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

Action Alert: Ask Congress to Support Centers for Independent Living!

Help People with Disabilities Live Independently!

Congress is reconciling the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriation requests from the House and Senate. Funding for Independent Living has been recommended at these levels:

  • Senate appropriation – $127 million
  • House of Representatives appropriation – $140 million

We are asking the Senate and House Appropriation Committees to support the House number of $140 million.

  • Call your Senators and Representative: Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative.
  • You can find your Senators’ phone numbers and websites at senate.gov and your Representative’s phone number and website at house.gov/representatives. If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can find out at house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
  • You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters by texting “RESIST” to 50409.

Sample Script (please feel free to personalize):

Hi, my name is [YOUR FULL NAME], and I’m from [CITY, STATE].

I am [calling / writing] to urge Congress to reaffirm its commitment to 61 million disabled Americans by increasing funding for the Independent Living Program and accepting the House of Representative’s appropriations request of $140 million dollars in the Departments of Labor, Health, and Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2023. We are asking for the $140 million because there is an increasing need for services from Centers for Independent Living, which are cross-disability, non-residential, community-based, nonprofit organizations run by and for people with all types of disabilities.

Centers for Independent Living help people live independently in their communities by providing a variety of services, including helping people to get out of nursing homes!

I hope you will support your disabled constituents and accept the higher number requested by the House of Representatives of $140 million for the Independent Living Program for FY 2023.

Thank you for your time.

[Your name]

Tips:

Recruiting CIL Staff for Innovative Pilot Training Program

Prepare to empower people with disabilities in making health insurance choices!

The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) and our partners, ILRU IL NET T&TA Center for Independent Living, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), are recruiting CIL Staff volunteers to pilot a training curriculum that teaches CIL Staff how to assist people with disabilities in making health insurance choices.

The training will be open from November 1 to December 31, 2022. This training will be conducted using the Course Avenue platform that will provide participants with learning modules and evaluation surveys at their own learning pace.

There are 4 Modules in the training curriculum – Introduction to Health Insurance, Types of Health Insurance, Choosing Health Insurance, and Hurdles to Using Health Insurance.

The purpose of this pilot is to get YOUR feedback on the training’s effectiveness at preparing CIL Staff to assist people with disabilities choose and use health insurance.

[Read more…]

NCIL Statement on Face Masks in Education Settings

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is encouraged by the March 24, 2022, letter from US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona clarifying the legal obligations of schools to students with disabilities regarding protection from COVID transmission. The March 24 letter provides advice and resources to fulfill these legal obligations. NCIL agrees with the Secretary’s guidance that schools may require school staff and students to wear masks to protect students with disabilities from contracting COVID.

The decision to require masks in education environments should be based on a case-by-case analysis. Schools must make reasonable modifications to their policies to provide students with disabilities with a free appropriate public education (FAPE). As Secretary Cardona’s letter recognizes, a reasonable modification may include requiring all students and school staff to wear masks in classes. If some school staff and students are not vaccinated for COVID, they are at an increased risk of getting and giving COVID to others, including students with disabilities with immunocompromising conditions. If schools cannot issue mask mandates, they would discriminate against students with disabilities who cannot attend class in person due to the heightened risk of getting COVID from unmasked and unvaccinated students.

Several federal courts are reviewing mask mandate reasonable accommodation requests. The Fourth Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge a state budgetary provision that withholds funding from local schools that have mask mandates. In the Fifth Circuit, Texas is appealing the US District Court’s decision that a state executive order violates the 504 and the ADA by prohibiting local schools from issuing mask mandates. In the Eighth Circuit, the Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in their case against South Carolina.

[Read more…]

2022 Annual Conference Wrap-Up

This year, NCIL hosted our first hybrid conference, which included over 35 hours of content spread out over seven days.

In addition to onsite participation, the 2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living included livestreams, recordings, and virtual components. Virtual content will be available for all registrants through the end of 2022.

We had approximately 400 in-person participants and 300 virtual participants. First-time attendees comprised 55% according to evaluation data. Seventy-five percent of respondents evaluated the experience as good, very good, or excellent.

The excitement of reuniting as a community was on display throughout the event and we were thrilled to see so many new faces.

NCIL thanks our dedicated members, volunteers, staff and board members, presenters, speakers, exhibitors, advertisers, and all conference participants for creating a truly memorable conference experience.

We are especially thankful for the members who scheduled and met with elected officials to advocate for Independent Living priorities. Together, we will create a world in which people with disabilities are truly valued equally and participate fully.

2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo: Forging Justice

IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Presents… A National Webinar: CIL’s Use of Self and Peer Monitoring as a Management Tool

August 23, 2022; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or reach out to jenny@ncil.org for more information.

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center operated by ILRU in collaboration with NCIL, APRIL, and the University of Montana Rural Institute and RTC: Rural, supports CILs and SILCs in building capacity to run strong, effective organizations. This webinar will be a discussion highlighting the importance of monitoring and assessing a CIL’s performance using self-assessment tools and how these tools can best be utilized within a CIL to improve program performance. It will feature three speakers, Paula McElwee from Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU), Annetta Johnson from Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living, and Kyle Kleist from Center for Independent Living for Western Wisconsin.

Please join us for this complimentary webinar and learn more about use of self and peer monitoring as management tools within CILs.

[Read more…]

University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living Presents… A Community Living Summit

August 17, 2022; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or reach out to jenny@ncil.org for more information

The University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living, will be presenting a Community Living Summit. This webinar summit will be a presentation and forum providing information about Community Living Programs, how Centers for Independent Living can use the programs, and other important resources that are available.

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

Target Audience: Executive directors, program managers, consumers, and staff members of Centers for Independent Living and State Independent Living Councils

[Read more…]

NCIL Welcomes Jessica Podesva as Director of Advocacy and Public Policy

We are pleased to announce that Jessica Podesva has joined NCIL staff in the position of Director of Advocacy and Public Policy. Prior to this role, Jessica worked at the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL) as a Senior Community Organizer working primarily on healthcare and transportation issues, including improving Massachusetts’s non-emergency medical transportation program and working with the state’s Medicaid agency to shorten the timelines for wheelchair repairs.

Prior to working at BCIL, Jessica worked as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services, where she provided advocacy to ensure that people with disabilities had access to integrated and respectful healthcare in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jessica has a Juris Doctor degree from New England Law Boston and a B.A. in Communications from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Image: Jessica, a white woman with long brown hair and glasses, is standing in the Boston Common, smiling.
Jessica, a white woman with long brown hair and glasses, is standing in the Boston Common, smiling.

IL-NET First Biennial Independent Living Institute: A Deep Dive into Consumer Control and Leadership

IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center for Independent Living presents…A Virtual Multi-Day Institute

September 7-9, 2022

Register online or reach out to jenny@ncil.org for more information.

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center, operated by ILRU in collaboration with NCIL, APRIL, and the University of Montana Rural Institute and RTC: Rural, is proud to announce the first national biennial institute on consumer control and leadership.

Learn how CILs can be successful in encouraging and supporting leaders, staff, and consumers to take on leadership in Centers for Independent Living, in the disability rights movement, and in community, state and national roles. The vital relationship between leadership and consumer control and its impact on CIL operations will be explored. This 2.5-day extended, first-of-its-kind virtual learning experience for CILs will explore the importance of consumer control and how it impacts leadership development and guides community-led efforts.

[Read more…]

NCIL Conference T-Shirt Sale

T-Shirts

NCIL’s 2022 Annual Conference T-shirt is available in three colors: white, black, and “cardinal black” – a color somewhere between brown, red, and purple. Artwork on chest area shows the NCIL 2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living logo. The words “Forging Justice” are capitalized with a diagonal copper line separating them. Underneath, it says “2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living” and “Celebrating 40 Years”.

Please note: T-shirts ordered by July 1 will arrive prior to the conference. T-shirts ordered after that date will be printed after the conference ends and will arrive in late August.

This sale closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on August 8, 2022.

How to Buy

There are two ways to buy a shirt:

SAVE THE DATE: First Biennial Independent Living Institute

A Virtual Training Opportunity for CIL and SILC Administrators, Staff, and Board Members

September 7-9, 2022

A panel of independent living peers will address consumer control, leadership development, and building a disability community.

IL NET Logo