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

NCIL Statement on CDC Funding for Vaccine Access

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) provide critical core services to people with disabilities. Even though the core services are the same, CILs are not all funded in the same way. Some CILs receive direct federal funding through the Administration on Community Living (ACL). These CILs are referred to as “Part C” CILs. Many CILs get their funding through their States, which distribute the federal funds. These CILs are referred to as “Part B” CILs. The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is committed to the entire Independent Living network, regardless of how services are funded. 

In March 2021, conversations began at the federal level about the need to use local networks, including CILs, to increase COVID 19 vaccine access to aging and disabled people. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) was looking for partnerships to specifically address vaccine access for aging and disabled people. When the CDC approached ACL, ACL indicated they would only be able to distribute those funds to Part C CILs. This is how ACL distributed CARES Act funds, even though NCIL had advocated to make those funds available for the entire IL network. NCIL and the CDC wanted to see vaccine access funds made available to all disabled and aging people. They did not want how the CIL serving their area was funded to further limit access. Based on this mutual goal, the CDC approached former NCIL Executive Director, Kelly Buckland, with a proposal to deliver funding to Part B CILs. CDC’s proposal was through a seven million dollar grant to be administered by NCIL.

These funds were not ultimately made available to NCIL for distribution to Part B CILs. In July 2021, the CDC Foundation announced the release of $6.3 million for aging and disabled vaccine access. The proposal submission deadline for this opportunity was one week after its announcement. NCIL was informed of this announcement several days after it was announced and, as a result, did not have the opportunity to submit a proposal.   

This week, ABLE South Carolina announced that, in tandem with Independent Living Review and Utilization, it had received the CDC Foundation grant. ABLE and ILRU will operate a center to support Part B CILs in addressing the systemic disparities from limited access to federal support for vaccine-related services and supports to their consumers. 

Under the grant, ABLE South Carolina and ILRU will distribute federal funds to address inequities and build capacity in the IL network nationwide. Since Part C CILs have had access to vaccine funds since April of this year, NCIL hopes the process for applications and timelines associated with distribution of the funds will be tangible for eligible members of the IL network.  Therefore, we urge ABLE South Carolina and ILRU to reconsider their October 7th deadline for funding opportunities to allow sufficient time for eligible CILs to complete the complex application process accordingly.

More information regarding ABLE South Carolina and ILRU’s Center, including its goals to assume responsibility on a national level for ensuring that the federal funding gap pertaining to vaccine access between Part B and Part C CILs is bridged, can be found here.