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

Early Bird Registration Rates for NCIL’s 2018 Annual Conference End at Midnight April 27!

Visit our 2018 Annual Conference web page find everything you need to know about the 2018 Annual Conference.

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"Then, register online or by using the printable Registration Form (PDFWord, or plain text). Online registration gives you the ability to register up to three attendees with one transaction and accepts Discover, American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

All registrations received and paid on or before April 27, 2018 are eligible for the Early Bird registration rates.

This year, you can use NCIL’s custom links to reserve your room at the Grand Hyatt or Marriott Metro Center.

See you in July!

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Who’s “At-Risk”? How to Determine and Address Risk of Institutional Placement to Achieve the New Core Service of Diversion

June 6, 2018; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

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

The new CIL core services for transition include services to assist people with disabilities at-risk of entering institutions to remain in the community. While CILs already do this work, determining exactly who is at-risk of institutional placement – and when – can be a real challenge. Several CILs in Texas have developed a very useful at-risk survey that adheres to IL principles and is very good at helping you and your consumers determine when someone is at risk of institutionalization. Join us to learn how they developed it and how you can use or adapt it for your Center for Independent Living (CIL).

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETRegistration 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.

Target Audience: Executive directors, program managers, and IL specialists who assist consumers to identify and address risk for institutional placement.  [Read more…]

Deadline Extended: Complete the 2018 Aging and Disability I&R/A National Survey by April 30!

Dear Aging and Disability I&R Professionals,

Earlier this month, we invited aging and disability I&R/A programs to take the 2018 Aging and Disability I&R/A National Survey. Given its comprehensive nature, the deadline to complete the survey has been extended to April 30.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingFor efficiency and consistency, your agency may wish to coordinate a single response to the survey on behalf of your agency. The I&R Center’s director, Nanette Relave, is available to address questions, offer assistance, and provide the survey in an alternate formats. She can be contacted at 202-898-2578 x305 or

The 2018 Aging and Disability I&R/A National Survey is designed to assess the state of Information and Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) systems serving older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers. Findings from the survey will highlight important trends and developments in the provision of I&R/A services as well as innovative practices. The results of the survey will be compiled into a final report and shared with the I&R/A network. This survey is being conducted in partnership with NCIL.

We truly appreciate your time and assistance in completing this survey to increase our collective knowledge and understanding of the delivery of I&R/A to older adults and individuals with disabilities!

Action Alert: Plan for National Disability Voter Registration Week

Since 2016, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) have worked in partnership on the REV UP Campaign to increase the political participation of people with disabilities.

The REV UP Campaign, launched by AAPD in 2016, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local disability organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. The Campaign focuses on voter registration, education, access, and engagement. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!

Today, NCIL and AAPD are reaching out to invite Centers for Independent Living to participate in National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) this year from July 16-20, 2018 to get more people with disabilities registered to vote and engaged in the political process in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.

The REV UP Campaign developed a National Disability Voter Registration Week Toolkit to help organizations and advocates plan their involvement in NDVRW.  [Read more…]

Nominate Deserving Youth with Disabilities for the Diana Viets Memorial Award!

April 19, 2018

Dear NCIL Member:

As you know, the NCIL Annual Meeting and Conference is rapidly approaching. The 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living will be held July 23-26 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC. This year, NCIL will again be honoring individuals from the Independent Living field with various awards for their dedication to the Independent Living and Disability Rights Movements.

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"One of these awards is the Diana Viets Memorial Award. Diana was an energetic young woman with a disability who dedicated her life to empowering young people with disabilities to take an active role in the Independent Living Movement. Through her work at a Center for Independent Living and the NCIL Board, Diana touched the lives of many youth with disabilities. NCIL wants to acknowledge, honor, and encourage our young leaders who are promoting disability pride, spreading the Independent Living philosophy, and fostering the active participation of youth with disabilities in the Disability Rights Movement.

As a member of NCIL, we ask you to nominate young people from your Center and / or community. Individuals eligible for this award should be young adults whose work through Independent Living has had a positive impact on youth with disabilities.  [Read more…]

Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff

Although one in six voters has a disability, the disability community is often not recognized as an engaged voting constituency. Citizens with disabilities want to be engaged in the voting process; they want to learn about candidates, show up at the polls, and engage in campaigns. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to civic engagement for people with disabilities. Some of these barriers, such as impediments to voting accessibility, are issues that disability advocacy organizations and the government study and work to improve continuously. However, there’s very little information and few resources available to campaigns related to accessibility and voters with disabilities.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingCampaigns are essential components of civic engagement. They are where prospective voters can meet candidates, learn about what problems and solutions are being discussed in their communities, and form opinions that will influence their vote. Campaigns must connect with their communities and learn about their interests so that they can understand their voters’ needs. If a campaign isn’t accessible, they aren’t able to connect with their community fully, and many prospective voters with disabilities can experience barriers to learning about or participating in a campaign. Furthermore, campaigns are often powered by volunteers, and if they aren’t accessible, they’re both cutting off essential help and creating barriers to civic participation for people with disabilities who wish to be involved in the political process. It is up to campaigns to make sure that their information and events are accessible to voters with disabilities, and that they are reaching out to the disability community to actively include them.

To assist political campaigns with understanding the access needs, potential barriers, and interests of the disability community, the National Council on Independent Living has created “Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff.” This guide is a basic resource that campaigns at the local, state, and national levels can use to learn how they can become accessible not only to voters with disabilities, but also to people who want to volunteer with the campaign. It addresses the basics of understanding people with disabilities as a voting bloc; different types of potential accommodations for people with different disabilities; making your campaign website, materials, and events accessible; integrating disability into your policy platform; and including volunteers with disabilities in your campaign.

Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff:

This guide is a first step to making your campaign accessible, and although we strive to make it as inclusive and thorough as possible, it is not intended to be the one and only way to make your campaign accessible. Also note that accessibility is not a one-time fix, but something that must be continuously considered and integrated to be successful. It is essential for campaigns to reach out to people with disabilities in their community and learn about their interests and needs as voters and volunteers. If you have any questions about this guide, please contact Sarah Blahovec, Disability Vote Organizer, at

Call for Volunteers

Dear Friends of NCIL,

Are you interested in volunteering? Do you just want to volunteer or want to save some money on registration? We have opportunities for you!

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"The 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living is scheduled for July 23-26 and volunteer opportunities begin on July 22. We have a wonderful conference planned but we can’t do it all without volunteers. The Annual Conference Committee and NCIL staff work tirelessly all year planning the Annual Conference on a limited budget and are very committed to keeping costs low to make the conference as affordable as possible for our conference attendees and organizations. Committed volunteers are critical to conference successes.

We hope that IL advocates, family, friends, and supporters around the country will provide significant assistance at the 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. We have wonderful incentives for those who put in conference volunteer hours! We know some of your staff must attend all conference activities but if there are others that may not normally get to come to the conference, incentives for volunteering may be the perfect opportunity for them. If you or a member of your staff volunteers more than 5 hours during the conference, half of the volunteer’s registration fee is waived. If you or a member of your staff volunteers 10 or more hours, the volunteer’s full registration fee will be waived.  [Read more…]

Organizers Forum: Disability and Running for Office

Although one in six voters has a disability, we are underrepresented and under-recognized as political candidates and public servants. This call will talk about the importance of running for and serving in public office as a person with a disability, the challenges and opportunities that people with disabilities (especially those who are multiply marginalized) face in campaigns, and the work being done to increase resources to train disabled leaders to run for office.  [Read more…]

Participate in the #DisabilityInclusiveDisasterPrep Video Challenge! 

Prior to their 2018 National Getting It Right Conference in Washington, DC from May 23 to 25, the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies has announced a #DisabilityInclusiveDisasterPrep Video Challenge. They would like members of the disability community to submit short videos (1 to 2 minutes) explaining why emergency preparedness professionals need to include people with disabilities throughout their disaster planning process. The first 20 submissions will receive free registration for the online webcast of the Getting it Right Conference in May. You can find out more information on how to submit a video below and in their Google Document. If you need any assistance or have any questions, please email[Read more…]

2018 Midterm Election, Step One: The Primaries

An Update from the NCIL Voting Rights Subcommittee

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingNow that we’re on our way into 2018, mainstream media is focusing intensely on the 2018 midterm elections, and voting rights organizations across the country are buzzing about the importance of showing up to the polls in November. However, civic participation isn’t just a once-every-other-November event; unfortunately, many Americans don’t understand that they can and should engage in voting-related activities prior to November elections. Furthermore, many people focus solely on the national-level election and don’t pay attention to local and state elections. Here are four ways you or your organization can become informed about civic participation outside of the November general election.

1. Learn about your state’s primary elections. Primary elections are elections held before the fall general election, and they tend to have lower turnout than general elections. These elections vary state-to-state in how they operate, but they help to narrow down the list of candidates that will appear on the ballot in the November general election for each party. Some of these primaries are “closed,” meaning that voters can only participate if they have declared a party affiliation, and they can only vote for the parties with which they are affiliated. In open primaries, voters do not have to declare a party affiliation. To find out more about your state’s primaries, how they operate, and when they will be held, visit the National Conference of State Legislators[Read more…]