the advocacy monitor

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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

2018 Outcomes: Showcase Your Independent Living Organization!

Deadline: January 22, 2019

Dear NCIL Members,

Please take just a few moments to send NCIL one or two of your Center, SILC, or other Independent Living organization’s biggest accomplishments of 2018 and a photo that represents you or your work.

We are collecting your outcomes and photos for our upcoming Congressional Briefing and 2018 Annual Report.

Photos and accomplishments from our members made the 2017 Annual Report something really special and we can’t wait to see what you did in 2018!

Please send accomplishments in the form of outcomes.

  • Individual advocacy example: “Anytown Center for Independent Living assisted 42 youth with disabilities to successfully transition from high school to college and / or employment. Those young people are now leaders and role models for younger children with disabilities.”
  • Systems advocacy example: Anytown Center for Independent Living worked with the SILC to develop state legislation to restrict certificates that allow businesses to pay employees with disabilities less than minimum wage.”

These are only examples; feel free to get creative! Please keep submissions as concise as possible. Submit your accomplishments via email to by Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

Thank you!

Call for Workshop Proposals: 2019 Annual Conference on Independent Living

Annual Conference on Independent Living 2019

July 22-25, 2019; Grand Hyatt, Washington

Submit a workshop proposal

NCIL’s Annual Conference is the largest Independent Living event of the year. NCIL regularly hosts over 1,000 people, including grassroots advocates, CIL and SILC leadership, members of Congress, government officials, and representatives from other major organizations that work for justice and equity for people with disabilities.

Logo: 2019 Annual Conference on Independent Living - featuring a white starburst graphicThe theme of NCIL’s 2019 Annual Conference on Independent Living is IGNITE. The Independent Living Movement ignites action and empowerment. We are not a sedentary bunch. When there is work to be done, we do it. When bad policy threatens our independence and rights, we react. When we know we have a better way, we take action to influence policy and pass laws. We are organized, we are powerful, and we know what we want. All it takes is a spark!

In 2019, we will offer another exciting Annual Conference with strong, varied workshops that will provide valuable resources and opportunities for discussion. We will address political power and advocacy, support new leaders in the Movement, approach healthcare as a right, and discuss promising practices in CIL core services and SILC operations.

It is with these goals in mind that the National Council on Independent Living seeks workshops for our 2019 Annual Conference in the following tracks:

  • Ignite Our Political Power Track: Workshops addressing the political power of the disability community, including voting rights, running for office, and systems advocacy.
  • Ignite New Leaders Track: Workshops related to building new leadership by including and prioritizing the perspectives of youth, people of color, people who are LGBTQ, and other advocates under-represented in the IL Movement.
  • Ignite the IL Network Track: Workshops addressing innovation and promising practices in the core services of Centers for Independent Living, especially the new core services of youth transition, transition from institutions to the community, and avoiding institutions.
  • Healthcare Track Sponsored by the WITH Foundation: Workshops related to healthcare, including healthcare policy and advocacy, along with the healthcare landscape and contracting with Managed Care Organizations and other healthcare providers.
  • Ignite Our SILCs Track: Workshops covering best practices and innovation in operations and programs of Statewide Independent Living Councils.

In addition to these priorities, NCIL’s Annual Conference Subcommittee encourages workshops that seek to improve the skills and resources of staff to carry out the core services of CILs and operate strong SILCs. NCIL also welcomes applications for Poster Sessions, Film Screenings, and other media that address our priority topics and Independent Living.  [Read more…]

Deadline Extended: Apply for the NCIL Path to Empowerment Grants By Monday, December 10!

The Deadline to apply for this grant has been extended to Monday, December 10, 2018.

The link to the application form was incorrect in one of our earlier announcements. Our application links will always lead directly to a form. You should never have to login to complete anything. Please make sure to use the links below to access the application form.

NCIL is excited to announce that we have received continued funding from the Craig Neilsen Foundation for Path to Empowerment projects! NCIL is seeking five (5) to ten (10) Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), or Independent Living Associations that are interested in providing programs to enhance the quality of life for people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Eligibility – Applicants must:

  • Be a current NCIL member;
  • Be a Center for Independent Living (CIL), Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), or Independent Living Association; and,
  • Provide matching funds of at least 5% of the total funds requested from NCIL.

NCIL will provide funding ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 to support Independent Living; Rehabilitation; Employment; Assistive Technology; Arts, Sports, & Recreation; or Education programs. Examples include:

  • Independent Living – one-to-one or group IL skills training; one-to-one visits to people with SCI in rehab facilities, one-to-one assistance to individuals wanting to leave nursing homes for more independent living arrangements;
  • Rehabilitation – patient assistance funds to offset costs of rehab for individuals with SCI, educating newly injured individuals and their families on SCI;
  • Employment – assistance with resume and interview preparation, applying for jobs and learning how to handle disability issues or concerns during the interviewing, hiring and employment process;
  • Assistive technology – assisting consumers in identifying and acquiring necessary technology to enhance independence and quality of life;
  • Arts, Sports, & Recreation – programs that teach wheelchair sports, provide fitness, wellness and nutrition opportunities and exercise classes, visual, written, and performing arts classes, exhibitions, and performances for people with SCI;
  • Education – one-to-one or group tutoring, preparing newly injured students with SCI to return to school/university; GED classes for consumers.

NCIL will select the applicants that best demonstrate the capacity and resources necessary to make the greatest impact for consumers with SCI. All program applicants in each focus category must demonstrate the capacity to enhance quality of life for people with SCI. Additionally, applicants should document how they will fulfill the Neilsen Foundation evaluation criteria including impact, innovation, and relevance to the area of focus on traumatic and chronic spinal cord injury; feasibility based on documented experience, expertise, available resources, and organizational commitment; sustainability of proposed project or program; collaboration and demonstration of meaningful community partnerships including the avoidance of duplication of services and demonstration of shared community resources; and clear project evaluation methods. While applicants must communicate how their proposed activities will improve outcomes for consumers with SCI, NCIL acknowledges and appreciates that programs funded under this grant will serve consumers with all types of disabilities.

The application and project timeline is as follows:

  • November 7 2018: 2019 Path to Empowerment RFP opens
  • December 10, 2018: 2019 Path to Empowerment RFP closes
  • January 5, 2019: Grantees selected
  • January 15, 2019: Pass-through money distributed to Grantees
  • February 1, 2019: Grantee programs begin
  • October 30, 2019: Project ends
  • November 12, 2019: Grantee final reports due

To apply, interested parties must use the Application Form, which is available online.  We are also providing Word and plain text formats in case you want to look through the application or experience any access issues with the online form.

The application deadline is 11:59 PM EST, Monday, December 10, 2018.

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Disability & Diversity Data – How Centers for Independent Living Can Use Data Mining and Community Mapping to Address Diversity

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETMost of us care deeply about the diversity of our consumers and ensuring that we are reaching everyone in our communities that could benefit from IL services and programs. But it can be very difficult to determine who you aren’t serving. Data mining and community mapping can paint a more complete picture of your community – where are the people with disabilities, who are you serving and who are you missing. Who has the time and expertise to go through census data though, right?

Join us on January 16th to learn how one CIL has connected with university to get exactly the data they need to improve their outreach and programs. Our presenters will also share how you can take the mystery out of data mining to begin to find and analyze data from common, publicly available sources.

Sign up today!  [Read more…]

CIL-NET & SILC-NET Present… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Know Your Resources — Orientation to the IL-NET and and

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETThe IL-NET program has operated since 1994 to support Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) with training and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics. IL-NET’s resources cover an expansive list of topics related to CILs and SILCs, from advocacy to financial management, and everything in between. The sheer quantity of material offered by the program can be overwhelming.

Please join us for this complimentary teleconference and webinar to learn what the IL-NET has to offer you. Staff from each of our partner organizations, ILRU, NCIL, APRIL, and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities will walk you through the trainings and resources they offer and how you can best access them. You will learn about online trainings and materials that you can access right away, as well as training topics for 2019 that you can add to your calendar. Don’t miss this free event!  [Read more…]

Remembering Ann Ford

Source: Illinois Network of CILs (INCIL)

Ann Ford - HeadshotToday the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living mourns the loss of Ann Ford, our founding Executive Director. Ann secured a place in history as a trailblazing organizer for people with disabilities who spent her entire adult life fighting for civil rights, integration and inclusion.

Her work to launch and lead the Illinois Network of CILs brought a stronger and more focused voice for the Independent Living movement to lawmakers.

Ann never shied away from telling the truth about the impact of state or federal policies on Illinois’ disability community.

She carried herself with a gentle demeanor undergirded by a tenacious commitment to justice, fairness and knowledge of the struggles faced by people with disabilities worldwide.

Ann had credibility in the corridors of power because she was honest, direct and steeped in personal and professional experience with the Independent Living philosophy.  [Read more…]

As Hurricane Florence Approaches, Give Now to Aid CILs Damaged in the Storm

Hurricane Florence is approaching the coast of the Carolinas, with a path predicted to lead inland where it could drop unprecedented rainfall before dissipating early next week. This storm is predicted to be catastrophic and a wide swath of states have already declared states of emergency. Some areas could see up to 40 inches of rain and storm surges in excess of 10 feet.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingAs you already know, CIL services are crucial to help people with disabilities regain independence after disasters. CILs provide needed housing assistance, help navigate changes to benefits that may occur, and cooperate and advocate with local, state, federal agencies that arrive to provide emergency assistance, but so often fail to provide accommodations to people with disabilities. But CILs can’t help if their own facilities are damaged or destroyed.

NCIL’s Disaster Relief Fund distributes money specifically to Centers for Independent Living or 501(c)(3) Statewide Independent Living Councils damaged or destroyed in disasters. NCIL does not distribute money to individual disaster victims, but rather, gives money to CILs and SILCs so that they can repair, replace, or rebuild facilities and equipment in the wake of a disaster. Support from the NCIL Disaster Relief Fund made all the difference for CILs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Iowa floods of 2008, and Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Since its inception in 2005, the Disaster Relief Fund has been funded by the generous support of NCIL members like you. 100% of these restricted funds will go towards the purpose outlined above. Please give what you can today.

Cancelled: SPIL Development – Preparing Your SPIL and Recommendations from the SPIL Revision Committee

SILC-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar:

SPIL Development: Preparing Your SPIL and Recommendations from the SPIL Revision Committee

August 29, 2018; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

** We regret to announce that this training has been cancelled.  ACL is planning to provide new information on the forthcoming SPIL instrument and instructions.  They have asked us to withhold trainings on SPIL development and the new SPIL instrument until they release that information. While we believe that this is an important time for trainings on SPIL development, we have agreed to cancel this event until ACL has an opportunity to communicate with the SILCs about plans for next year’s SPIL.  Registration fees will be automatically re-funded.  Registrants do not need to take further action to cancel or receive a refund.  We regret any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETState Plans for Independent Living (SPILs) are due next June, less than a year away. Your plan is likely well underway, but there is still time to improve your process. Join us on August 29 to learn the latest on the SPIL, including what has changed since the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) passed, how to get the most out of your SPIL, and the recommendations of the SPIL Revision Committee – a group of SILC and IL advocates that advised the Administration for Community Living (ACL) on the forthcoming revisions to the SPIL instrument and instructions.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get the latest information on SPILs. Sign up today!

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.  [Read more…]

NCIL Actions in Response to ILA / ACL Reductions in Part C Funds to CILs

As you know, many Centers for Independent Living (CILs) saw a reduction in funds in FY 2016 and 2017, which the Independent Living Administration (ILA) explained as being necessary to:

  • 2016: help CILs who missed the deadline to draw down the remainder of their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds due to miscommunication from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA); and
  • 2017: help support “unaccompanied minors” coming into the country through an “Administrative Transfer” they claim the Secretary has the authority to impose.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingNCIL found both these actions unacceptable and decided to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get information on the details of how Part C funds withheld from CILs were actually used and how they determined where cuts to CILs were made. Working with our attorneys, (Brown, Goldstein & Levy), NCIL sent a very detailed FOIA request to the Freedom of Information Act Officer at the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Our attorney carefully analyzed all the information received and sent a detailed letter regarding that analysis and potential actions to be taken by NCIL, which included:

  • Prevail on a friendly member of Congress to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a legal opinion on the transfer of Part C funds to other Health and Human Services (HHS) programs in FY 2017 (and any others in prior years)
  • Sue for declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the transfer of Part C funds in FY 2017
  • Follow-up with ACL on deductions from Part C funds in FY 2017 for “Peer Review”, “ACL Grants System Cost”, and “Other Admin Costs”
  • Sue the Department of Education and ACL to seek redress for any illegal budgetary actions
  • Ask ACL to adjust their budget records regarding a reporting or clerical error
  • Ask ACL to petition Congress to pass legislation specifically exempting a given Part C appropriation from certain appropriations rules

The NCIL Rehabilitation Act / IL Funding Subcommittee carefully reviewed all these options. We also discussed the recommendation made by Appropriations staff that NCIL should work with ACL to prepare report language to prevent such transfers of Part C funds.  [Read more…]

CIL-NET and SILC-NET Present… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Working Together – Building a Statewide IL Network through CIL & SILC Collaboration

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETCenters for Independent Living (CILs) and the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) must collaborate in order to create an effective statewide IL network. It’s not just good practice, it’s required by law. The Rehab Act requires CILs and the SILC to collaborate on composition of the SILC, development and approval of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL), and supporting a statewide network of CILs. This is something all CILs and SILCs should strive for, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Building a strong statewide network takes years to create and a concerted effort to maintain.

Join us on August 14 to hear how this partnership works in Kansas, where the SILC and CILs have remained committed to their network – and excelled – through difficult times.

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.  [Read more…]