individual and systemic legal advocacy, community outreach and education, and investigation of abuse and neglect for adults, children, and youth with disabilities.

Safeguarding the rights of DC residents with disabilities

Our attorneys and advocates address civil rights violations, abuse and neglect, and discrimination against people with disabilities specifically in these areas:

  • Access to quality and person-centered community-based supports and services for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health disabilities, physical disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries from the Department of Behavioral Health, Department on Disability Services, Department of Health Care Finance, and other DC agencies.
  • Addressing abuse, neglect, and rights violations in institutions, residential placements, day programs, schools, jails or prisons, and juvenile detention centers.
  • Medicaid appeals involving improper termination, denial, or reduction of Medicaid home health services under Home & Community Based Services Waivers and State Plan Medicaid Program.
  • Accessibility of public accommodations like restaurants, stores, and health care facilities that are open to the public and governmental facilities and services for people with physical disabilities.
  • Right to self-determination, choice, and dignity.
  • Addressing barriers to employment for SSI and SSDI recipients.
  • Access to quality vocational rehabilitation services from the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration to help individuals with disabilities prepare for, secure, or retain employment.
  • Full participation in all aspects of voting, including registration, casting ballots, and accessible polling places.
  • Access to assistive technology and devices such as motorized wheelchairs, hospital beds, and communication devices.
  • Supported Decision-Making and other decision-making support as an alternative to guardianship for individuals with developmental disabilities and psychiatric disabilities.

What we cannot help with

Our advocacy services are limited to rights violations directly related to an individual’s disability. We do not provide assistance with:

  • Representation in criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, or evictions.
  • Personal injury (including workers’ compensation).
  • Medical malpractice (litigation against doctor/hospital/clinic).
  • Social Security eligibility and eligibility appeals, including assistance in completing application forms.
  • Petitions for guardianship or conservatorship.
  • Wills and trusts, including special needs trusts.

Additionally, DRDC is the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) program for DC. DRDC is not a national program; we only focus on local DC issues. For assistance in your state or territory, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s P&A directory.

Our work spans across nine focus areas

Click on each icon to learn more about the services that we offer in each of our focus areas. You will also find our 2024 priorities for each of our grants.

Community Integration

Disability Rights DC engages in both individual representation and systemic advocacy so that children and adults with disabilities receive the services and supports they need to live meaningful lives in their communities.

Access to Assistive Technology

Disability Rights DC helps advocate for people with disabilities to get medical equipment and assistive technology through DC Medicaid and other DC government programs.

Address Abuse and Neglect

Disability Rights DC monitors inpatient facilities, schools, and community-based residential and day settings.

Advocate for and Educate the Community on the Right to School Inclusion and Transitional Services

Disability Rights DC conducts outreach to promote, and advocates for, the right of children with disabilities to be educated and participate in the general education classroom.

Barriers to Employment for SSI and SSDI Recipients

Disability Rights DC advocates to address barriers SSI and SSDI recipients face to working and seeking employment.


Disability Rights DC’s voting advocacy focuses on making sure that voting is accessible to all DC residents with disabilities and that voters with disabilities can vote independently and privately.

Access to Quality Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Disability Rights DC's Client Assistance Program advocates for quality support from the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration (DCRSA), helping people with disabilities prepare for employment and live independently in the community.

Decision-Making Support/Alternatives to Guardianship

Disability Rights DC advocates for the right of people with disabilities to make their own decisions, with supports if necessary.

Representative Payee Program

Disability Rights DC receives an annual grant through the Social Security Administration to conduct onsite reviews of representative payees to ensure that they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

Resources on disability rights and services in DC

Here is some information you may need. For more resources visit our “Resource Page” page.

Contact us about our services today!

For assistance, contact us at (202) 547-0198 (telephone), (202) 547-2657 (TTY), or email drdcintake@uls-dc.org.

Three individuals sit and review paperwork together.