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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

NCIL Welcomes Aaron Baier As Region II Representative!

NCIL is excited to announce our new Region II Representative, Aaron Baier from Access to Independence of Cortland County, Inc.

Aaron T. Baier is the newly appointed member of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Board of Directors and represents Region II (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands). Aaron is the Executive Director of Access to Independence of Cortland County, Inc. in Central New York and brings more than 14 years of experience in the Independent Living Movement and grassroots advocacy.

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COVID-19 CIL Needs Assessment Survey

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many community-based organizations are focused on addressing the needs of their communities. As many Centers for Independent Living (CILs) continue to serve consumers, we understand that people with disabilities and the CIL staff that serve them are more vulnerable to the disease itself, and to the social impacts, economic impacts, and disruptions caused by government action and / or inaction. The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) has partnered with the IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Independent Living at ILRU and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) to assess the impact of local, state, and federal policy actions on CILs in real-time and to bring evidence of these impacts to advocates and policymakers.

Please complete this brief survey (approximately 5-10 minutes) with as much detail as possible. We will organize your responses and identify common themes. We intend to place the raw data and a summary report on the CHRIL website, www.chril.org, and will get the information out to the disability community.

Take the survey at surveygizmo.com/s3/5550817/CHRIL-Needs-Assessment

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IL-NET Presents… A National Webinar & Teleconference: Statewide and Systemic Responses to COVID-19 and Other Emergencies – A Q&A Session for CILs and SILCs

Tuesday, May 5, 2020; 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center is offering a new panel presentation in our series on maintaining strong Center for Independent Living (CIL) and Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 5, our panelists will share information and resources on developing systemic and statewide responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies. Much of the impact of COVID-19 is unique and new, but there is a lot of advocacy, coalition work, and emergency preparedness work that we can pull from and also develop for the future. Join us for this Q&A webinar where our panelists will share their experience and expertise with this kind of work.

You won’t want to miss this important webinar. Sign-up today!

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IL-NET Presents… A National Webinar & Teleconference: Technology Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic – A Q&A Session for CILs and SILCs

NEW DATE: April 30, 2020; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern

This training has been postponed until April 30. You do not need to re-register if you’ve already signed up for the webinar. Registration will remain open until 12:00 Noon Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Central on the new date of the webinar, April 30, 2020.

Register online

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center is offering a new panel presentation in our series on maintaining strong Center for Independent Living (CIL) and Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 21, our panelists will share technology options that CILs and SILCs can use to work remotely, connect with consumers, and maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll discuss technology you might consider using, factors to consider when selecting and using technology, and the accessibility information gathered on various technology platforms.

You won’t want to miss this important webinar. Sign-up today!

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How Centers for Independent Living Can Access Support from the CARES Act and Small Business Administration

Brought to you by the National Council on Independent Living and Centene

Wednesday, April 8, 2020; 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The purpose of the webinar is to learn more about the programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, And Economic Security (Cares) Act that will be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist business owners.  Centers for Independent Living are eligible for support and we want to share the details with you.  This call will be led by Cissy Proctor and Hector Barreto of LSN Partners, a Global Consulting Firm. 

You won’t want to miss this important webinar!  Sign-up today! 

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge. Registration must be completed by 10:30 a.m. Eastern on April 8, 2020.

Your Presenters

Cissy Proctor, oversees LSN’s economic development and incentive practice. Cissy joined LSN after serving as Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the State agency responsible for providing assistance to workers, businesses and communities under blue skies and in the wake of disasters. Her understanding of economic relief and development efforts across all levels of government, along with her extensive experience interfacing with Washington, is a significant resource to our firm and clients.

Hector V. Barreto, a Senior Advisor at LSN, previously served as U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator for five years. As SBA Administrator, Hector oversaw a loan portfolio in excess of $60 billion and managed the agency’s assistance to thousands of small businesses following disasters such as the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina. Given his unparalleled experience at the highest levels of the SBA, Hector’s expertise, especially in times like these, is invaluable to businesses.

This call is supported by Centene Corporation.

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and Centene Logos

Keyword: COVID-19

IL-NET Presents… A National Webinar & Teleconference: Remote Work and Consumer Connections During the COVID-19 Pandemic – A Q&A Session for CILs and SILCs

Tuesday, April 7, 2020; 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center is offering a new panel presentation in our series on maintaining strong CIL and SILC operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please join us on April 7 as our panel discusses effective strategies to work remotely and connect with consumers during the crisis. Our panelists will share their experience of working remotely, innovative remote work practices they’ve adopted, and concrete ways that you can maintain connections with your consumers and continue essential services and supports during this time.

You won’t want to miss this important webinar! Sign-up today!

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An Update on the Congressional COVID-19 Package

Yesterday the Senate unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S. 3548). Read the updated bill (PDF). The package now heads to the House of Representatives, where a vote is expected on Friday.

Some of the disability community’s priorities are included in the package, but many are not. We are continuing to review the bill, and we will provide additional information about what is in the final package and future advocacy to ensure our community’s priorities are included in future relief packages.

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Urgent Action Alert: Keep Telling Congress to Include People with Disabilities in Their COVID-19 Response!

Thank you for all the efforts you have already made to get Congress to include the needs of people with disabilities in the next COVID-19 relief package. Last week the Senate introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which does not address the needs of the disability community. Yesterday the House introduced the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act. This bill does address some, but not all, of our priorities.

Disabled people are at disproportionate risk during this pandemic, and it is critical that all future legislation addresses our needs. And negotiations are happening now! That means we have just a little more time to contact our members of Congress as they continue working on their final package!

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Urgent Action Alert: Tell Congress to Include People with Disabilities in Their COVID-19 Response!

Congress will be working through the weekend on their Phase 3 legislative package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress has already passed two bills (more information at www.ncil.org/covid-19), and while these were good steps, neither addressed the specific needs of people with disabilities. Disabled people are at disproportionate risk during this pandemic, and it is critical that all future legislation addresses our needs!

The key priorities the next bill must include are:

  • More funding for Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS)! We need to make sure states have the resources to respond to increasing needs so people with disabilities can access the supports and services we need, and so people aren’t involuntarily institutionalized during this pandemic.
  • More funding for personal care attendants (PCAs) and direct support professionals (DSPs)! Among other things, this funding could be used to increase rates for PCAs / DSPs; provide paid sick time, family leave, overtime or hazard pay to PCAs / DSPs; and provide HCBS to individuals on waiting lists.
  • More funding for educational services for disabled students and protection of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)! Senator McConnell’s recent proposal opens the door to waiving protections under IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. As schools are working hard to ensure that learning continues even as schools are closed, now more than ever we need IDEA and Section 504 to be protected. And, we need significant increases in funding to State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) for IDEA instructional and support services during this pandemic!
  • Ensuring access to medications! This must include removing barriers to accessing a 90-day emergency supply of medications regardless of payer (including for controlled substances), as well as flexibility around the amount that can be filled / refilled.
  • Increased funding and expansion of nutritional services! The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expanded some nutritional services, but it didn’t go far enough. Congress needs to increase funding and further expand nutritional services, including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and Meals on Wheels.
  • More funding for Centers for Independent Living (CILs)! As you saw in our previous alert, Congress must ensure CILs have additional funding to respond to this crisis and meet the needs of disabled people in their communities.

Take Action!

Our Members of Congress must hear from their disabled constituents. They need to know that people with disabilities matter and cannot be left out of the COVID-19 response! Congress is moving quickly, so please contact your Senators and Representative now, and continue to reach out all through the weekend! We urge you to contact them in as many ways as you can, including social media! Please note that because of the pandemic, there aren’t many staffers in Congressional offices to answer phones right now. If you can, focus on email and social media to make your voice heard!

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Action Alert: Tell Congress to Include People with Disabilities in Their COVID-19 Response!

Last night the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law after it passed through the Senate late in the day. The Families First Act increases Medicaid funding through a 6.2% FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) increase, provides free COVID-19 testing, provides for some emergency paid sick and family leave, expands food assistance, and expands unemployment benefits.

This comes after Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act on March 6. Through that, Congress provided $8.3 billion in emergency funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both of those were good first steps. However, there are major gaps in the legislative response to the pandemic, and Congress is already working on a third response bill. It is critical that all future legislation addresses the needs of people with disabilities. Disabled people are at disproportionate risk of severe symptoms and complications from COVID-19, and we need to be a part of the COVID-19 response!

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