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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Election Day is Less Than One Week Away! Are You Ready to Vote?

Election Day is less than one week away, and millions of Americans have already cast their ballots through early voting or voting by mail. This year, it is more important than ever to know your rights and have a plan. We have listed some resources and events to help you prepare for Election Day.

Plan Your Vote 2020 

NCIL, along with other members of the National Coalition on Accessible Voting, created “Plan Your Vote 2020,” a vote planning guide that walks you through every step of the voting process.

Brink Election Guide 

Brink Election Guide is a free app that helps you find out where to vote, who and what you’re voting for, and everything you need to make Election Day a breeze. This nonpartisan, accessible app is available on iOS and Android, and it was built by people with disabilities to provide all of the necessary information a voter needs to know. Brink provides completely non-partisan information designed to inform our users on the candidates running for office and other initiatives on the ballot. The app also provides a list of resources to help voters navigate any potential issues they face when voting.

SignVote Series: Election 2020 

SignVote is dedicated to informing and engaging deaf communities throughout the 2020 election by developing and sharing resources in ASL. They recently launched the second episode of the SignVote Series: Election 2020, where you can learn everything you need to know about making your voting plan. View SignVote’s “Your Plan to Vote”.

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Deadline Extended to Share Your Story and Help Us Save the Affordable Care Act!

Earlier this week, the Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. NCIL and over 50 other national, state, and local disability rights organizations sent a letter (PDF) urging the Senate to oppose her nomination. NCIL opposed her nomination due to her history of decisions that have harmed the disability community, and in particular her vocal opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Despite her confirmation, NCIL will continue to fight to save the ACA. You may remember that NCIL, along with several other disability organizations, filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the court case that will soon be heard by the Supreme Court, and we will continue to advocate. The disability community played a huge role in saving the ACA in 2017, and we must do the same again. We will continue to fight, and we need your help. 

Share Your Story

We need your stories of how the ACA has helped you, and how overturning the ACA would be harmful. Please share your stories with by using this online form or emailing comments@ncil.org. We are extending the deadline for this request to Sunday, November 1, 2020. See below for information about some of the ways the ACA has helped people.

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Join Us: A Disability Rights Forum and Launch of the NAB’s Refreshed Six Foundational Principles

Source: National Advisory Board

Thirteen years ago, the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities launched our groundbreaking Six Foundational Principles, affirming the rights of older adults and people with disabilities to live at home, on their own terms, with the health and community support they need. Together with advocates around the country, we use these Principles to inform lawmakers and health care leaders about the needs and preferences of people with disabilities and older adults.  The Principles convey the importance of equitable access to health care and the critical need for home and community-based services to policy makers, regulators, and industry leaders.  

Now, as we look back, celebrate what we’ve accomplished, and recognize the 30th anniversary of the ADA, we are also reminded of the collective work ahead of us in making our ideals of inclusion and equality a reality. During this forum we will address the disparities laid bare by COVID-19, discuss our path forward, and lay the groundwork for continued advances in the movement.   

Join us on October 30th from 1:00pm to 4:30pm Eastern for the launch of the NAB’s updated Six Foundational Principles and interactive discussions with community leaders on the history and future of disability rights.  

Register for the event here! 

We are excited to have outstanding disability rights leaders with us to talk about home and community-based services (HCBS), employment, mental health, technology accessibility, and health disparities in COVID-19. Speakers include:

  • Lex Frieden, Architect of the ADA and Convener of the NAB
  • Julia Bascom, Executive Director, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
  • Kelly Buckland, Executive Director, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
  • Crosby Cromwell, Disability Consultant
  • Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America (MHA)
  • Jeff Hughes, Executive Director, Progressive Independence
  • Andy Imparato, Executive Director, Disability Rights California (DRC)
  • Joseph Jones, Executive Director, The Harkin Institute
  • Anil Lewis, Executive Director, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
  • Christina Mills, Executive Director, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)
  • Cynthia Overton, Director of Tech Workplace Initiatives, Kapor Center
  • Maria Town, President and CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
  • John Tschida, Executive Director at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
  • Dior Vargas, Queer Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist

Please share this invite with your colleagues, legislators, friends, and family on Facebook and Twitter, and use #ADA30 and #DFI6Principles to share your thoughts and questions on social media. We look forward to connecting and discussing with you!

CILs and SILCs: Sign-On Opportunity to Oppose Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination – DUE TODAY!

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he expects the final confirmation vote as early as Monday.

As we explained in a previous alert, Judge Barrett’s opinions on a number of issues are damaging to disability rights, and her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court would threaten the rights and lives of Americans with disabilities. NCIL strongly opposes her nomination, and we have signed on to a letter urging the Senate to oppose her nomination, and we hope you will join us in signing your organization on as well. (Note: this is similar to a previous letter that was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.)

To sign on:

Please send your name, the name of your organization exactly as you would like it listed on the letter, and the state your organization is located in to Jennifer Mathis at JenniferM@bazelon.org.

The deadline to add your organization as a signatory is 4:00pm Eastern TODAY, Friday, October 23, 2020.

Background:

As outlined in the letter, Judge Barrett has a history of decisions that have harmed the disability community. From siding against disabled students who were being discriminated against, to her opinion that the public charge rule does not discriminate against disabled people, to being a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Judge Barrett’s appointment to the US Supreme Court would bring immeasurable harm to our community.

Further, in the midst of a pandemic that has killed over 220,000 Americans, it is shameful that the Senate is prioritizing rushing through this highly politicized Supreme Court appointment, rather than focusing on much-needed additional COVID-19 relief. The situation for their constituents around the country is increasingly dire, and filling a vacant seat is absolutely not more important than our lives and livelihoods. 

For these reasons, and for others outlined in the letter, NCIL strongly opposes the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. We urge you to sign your CIL, SILC, or organization on to the letter urging the Senate to oppose the nomination and to not act on any nomination until they have passed and the President has signed a COVID-19 relief bill.

Please sign your organization on to the letter today!

National Appendix K / Retainer Payment Sign-on Letter Opportunity

The co-chairs of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities LTSS Task Force and the Disability and Aging Collaborative have put together a sign-on letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging flexibilities around Appendix K waivers and retainer payments. The letter is open to national, state, and local organizations. 

 If the link is not accessible to you, you can email lindsay@ncil.org with the name of your organization (exactly as you want it listed on the letter).

Signatures are due Friday, October 23, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Join Monday’s National Call-in Day on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Barrett!

Earlier this week, we sent an alert about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination with several ways to take action.

On Monday, October 12, NCIL is joining other disability organizations to coordinate a national call-in date to oppose the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. As we said in our previous alert, Judge Barrett’s opinions on a number of issues are damaging to disability rights, and her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court would threaten the rights and lives of Americans with disabilities. Her hostility toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a particular threat, since the ACA has been vital to millions of people across the country, including the disability community. If Judge Barrett is confirmed, losing the ACA is far more likely.

Join the Call-In Day!

  • Join and share the event page on Facebook
  • You can reach both of your Senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and asking to be connected to your Senator.
  • You can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov.
  • You can find your Senators’ Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and more on Contacting Congress.
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Help Consumers Get #VoteReady this October

This week is National Voter Education Week, a civic holiday created to equip voters with the tools, information, and confidence they need to cast their ballots. With less than a month until the General Election, it is a great time to provide consumers with information and tools that they can use to prepare to vote.

NCIL has created resources to help Center for Independent Living (CIL) and Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) staff and consumers get ready to vote this year. The NCIL 2020 Voter Registration Toolkit provides you with information to conduct nonpartisan voter registration. Check to make sure that your state’s voter registration deadline hasn’t passed, or see if same-day voter registration is available in your state.

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Help Us Fight the Supreme Court Nomination and Save the Affordable Care Act!

Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been nominated to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Senate will hastily move forward with her confirmation hearings in mid-October, with a vote planned shortly after. Judge Barrett’s opinions on a number of issues are damaging to disability rights, and her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court would threaten the rights and lives of Americans with disabilities. NCIL strongly opposes her nomination.

We, along with over 50 other national, state, and local disability rights organizations have sent a letter (PDF) urging the Senate to oppose her nomination. We are continuing to work with these organizations and others to oppose her nomination, and now we need your help.

Take Action!

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on November 10. The ACA has been vital to millions of people across the country, including the disability community. Judge Barrett’s vocal opposition to the law is highly concerning, and her appointment to the Supreme Court makes the loss of the ACA far more likely.

1. Share your story: We need your stories of how the ACA has helped you, and how overturning the ACA would be harmful. Please share with us how the Affordable Care Act has helped you, or how losing the ACA would be harmful. You can share your stories with us using our online form or at comments@ncil.org. Because this is moving so quickly, we are requesting this information by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Thank you for your help!

2. Contact your Senator: You can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators. You can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov. You can find your Senators’ Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and more on Contacting Congress.

Sample script: Hi, my name is (NAME), and I’m from (CITY, STATE). I am (calling / writing) to urge the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the President’s Supreme Court Nominee. Judge Barrett has a history of decisions that are concerning to me as a disabled person. Moreover, Congress should not act on any nomination until Congress has passed, and the President has signed, a COVID-19 relief bill. There is far too much at stake to rush this important decision. Please reject Judge Barret’s nomination. (Your name)

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Business Development for Community Living: A Learning Collaborative for Centers for Independent Living to Build Sustainable Programs and Diversify Revenue

Application period extended through October 14, 2020!

October 2020 – August 2021

Does your CIL like to “Think Big”? Would you like to get away from chasing grant after grant to develop a sustainable program that could provide continued funding for your CIL?

NCIL & ILRU, together with Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) and The Independence Center are offering a new National Learning Collaborative to assist Centers for Independent Living to improve their skills for business development to establish income-producing community based services that enable people with disabilities and chronic health issues to live successfully in the community.

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Request for Information: COVID-19 and Congregate Settings

We need your help. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our community hard, and especially people in congregate settings. These settings include places like psychiatric hospitals, intermediate care facilities, nursing facilities, developmental centers, group homes, and others. Many of our people are still trapped in these settings even as the pandemic has highlighted their dangers.

As we fight to keep everyone safe, we are also preparing for increased infections in the coming months. We are considering filing a complaint about how the rights of many disabled people in congregate settings are being violated right now. We need to know what has – and has not – been working in these settings around the country.

If you live in a congregate setting, or if someone close to you (like a family member or friend) does, we want to hear from you.

You can share this information with us using any of the methods below:

Please provide at least one way to contact you so we can follow up if we need more information. Some of the information we receive will be used if we move forward with the complaint. We will not share your name or contact information without your permission.

We request that you please share this information with us by Friday, October 16. Thank you.

Survey Question Examples: We are especially interested in answers to the following questions. You can answer any or all of these questions. These are just examples of the type of information we are looking for. If you have information to share with us that is not included in these questions, please do.

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