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

SILC T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: Administrative Requirements and Cost Principles for SILCs as Sub-Grantees

August 13, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The SILC T&TA Center is offering a new webinar on administrative requirements and cost principles for Statewide Independent Living Councils. Led by John Heveron, a certified CPA with over 40 years working with non-profits, including CILs, and Paula McElwee, ILRU’s Technical Assistance Coordinator, this webinar will cover internal controls, allowable and unallowable costs, DSE monitoring and audits, documentation, tips to simplify your accounting system, and more.

This information-packed webinar will share the essential elements your SILC needs to meet the administrative requirements and cost principles as sub-recipients of federal funds. Sign-up today!

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.

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More Information about NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day!

This year, NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day will be on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. We hope you have already been scheduling meetings with your Members of Congress and are planning to attend our 2020 Policy Briefing on Tuesday, July 14.

Our Virtual Hill Day also includes a fun, new virtual format for our Annual Rally! We have a fantastic line-up of people who will be providing remarks to inform and energize you before you head into your Hill meetings. You can tune in to the Rally at 11:00 am Eastern at the NCIL Conference website or our YouTube page. To allow for the greatest amount of flexibility around your meeting schedules, the Rally video will be archived and available at both websites all day. ASL interpretation and CART will be provided.

This year’s Virtual Hill Visits have the potential to make a huge impact. Congress returns from recess on Monday, July 20. While the House has already passed the HEROES Act, the Senate has not taken any action on the next COVID-19 relief package. Our Virtual Hill Day will be a critical time to urge our Senators to take action and to prioritize the needs of their disabled constituents. This is an important time, and we hope you will all join us!

We will be providing the links to the Virtual Rally (which is open to the public!) and additional information to help prepare you for your meetings soon. Stay tuned!

Conference Logo: Evolution of our Revolution - 2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features a speech bubble and heart icon.

Announcing: The 2020 NCIL Policy Briefing

Tuesday, July 14, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

NCIL is happy to announce our 15th Annual Policy Briefing.

This important presentation will to bring advocates up-to-date on national issues and federal policies that affect people with disabilities and provide participants with question and answer sessions with national leaders to ensure you have in-depth information on the issues you care about most.

The Policy Briefing will ensure that we are fired up and prepared for NCIL’s 2020 Virtual Day on the Hill!

This teleconference is free for NCIL Members and conference registrants. There is a $25.00 registration fee for Non-Members / non-conference registrants, per call-in site. Fee does not apply per participant in group, provided the group uses the same conference line.

The Policy Briefing will be available via webinar / teleconference and CART captioning will be provided.  You must register by 12:00 Noon Eastern on July 14 to participate in the call.

Please contact Tim Fuchs at with any questions.

DATE CORRECTION: The 2020 NCIL Policy Briefing will be Tuesday, July 14th from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT.  The call will be recorded and available online if you are not available at this new time. 

Youth Scholarship Application Deadline Extended to July 10th!

NCIL is re-opening our youth scholarship application for a few more days!

NCIL’s youth scholarships are given to youth with disabilities aged 26 and under to cover the costs of attending the annual NCIL conference. Since the conference will be virtual this year, all scholarships will be $90 to cover a youth’s registration fee for the conference. Dozens of youth have received scholarships to NCIL’s conference over the years, and many credit the scholarship with launching their advocacy work within NCIL’s committees and caucuses or through other organizations.

We are particularly seeking applicants for the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship. Named in memory of former NCIL board member Emet Tauber, the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship is given every year to one or more youth with disabilities under aged 26 who are trans and/or Jewish. Emet took great joy in living at the intersection of those three identities, and the ideal Emet Tauber scholarship recipient will embody this spirit.

To apply for a youth scholarship, fill out the youth scholarship application by July 10, 2020. To be considered for the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship, check the box under “I would like to be considered for the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship” and answer the questions that follow. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Cara Liebowitz at

Conference Logo: Evolution of our Revolution - 2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features a speech bubble and heart icon.

Information About NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day: Start Scheduling Your Meetings!

This year, NCIL’s Annual Hill Day will be on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Like the rest of the Annual Conference, it will be completely virtual!

Part of each Annual Hill Day is the Hill Visits. These are meetings with the Senators and Representatives in Congress who represent you. A key part of successful Hill Visits is planning ahead – and this is just as important for a Virtual Hill Day!

We will be announcing the date for our annual Legislative and Advocacy (L&A) briefing soon. At this briefing, the Chairs of key NCIL L&A Subcommittees will discuss NCIL’s legislative priorities. They will also provide talking points to prepare you for your meetings. This briefing will be archived and available afterwards.

NCIL will be providing additional details about the Virtual Hill Day as they become available. This also includes a fun, new, virtual format for our Annual Rally!

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Good News on Hospital Visitor Policies!

Disabled people have been facing discriminatory “no visitor” policies in hospitals across the country. These policies are in place to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have prevented people from receiving critical support and assistance from family members, friends, support workers, or others. Accommodations to these policies are required by law, but states and hospitals across the country have been refusing to make such accommodations and abide by the law.

The first federal complaint (PDF) challenging these policies was filed in Connecticut by Independence Northwest: Center for Independent Living of Northwest CT, Disability Rights Connecticut, CommunicationFIRST, the Arc of Connecticut, Center for Public Representation, and the Arc of the US. Last week, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a resolution.

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Submit Comments on Proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 by Monday!

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) published proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 (VVSG 2.0) for public comment. The VVSG are a set of specifications and requirements for voting systems that relate to things like basic functionality, accessibility, and security.

VVSG 2.0 proposes new national-level voting system standards, and upon review, it is clear that the changes in this version will harm disabled voters. Disabled voters are already facing an even greater risk of disenfranchisement as a result of the pandemic; we cannot allow standards to be put in place that would increase that risk. It is critical that we provide feedback!

Take Action: Submit Comments (Draft Provided)

NCIL has worked with a coalition of other disability rights organizations to draft comments. Many of our organizations, including NCIL, will also be submitting these comments individually. Please feel free to review these comments and use them as written or personalize them to create your own. You can also submit a simple comment saying you support NCIL’s comments.

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Emergency Attendant Survey

The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered significant gaps in the home and community-based services (HCBS) system, including a nationwide need for Emergency Attendant / Direct Service Professional Registries and Backup Programs. NCIL and APRIL are partnering on surveying Centers for Independent Living (CILs) across the country to create a database of existing resources in this area so we can identify gaps and work to address them moving forward.

Please fill out this short Emergency Attendant Survey to help us gauge your CIL’s current status. This survey only takes 1-2 minutes complete. We are seeking responses from every Center for Independent Living in the country. Responding CILs will be entered into a drawing to receive a $50 Amazon gift card!

Gift card drawing rules: One (1) $50.00 Amazon gift card will be awarded to a Center for Independent Living that submits a complete survey response. Individuals and non-CIL entities are not eligible to win. The winner will be chosen by a random selection of survey respondents. Survey drawing will be held after all responses have been received or by July 31, 2020, whichever comes first. The winner of the drawing will be notified by email at the email address provided in their survey response.

Op-Ed: Why Social Workers Should Oppose Assisted Suicide

By Jessica Rodgers

As a social work intern with the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, I advocate for all individuals to live as independently as possible in the community. I also oppose the dangerous assisted suicide legislation that continues to be pushed upon the people of New York.

For decades, opponents have warned about the dangers this sort of legislation holds for the disabled community. Despite supposed safeguards and attempts on the part of proponents to ease concerns, the world has hurtled along exactly as disability-rights advocates have feared. One need look no further than Switzerland where those willing to pay for it can buy a designer suicide. Belgium has perhaps gone the farthest of all by allowing children the option to kill themselves and not differentiating between mental distress and physical illness. A PBS special even followed a Belgian physician as he made a home visit to give one of his patients a lethal injection. Her diagnosis? Depression.

For the old, the sick, and the disabled — particularly those in poverty — the “right to die” may, sooner rather than later, become the “duty to die.”

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NCIL Statement on Activism

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is saddened and angry that, just over two weeks after releasing a statement on police violence, the country is once again mourning the murder of another victim, George Floyd.

NCIL recognizes that, in the midst of so much inequity and injustice that has only been further revealed by Mr. Floyd’s murder, more people than ever – including those of with disabilities – are looking for ways to make their voices heard in the interest of both breaking the cycle of police violence and effecting systemic change. NCIL acknowledges that, although virtual and other means of non-in person activism have often been dismissed as “less than” within the disability community, all modes of advocacy have merit and, in many instances, actions taken via social media have resulted in positive outcomes, not just for people with disabilities, but for all.

With that in mind, NCIL’s Taskforce on Anti-Racism and Equity would like to amplify the resources and guides already in existence that are intended to support individuals with disabilities with in engaging in activism from both home and in-person, including the following.

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