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

Omnibus Information Alert

President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill last Tuesday, ensuring that the federal government will be funded through September 2015 (with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which will be funded through February 27, 2015). The budget stays within the caps set by Congress last year, and it keeps many disability programs at level funding.

There are several notable items in the FY15 budget. The agreement includes a general provision supporting implementation of section 491 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which transfers NIDRR (which will soon be NIDILRR), independent living programs, and programs under the Assistive Technology Act from the Department of Education to the Administration for Community Living. All three of those programs are level-funded. The budget also designates $2 million of the $33 million Assistive Technology Programs funding towards competitive grants to support alternative financing programs for purchasing assistive technology devices.

Within the Department of Education, the budget includes $1 million in increased funding for Client Assistance State Grants to help transition-aged students with disabilities and individuals with disabilities in subminimum wage positions obtain competitive, integrated employment. It also designates no less than $2 million of the $11.8 million Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) funding to support research on strategies to promote academic, social, employment, and independent living outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities through a national coordinating center.

The agreement also includes language that allows the Secretary of Labor to transfer and use additional funds to provide technical assistance activities related to implementing the WIOA as quickly and effectively as possible. These additional funds are intended to be a one-time provision only.

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