Our Mission, Purpose and Authority

Hawaii Disability Rights Center is Hawaii’s designated

Congress created a nationwide Protection and Advocacy System for People with Developmental Disabilities in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975.

In 1977, the corporation began doing business as the Protection and Advocacy Agency of Hawaii.  The corporation was renamed Hawaii Disability Rights Center (HDRC) in January 2000.

There is a protection and advocacy system operating in every state and territory of the United States, in Washington D.C., and for Native Americans.  Congress has expanded the authority of the P&A systems to serve all disabilities and to operate within the following statutes:

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) is authorized in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, 42 USC 15001

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) is authorized in the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act, 42 USC 10801

Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) is authorized in the Rehabilitation Act, 29USC 794e, PL 106-402.

Protection and Advocacy for [Individuals in Need of] Assistive Technology (PAAT) is authorized in the Assistive Technology Act, 29 USC 3011, 3012

Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Representative Payee (PABRP) is authorized by the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (SPSSB), 42 U.S.C. 405(j)(6).

Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) is authorized in the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, 42 USC 1320b-20

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) in the Children’s Health Act of 2000, 42 USC 300d-53, and

Protection and Advocacy for Voter Access (PAVA) is authorized in the Help America Vote Act of 2002, 42 USC 15461-62.

Protection and Advocacy is also authorized in Hawaii Revised Statutes 333F-8.5, and HDRC is designated by the Governor (Executive Orders 77-3, 82-4, 89-2 and 94-06) to provide its important protections for people with disabilities

Hawaii Disability Rights Center is Hawaii’s designated CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAP)

Congress authorized and funded a nationwide network of Client Assistance Programs in the 1984 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act (P.L. 98-221).  Hawaii Disability Rights Center was designated Hawaii’s CAP on August 1, 1984 and by subsequent Executive Orders 89-2 and 94-06.

Under the current authorization of the Rehabilitation Act, the Client Assistance Program has the following authority and responsibilities:

    • Inform and advise clients and applicants of all available benefits under the Rehabilitation Act.
    • Upon request of such clients or applicants, assist and advocate for them in their relationships with projects, programs, and services provided under the Rehabilitation Act, including assistance and advocacy in pursuing legal, administrative, or other appropriate remedies to ensure the protection of their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.
    • Provide information on the available services and benefits under the Rehabilitation Act and under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42USC12111 et seq.) to individuals with disabilities in the state.
    • Provide assistance and advocacy with respect to services that are directly related to facilitating the employment of the individual.

The mission of the Corporation is to protect and promote the human, civil and legal rights of individuals with disabilities through the provision of information and advocacy.

Human Rights are those natural rights that are accorded to all human beings. They are clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Civil Rights are an expansion of basic human rights and are specified in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Hawaii State Constitution. They include the rights to: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly; petition for change; equal protection under the law; privacy; confidentiality; appeal decisions; freedom from oppression, unlawful search and seizure; and cruel and unusual punishment.

Legal Rights are an expansion of our human and civil rights as established by specific laws, such as those laws which authorize protection and advocacy for people with disabilities.

Hawaii Disability Rights Center serves People with Disabilities

Disability is usually defined in terms of functional limitation in the following areas: Capacity for self-care, Mobility, Independent living, Economic self-sufficiency, Learning, Self-direction, or Receptive and expressive language.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of disability consists of three parts:

      1. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity;
      2.  A record of such impairment(s); or
      3. The perception of having such an impairment