Van Driver's Strike Leaves Sick & Disabled Stranded For Doc Visits
Access-A-Ride bus drivers, for three of the 14 carriers that provide paratransit service for elderly and disabled New York City residents went on strike Monday, December 10. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said it will provide emergency service for disabled New Yorkers who would be stranded by the walkout.
The alternative service can be accessed by calling Access-A-Ride at 877-337- 2017 or 718-393-4999, or TTY 718-393- 4257 or TTY Relay at 800-662-1220.
It's estimated that as many as 35,000 disabled and house bound persons who rely on Access-A-Ride buses are without a ride because of the strike. The drivers and mechanics for the companies that provide service for these disabled persons had announced they would go out on strike on Monday because their demands for higher wages were not being met.
The four companies- Atlantic Paratrans, Maggie's Paratransit, MV Transportation, and Transit Facility Management- serve half the passengers in the Access-A-Ride program for the sick and elderly and disabled who are unable to use public transportation facilities. The MTA, which operates the Access-A-Ride van companies, plans to secure the services of 10 other van companies not involved in the strike. The first priority would be riders needing service to get to medical appointments. The union involved is the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181.
BACKLOG AT S.S.A. SOARS: A shortage of appeals judges for Social Security disability claims appeal cases has made the number of cases skyrocket to 775,000 since the year 2000, according to a story in the New York Times December 10 issue.
A plan to provide $100 million more than President George W. Bush has proposed to remedy the situation has been delayed by a standoff between Congress and the White House over a domestic appropriations bill.
Some cases which involve disabled persons or terminal illnesses have been pending for about three years. Ironically, two-thirds of these appeals from an initial rejection are usually granted.
Under the proposed new plan to clear up the backlog, the S.S.A. would hire at least 150 new judges to assist the present staff of 1,025 appeals judges. If new judges are not hired, the pending cases will have longer waiting periods. The delays have serious consequences for some people who have lost their homes, gone bankrupt or died.
JWV MEETING IN F.H.: The Kew- Forest-Woodside-Loitz Post 250 Jewish War Veterans USA will feature a talk by noted acupuncturist Dr. Charles Deng at its next meeting on Sunday at the Rego Park Jewish Center, 97-30 Queens Blvd., Rego Park at 9:30 a.m. Deng will talk about the curative powers of traditional Chinese medicine, according to Commander Spencer Polinger. For further information contact Kenneth Lloyd Brown at 718-297-7711.
LAWMAKERS' GRANTS FOR M.V. CENTER: State Senator Serphin Maltese (R- C, Middle Village), Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi (D- Forest Hills) and City Councilmember Melinda Katz (D- Forest Hills) secured grants for the Middle Village Adult Center, 69-10 75th St., Middle Village.
Center officials said Maltese secured $25,000, Hevesi $6,000 and Katz $3,500. The funds will be used to support and upgrade services and activities provided by the center.
The center has scheduled its 33rd Anniversary New Year's party and fundraiser on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008 at the center.