Your Basic Rights

You have the right to:

  • Manage Your Own Money
  • Make Your Own Schedule
  • Decide What To Do With Your Day
  • Have Privacy In Your Home
  • Take Part In Your Community
  • Keep Yourself Safe
  • Make Your Own Friends
  • Choose Your Own Relationships
  • Practice Your Religion Or Beliefs
  • Vote For Your Candidates
  • Make Your Own Goals
  • Exercise Your Independence
  • Make Your Own Choices, the Same As Anyone Else

It’s your life

If you need help getting the life you want, you can talk to the person who helps you with planning your services, your friends, family or one of your staff.

Your Privacy

New York State Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) and the federal HIPAA Privacy Rule require providers like OPWDD to ensure the privacy of your clinical and protected health information. This includes any information related to your care and treatment or any information that would identify you as receiving OPWDD supports and services.

Our Privacy Commitment to You
At OPWDD, we will protect your privacy and share information about you only with those who need to know and are allowed to see the information to assure that you receive quality services.

You have the right to:

  • Look at your clinical records and get a copy
  • Ask us to change your records if you think they are wrong
  • Ask for a list of the people who received your clinical information from OPWDD
  • Ask OPWDD not to use or share your clinical information in some cases
  • Ask for a paper copy of this notice
  • Complain if you believe your privacy rights have been violated

OPWDD will only use or share your clinical information with others without your consent for:

  • Treatment - to provide you with services under your Individualized Services Plan or to obtain new services for you
  • Payment - to get paid by you or an insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid, other government agencies or others who are responsible to pay for your services
  • Health care operations - to run our programs and to make sure staff are following the rules 
  • Other reasons allowed by law - such as health and safety reasons, lawsuits, law enforcement requests

Also, if you agree, OPWDD will share your information with family and friends who are involved in your care. OPWDD will share your information for other reasons, such as publication purposes, only if you give us your written consent.


Your Right to Vote

Exercise Your Right To Vote
All Americans have the right to vote, including people with developmental disabilities, and there are federal and state laws to guard and guarantee that right.

OPWDD is committed to ensuring that voting rights are upheld for the people we serve and that every person is given the opportunity to register to vote. 

How to Register 
You have many options when it comes to registering to vote. The NYS Board of Elections has helpful information for people with developmental disabilities, with tips on How to Register, Knowing Your Voting Machine, Meeting Voter Access Needs, and more. 

Agency-Based Voter Registration 
OPWDD offers assistance with voter registration for the people we support. Anyone who would like information or assistance in registering may contact OPWDD's National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) statewide coordinator at [email protected] or by calling (518) 474-2757.  See Frequently Asked Questions.

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)
The “Motor Voter Act” is the federal law that ensures voting rights to all Americans. This act was signed on May 20, 1993, and includes specific provisions all states must follow.