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Frequently Asked Questions

Disability Rights Arizona is a non-profit public interest law firm with a mission to advocate for an equitable Arizona for people with disabilities. DRAZ concentrates on many issues encountered by individuals with disabilities. If you have more questions about who we are and what we do, please see the FAQ below.

About Us

Disability Rights Arizona is a not-for-profit public interest law firm, dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals with a wide range of physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory, and cognitive disabilities.

As part of the nationwide protection and advocacy (P&A) system, DRAZ provides free legal services, under several federal grants:

  • Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD)
  • Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI)
  • Client Assistance Program (CAP)
  • Assistive Technology Advocacy Program (AT)
  • Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR)
  • Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)
  • Protection & Advocacy for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI)
  • Protection & Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA)

Every state has a federally mandated Protection & Advocacy Agency (P&A) that is dedicated to protecting the rights of children and adults with disabilities. DRAZ is the P&A for Arizona. DRAZ is not a government agency. Our job is to make sure that people in the community, and in state agencies and institutions, are following the laws that protect people with disabilities. DRAZ works to ensure that people with disabilities live inclusive and independent lives in their community.

The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. Learn more in this video by Rooted in Rights

Who does Disability Rights Arizona help?

DRAZ provides legal services to people who have a wide range of physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory and cognitive disabilities. We receive specific federal protection and advocacy funding to assist people with certain kinds of disabilities, such as developmental disabilities or serious mental illness. If you call DRAZ requesting help, we have to ask you about your disability because of our funding requirements.

DRAZ does not handle every kind of legal issue, even if it is related to your disability. We do not provide representation for probate of an estate, obtaining a divorce, or filing for bankruptcy. The individual’s disability must be the reason for discrimination, abuse or neglect, or failure to provide needed services.

Demand for DRAZ services far exceeds our resources. Every year, DRAZ is required to adopt priority areas for its services based on public input. These priorities are available upon request. The types of priorities generally addressed by the DRAZ are listed below.

Given our limited resources, DRAZ staff must concentrate on cases where advocacy will make a difference. If another organization can handle the matter, or the claim has limited merit given the time and resources needed to resolve it, the DRAZ may be unable to take on the case.

Sorry, due to our mission under the federally mandated Protection & Advocacy system, we can only serve people with disabilities or their legally authorized representatives.

Assistance is provided based on the availability of staff and resources.

How We Help

  • Preventing and remedying abuse and neglect of individuals in mental health facilities, nursing homes, community provider residences and schools.
  • Ensuring appropriate discharge planning from mental health facilities and access to appropriate mental health services.
  • Enforcing the right to a free public education for children with developmental disabilities.
  • Advocating for the right to appropriate health care, assistive technology and other services for individuals with disabilities.
  • Assisting individuals with disabilities through the Client Assistance Program (CAP) to obtain the services they need from Vocational Rehabilitation and other Rehabilitation Act funded programs.
  • Remedying housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act.
  • Remedying discrimination by enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act including:
    • advocating for greater accessibility to public places, businesses and governmental offices and services
    • promoting integration and equality in public services and programs
    • employment rights for individuals with disabilities
  • Any issue or problem not directly related to your disability
  • Anything that is not the wish of the person with the disability
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law (divorce, child custody, etc.)
  • Identity Theft
  • Malpractice
  • Mortgage Foreclosure
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Property
  • Social Security Determination or Appeals
  • Wills

Access authority means that DRAZ staff have permission to enter any place or setting that provides services, care and treatment to people with disabilities. We can show up unannounced, talk to you about your concerns and experiences, and educate you about your rights. We can investigate allegations of abuse, we can check to make sure you are safe. The locations we can visit include, but are not limited to, schools, group homes, day programs, adult care homes, nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment facilities. Our access authority applies to state-run and privately owned settings.