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

Support NCIL’s IL Appropriations Request: Contact Your Members of Congress!

Congress is getting to work on Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) funding, and earlier this week NCIL submitted our formal appropriations request. We need support from the rest of the Independent Living network to boost this request and make sure Congress understands the importance of the Independent Living Program!

Take Action!

The Independent Living Program is one of our country’s most important investments, and we need to ensure FY23 appropriations include the substantial increase the program has desperately been waiting for.

NCIL requested a total funding amount of $250 million for the Independent Living line item (an increase of $131.8 million).

Congress has our request; now they need to hear from their constituents across the country! Call or email your Senators and Representatives and tell them that you support NCIL’s appropriations request for $250 million for the Independent Living Program. Tell them how vital the IL program is to their disabled constituents! It is essential that we keep the Independent Living Program in the conversation as Congress works to determine FY23 spending levels.

  • 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
  • A sample script is available below.

Background Information

President Biden has requested a significant increase for the Independent Living Program ($160.2 million – an increase of $42 million over FY22 funding, which is $118.2 million) in his Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget. If enacted, this would result in a long-overdue increase for the Independent Living Program – but the President’s budget is only a request, and these numbers often don’t make their way into the final appropriations bills. Further, while this would reflect a larger increase than the Independent Living Program has seen, this number still does not reflect the amount needed to address the increased demand for independent living services and effectively carry out the fifth core services.

While the data NCIL has access to is limited, to justify the need for additional funding and come to our FY23 request, we used the following data and information sources:

  • 2018 Center for Independent Living (CIL) Program Performance Report (PPR) data on service provision (this is the most recent publicly available data)
  • 2020 CIL PPR data on unserved counties (not yet publicly available; the data showed 588 counties, or 18.3% of US counties, as reported unserved by any Part C CIL)
  • A 2014 report from the Associations of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), which estimated a single CIL needs $570,000 in base funding to be fully operational
  • A survey of SILC operations conducted by NCIL in 2020

We also emphasized that the services CILs provide save taxpayer dollars. We cited the fact that research has consistently found community-based services result in cost-savings, and cited the State of New York’s formula for calculating savings generated by CIL transition and diversion programs (and the billions of dollars saved since they began tracking). 

For a number of reasons – including that much of the data is several years old – we recognize the request is lower than the true amount needed by the Independent Living Program. That said, our goal is for this request to serve as the basis for an ask we can continue fine-tuning over time as we gain access to additional data and information. Stay tuned for more information, and help us support this increase in the meantime!

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 support the National Council on Independent Living’s appropriations request and urge Congress to reaffirm your commitment to the 61 million disabled Americans by increasing funding for the Independent Living Program in the HHS budget to $250 million.

CILs are cross-disability, non-residential, community-based, nonprofit organizations run by and for people with all types of disabilities. CILs provide critical services that ensure people with disabilities have a real choice in where and how we live, work, and participate in our communities. Importantly, CILs provide these services in the community, saving taxpayers billions of dollars!

Unfortunately, Centers for Independent Living have been underfunded for years. Over 18% of US counties are not served at all by a Part C CIL. Many more communities are significantly underserved because CILs are operating on shoe-string budgets. And, while all CILs provide the core services that were added in 2014 with the passage of WIOA – institutional transition, diversion, and youth transition – the necessary funding has not been provided to fully and effectively carry them out.

Every day, CILs provide leadership and crucial services to disabled people in their communities. I hope you will support your disabled constituents and support this request of $250 million for the Independent Living Program for FY 2023.

Thank you for your time.

[Your name]

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