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

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. 

Upon review of all the options, and consideration of the costs involved for many of the options, NCIL will begin by:

  • Asking ACL to adjust their budget records
  • Drafting report language we can take to ACL to be submitted to Appropriations

NCIL staff and the Rehab Act / IL Funding Subcommittee will be closely monitoring funding and the actions of ILA / ACL. They know we will be watching – and they don’t want to go through the FOIA process again – so we don’t anticipate they will mess with our money again. NCIL is watching out for you!

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