the advocacy monitor

independent living policy for wonks and wonkettes

NCIL Expresses Gratitude to President George H.W. Bush

July 22nd, 2015

Dear President Bush,

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingAs we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), representing millions of Americans with disabilities, would like to thank you for signing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law.

On behalf of our consumers, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), we want to extend our gratitude and appreciation for your commitment and foresight for signing into law the first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities in the world, when you signed the ADA on July 26, 1990. Founded in 1982, NCIL is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for individuals with disabilities.

In this historical, extraordinary, and momentous act, you liberated millions of Americans with disabilities from discrimination, segregation, and isolation, and gave us a sense of acceptability. It is altogether fitting that this expression of our most basic ideals of freedom and equality, exemplified within the spirit of the ADA, serves as the “blue print” and guiding principles of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Your historical legacy, within the context of civil rights for millions of Americans with disabilities, goes far beyond the sovereignty of our nation, it encompasses the world!  [Read more...]

Summer 2015 NCIL Legislative & Advocacy Priorities Booklet Now Available!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThe summer edition of NCIL’s Legislative & Advocacy Priorities is now available at the NCIL website.

This document contains specific information on the national legislative and policy priorities identified biannually by the NCIL membership, including funding for the Independent Living Program, healthcare and long-term care, housing, transportation, education, and more.

Please share this document with your Center or SILC staff, board, and the Senators and Representatives who serve your districts.

Contact NCIL for further information on the issues discussed in this document.

Additionally, for those attending the 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living, electronic versions of conference materials are available at our conference web page. As always, hard copy alternate formats will be available onsite.


Take Advantage of Our New Partnership! Give Your Business the ADP Advantage

ADP Logo - In the business of your success

HR. Payroll. Benefits.

New clients receive special rates on ADP® Payroll Services as a NCIL Member.*

As a NCIL member and by working with ADP, you can choose from a range of right-sized payroll and employee management solutions to suit the needs of your business today and grow with you tomorrow. Select the right fit for your business with:

  • Cash management tools that help you make smarter use of your financial resources
  • Integrated solutions that help with compliance challenges
  • Optional employee solutions that can help you boost productivity by attracting & engaging team members

Plus, NCIL members can receive special pricing and may also be eligible to take advantage of ADP’s current promotions.*

Want to learn more? Contact your ADP Sales Representative.  [Read more...]

Action Alert: We Need Your Help! Support the Community Integration Act on Social Media This Thursday and Friday!

Senator Schumer is considering introduction of the Community Integration Act (CIA) as it has been drafted with NCIL, ADAPT, and others in the disability community. But he needs to hear from us to demonstrate the importance of this historic legislation. We are asking Senator Schumer to introduce the NCIL version of the bill before July 23rd. This will allow NCIL members to secure co-sponsors when we are on the Hill.

In short, this version of the bill creates a new title of the ADA that requires states and other insurance providers of long term services and supports to assure that no individual with an LTSS disability is denied community-based long term services and supports so the individual can live in the community and lead an independent life. It prohibits states and insurance providers from engaging in activities that limit or restrict access to community living like waiting lists, cost caps, or paying insufficient rates to secure workers. The bill strengthens the definition of community integration, requires states to address the need for affordable, accessible, integrated housing that is independent of service delivery and creates new enforcement mechanisms.

This legislation was crafted by the NCIL Personal Assistance Services (PAS) Subcommittee in conjunction with ADAPT. We appreciate the leadership demonstrated by the NCIL board, staff, and membership.

For more information about CIA, see

We need to show Senator Schumer that the disability community strongly supports him in introducing the CIA as Title VI of the ADA. We need your help!  [Read more...]

Internship Realizations by Chloe Diamond: NCIL Summer Policy Intern

This past spring semester, I decided to chase a dream. Ever since I can remember, law school had been a far, yet somewhat tangible goal of mine. Grade school teachers would tell my parents that I’d make a wonderful attorney one day, but unfazed, I didn’t really put much thought into a career until college.

Chloe DiamondRefusing to use an IEP at any point in my primary education, I found myself at a crossroads at the beginning of my undergraduate career. If I was going to succeed, I needed the accommodations I should have been receiving all along. But I felt guilty, I allowed socialized views of my disability (ADHD) to deter me from seeking the assistance I didn’t necessarily need to slide by, yet required to be successful.

Luckily, I chose an undergraduate institution with a fabulous disability resource center (DRC). Each semester, I found solace in taking my midterms and final exams in the calm and quiet environment provided to me. My self-confidence was restored. I could succeed. I was able to. I declared my major by the second semester of my freshman year, and began to take courses that made sense to me.

At the beginning of my junior year, I found myself in my academic advisor’s office, having the elusive “what do you want to be when you grow up” talk. Somehow we bargained on law school, and within months I was studying to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

But with studying, old wounds re-opened. Self doubt, feelings of limited ability and frustration were normal feelings. I isolated myself from everyone who cared. Then, a solution occurred to me; I could use my accommodations! There was no way I could fail!

Except, well, this didn’t turn out as anticipated. I approached my provider with the required forms and she delivered the unfortunate news that the testing organization informed her that I was not disabled enough by my limitations in order to use any accommodations on the LSAT.  [Read more...]

Kennedy Center Invites NCIL Conference Attendees to the Jean Kennedy Smith Series: DISABILITY + CULTURE

Are you interested in Disability history, art, and culture? Then you should attend the first Jean Kennedy Smith Series: DISABILITY + CULTURE, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the ADA and the 40th Anniversary of VSA on Sunday, July 26. This historic event will take place at 8:00 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. It will include tributes to the ADA and Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, interviews with young or emerging artists by PBS’s Judy Woodruff, followed by a musical treat. This event is ticketed and not open to the public – it is by invitation only and we are pleased to offer NCIL conference attendees the opportunity to attend. 

If you would like an invitation, please send an email with your first and last name and your email address to When you receive the invitation, you will need to RSVP to reserve up to 4 tickets. Tickets are limited and reservations are available on a first come, first served basis and will be taken through Tuesday, July 21 or until the event is sold out, whichever comes first.

You also have the opportunity to attend the 25/40 Celebration July 16-26, 2015! The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 40th anniversary of VSA with 11 days of free programming – performances and exhibits!

The Smithsonian Festival ADA will take place in the National Museum of American History from July 24-26. More information is available at

Frozen Revisited: The Risk of Not Talking Risking – Your Ingenious Nonprofit

By Karen Eber Davis

Perhaps you, like millions of other people saw the Oscar winning movie Frozen. Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa. Elsa is an unusual child: she has the ability to freeze things. When Elsa creates snow slides, both sisters have a blast. When Elsa accidently freezes Anna, trouble ensues. Some nonprofits leaders are like Elsa. They inadvertently freeze opportunities that offer them a better life.

Let me explain.

Logo - Karen Eber Davis ConsultingNonprofit leaders shun risks. Who can blame them? Avoiding risks protects current assets. Leaders avoid negative public feedback if the risk doesn’t succeed. Shunning risks avoids possible long-term paybacks. For example, some nonprofits still struggle with real estate decisions make before the Great Recession.

However, when leaders avoid all risks, they freeze and eventually kill opportunities.

Of course, no one sets off to deliberately freeze an opportunity with a sure payoff. It’s just that, in advance, it’s impossible to know outcomes. Risk requires calibration and thoughtful considerations. But, since leaders are busy and fear the unknown, leaders just say no—and freeze things.  [Read more...]

Free Webinar: Disability, Food Insecurity, and SNAP: Addressing the Needs of Americans with Disabilities

July 28, 2015; 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Poverty, hunger, and food insecurity disproportionately affect Americans who have communicative, mental, or physical disabilities. For these children, adults, and elders, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves as a vital support. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is hosting a webinar on July 28 at 1:00 p.m.  EST to highlight the current status of food insecurity among persons with disabilities, the role of SNAP in the safety net for people with disabilities, and recommendations for strengthening SNAP’s supports for this population. The webinar will accompany the release of a new FRAC report, SNAP Matters for People with Disabilities. Register online.

Get to the Core of It: Best Practices in CIL Core Services – Systems Advocacy

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar

August 19, 2015; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or by using the printable registration form (PDF).

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETStephanie Woodward from the Center for Disability Rights (CDR) in Rochester, New York will outline her outstanding and successful approach to systems advocacy. This presentation is a helpful reminder that, YES!, Centers can and must advocate for the rights and access of people with disabilities! Stephanie will outline CDR’s use of the pitchfork approach to advocacy and how you can use it in your community. This includes advocating at all levels of government, how to get media coverage, tips on protests and direct action, as well as Stephanie’s proven success with social media. In addition, you’ll learn your Center can measure and document your success. Please join us for this exciting presentation!

Registration Fee: $75.00. Fee is per site (connection) and does not apply per participant; registrants are encouraged to gather as many individuals as desired to participate by telephone or webcast.  [Read more...]

Last Chance: Pre-Event Registration for NCIL’s 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living Closes at Midnight This Monday!

All pre-event registrations for the 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living must be received by Monday, July 13 at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time.

Generation ADA: Rise Up! 2015 Annual Conference on Independent Living (Image: red power fist outlined by a black circle)Individuals may still register onsite, but please note that onsite registration fees differ from standard registration fees and plan accordingly.

Pre-event registration rates:

  • NCIL Member: $265
  • Non-member: $385
  • Daily Rate: $115-160 / day

Onsite registration rates:

  • NCIL Member: $305
  • Non-Member: $430
  • Daily Rate: $210 / day

Register today and save!

To register, use the NCIL online store, which gives you the ability to register up to three attendees with one transaction and accepts Discover, American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, or use the printable registration form (PDF or plain text).

Additional details are available on our conference webpage.

This year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent history, and we can’t wait to see you there!