the advocacy monitor

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

Kill the Tax Bill Over the Recess!

The House passed their tax bill yesterday, and the Senate is expected to vote on their bill when they return from recess. Congress will be back home until November 26, which means that local action is critical to prevent this terrible bill from becoming law!

The Senate’s tax bill is an unquestionable threat to the disability community. If this bill passes, disabled people will lose access to programs and services to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. People will lose their health care to help the rich get richer. This bill is an attack on our community, and it’s on us to ensure that it does not become law.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingTake Action Now!

When the Senate tried to decimate Medicaid and destroy the healthcare system, our community led this country to victory. Now, we need to come together and do it again! Over the recess, we must demand that our Senators commit to voting no on any bill that will pay for tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting programs people with disabilities depend on. Here are some of the ways you can take action.

  • Set up a meeting: Meet with your Senators in their local offices. Bring other disabled people so you can share your stories and tell them how harmful this bill will be for their constituents.
  • Talk to your Senators at local events: Is your Senator hosting a town hall? Are they making a showing at your town’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Use these events as an opportunity to approach your Senators and tell them why they need to oppose this bill.
  • Set up a protest: If your Senators won’t commit to opposing this bill, set up a protest at their offices! Coordinate with local ADAPT chapters and other disability activists and give them no other choice but to listen to your concerns.
  • Call your Senators: Continue to call your Senators DAILY and demand they vote no on this bill. Use the Senate Directory to find your Senator’s contact information or reach your Senators’ staff in DC by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY).
  • Tweet at your Senators: Find their Twitter handles at Contacting Congress, and use the hashtag #TaxOnDisability.
  • Find other ways to contact your Senators: Fax your Senator (use to find your Senator’s fax number). Use Resistbot to have your texts turned into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters. And find your Senator’s email address, Twitter handle, and other information through Contacting Congress.

[Read more…]

Sign-Up for NCIL’s Youth Transitions Email List

Are you struggling to find ways to incorporate youth transition into your Center’s programs? Have you found a set of youth transition practices that work well, that you would be willing to share with other Centers for Independent Living?

35th Anniversary Logo: NCIL – National Council on Independent Living. Celebrating 35 Years of Advocacy. Graphic features party candles.If you believe in the capacity of young people with disabilities and want to learn more about best practices, or if you would like to share your wisdom, then consider joining the NCIL Youth Transitions Coordinators Email List. You need not be a Youth Transitions Coordinator by title to join the list; anyone who works with or would like to learn more about working with youth is welcome.

Those who join the list will:

  • Be notified about upcoming calls to discuss youth transition best practices
  • Be able to network with others concerned with youth transition
  • Receive announcements regarding fruitful opportunities for youth, which can be disseminated as appropriate
  • Have a forum through which they can get their questions answered

Sign-Up for NCIL’s Youth Transitions Email List.

If you have any questions, please contact Hindley Williams, Youth Transitions Fellow, at

Urgent Action Needed: Tell Your Representatives and Senators to Oppose the Terrible Tax Bill!

The House will take up their tax bill today, with a vote expected tomorrow! The Senate Finance Committee began marking up their bill earlier this week. These bills will lead to dangerous cuts to programs people with disabilities rely on. We need to stop them, and we need to take action now!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingWhile there are differences between the House and Senate bills, both will provide tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations at our expense. Both bills significantly increase the federal deficit, which will lead to major cuts to the programs most important to disabled people – likely including Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, housing, education, and more. And, the Senate just added a provision to their bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the House will support when the bills are combined in conference. This means that on top of already terrible program cuts, millions more people will be uninsured and premiums will increase significantly.

Take Action Now!

Contact your Representatives AND Senators today and tell them you oppose their tax plan! Tell them that tax cuts for the wealthy should not be paid for by cutting the programs and services the rest of us rely on. Tell them that their bills will bring harm to people all over the country – including their own constituents! Congress is using their tax bill as a vehicle to make devastating cuts to programs AND as another chance to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We cannot let this happen!

Call your Representatives and Senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). You can also find your Senator’s email address, Twitter handle, and other information through Contacting Congress[Read more…]

Organizers Forum: Parenting and Disability

  • Tuesday, November 21, 2017
  • 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern
  • RSVP

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingHear from members of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Parenting Task Force! We’ll talk about issues facing parents with disabilities and what disability rights advocates can do.


  • Kelly Buckland, Executive Director, National Council on Independent Living
  • Sarah Launderville, Chair, NCIL Parenting Task Force, and Executive Director, Vermont Center for Independent Living
  • Kimberly Tissot, Executive Director, ABLE South Carolina

[Read more…]

Bender Virtual Career Fair: Employment for People with Disabilities

Are you a person with a disability looking for a career opportunity or internship? This Virtual Career Fair is FREE for students and alumni with disabilities to attend. Competitive opportunities for every level of candidate, from experienced professionals, recent college graduates and college students with disabilities, to meet online with employers across the nation including Amazon, Apple, Citrix, DuPont, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, US Department of Energy, & More!

Students and alumni are invited to interact with employers via chat sessions.  [Read more…]

Free Business Acumen Webinar: Information to Action – Strategic Planning and Change Management

The results of your Community Based Organizations (CBO)* environmental scan, SWOT analysis and feedback from stakeholders and champions may highlight opportunities for growth and development or a need to respond to a changing environment. The results of your research may indicate that some parts of your operation may need to change. Whether the change is related to improving efficiencies, providing a better or different service, working with different partners or something else, the development of a strategic plan will guide the work that needs to be done. With a well-informed strategic plan in hand, you will work with your team and others to implement the needed changes. This process requires specific attention to ensure that you meet the targets that you have outlined and that the people impacted are informed and engaged in the process.

Business Acumen Center Logo - Providing Resources to Sustain Disability OrganizationsJoin on November 15, 2017 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Eastern as Mark Davis, Executive Director at the Ohio Provider Resource Association and the Center for Epidemiological Research for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities describes how to use the information collected during your environmental scan and SWOT analysis along with the feedback and insight you received from stakeholders and champions to develop and implement your strategic plan.  [Read more…]

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Announces 2018 Funding Opportunity for Nonprofit Organizations that Create Opportunities and Independence for Individuals Living with Spinal Cord Injury

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is pleased to announce its 2018 funding opportunity for qualifying nonprofit organizations that strive to improve the quality of life of individuals living with or affected by spinal cord injury (SCI).

The Neilsen Foundation’s Creating Opportunities & Independence (CO&I) Project Grants are one-year grants, ranging from $25,000 – $100,000, targeting innovative approaches that empower individuals with SCI to live independently and enjoy improved emotional and physical well-being.

The funding priorities for CO&I will continue to support innovative projects to improve independence for individuals with spinal cord injury. The six areas of emphasis include: Assistive Technology, Employment, Independent Living, Rehabilitation, and Arts, Sports and Recreation. For the 2018 funding cycle, note that the definition of “Education” has been clarified as a means to promote the return to school/university following injury, education readiness, literacy interventions, GED courses and tutoring programs. Other educational activities used as a tool to advance employment, independent living or rehabilitation will reside in these respective areas of CO&I.  [Read more…]

Are You A Student or Recent Graduate with a Disability? Become a USBLN Rising Leader by Joining the Rising Leaders Initiatives!

What is the Rising Leaders Initiatives? The Rising Leaders Initiative involves two programs: the Mentoring Program and the Leadership Academy.

  • The Mentoring Program is a six-month career mentoring opportunity to college students and recent graduates, including veterans, with disabilities.
  • The Leadership Academy is an intensive two-day networking and career development opportunity that takes place during the USBLN Annual Conference.

USBLN is currently accepting applications for both programs! If you are a college student or recent graduate with a disability that has questions about transitioning into the business sector, they highly encourage you to apply for either program!

On the application form, you can choose which (or both) programs you’re interested in. Application deadline is December 18th, 2017.  [Read more…]

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation 2018 Public Policy Fellowship Program

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking exemplary professionals, and/or persons experiencing disability and/or family members of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are currently working or volunteering in the field of inclusive services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship is a one-year, full-time, intensive immersion experience in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Fellowship is to prepare emerging leaders to assume leadership roles in the public policy arena at the state and/or national levels. During this one-year Fellowship, the successful applicant will learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, as well as how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. Fellows also learn how the organized disability community works to shape public policy impacting people with disabilities, and their families.  [Read more…]

Information Alert: GAO Releases Report on Polling Place Accessibility in 2016 Election

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report detailing the accessibility and barriers to access at polling places in the 2016 elections. This report, which the GAO has produced after other presidential elections, found that:

  • Of all 178 polling places, 60 percent had one or more potential impediments outside the polling place, with the most common being steep ramps, lack of signage to indicate accessible paths, and poor parking or path surfaces.
  • Of the 137 polling places where the GAO was able to examine the interior polling stations, 65 percent had a polling station with an accessible voting system that could impede the casting of a private and independent ballot.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThis report shows that although many laws, such as the Help America Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, continue to require accessibility of polling places, compliance with those laws is still often lacking, and there are still many potential barriers to casting a fully private and independent ballot for people with disabilities. These findings indicate that advocacy is still needed on all levels of government to educate election officials about making polling places accessible for people with disabilities.

Access the full GAO report, VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES Observations on Polling Place Accessibility and Related Federal Guidance (PDF), at