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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

Reminder: Budget Cuts Are Looming – Take Action Now!

The current Continuing Resolution (CR) will only keep the government funded through April 28, so when Congress returns to DC next week, we can expect appropriations to be at the top of their to-do list. First, Congress will need to fund the remainder of FY 2017 to avoid a shutdown; then, they can get started on FY 2018 funding.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingSo far, all we’ve seen from President Trump is the “skinny budget” (PDF) he released in March. This budget provided a partial overview of what the President would like to see. While we know there has been criticism on both sides of the aisle, we also know that Congress intends to make major cuts, many that will likely hit programs and departments that are important to the disability community. Because of this, we need to fight against any cuts that will negatively impact the Independent Living Program, and we need to act now.

Back in March, we sent an alert asking you to contact your members of Congress and invite them to visit your CIL. Now it’s more important than ever that we keep the pressure on Congress! We know that there are a lot of issues facing our community right now, and there is a lot at stake. That said, IL funding is critical, and cuts to the IL program would be detrimental to CILs around the country. We MUST work to ensure that President Trump’s proposed cuts are not implemented, and that the Independent Living Program does not see any future cuts.

Please continue talking with your members of Congress. Please continue trying to get them to visit your CIL. Keep setting up meetings, calling, emailing, and doing whatever you can to make sure that your Senators and Representatives know how important Independent Living is to their constituents with disabilities. Only by seeing the work that the IL community is doing every day and by hearing directly from their constituents will they understand the vital need for funding and the incredible value of the IL program!

NCIL’s Input to the NIDILRR Long-Range Plan

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Draft Long-Range plan for the period 2018-2023 is comprehensive and provides logical next steps to advance research in the field of disability, independent living, and rehabilitation. To support and strengthen the plan, NCIL’s Rehabilitation Act Subcommittee submitted comments. The Administration for Community Living (ACL)/NIDILRR responded to the submission by saying, “Just got done reading the comments and wanted to let you know that I thought your comments were very thoughtful and helpful to us. Thank you.”

Below is a summary of the committee’s input to NIDILRR’s Research and Development Agenda.

NCIL’s Summary Input to the NIDILRR Draft Long-Range Plan for the Period 2018-2023

Health and Function

  • Aging with and into Disability: NIDILRR’s Draft Long-Range Plan introduces “Aging with and into Disability” as a new research area. This presents NIDILRR with an opportunity to address efforts to streamline long-term services and supports. Are there barriers to having Centers for Independent Living (CILs) as equal partners in these efforts?
  • Person-centered planning and services: This should be a high priority. The shift towards greater consumer control through person-centered planning has not fully been embraced and requires a major cultural shift. How is person-centered planning being implemented across systems and settings to truly give consumers more control?


  • Employment Disincentives: NCIL strongly agrees that research needs to move beyond the identification of disincentives to employment to a strategic focus on the relationships among poverty, income assistance and employment. NCIL sees this as an urgent issue in the disability community, with several key areas that need specific focus so people with disabilities can be supported by benefits but still have opportunities to advance their independent living and employment outcomes.
  • Young Adults: The research proposed in the long-range plan is a good place to explore the role of CILs in WIOA’s Transition Services requirements for students and youth with disabilities, including how workforce and vocational rehabilitation can work with CIL’s on pre-transition and school to work services.

[Read more…]

Budget Cuts Looming – Contact Your Senators and Representatives About the Value of America’s Independent Living Program Today!

As many of you know, President Trump released his “skinny budget” (PDF) last week. This budget is a very simple and only partial overview that proposes billions of dollars in spending cuts to non-defense discretionary funding in order to pay for increases in military and homeland security spending.

The proposal includes cuts to many important departments and programs, including eliminating funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, eliminating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program, and slashing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) funding by $6.2 billion. Read NCIL’s recent alert about Housing Cuts. The budget did not address funding for the Independent Living Program or for the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The proposed cuts in the budget are drastic and would be incredibly destructive to many of the programs that people with disabilities rely on. That said, the President’s budget request is only the first step in the federal budget process. It’s the U.S. Congress that will determine the country’s spending levels, and there has already been criticism of President Trump’s budget on both sides of the aisle.

Right now, our focus needs to be on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the relevant subcommittees. The government is currently being funding by a Continuing Resolution (CR), which provides funding through April 28, 2017. Before they begin to work on FY 2018 funding, Congress will need to fund the remainder of FY 2017 to avoid a shutdown. We will be following this and FY 2018 funding as these processes unfold, and as always, we will keep you updated.

There is more at stake than ever right now, and we will need to work together to ensure that none of President Trump’s proposed cuts are implemented, and that the Independent Living Program does not see any future cuts. Please help us make sure that Congress knows how important IL is to their constituents around the country by inviting your Senators and Representatives to visit your local Center for Independent Living. It’s our hope that seeing the work the Independent Living community is doing every day will help our members of Congress understand the vital need for additional funding and the incredible value of the IL Program!

California Independent Living Conference: Leading the Charge – Call for Presenters

Monday, June 12th, 2017 Sacramento, CA

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers is excited to announce its first statewide Independent Living: Leading the Charge Conference. Join us at the Sacramento Convention Center on June 12, 2017. This gathering is intended to bring together Independent Living Center staff, boards and volunteers from across California and the western region to learn and share best practices related to Independent Living Center core services, innovations and partnerships.

Do you have expertise in a core service area of Independent Living? Are you doing something cool in your community that you think other ILCs can do too? Are you making things happen through partnerships that other ILCs can too? SHARE what you are doing at the CFILC IL Conference!

Please consider submitting a brief workshop proposal. Multiple presenters and panel presentations are welcome.  [Read more…]

I&R Center: Technology in Practice Call for Submissions (Deadline Today)

Source: National Information & Referral Support Center

The deadline for the Technology in Practice contest has been extended to March 3 to allow agencies to complete submissions – or enter a submission. The National I&R Support Center would like to hear from agencies about diverse types of I&R/A technology practices. Maybe your agency has an online searchable database that uses helpful features to guide consumers. Perhaps your agency has adopted the use of chat and/or text for I&R encounters. Is your agency making good use of social media to reach individuals and caregivers? They’d love to hear about it! More information on the contest is below.

The National I&R Support Center is taking a closer look at the role of technology in aging and disability I&R/A programs. We want to hear from you! Does your agency have a promising practice in this area? Share your practice with us, and your agency could win a prize! Please see below for more information on our new promising practice contest. Submit your practice online. For the submission form in an alternate format, or for more information, contact Support Center Director Nanette Relave at


Information & Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) programs play a vital role in connecting individuals and caregivers to needed services and resources. Technology provides a key underpinning for many I&R/A programs, from telephone systems to resource databases. At the same time, technology is rapidly evolving in ways that create both opportunities and challenges for I&R/A programs. While person-to-person communication is often at the heart of I&R/A interactions, technology is transforming how Americans seek information. Social media, smartphones, mobile apps, ecommerce and other developments are changing expectations for how individuals access and receive information. Additionally, technology has the potential to enhance the administration of I&R/A programs in areas such as data sharing, call center management, and maintenance of resource databases.  [Read more…]

CIL Wanted: Increase Your CIL’s Programmatic Capability!

The Our Lives: Safe and Strong Program Toolkit (OL), a project that focuses on providing specialized program content, training, and technical assistance support to OL partner CILs to support them in development of an on-site abuse awareness, abuse prevention, and safety-planning strategies/ approaches program for folks who experience a disability, is now seeking one further CIL to join their OL CIL consortia.

The Regional Research Institute (RRI), Portland State University, with funding from NIDILRR, is on lead for the project. RRI is partnering with a small consortium of CILs from across the country to further develop and finalize the Toolkit content and programmatic methodology. The cornerstone of the OL Program is a computer-based abuse awareness and abuse prevention tool, one for women with disabilities and the other for men with disabilities, and both tools were created directly by women and men who experience disabilities. In addition to the computer-based abuse awareness / prevention tool, each OL CIL is being supported by the project to develop its own site-specific OL programmatic activities to augment and complement the tool.

One of our starter OL CILs encountered an unexpected need to withdraw from the project for reasons of realignment of personnel at their location, and, as a result, we now keen to locate another CIL to join us in this work. The ideal CIL would be located in an area adjacent to, but not directly in, a city having a minimum population of approximately 400,000 or more people. It would also have above average representation in its consumer population of individuals who are either Latino or Hispanic.  [Read more…]

The DSE, SILC Roles and Responsibilities, and the Regulations: Part 2

SILC-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar:

March 8, 2017; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act changed the role of the Designated State Entity and some of the roles of the SILC as well.

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETWe’ve added a second free webinar to continue this critical discussion of the roles of the SILC and DSE in your state. Join us to learn the SILC’s role and how it’s organized, how the roles of the SILC and DSE intersect, the role of the CILs, and the importance of SILC autonomy and the Independent Living philosophy.

SILCs are strongly encouraged to forward this announcement to their DSE with an invitation to attend. This presentation includes content for both SILCs and DSEs and we encourage you all to participate together.

Note: You do not need to re-register if you registered for Part 1. You will receive the connection instructions automatically. If you didn’t attend Part 1, we recommend that you view Part 1 before attending Part 2 on March 8th.

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.  [Read more…]

NCIL Requests Further Guidance on ACL’s Final Rule for IL Programs

On October 26, 2016, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) released its final rule for Independent Living (IL) programs. This final rule clarifies the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and State Independent Living Councils (SILCs).

NCIL’s Rehabilitation Act and Independent Living Funding Subcommittee, as well as several NCIL workgroups, worked hard to develop comments when ACL issues its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Further Guidance Requested

NCIL has concerns about the final rule and requests further guidance. In the document below, NCIL outlines concerns about current funding levels for CILs; the new core service; 704 reporting requirements; CSR documentation; requirements for the State Plan for Independent Living and other important issues affecting CILs and SILCs.

NCIL’s SILC Work Group put together an analysis of the regulations, which includes a summary for the NCIL Membership and outlines areas reflecting agreement with NCIL’s recommendations and areas where further guidance is requested.

Feedback about the final rule can be sent to

See also:

Call for Proposals: AIRS 2017 I&R Training and Education Conference

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has released the call for proposals for the 2017 Annual Information and Referral (I&R) Training and Education Conference. The conference is being held in Tampa, Florida, with pre-conference intensives on May 21 and the regular conference May 22-24. AIRS is seeking workshops addressing the breadth of I&R service delivery.

The Aging and Disability conference track offers a great opportunity to share developments and effective practices in serving older adults and persons with disabilities with I&R colleagues across the country. This track is coordinated by NASUAD’s I&R Support Center, which strongly encourages aging and disability I&R agencies to review the call for proposals and consider a submission. See past topics.

View the current call for proposals. Topics such as family caregiving, mental health and substance abuse, disability across the lifespan, social determinants of health, cross-sector partnerships and collaboration (including ADRC and 2-1-1 partnerships), business acumen, partnering with health care entities, No Wrong Door system initiatives, ADRC funding and sustainability, use of new technologies in I&R, transportation, housing, and data collection and quality assurance are all examples of topics of interest in aging and disability I&R.  [Read more…]

2016 Outcomes: Showcase Your Independent Living Organization!

Deadline: January 20, 2017

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 2016 and a photo that represents you or your work.

We are collecting your outcomes and photos for our upcoming Congressional Briefing and 2016 Annual Report.

Photos and accomplishments from our members made the 2015 Annual Report something really special and we can’t wait to see what you did in 2016!

Please send accomplishments in the form of outcomes.

  • Individual advocacy example: “Anytown Center for Independent Living transitioned 32 people from nursing homes and other institutions, saving the state and federal government $800,000.”
  • Systems advocacy example: “Anytown Center for Independent Living removed 29 barriers in the transportation system in the city of Anytown, nearly 80% of those identified.”

These are only examples; feel free to get creative! Please keep submissions as concise as possible. Submit your accomplishments via email to by Friday, January 20, 2017.

Thank you!