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

Technical Assistance on the Independent Living Programs and Informational Update Regarding the Transition from the Department of Education to ACL

Source: Administration for Community Living (ACL)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014 (WIOA), signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014, transfers the Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living programs funded under title VII, Chapter 1 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by WIOA (P.L. 113-128) (Rehabilitation Act) from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education, to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The transfer of the Independent Living (IL) programs aligns with the mission of ACL to maximize the independence, well-being and health of individuals with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers.

ACL LogoThis technical assistance is being issued by ACL, in consultation with RSA, to provide initial information on the implementation of changes from WIOA regarding State Plans for Independent Living (SPIL), and monitoring of centers for independent living (CILs). ACL and RSA are partnering on a thoughtful and carefully constructed transition that ensures continuity, while minimizing program disruption. As this transition progresses, grant management continues to be administered by the IL program staff at RSA. ACL is providing policy, legal, and programmatic direction throughout this transition. As the transition plan develops, we will continue to communicate with grantees of the IL programs and their stakeholders. 

A SPIL has already been approved in each State through fiscal year 2016. The law remains unchanged that the SPIL continues to govern the provision of IL services in the State. Each State is expected to continue its support, including specified obligations, for an approved SPIL. Any amendments to the SPIL, reflecting either a change based on the WIOA amendments or any material change in State law, organization, policy, or agency operations that affect the administration of the SPIL, must be submitted by the State to RSA until the transfer of the IL programs to ACL is complete. ACL will perform policy, legal, and programmatic review for each amendment, working with IL staff at RSA. Any amendments to a SPIL, including amendments affecting designated State entities (DSE), must be developed in accordance with section 704(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. Amendments must be signed by three parties: the chairperson of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), acting on behalf of and at the direction of the SILC; the director of the DSE; and not less than 51 percent of the directors of the CILs in the State. At this time, amendments must be submitted by hard copy to RSA. The current online system cannot accommodate the additional signatories required by WIOA.

The law has not changed regarding compliance reviews (monitoring) of CILs. Section 706 of the Rehabilitation Act continues to require reviews of CILs funded under section 722 and reviews of state units funded under section 723 of the Rehabilitation Act. The IL staff at RSA will continue to conduct on-site compliance reviews throughout the transition process. ACL will make final decisions on any proposed corrective actions and/or technical assistance related to compliance reviews of CIL’s grants.

ACL recognizes that this technical assistance does not cover all subject areas of interest that are impacted by WIOA. To further implement WIOA, ACL intends to promulgate regulations, following the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. When ACL publishes a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, all interested organizations and individuals will have the opportunity to comment formally.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding WIOA implementation or the IL programs, you may contact ACL directly at For grant-specific information, ACL requests that you continue to work with the IL program staff at RSA assigned to your grant.

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