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

PVA Releases Informational Document on the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act

Paralyzed Veterans of America has released a one-page informational document on the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act (S. 1318).

The document is available in PDF, Word, and html (below). Please contact PVA with any questions.

The Issue

Over 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) into law. The ACAA prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel. Despite progress, too many travelers with disabilities still encounter significant barriers, such as damaged assistive devices, delayed assistance, and lack of seating accommodations. Access for people with disabilities in air travel must move into the 21st century. Otherwise, people with disabilities will be left behind unable to compete in today’s job market or enjoy the opportunities available to other Americans.  [Read more…]

AirAccess30 Seeks Air Travel Experiences from Target States

Source: PVA

Individuals with disabilities now have a platform for sharing their stories, photos, videos and graphics about their air travel experiences., launched in January 2016 by Paralyzed Veterans of America, enables passengers with disabilities who utilize air travel to share positive and negative stories about their experiences. AirAccess30 is seeking to collect stories from all 50 states and DC.

The following locations are not currently represented: Colorado; District of Columbia; Hawaii; Idaho; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Michigan; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Jersey; New Mexico; Nevada; Utah; Vermont; and Wyoming.

AirAccess30 is seeking additional stories from: Florida; Missouri; Mississippi; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Washington; and Wisconsin.

Benefit Enrollment Grants Available from the National Council on Aging

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) Center for Benefits Access is now accepting applications from qualified organizations to join the network of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs).

BECs use person-centered strategies in a coordinated, community-wide approach to find and enroll Medicare beneficiaries – both seniors aged 65+ years and adults living with disabilities – who have limited income and resources into available benefits, with the primary focus being on five core benefit programs. [Read more at…]

National Disability Mentoring Coalition Toolkit and Resources

Source: National Disability Mentoring Coalition

The National Disability Mentoring Coalition has co-launched the USDA Disability Mentoring Toolkit and published a new White Paper. Additionally, NDMC encourages you to view their webinar on Critical Mentoring, which aims to change how you approach mentoring and discovery of root causes.

NCIL Releases Disability Pride Toolkit

NCIL is pleased to announce the release of our Disability Pride Toolkit, which was developed by outgoing Youth Transitions Fellow Kings Floyd in collaboration with NCIL’s Youth Caucus.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThis toolkit is designed to help Youth Transitions Coordinators and Centers for Independent Living get started talking about disability pride within their local communities. While it is specifically targeted toward youth, the toolkit will be useful to advocates of any age.

The goal of the toolkit is to facilitate conversation about what it means to be proud of a disability identity as well as other intersectional identities. We encourage Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils to start talking with youth in their communities about these topics, so that disability pride will be reflected in every aspect of the important work we accomplish together.

Please email, current Youth Transitions Fellow, with any questions.

WE DID IT: #Trumpcare Failed Again!

Congratulations! Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will not pursue a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill at this time. This decision was a direct result of the advocacy efforts the disability community has led across the country; thank you for all of your incredible efforts!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThis is a big win for people with disabilities, and YOU made this happen. You called, you wrote, you took action. Even when they wouldn’t listen, you kept at it. And eventually, they took notice. Because of you, they heard our demands. Because of you, they could no longer ignore the power of the disability community.

That said, while we should take a moment to celebrate, we must continue to fight. This fight is far from over. Leader McConnell made it very clear on Tuesday that they are not giving up on their healthcare reform efforts. And, we know that the attacks on Medicaid and other critical programs our community relies on will continue as well. We cannot let down our guard now.

Graham-Cassidy has been defeated, but we still have work to do:

  • We must call on Congress to continue with their previous bipartisan efforts on healthcare, which means no more attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act;
  • We must make sure our Members of Congress understand how important Medicaid is to people with disabilities, and demand that they oppose any legislation that would cap or cut the Medicaid program;
  • While you’re at it, talk to your Members of Congress about the Disability Integration Act (DIA), S. 910 and H.R. 2472! Regardless of what Medicaid attacks lie ahead, the Disability Integration is a critical bill that will protect disabled people from institutionalization.
  • And finally, thank your Senators who took a stand and opposed this latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and decimate Medicaid. They need to know we support their decision, and we need to make sure they commit to opposing any future bills that rip healthcare and Medicaid away from their constituents!

Again, thank you and congratulations on this victory! This has been an exhausting battle, and yesterday’s decision was a huge win. We know there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, but there’s no doubt that if we continue working together, more victories lie ahead.

Save the Date! Giving Tuesday is Two Months Away!

Giving Tuesday logo - #GivingTuesday with a heart icon replacing the ‘v’NCIL is joining thousands of other organizations in participating in Giving Tuesday, “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” Giving Tuesday is focused on giving back after the consumer driven days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and takes place on November 28th, 2017.

In the coming months, we’ll be sending you emails with more information about how to support NCIL on Giving Tuesday. In the meantime, make sure to mark your calendars for Giving Tuesday, November 28th, 2017. Let’s make this the best Giving Tuesday yet!

Add Your Organization as a Signatory to NCIL’s Letter Opposing the ADA Education and Reform Act

On July 26, 2017, millions of people with disabilities throughout this country celebrated the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Unfortunately, many in the business community decided to celebrate the anniversary by diminishing this historic civil rights legislation through a letter of support for the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620). Their letter supporting this extremely dangerous legislation, which was sent to Congress, was titled It’s Time to Restore the Integrity of the ADA (PDF).

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingNCIL has drafted a response to their letter, which will be sent to Representatives Paul Ryan (Speaker of the House) and Nancy Pelosi (Minority Leader). We encourage you to add your organization as a signatory. The deadline to sign on is Monday, October 2, 2017.

H.R. 620 was introduced by Representative Ted Poe of Texas in the 115th Congress. It would create significant obstacles for people with disabilities to enforce their rights under Title III of the ADA to access public accommodations and would impede their ability to engage in daily activities and participate in mainstream society.

Please join us as we fight this dangerous bill.

Email the Finance Committee to Help Stop Graham-Cassidy!

Senate Republicans have only 9 days left to pass their latest effort to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and radically restructure and cut Medicaid. Previous attempts in the Senate failed largely because of the disability community’s efforts, and we need to make sure the Graham-Cassidy proposal (PDF) does not succeed!

On Monday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the Finance Committee will be holding a hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill. We need to make sure that the hearing is filled with strong statements of opposition, including personal stories about how this bill will harm people with disabilities.

Help stop Graham-Cassidy! Submit testimony for Monday’s hearing by emailing Please send an email, and if you can, CC your Senators as well!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingHere are some points you can include in your email:

  • People with disabilities rely on Medicaid, and the per capita caps and cuts included in Graham-Cassidy will jeopardize our health, threaten our independence, and put lives at risk.
  • The Medicaid cuts in Graham-Cassidy will limit access to home and community-based services, which will result in more disabled people and older adults being forced into costly institutions.
  • Allowing states to waive protections for people with pre-existing conditions will make coverage unaffordable for many – and many of those are people with disabilities.
  • Also, share your personal story! Tell them how Graham-Cassidy will impact you personally!

Most importantly, ask them to oppose Graham-Cassidy and any other bill that cuts, caps, or imposes block grants or per capita caps on Medicaid!

Please take action. We must stop this bill! Comments must be submitted by Monday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Contact Your Senators to Stop Graham-Cassidy!

A targeted Action Alert for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia

Senate Republicans have only 9 days left to pass their latest effort to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and radically restructure and cut Medicaid. Previous attempts in the Senate failed largely because of the disability community’s efforts, and we need to make sure the Graham-Cassidy proposal (PDF) does not succeed!  [Read more…]