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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

IL-NET Presents… A National Webinar: Operating Independent Living Programs in the Face of Coronavirus – A Q&A Session for CILs and SILCs

Friday, March 20, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Registration has re-opened for this event. We had reached our maximum capacity, but we have worked with our webinar provider to increase our capacity and can now accept additional participants.  Registration will close at Noon Eastern on Friday, March 20. 

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center is offering a Q&A session with a panel of peers and experts, including public health experts, Center for Independent Living (CIL) and Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) Directors from communities impacted by Coronavirus / COVID-19, and experts in emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.

We all have questions related to the Coronavirus, but none of the media response or broader expert guidance details how community-based, disability-rights groups like CILs and SILCs should respond. Our panel of peers and experts will share their guidance and answer your questions about operating Independent Living programs and providing services during the epidemic.

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

Registration: This event is free-of-charge. Registration must be completed by 12:00 Noon Eastern on March 20, 2020.

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Action Alert: Oppose the Proposed Independent Living Changes in the President’s Budget

Last week we sent out an information alert with information about cuts and harmful proposed changes to the Independent Living (IL) Program in the President’s 2021 Budget.

As a reminder, the budget includes a $7.5 million cut to Part B funding. It also includes a $5 million increase to Part C funding, but those funds are reserved for competitive employment grants.

Importantly, there are also three legislative proposals related to the IL Program:

  • The first proposal would allow funds currently appropriated for training and technical assistance (T/TA) to be used for program evaluation and performance measurement.
  • The second proposal would remove the requirement for any reviews of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to be conducted onsite.
  • The final proposal would allow the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to stop contracting out for T/TA.

All three proposals are bad ideas and would all harm the IL Program. Regarding the first proposal, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) states that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shall ensure the Independent Living Administration (ILA) has sufficient resources to provide technical assistance, support, and oversight. If ILA leadership does not believe they have sufficient funds to carry out their responsibilities, they should be asking for more funding rather than reallocating funding from one important duty to another.

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SPIL Instrument and Instructions Posted to Federal Register: Submit Comments by March 9, 2020

ACL has announced that the new State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) instrument and instructions were published in the Federal Register. The document is available for comments through March 9, 2020. You can find the instrument and instructions at acl.gov/about-acl/public-input.

After the comment period has closed, ACL will review the comments and release the final SPIL instrument and instructions. The new instrument must be used to complete the FY 2021 – FY 2023 SPIL. The SPIL must be submitted to ACL for review and approval by June 30, 2020.

Comments can be submitted:

  • By email to OIRA_submissions@omb.eop.gov, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for ACL;
  • By fax for (202) 395-5806, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for ACL; or
  • By mail to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, New Executive Office Bldg., 725 17th St. NW, Rm. 10235, Washington, DC 20503, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for ACL.

You can read the full email ACL sent to the network on Friday below. It has additional information and instructions.

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IL-NET Presents… A Two-Part Webinar Series: Ready for Review – Using ACL’s Compliance & Outcome Monitoring Protocol (COMP) Tool to Achieve Excellence

  • Part 1: March 31, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern
  • Part 2: April 1, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern
  • Register online

The Office of Independent Living Programs (OILP) recently released the Compliance and Outcome Monitoring Protocol (COMP) Tool for Centers for Independent Living (CILs). The COMP tool was created to assist CILs to improve program performance; to understand how OILP is monitoring CIL performance; and to conduct self-assessments to prepare for desk audits, onsite reviews, or for internal reviews. Join us for this free, two-part webinar series to learn exactly what is included in the COMP tool and how you can use it at your CIL.

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

Target Audience: Executive directors, program managers, and board members of centers for independent living.

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Information Alert: Proposed Independent Living Changes in the President’s Budget

Earlier this week, the President released his 2021 Budget. The budget includes a $7.5 million cut to Part B funding. It also includes a $5 million increase to Part C funding, but those funds are reserved for competitive employment grants. Specifically, the budget would use that $5 million “to test evidence-based models of employment training and support that could be adopted by Centers for Independent Living to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities”.

The budget includes major cuts to many critical programs disabled people rely on, including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and others. It also includes cuts to several important disability programs within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), including (but not limited to) NIDILRR (the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research), State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), and eliminates the Assistive Technology Alternative Financing Programs.

It is important to note that this is only a proposal, and Congress is unlikely to include many of these proposals in their appropriations bills. However, it does provide insight into what the President’s priorities are. It also gives us additional insight into the areas we’ll likely have to continue fighting for.

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NCIL Statement on Race & Equity

Please take a moment to read NCIL’s latest statement on race and equity at ncil.org/statement-on-equity-race.

We are linking the statement here because of length, but it is critically important and we want everyone to read this. 

Julie Hocker Nominated for Assistant Secretary of Labor

This Tuesday, it was announced that the President intends to nominate Julie Hocker to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor (Disability Employment Policy). Hocker currently serves as both the Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities (AOD) and the Director of the Independent Living Administration (ILA) at the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Hocker became the Director of the ILA this past summer with ACL’s reorganization. NCIL previously expressed concern with the reorganization. We were very concerned because ILA needs a full-time Director; not someone splitting their time with another role. Further, the Rehabilitation Act requires that the Director of the ILA must be an individual with “substantial knowledge of independent living services”.

We sincerely hope ACL will take this opportunity to once again separate these two positions, and that the HHS Secretary will appoint someone with a strong background in Independent Living to serve as the Director of the ILA.

Deadline Extended: Apply for IL-NET’s National Learning Collaborative on Youth Transition at CILs by January 15, 2020!

Deadline Extended! Applications will now be accepted through Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Apply today!

Are you excited to develop a youth transition program at your Center for Independent Living (CIL), but need a little help to get there?

IL-NET is offering an exciting new approach to support CILs that are ready to make a commitment to young people with disabilities.

Apply online

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Information Alert: Spending Package Passed Congress

Congress has passed a spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). Today, December 20, was the day the current Continuing Resolution (CR) was set to expire.

The spending package level funds the Independent Living program at $116,183,000. While level funding is far from what we need, we are very happy that Congress rejected the President’s proposal to cut the Independent Living program by nearly $8 million.

The package also include a 5-month reauthorization (and funding) for Money Follows the Person (MFP), and Spousal Impoverishment protections. While we have been hoping for permanent reauthorization, we will continue pushing toward that in 2020!

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2019 Outcomes: Showcase Your Independent Living Organization!

Deadline: November 15, 2019

Dear NCIL Members,

Please take just a few moments to send NCIL one or two of your Center, SILC, or other Independent Living organization’s biggest accomplishments of 2019 and a photo that represents you or your work.

We are collecting your outcomes and photos for our upcoming Congressional Briefing and 2019 Annual Report.

Photos and accomplishments from our members made the 2018 Annual Report really special and we can’t wait to see what you did in 2019!

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