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

Fight Cuts to Independent Living: Talking Points to Take Action

Appropriations subcommittees have been holding hearings over the past couple of weeks to begin finalizing their fiscal year 2018 (FY18) spending bills. Appropriations are high on the Congressional agenda, and we cannot let these decisions move forward without Congress hearing from the Independent Living community. Any funding cuts to the IL Program would be detrimental to CILs across the country.

The appropriations subcommittees have not released spending bills yet, but we have seen proposals from the Administration. The President’s May budget outline proposed major cuts to disability-related programs, including the elimination of the Part B funding to create a new “Partnership for Innovation, Inclusion, and Independence”. We have heard that this Partnership will not be considered by Congress; however NCIL still strongly opposes the proposal. On June 9, NCIL sent a letter of opposition to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees along with the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), who represent the other organizations that would be hit with funding cuts by the creation of this Partnership.

While we know the final spending bill passed by Congress will be very different than the President’s proposal, we also know that Congress hopes to drastically decrease spending. Decreasing spending means there will be cuts, and some of those cuts will likely be to the programs and departments people with disabilities rely on.

As always, we need to fight against any cuts to the IL Program. But even if Congress proposes level funding again for FY18, it’s simply not enough. In order to meet the increasing demands on the IL Program, including carrying out the fifth core service and overcoming years of devastating cuts, the reality is that we need a significant funding increase. That’s why for several years now we have been asking Congress for a $200 million increase for the Independent Living line item. This number was arrived at after careful and thoughtful analysis of the needs of the IL community. Please see our FY2017 talking points for more information.

There’s a lot going on right now, and attacks on the disability community seem to be coming from all directions. But IL funding must remain a priority! Without adequate funding, CILs around the country will be unable to support people with disabilities to live independently in our homes and communities. We need to fight to protect IL funding and make sure Congress hears from the people who will be harmed by cuts. Please contact your members of Congress and tell them why the IL Program is so vital to you. If you work at a CIL, invite your Members of Congress to visit. Members of Congress need to hear directly from their constituents with disabilities to understand the importance of the services and supports CILs provide in their communities every day. Only by hearing from their constituents will Congress begin to understand the importance and the true value of the IL Program!

Sample Talking Points

Funding Increase:

  • The Independent Living Program critically needs an increase in funding. A $200 million increase would help to restore cuts, make up for inflation, meet the greatly increasing demand for services, and effectively carry out the recently added fifth core service (transition).
  • Disability rights and Independent Living have long been bipartisan issues. The Independent Living Program is an effective and efficient program that saves states and the federal government money.
  • Centers for Independent Living provide services to millions of individuals with disabilities each year including (but not limited to): peer support; IL skills training; information and referral; individual and systems advocacy; transition and diversion; assistance in securing accessible, affordable, and integrated housing; personal assistance; transportation; vocational and employment services; assistive technology; and youth services.
  • CILs save taxpayer dollars by helping people with disabilities remain or return to their homes and receive services and supports in their homes and communities.
    • From 2012-2014, CILs moved 13,030 people out of nursing homes and institutions, saving states and the federal government over $500 million.
    • A 2011 study by NCIL and the Rehabilitation Services Administration found that CILs were able to keep 85% of at-risk consumers out of institutions and move 30% of institutionalized consumers back into the community.

“Partnership for Innovation, Inclusion, and Independence” proposal:

  • The proposal results in a $57 million reduction for people with disabilities.
  • The proposal reflects a lack of understanding of the three line items involved, each which have distinct statutory requirement in different statutes.
  • Eliminating Part B funding to create this partnership would result in CILs closing and people with disabilities around the country losing their jobs.


  1. Larry Topp says:

    To the U.S.Congress and House of Repasentivs. My Name is Larry A. Topp, I am confined to a power wheelchair and I live at home with my wife. She is 75, years of age. I am 68, years old.
    I have been a volunteer for about 6, years and on the Board of Directors for 7, years.
    I have been a nursing home for a few times. When I pass Away I would like to be at home
    We have been together 40, years and with the Budget cuts that have been suggested I And my
    Wife doesn’t have much money left for the month. The Military needs to be built up and I think that draft would get some of the dead beats off the streets. I Am a realist and know that we
    need some cuts But why on the poor and the needy?

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