What We Do

Types of Assistance

DRM provides the following services:

  • Information and Referral
  • Individual Advocacy
  • Legal Representation
  • Education and Training
  • Assistance with Self-Advocacy

DRM welcomes calls from people with disabilities inquiring about their legal rights. However, DRM does not advise landlords, schools, businesses, or providers of accommodations or services.


Protection & Advocacy for Developmental Disabilities (PADD)

After becoming aware of the inhumane conditions at Willowbrook, a New York State institution for persons with developmental disabilities, Congress enacted the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975 (the "DD Act"). In the DD Act, Congress recognized that a federally-directed system of legal advocacy was necessary to "ensure the humane care, treatment, habilitation and protection of mentally retarded and other persons with developmental disabilities." Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 15041-15045).

The DD Act created a system of protection and advocacy agencies in all states and territories. In 1977, the Protection & Advocacy Project (P&A) was established as the designated protection and advocacy agency for Maine.

Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI)

Following Congressional investigations substantiating reports of abuse and neglect in state psychiatric hospitals, the Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 (the "PAIMI Act") was passed. The PAIMI Act's intent was to extend protections similar to those provided under the DD Act to individuals with mental illness residing in facilities. Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 10801-10807, 10821-10827).

An important provision for the protection and advocacy system was included in the Children's Health Act of 2000. It expanded the PAIMI Program to cover individuals with mental illness who reside in the community.

Protection & Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR)

The Protection & Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) Program was established under the Rehabilitation Act in 1973, as amended in 1992. The program was not fully funded by Congress until 1994 which is when it was established in Maine. It is designed to serve individuals with disabilities who are not eligible for P&A services under the DD or PAIMI programs. Section 509 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §§ 794e)

Protection & Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT)

The Protection & Advocacy for Assistive Technology (AT) Program was established in 1994 when the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (the "Tech Act") was expanded by Congress. As a result, the Tech Act includes funding to the protection and advocacy system to assist individuals with disabilities in accessing AT devices & services. Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act, as amended (29 U.S.C. §§ 3012).

Protection & Advocacy for Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI)

This program was authorized by the Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996 and reauthorized as part of the Children's Health Act of 2000. Through the funding provided, protection and advocacy systems are better able to serve individuals with traumatic brain injury and their families. This program was initiated in Maine in 2002. Section 1253 of the Public Health Service Act, added by the Children's Health Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 300d-53).

Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)

The Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) Program was established and authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act (TWWIIA) of 1999. The Act authorized the Social Security Administration (SSA) to fund protection and advocacy systems to provide work incentive assistance to SSDI and SSI beneficiaries who need vocational rehabilitation, employment services, and other supports to secure or regain employment. In Maine, the program was established in 2001. Section 1150 of the Social Security Act, added by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 1320b-21).

Protection & Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA)

This program was enacted to help ensure that every qualified person with a disability has the opportunity to vote. The Help American Vote Act, which was signed into law on October 29, 2002, overhauled federal elections in the United States by establishing minimum voting standards that each state and territory must follow. The Act also authorizes the provision of funds to the protection and advocacy system to ensure full participation in the electoral process for individuals with disabilities. Title II, Subtitle D of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. §§ 15461).

State Mental Health Advocacy (SMHA)

DRM provides advocacy services to patients at the two state psychiatric hospitals operated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services: the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, formerly known as Bangor Mental Health Institute, and Riverview Psychiatric Center, a 100-bed facility for both civil and forensic patients, formerly known as the Augusta Mental Health Institute.

DRM advocates work to ensure prompt patient access to rights information, and assistance with enforcing those rights when necessary, on issues pertaining to medication, the right to refuse treatment, informed consent, treatment plans, advance directives, complaints and grievances, and discharge planning.

DRM also conducts regular outreach to, and rights education for, hospital staff and administration.

NOTE: In most other states and territories, the Client Assistance Program (CAP) is also administered by the protection and advocacy agency. In Maine, this program is administered by CARES, Inc. The CAP provides advocacy, consultation, education, and referral to individuals who are seeking or receiving services through the Maine Vocational Rehabilitation Program or Independent Living Centers.

Deaf Services

DRM’s Deaf Services Program serves Maine people who are D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, Deaf-Blind (dual-sensory loss – sight and sound), or who use signs and gestures to communicate. We also work with agencies and individuals who provide support individuals – and those who provide services, education, housing, employment to them.

Deaf Services Programs Include (click on the program name to learn more):

Am I Eligible?

You may be eligible for DRM's services if:

  • You have a disability and believe your civil rights have been violated or you have been discriminated against due to your disability;
  • You have a disability and need help obtaining assistive technology;
  • You receive SSI or SSDI and need help with employment-related issues;
  • You are seeking brain injury services;
  • You have questions about your right to vote and/or accessible voting; or
  • You are the parent of a child with a disability and your child has been denied access to inclusive educational services or otherwise had their educational rights violated.

What Can DRM Help Me With?

Case selection criteria for each program is established on an annual basis. While this list is not inclusive, case selection includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Physical or sexual abuse;
  • Denial of medical, mental health, rehabilitative or habilitative treatment or evaluation;
  • Denial of basic rights or necessities;
  • Provision of an unsafe living environment;
  • Financial exploitation;
  • Improper use of seclusion, restraint, aversives or forced medication;
  • Denial of an integrated living setting or services;
  • Due process violations in involuntary admissions or in treatment or service planning;
  • Disability based discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations or government benefits;
  • For children with disabilities, denial of special education services and/or an inclusive education; and,
  • For children with disabilities, disability-related expulsion or suspension from school.

Funding Sources

Annual Reports