the advocacy monitor

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

Action Alert: Contact Congress about the FY 2016 Budget!

The 2016 fiscal year begins on October 1, and no funding bills have been passed out of Congress yet. As you know, NCIL has actively been advocating for a $200 million increase in IL funding, but based on the proposals currently being considered, our voices have not been heard. While the President’s budget includes a slight increase for IL programs of $5 million, the current House bill flat funds us and the Senate bill proposes a $5 million cut.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThis is unacceptable! Not only have CILs been hurt by sequestration and other cuts, but the current demand for Independent Living services is higher than ever. Moreover, additional funding is desperately needed in order for CILs to carry out the new fifth core service effectively.

Congress returned to DC yesterday, and they need to hear from us. Please visit our online action portal, where you can enter your zip code to call and email your Senators and Representatives. We need to remind Congress that by ensuring that people with disabilities are able to live, work, and participate in the community, CILs save the federal government millions of dollars. Funding Independent Living is not just critical for the disability community; it’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do for our country!

Once you’ve done that, mark your calendars for National Call-In Days on September 15 & 16 to urge Congress to raise the spending caps. Our recent Weekly Advocacy Monitor article provided more details about this effort. The harmful effects of sequestration have been felt on many of the programs that affect the lives of people with disabilities, and without raising these caps, some of these programs will face additional cuts. We urge you to participate in this effort by calling your members of Congress.

DRAFT LETTER:

Dear (REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME)

I am writing as your constituent and as a member of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. I am writing to request that you reaffirm your commitment to the more than 57 million Americans with disability by increasing funding in the HHS budget for Centers for Independent Living (CILs). 

Every day, CILs around the country work tirelessly to ensure that people with disabilities have a real choice in where and how they live, work, and participate in the community. CILs play a crucial role in the lives of people with disabilities, and they do this while saving federal and state governments millions of dollars annually.

Since transition services were added as a core service with the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the need for funding is critical. Moreover, CILs need additional funding to restore the devastating cuts to the Independent Living program, make up for inflation costs, and address the increased demand for Independent Living services. In 2015, the Independent Living Program is receiving nearly $3 million less in funding than it was in 2010. It is simply not possible to meet the demand for services and to effectively provide transition services without additional funding.

CILs are an excellent service and a bargain for America, keeping people engaged with their communities and saving taxpayer money. Funding Independent Living is not just critical for the disability community; it’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do for our country!

Sincerely,

(YOUR NAME)

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