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

Employment & Social Security

NCIL Medicaid Buy-In Task Force Seeks Personal Stories from Beneficiaries

The Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) Task Force of the NCIL Employment Subcommittee has been working for more than a year on two policy proposals that would remove work disincentives for people with disabilities of retirement age or older. We have already had meetings with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Congressional staff, and we are looking for your help to move these proposals forward.

We need the NCIL membership to help identify individuals who fit in either of these two situations / scenarios:

  1. Childhood Disability Beneficiaries (CDB) who are past or reaching full retirement age – within a year or two. We want to change SSA rules so that a CDB would have the same work rules (lack of earning restriction) that all SSA retirees have at full age of retirement. As the rules stand now, they have to continue with SSDI work rules even past age of full retirement.
  2. Beneficiaries using the Medicaid-Buy-In who are approaching or passed age 65. We are proposing a change to Ticket to Work legislation to remove the current age limit (65), or at least make it full age of retirement.

Upon identifying these individuals, we are hoping to cultivate personal stories to be provided to elected officials, SSA staff, etc. to help bolster our policy ideas and arguments. Because we have some great momentum on our policy ideas, the value of these stories cannot be overstated and will play a critical role in continuing to move these ideas forward.

Please contact the Employment Subcommittee Co-Chairs, Sam Liss ([email protected]) or James Turner ([email protected]).

Bender Virtual Career Fair: Employment for People with Disabilities

Are you a person with a disability looking for a career opportunity or internship? This Virtual Career Fair is FREE for students and alumni with disabilities to attend. Competitive opportunities for every level of candidate, from experienced professionals, recent college graduates and college students with disabilities, to meet online with employers across the nation including Amazon, Apple, Citrix, DuPont, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, US Department of Energy, & More!

Students and alumni are invited to interact with employers via chat sessions.  [Read more…]

Are You A Student or Recent Graduate with a Disability? Become a USBLN Rising Leader by Joining the Rising Leaders Initiatives!

What is the Rising Leaders Initiatives? The Rising Leaders Initiative involves two programs: the Mentoring Program and the Leadership Academy.

  • The Mentoring Program is a six-month career mentoring opportunity to college students and recent graduates, including veterans, with disabilities.
  • The Leadership Academy is an intensive two-day networking and career development opportunity that takes place during the USBLN Annual Conference.

USBLN is currently accepting applications for both programs! If you are a college student or recent graduate with a disability that has questions about transitioning into the business sector, they highly encourage you to apply for either program!

On the application form, you can choose which (or both) programs you’re interested in. Application deadline is December 18th, 2017.  [Read more…]

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation 2018 Public Policy Fellowship Program

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking exemplary professionals, and/or persons experiencing disability and/or family members of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are currently working or volunteering in the field of inclusive services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship is a one-year, full-time, intensive immersion experience in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Fellowship is to prepare emerging leaders to assume leadership roles in the public policy arena at the state and/or national levels. During this one-year Fellowship, the successful applicant will learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, as well as how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. Fellows also learn how the organized disability community works to shape public policy impacting people with disabilities, and their families.  [Read more…]

NCIL Employment/Social Security Subcommittee Gains Momentum

By: Sam Liss and James Turner, NCIL Employment/Social Security Subcommittee Co-Chairs

NCIL Employment / Social Security Subcommittee Co-Chairs James Turner and Sam Liss are pleased to acknowledge that participation in NCIL’s Employment/Social Security Subcommittee seems to be gaining momentum over the previous few months. Fortuitously, this comes at a time when the Subcommittee is tackling many important issues within its purview. In conjunction with heightened interest, the Co-Chairs are asking members of the Subcommittee to assume leadership on particular issues.

At this time, the Subcommittee is heartened and encouraged because its two policy proposals, arising from its Medicaid Buy-in (MBI) Task Force, appear to be gaining traction within Congress: the Subcommittee was granted a ½ hour teleconference by the House Social Security Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee. Staffers asked critical questions about the Childhood Disability Beneficiary (CDB) proposal and requested follow up. The other proposal, regarding changing MBI authorization language in the Ticket-to-Work/Work Incentive Improvement Act, was referred to House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which holds jurisdiction.  Approaches to key members of Congress in both parties are under way. Both policy proposals would enhance employment incentives for those people with disabilities at retirement age.  [Read more…]

Ticket to Work Announcements

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that federal contractors and subcontractors – companies doing business with the federal government – take affirmative action to recruit, hire, employ, promote, and retain qualified people with disabilities. You can learn more about Section 503 with latest resource from Ticket to Work: Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act: Working for a Federal Contractor. This document answers frequently asked questions, including:

  • What is Section 503?
  • What does self-identification mean?
  • What does Section 503 mean to Social Security disability beneficiaries?

Ticket to Work is also hosting a Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinar on September 27, which will focus on Ticket to Work and Work Incentives for people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Register for this free webinar online.

Trump Budget Cuts Social Security – An Update from the NCIL Employment and Social Security Subcommittee

Greetings from the NCIL Employment and Social Security Subcommittee! As we all know, we are in strange, uncharted political waters these days (to say the least). More than ever, it seems, we do not know what the future holds with regards to people with disabilities and the wonderfully diverse, vibrant, cross-cultural, and intersectional community they comprise and represent. Many of the programs we champion and support are in danger of being cut and thus many of our brothers and sisters, family members, community members, etc. are facing great uncertainty if not abject peril.

In these days of “fake news” and distorted facts, we encourage all NCIL activists to be well-versed regarding the President’s proposed budget, especially its designs on cutting Social Security despite assurances this would not happen. We know it is often difficult to make a salient and defensible argument to those who would seek to support these cuts without hard evidence backing up our assertions. The following article from The Hill sheds some great light and provides at least a layperson’s background to speak effectively to this important issue. As is the case with myriad issues we, as purveyors of the Independent Living Movement and all it entails, are often the strongest, most trusted voice when it comes to issues affecting the disability community locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Our Truth is undeniable!

Join Our Partner, the LEAD Center, for a Free Webinar – Guided Group Discovery: Paving the Way to Employment

LEAD Center Logo - www.leadcenter.orgDon’t miss this webinar on Guided Group Discovery: Paving the Way to Employment, in which we will share materials you can use to implement Guided Group Discovery through cross-system partnerships. You also will hear about the many pilot projects in which Guided Group Discovery has been used, and hear from implementers from the public workforce system and their disability partners.  [Read more…]

Raise the Wage Act of 2017 Will Eliminate Subminimum Wages for People with Disabilities

Earlier today Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Senator Patty Murray (WA), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA), and Congressman Keith Ellison (MN) introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2017. NCIL supports this legislation and is thankful to its sponsors for taking a step in the right direction toward fair pay for workers, including workers with disabilities.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThere are several key provisions in this bill: the minimum wage would be incrementally increased to $15 an hour; tipped minimum wage would be phased out; and the ability of employers to pay employees with disabilities subminimum wage would be sunset. NCIL is very excited to see the inclusion of people with disabilities and the use of 14(c) waivers in this bill.

The use of 14(c) waivers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage – sometimes just pennies per hour – is a practice NCIL has long opposed. Paying people lower wages on the basis of their disability is discrimination, and this discrimination is one of the factors that has led people with disabilities to experience double the rate of poverty as people without disabilities. This bill takes a practical approach to the issue by providing transition assistance for businesses that have relied on 14(c) certificates to ensure the successful shift to higher wages. Moreover, information on competitive integrated employment will be provided to people with disabilities employed under these programs. These are both important measures that will help to ensure a successful move away from subminimum wages and toward closing the massive wage gap.

People deserve to be paid fairly for their labor, and NCIL applauds the introduction of this legislation. The Raise the Wage Act of 2017 is a step toward eliminating the inequality that low-wage workers face, and a shift toward fair pay for people with disabilities. This bill will benefit workers, but it will also benefit communities, the economy, and the very businesses that employ these workers. The Raise the Wage Act of 2017 is a strong piece of legislation that we hope to see pass in the 115th Congress.

Join Our Partner, the LEAD Center, for a Webinar on ABLE Accounts

The LEAD Center, in collaboration with the ABLE National Resource Center, will be holding a webinar focused on how individuals with disabilities, and their families, can use ABLE Accounts to increase their financial stability and produce more positive employment outcomes.

LEAD Center Logo -

The webinar will take place on April 27 at 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST and aims to demonstrate how provisions in the ABLE Act can enable people with disabilities to achieve competitive integrated employment, begin to save more than $2,000 without fear of loss of SSI and Medicaid eligibility and set longer term goals for financial stability and self-determined and self-directed lives.  [Read more…]