the advocacy monitor

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

Information Alert: Possible Move of Independent Living to HHS

The National Council on Independent Living has continued to work with the Senate HELP Committee on a bipartisan draft to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which contains the Rehabilitation Act. NCIL has always endorsed the position that the Independent Living Program should be removed from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). However, the current Senate draft language of the bill goes one step further by relocating RSA to the Department of Labor (DOL) and relocating the Independent Living Program from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), specifically to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The move is a result of bipartisan negotiations in the Senate; this strategy was not specifically suggested by NCIL, and is purely a result of congressional process. NCIL was consulted during this process and provided some input about how this could possibly affect Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), but has not yet adopted an official position. However, this move does seem to provide a reasonable path towards reauthorization for IL if RSA and its contained Vocational Rehabilitation Program are moving to DOL, and creates an avenue to achieve our number one objective, the establishment of an Independent Living Administration (ILA).

As of now, NCIL is very hopeful that this bill can address many of the problems Independent Living faces in its current placement within the Department of Education. It should also be noted that the WIA draft language in the Senate HELP Committee remains fluid, and when actually introduced, NCIL will adopt an official position on any potential move to HHS after consultation and with consent from our members. As of now, we feel positive about the work being done in the Senate HELP Committee, and remain engaged in the process.

It still looks like there may be movement on this bill during the NCIL Conference, and with the stakes higher than ever, we need advocates here in Washington, DC to ensure that our voices are heard.

2013 NCIL Annual Conference Details

Speak Your Mind