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. There are federal and state laws to guard and guarantee that right.

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), sometimes called 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. 

OPWDD upholds voting rights for people with developmental disabilities.

Voting requires some planning. If you need help to vote, talk with the people who support you early so the help you need will be there when you need it. Care Managers and provider agency staff are ready to help you. Accessible voting equipment is available at all polling places.

You can vote early at any early voting location in your county, except in New York City where voters are assigned by address to one early voting site.

Registration Deadlines

New Yorkers must register to vote by certain deadlines to be eligible to vote in Primary and General Elections. There are also deadlines for making changes to your registration, such as changes to address or enrollment.

November 5, 2024 General Election Deadlines

Mail Registration

Applications must be received by a board of elections no later than October 26, 2024 to be eligible to vote in the General Election.

In Person Registration

You may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the General Election, your application must be received no later than October 26, 2024.

Register to Vote

The NYS Board of Elections website will explain how to:

  • register to vote,
  • vote early or by absentee ballot,
  • find out where your polling place is, and
  • learn about the New York State Election Dates and Deadlines.

It also has helpful tips on How to RegisterKnowing Your Voting MachineMeeting Voter Access Needs, and more. 

Getting Help to Register to Vote

If you need help registering to vote, contact OPWDD's National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) statewide coordinator at [email protected] or by calling (518) 474-2757.  

To Learn About the Candidates and Your Election, go to...

Concerns or Questions?

If you have any problems when you vote, you can contact:

  • The Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE o
  • Disability Rights New York at [email protected], (518) 432-7861 voice), (518) 512-3448 (TTY), or (800) 993-8982 (Toll-Free)

More Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Voting Resources

To Make a Plan to Vote, go to:

To Register to Vote, Find Early Voting Information, Find Absentee Voting Information, Identify your Polling Place and Learn About the New York State Election Dates and Deadlines, go to:

  • Your County Board of Elections’ website.
  • Find your County Board of Elections’ website at New York State Board of Elections (
  • HOW and WHERE Can I Vote? (