the advocacy monitor

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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

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

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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Reminder: Comments Due FRIDAY on ACL’s Proposed SPIL Instrument and Instructions Revisions – Sample Comments Included

On Monday, August 12, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) published proposed revisions to the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) Instrument and Instructions in the Federal Register. These changes have been long anticipated and are the result of changes to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 contained in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014. They are the result of the work of a committee formed at the request of the Independent Living Administration (ILA) by Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) that included representatives of Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Designated State Entities (DSEs), and the ILA.


Comments must be submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. EST or postmarked by October 11, 2019. Comments can be submitted electronically to Peter Nye at or mailed to Administration for Community Living, Washington, DC 20201, Attention: Peter Nye. For further information, you can contact Peter Nye at (202) 795-7606 or

The NCIL Rehabilitation Act & IL Funding Subcommittee has reviewed the new Instrument and Instructions and developed suggestions. Please feel free to use these suggestions to develop your own to submit.

It is important that ACL hear from members of the Independent Living community before the comment period is over, so make sure to submit your comments by Friday!

Getting on Board: Recruitment & Composition for SILCs

IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar

Getting on Board: Recruitment & Composition for Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs)

Building an effective, compliant SILC is a tough job. We all know that SILCs must include a majority of people with disabilities, but there are also limits on terms, CIL representation, state agencies, and more. We must also work to ensure a diverse SILC that matches the demographic makeup of the state. Building a committed, diverse, and engaged Council can be difficult, but it is possible. Join us this October to learn how the SILCs in Ohio and Kansas are meeting this challenge.

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NCIL Mourns the Loss of Duane French

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of a giant in the disability rights field, Duane French. Duane was a longtime member of the Independent Living community and a previous NCIL Board Member. Duane died on September 12, 2019 at 65 years old, from cancer.

Duane was a lifelong advocate who began empowering others early in his involvement with the disability community. Lou Ann Kibbee, NCIL’s Secretary and longtime friend said, “Duane was the first disability advocate I met in 1977 when I started at Emporia State University (ESU) in Kansas, not long after acquiring my own disability. He was the President of the Handicapped Students Association. Duane got me fired up when I listened to him about making changes on the campus. I soon became the Secretary of the student group. He got me started on the advocacy road to making a difference for other people. Not sure what road I would have taken if I had not spent that first year at ESU and met Duane.”

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