Navigating the various unknowns that come when someone is experiencing a serious health condition is a lot to take on and manage. Luckily there are a lot of great resources and benefits available to assist people with disabilities in whatever process that you are in. Please continue to read below for approved websites, publications, and resources that applicable to King County employees. Please feel free to contact either Disability Services or Metro Transit Disability services if you require any further information and guidance.
Below are disability resources and services available to all King County employees.
The Office of Equity and Social Justice (OESJ) works across the enterprise toward the vision of a King County where all people have equitable opportunities to thrive. OESJ holds many bodies of work to address and improve equity with a focus upstream where the need is greatest, in community partnerships, and in employees.
OESJ website: www.kingcounty.gov/equity-social-justice
- The OESJ Civil Rights Program’s mission is to eliminate unlawful discrimination through education, mediation, and enforcement that is responsive to a diverse King County. This includes ADA grievances as well as acting as a resource for ADA Title II compliance. We work closely with the community who guides us in addressing accessibility and disability justice through the delivery of County programs and services to be more equitable for everyone in King County. Visit the Program's website: https://kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/equity-social-justice/civil-rights.aspx
- The King County Language Access Program provides guidance and tools to departments, agencies, residents, and business as it pertains to accessible communications to individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and barriers to communication so that all services, programs, and activities are meaningfully accessible to all constituents. Visit the Program's website: https://www.kingcounty.gov/languageaccess
OESJ Disability Specialists:
- Taryn Farley (she/her) partially works with Public Health- Seattle and King County to address disability equity and accessibility in the COVID-19 response under a grant from the National Association of City and County Health Departments (NACCHO). She is a liaison to the disability community and a resource to all King County departments about ADA, accessibility, and disability equity. Contact Taryn at TFarley@kingcounty.gov.
- Dorian Esper-Taylor (they/he) is another Disability Specialists at OESJ whose position came about in response to the COVID-19 crisis and advocacy from the disability community. As a part of the disability equity team their role is to help bridge the gap in the county’s policies to create an equitable county for residence with disabilities. Contact Dorian at DEsperTaylor@kingcounty.gov.
The Disability Services (DS) Section within the Department of Human Resources is an interdisciplinary team dedicated to providing services to King County employees who have an illness or injury that impacts them at work. The Disability Services team is passionate about serving King County’s employees to ensure they are successful at work, productive and engaged. The DS team works with employees, physicians, and supervisors to assist with reasonable accommodations and return to work plans for employees whose medical conditions affect their ability to perform the essential functions of their job. The DS team manages the Return-to-Work Programs that include the Transitional Duty Assignment and Reassignment to support employees in maintaining employment and returning to the workforce. The DS team also manages the Supported Employment Program that recruits candidates with intellectual and developmental disabilities into King County positions.
The team consists of Christina Davidson, Carol Gordon, Jamie Christensen, Lani Rosete and Nathan Kinker.
Disability Services contact information:
- Phone: 206-263-9329
- Email: DisabilityServices@kingcounty.gov
- Website: www.kingcounty.gov/disabilityservices
Workforce Equity is an important part of Human Resources that ensures an inclusive and diverse workforce throughout King County. This includes implementing workplace practices which align with the King County Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Strategic Plan and delivering services that allow each employee to thrive. Workforce Equity also supports employees and management by collaborating to provide equity training opportunities, administering the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) program, and conducting internal, countywide investigations related to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and inappropriate conduct.
Workforce Equity contact information:
- Gloria Ngezaho, Workforce Equity Manager, GNgezaho@kingcounty.gov
- Jennifer Greenlee, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, JeGreenlee@kingcounty.gov
- Lisa D. Longdon, EEOAA Project Manager, Lisa.Longdon@kingcounty.gov
- Website: www.kingcounty.gov/workforce-equity
Transit Disability Services (TDS) at King County Metro is committed to assisting Metro Transit employees with disabilities in their workplace during their employment by providing reasonable accommodations under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Whether a candidate is applying or interviewing for a job, or at any time during their employment life cycle at Metro Transit, TDS is there to ensure that employees with disabilities have the accommodations they need to be successful in their roles. TDS also identifies resources and support to help employees stay at work and return to work after an injury or illness, and compassionately fosters a culture within each workgroup to allow employees to meet their career goals.
The team consists of Jeff Casem, Sara Schmitz, Lena Williams, Diana Wurn and Rylee Gervais.
Metro Transit Disability Services contact information:
King County Metro’s Title II ADA Coordinator, Dion Graham (he/him), provides oversight of all accessible services, programs, facilities and construction projects and follows the Department of Justice guidance in this role as a subject matter expert in all areas relative to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He is responsible for ensuring that complaints are investigated according to policy and that barriers are identified and managed. His duties include responding to requests for reasonable modifications of King County Metro policies and/or procedures, investigating Title II Grievances of discrimination, providing guidance on all new and/or alterations to facilities by reviewing plans from conceptual design through all stages, as well as reviewing marketing material to assure effective communication and providing guidance as needed. Dion works with updating trainings of all areas to ensure consistency. His goal is to ensure that all areas are not only compliant, support the “spirit of the law,” but also seek a universal approach. Any areas of non-compliance that Dion finds he communicates to the managers and work towards barrier removal.
King County Metro’s Title II ADA Coordinator contact information:
- Phone: 206-477-0321 WA Relay: 711
- Email: DGraham@kingcounty.gov
Documents and websites
- Benefits and Retirement Calendar Events for Employees: Register for trainings on Medicare 101, Road to Retirement Class, Introduction to Social Security, and Your DRS Pension.
- King County Communication Resources for Deaf and HoH from Safety and Claims
- King County Taking Leave from Benefits
- King County Ergonomic evaluation from Safety and Claims
- Mental Health Benefits and Resources for King County Employees from Balanced You
- Retiree medical coverage options, including Medicare and COBRA information
- Supporting People with Disabilities: When and how to disclose a disability resource article from KC Employees
- King County Retirement Navigator: Carmen Johnson, 206-263-1096, Carmen.Johnson@kingcounty.gov
- King County Benefits Navigator: Matt Munson, 206-263-1277, MMunson@kingcounty.gov
- Licensed Independent Agent Jean Cormier: 425-427-0617, Jean@cormierinsurance.com. Jean is a free Licensed Independent Agent who can assist King County employees with finding the appropriate plan coverages under Medicare for your specific medical needs. Government rules do not allow agents to contact Medicare prospects unless that person reaches out directly to the agent and asks for assistance. It is meant to protect the clients from unwanted solicitations. Please have a list of your doctors and prescription medications ready and available when you attempt to contact Jean so she can help you select a plan to best meet your needs.
- Disability Fundamentals for Managers: Free, open-source, 30-minute interactive training that helps managers learn about disability awareness, etiquette, disclosures and accommodations, and holding accessible meetings and events
- Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): Free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public- and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures. EARN offers information and resources to empower individuals and organizations to become leaders in the employment and advancement of people with disabilities.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN): The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on job accommodations and disability employment issues. Serving customers across the United States and around the world for more than 35 years, JAN provides free one-on-one practical guidance and technical assistance on job accommodation solutions, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities.
- Northwest ADA Center: Provides information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disability Act to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
- University of Washington Getting Started with Accessibility: This website provides a growing number of how-to pages with step-by-step guides for making particular types of content accessible.
- Department of Retirement Systems (DRS): Administers most of King County employees' pension plans, including PERS and LEOFF to include regular service and disability related retirements. You can call DRS directly at 800-547-6657; the direct line to the Disability Retirement team is 360-664-7081. Employees with documentation of terminal illness can suspend contributions from paychecks to DRS.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Securian Financial Accelerated Life Insurance Benefit: Terminal employees that can provide documentation that they have less than 24 months of life expectancy, can choose to apply to Securian Financial to submit a claim to pull your life insurance policy early. Please complete the Notice of Claim for Accelerated Benefit form to begin the application process.