Welcome to the exciting world of ERISA! This blog is written by attorneys Kate MacKinnon and Sarah Demers at the Law Office of Katherine L. MacKinnon. Here, we'll talk about ERISA: updates on employee benefit law, information we hope people who have been denied benefits will find helpful, and any news or tidbits we think should be shared with the world.
As attorneys who represent persons with varying disabilities, a recent article in the Star Tribune discussing the menial jobs given to people with disabilities was heartbreaking. The article talks about "sheltered workshops", where workers are paid wages for below the minimum wage and given tasks that are menial and unrewarding.
"Many states, inspired by a new civil rights
movement to integrate the disabled into mainstream life, are shuttering
places like this. Not Minnesota. It still subsidizes nearly 300
sheltered workshops and is now among the most segregated states in the
nation for working people with intellectual disabilities.
The workshops are part of a larger patchwork
of state policies that are stranding legions of disabled Minnesotans on
grim margins of society. More than a decade after the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that Americans with disabilities have a right to live in the
mainstream, many disabled Minnesotans and their families say they still
feel forsaken — mired in profoundly isolating and sometimes dangerous
environments they didn’t choose and can’t escape."