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

An Update from the NCIL ADRC Subcommittee

At this year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living, some of NCIL’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) Subcommittee members were able to meet with Bob Williams about the lack of disability integration that was happening in ADRCs. Thankfully, we were listened to. Bob Williams has agreed to meet with us to become a liaison between the ADRC Subcommittee and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to assist us in our uphill battle to bring the D back into ADRCs.

The online and in-person training has ended for the Part A (pilot) states of the ADRC. This training has many flaws when it comes to access for everyone and feedback reflects this, but many agree that for advocates that are just joining the movement, this is helpful training that was not available before. It allows advocates to devise tools that will help in the field when bringing in new members to the Independent Living community.

The ADRC Subcommittee is always looking for new members. We meet once a month via phone. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Mary Margaret Moore at or Ericka Reil at

REV UP GOTV National Organizing Call: October 4

Toolkit Logo - Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! RevUp! Make the Disability Vote CountThe REV UP Campaign will be hosting another National Organizing Call on Tuesday, October 4th at 4:00 p.m. ET. This call will focus on how to engage in Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) activities leading up to Election Day on November 8th.

Most states will reach their voter registration deadlines at some point during the month of October. As such, it is time to shift our focus from voter registration to Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) activities as we get closer to Election Day on November 8th.

  • Tuesday, October 4; 4:00 p.m. Eastern
  • Register online
  • Remote CART is available for this call.

[Read more…]

Medicaid Transportation: An Update from the NCIL Transportation Subcommittee

Transportation for people with disabilities can be a complex issue. One of the more confusing areas is Medicaid Transportation, also referred to Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services (NEMTS), which may also have a different name, depending on which state you live in. Each state has Medicaid transportation programs, transportation covered as a part of an individual state’s particular Medicaid Waivers, including managed care (long term, behavioral or other types) and also reimburses Medicaid recipients for use of private vehicles for allowable expenses under NEMT. We wish to provide some basic information here.

What it is: The Kaiser Foundation and CMS – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (PDF) provide explanations of program, particularly how benefits may vary among states. Contact your state’s lead agency on Medicaid for further information.

Who is eligible: See pages 3 (included parties) and 12 (excluded parties) in CMS Guide (PDF) and the links above for your state. Medicaid covers low income populations of all ages and many people with disabilities. Advocates should also check with their individual state for further specifics, since CMS grants some measure of flexibility on covered benefits. One recent change that states have been struggling with and the impact on overall transportation costs is still unclear is the Medicaid Expansion to additional populations (PDF) under the Affordable Care Act, which would increase the number eligible consumers for a Medicaid Transportation benefit.

What it covers: Medicaid transportation benefits covered under your state’s Medicaid Plan, which must be approved by CMS. See general information on states and contact your state’s designated Medicaid agency[Read more…]

Join Our Partner, the LEAD Center, for A Free Webinar: Customizing Employment: Success through Partnerships

LEAD Center Logo - www.leadcenter.orgJoin this webinar to gain information you can use about Customizing Employment: Success through Partnerships. This webinar is particularly relevant for people who are involved in implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), directly or as a partner. Participants will gain insight on approaches and strategies for customizing employment by leveraging the resources of the workforce system and its partners (e.g., vocational rehabilitation, education, developmental disabilities, behavioral health, Medicaid, etc.).

This webinar will highlight opportunities for collaborations that enable people who experience barriers to employment, including youth and adults with disabilities, to use Customized Employment strategies to achieve employment outcomes. This is the first webinar in the LEAD Center’s Customized Employment webinar series, which will share practices that are being successfully implemented in different parts of the country and will provide resources to assist participants in replicating Customized Employment approaches.  [Read more…]

Webinar: Partnerships with Faith-based & Community Organizations to Support Inclusive Coordinated Transportation & Mobility Management

  • October 25, 2016; 3:00 p.m. Eastern
  • Register online to receive more information and reminders about this webinar

This Webinar is hosted by the National Center for Mobility Management and the ACL Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships Project, in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration, and the U.S. Department of HHS Administration for Community Living (ACL) as well as their Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (The Partnership Center). Attendees will:

  • Learn about strategies to reach out to faith-based and community organizations and national initiatives that can support your work;
  • Hear about partnerships that have been established with non-traditional – non-transit organizations such as religious organizations; and
  • Acquire resources regarding how to develop and sustain relationships.

Action Alert: Historic Disability Report – Share with Local Media!

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center released a report entitled A Political Profile of Disabled Americans. Based on an analysis of their American Trends panel, the report details how Americans with disabilities compare to Americans without disabilities on interest and engagement in the election, voter registration and turnout, and ideological leanings. We are asking you to please share this report widely, especially with your local press, so that it can potentially generate greater media coverage of voters with disabilities.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThis report is significant in that it provides new and substantive data on Americans with disabilities and their engagement in the political process. Not only does the report capture the demographic enormity of Americans with disabilities and detail the challenges they face at the polls, but it also shows that in many ways, the disability voting bloc is similar to voters without disabilities. The analysis of how many Americans with disabilities show up to the polls, as well as the finding that disabled Americans are ideologically mixed and do not overwhelmingly identify with any political party, means that the disability vote carries significant power and should be courted by all candidates and parties seeking election or reelection.

It is important that we spread the word of this report particularly on a local level, as this will increase interest from local communities and the press in understanding and profiling voters with disabilities. We ask that you reach out to your local press with the report and ask them to provide press coverage of voters with disabilities in your community. When discussing issues of importance to your CIL with the press, please also mention that CILs and voters with disabilities want to see Congress pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act. We hope that drawing the attention of the press on many levels will convince the Pew Research Center to continue to collect and publish data on Americans with disabilities in the future.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Blahovec, NCIL Disability Vote Organizer, at or Jim Dickson, Co-Chair of the NCIL Voting Rights Subcommittee, at

Don’t Forget – National Voter Registration Day Is Tomorrow, September 27!

Tuesday September 27, 2016 marks National Voter Registration Day – a day when volunteers, celebrities, and organizations promote awareness of voter registration opportunities.

The National Council on Independent Living and the REV UP Campaign are excited to participate in National Voter Registration Day. We encourage NCIL member organizations to sign-up as partners and hold voter registration events on September 27th.

Appropriations Alert: Re-Energize! Rise Up and Prevail in Solidarity!

In July, NCIL sent out the House Appropriations Subcommittee-approved FY 2017 Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) spending bill (PDF) that was marked up by the L-HHS-ED Subcommittee. The bill proposes a $1,652,000 increase for the Independent Living Program, for a total of $102,835,000.

In June, The Senate Appropriations Committee approved their L-HHS-ED spending bill (PDF), where it was level funded.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThese are huge wins and solely due to your efforts! Thank you for all you do! However, we must keep it up the advocacy efforts and push even harder so that we can reach our goal of increasing the IL budget by $200 million, especially on the Senate side, where the IL Program was level funded.

If your member of the House or Senate sits on the Appropriations Committee, please thank them for their support and urge them to increase the IL budget by $200 million.

If your member of the House or Senate is not on either Appropriations Committee, please urge them to write a “Dear Colleague” letter encouraging their colleagues and the Appropriations Chairs to recognize our valuable work by investing $200 million in the IL Program.

Below, you will find members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. We’ve developed a Fact Sheet that you can use to educate your members of Congress on the impact of the IL Program.

After next week, Congress is expected to recess and not return until the middle of November. Use this time to invite your member of Congress to your Center and educate them on the significant importance of the IL Program!  [Read more…]

LIVE Q&A! The SILC Training & Technical Assistance Center presents… The Latest on Effective SILC Management: A Discussion

The SILC Training & Technical Assistance Center Presents… A LIVE Q&A!

September 28, 2016; 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Register online

Effective management of the Statewide Independent Living Council and key operations like the SPIL has always been hard work. Recent changes from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) have added some new challenges and uncertainty to the task. The SILC Training & TA Center is offering a series of on-demand presentations to clarify some key changes and offer proven practices to SILCs across the country: Strategies for SILC Resource Plan, SILC Authorities, the Three-Year SPIL Cycle, Coordination of SILC Activities, and SILC Composition.

These on-demand presentations cover a range of issues related to effective SILC management. Each presentation is available online to fit into your schedule. Watch each presentation in the series and consider signing up for our live Q&A call later this month.

On September 28 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 1:00 p.m. Central, two of our presenters – Ann McDaniel (WV SILC) and Brad Williams (NY SILC) will host a live Q&A to answer questions about the entire series of presentations. If you’re struggling with any of these issues in your State or would just like to learn more about the topics, sign-up today for this free Q&A call.

Make sure to listen to each on-demand presentation before joining this Q&A call:

  1. Coordination of SILC Activities
  2. SILC Composition
  3. SILC Authorities
  4. The 3-Year SPIL Cycle: Using the Big Picture to Stay on Track
  5. Strategies for SILC Resource Plan

Information Alert: Appropriations Update

Congress is fighting against the clock to avoid a government shutdown, and reports say that the Senate will be hard at work to get a bill passed early this week. Congress has less than two weeks to pass a spending bill to keep the government functioning before the 2016 fiscal year comes to an end on September 30.

As expected, Congress is not planning to reach agreement on each of the 12 annual appropriations bills individually. Instead, the Senate has been working on a three-month stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded (likely at 2016 levels) through mid-December. Efforts have been slow due to disagreements on the length of the continuing resolution (CR) and funding for several key issues, but the Senate is hoping to pass a bill by mid-week and possibly adjourn immediately after. If that happens, the pressure will be on the House to avoid a shutdown.

The new fiscal year begins on October 1, and we are expecting to see a lot of movement this week. We will continue to keep the NCIL membership updated as budget discussions continue.