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

Youth Scholarship: Frequently Asked Questions and Planning Tips

How on Earth are you going to get yourself to the NCIL Annual Conference this summer and make sure it is affordable? Well, read the five questions and answers below, along with a list of what past attendees have found to be helpful money-saving strategies. Consider applying for the NCIL Youth Scholarship! This award covers conference expenses so that young disabled people can travel to Washington, D.C. and experience the power of the Independent Living Movement firsthand.

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"Question 1: Who is eligible for the scholarship?

Answer: The only requirements to apply are:

  • identifying as a Deaf person and / or a person with a disability or disabilities; and
  • being 26 years old or younger (NCIL categorizes “youth” as 26 years old or younger).

Question 2: How much is the scholarship amount?

Answer: it depends on where you are applying from. We have three different levels of scholarships depending on the distance you would have to travel to attend the conference.  [Read more…]

Call for Presenters: Disability & Intersectionality Summit 2018

The 2018 Disability & Intersectionality Summit will take place Saturday, October 13th, 2018 in Cambridge, MA. This summit centers the multiple oppressions that impact the lived experiences of disabled individuals, as told by disabled people, in a setting organized by disabled activists. While members of academia are welcome to attend and present, this is not an academic conference. This event is attended by community members and professionals with a range of disability understanding and lived-experiences. This is a ticketed event open to the public.

Call for Presenters

Who Should Submit: This conference centers multiply-marginalized disabled people. Marginalized disabled people and or disabled people of color include: queer disabled people of color, undocumented transgender disabled people, disabled Native American/Indigenous People/Two-Spirit People, disabled youth of color, formerly incarcerated disabled people, among others.

What Should You Submit: A range of presentation-styles from individual, panel, and artistic performances that reflect the conference theme of Disability & Intersectionality will be considered. Your presentation should be “TED-like” in nature as opposed to workshops or focus-groups.

Accepted presenters will receive a response from the DIS Selection Committee in July/August. This Call for Presenters will close by Saturday, June 23, 12:00 a.m. EST.

Submit your proposal online.

NCD Report Examines “Civil Death” of the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Elderly under Guardianships, Calls on Department of Justice to Ensure Full and Fair Due Process Rights

Source: NCD

The National Council on Disability (NCD) – an independent federal advisory body – has released a seminal national report that thoroughly examines guardianship – the process through which an adult can be found legally incapable of making decisions for him or herself and another adult appointed to make decisions on behalf of that individual – in view of the estimated 1.3 million Americans subject to guardianship and the goals of longstanding national disability rights policy.

“Former Congressman Claude Pepper famously said of guardianships, ‘The typical [person subject to guardianship] has fewer rights than the typical convicted felon… It is, in one short sentence, the most punitive civil penalty that can be levied against an American citizen, with the exception, of course, of the death penalty,’” said Phoebe Ball, NCD Legislative Affairs Specialist who worked extensively on the report. “NCD chose to examine this topic at depth given the implications for someone’s civil rights and liberty under guardianship – that an individual is losing the authority to make decisions regarding where to live, whether to work and where, where to travel, with whom to socialize, and how to manage money and property. We need to explore alternatives to guardianship such as supported decision making that enable people to avoid this civil death.”

The findings and recommendations in the report, Beyond Guardianship: Toward Alternatives that Promote Greater Self-Determination for People with Disabilities, are the product of qualitative research on the experiences with guardianship and decision making alternatives of people with disabilities, their families, and professionals within the guardianship system gleaned through interviews; in addition to an extensive review of relevant scholarship and recent studies. Read a summary of findings and recommendations at

Survey / Study on Deaf Experiences

The purpose of this study is to investigate difficult social experiences that deaf/Deaf and hard of hearing people may have faced in childhood, such as trauma as a result of oppression or abuse, and how these experiences shape their sense of identity and social interactions as adults, with particular attention to experiences of exclusion.

The focus of the study is on social interactions between deaf and hearing people. However, the study also examines social interactions of deaf people with other deaf people, and intersectionalities of oppression. Another focus is on identifying both positive and less adaptive ways that deaf people handle difficult social interactions. Deaf people age 18 and up are compared by generations, gender, and whether participants had sign language as their first language. The study involves an internet survey distributed to the United States and Canada, and email interviews with participants in the United States.  [Read more…]

Business Development Learning Collaborative: Applications Due April 10!

The HCBS Business Acumen Center is accepting applications for its second learning collaborative, the Business Development Learning Collaborative. The purpose of the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Business Acumen Business Development Learning Collaborative is to bring together three to five (3-5) state teams comprised of community-based organizations (CBO) serving persons with disabilities, state agencies and other related partner organizations to evaluate their business environment and develop business strategies to strengthen and sustain community-based organizations that serve people with disabilities.

HCBS Business Acumen Center LogoEach team will work together to evaluate the environment that CBOs currently work within, conduct a strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of their operations, analyze and utilize the combined external and internal data to develop a strategic plan that describes how each disability-focused CBO will maximize reimbursement, diversify payer sources and expand their business portfolio with the goal of long-term sustainability for their operations and meaningful outcomes for the individuals they serve. The partners within the state team will help each CBO identify, understand and develop strategies to minimize or alleviate any obstacles to their success and support implementation of the strategic plan.

Applications are due by Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Access the application and further information.

I&R Professionals: Please Take the 2018 Aging and Disability I&R/A National Survey!

NCIL has been working in partnership with NASUAD’s Information & Referral Support Center on the 2018 Aging and Disability I&R/A National Survey. We are requesting your assistance with the completion and dissemination of the survey, which is designed to assess the state of Information and Referral/ Assistance (I&R/A) systems serving people with disabilities and older adults. Findings from the survey will highlight important trends and developments in the provision of I&R/A services. The results of the survey will be compiled into a final report and shared with NCIL and NASUAD members, as well as the I&R/A network as a whole.

We are requesting that you share the survey with I&R/A lead staff at your organization so that they may complete the survey. Additionally, we would appreciate if your staff could disseminate the survey to agencies (particularly AAAs and ADRCs) in your network for them to complete the survey. We are requesting responses by April 23.

Please complete the survey online if you are able. The I&R Center’s director, Nanette Relave, is available to address questions, offer assistance, and provide the survey in an alternate format if needed (she can be contacted at 202-898-2578 x305 or

We appreciate your time and assistance in helping us disseminate this survey to increase our collective knowledge and understanding of the delivery of I&R/A to people with disabilities and older adults!

Apply Now for NCIL’s Summer Policy Internship Program!

Each semester, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) hosts 2 internship positions at our office in Washington, DC. The Policy Internship Program provides real Washington policy experience to participants at a highly respected national organization. Interns gain valuable experience in the nation’s capital and build skills necessary to be ideal candidates for open positions at NCIL, CILs, and other advocacy organizations around the country.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThe NCIL Policy Internship Program is open to students and individuals pursuing a career in a field relevant to NCIL interests, particularly Independent Living and disability advocacy. Candidates must have a strong interest in disability rights and basic knowledge of the legislative process. Although not a requirement, preference shall be given to individuals with disabilities. The program lasts approximately 12 weeks, and interns are required to work at least 10-15 hours each week.

For more information about the NCIL Policy Internship program, visit To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and letter of recommendation to Lindsay Baran at To be considered for the summer internship program, your application must be received by April 30.

Memorandum: 2018 Regional Advocacy Awards

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"Each year at the Annual Conference, NCIL recognizes individuals and / or organizations for outstanding advocacy efforts. NCIL encourages you to nominate someone in your region who you believe is deserving of this award. Please take a few minutes to complete the nomination form by Monday, May 7, 2018.

Purpose of the NCIL regional advocacy award: To recognize individuals or groups/organizations within each region for outstanding systems advocacy efforts consistent with independent living goals and philosophy at a national, state, or local level.

Eligibility for the regional advocacy award: The nominee does not have to be a member of NCIL. In the event that the winner is not a member of NCIL, upon receiving the award, he or she will receive a complimentary Individual Membership to NCIL for the remainder of the year.  [Read more…]

Does Your CIL Participate in MFP? Do You Have Participants Who Use MFP?

We need your voices on the Hill now!

Money Follows the Person (MFP) officially ended in 2016 and although states have until the end of this year to spend their remaining funds, 7 states have completely run out and many more are dismantling their programs as the end nears. Because of this, we must urgently push this program on the Hill. While we know the power of MFP, Members of Congress do not understand that services, lives, and jobs are being put at risk if MFP is not re-authorized.

Fortunately, there are now bills in both the Senate (S. 2227, introduced by Senators Cantwell and Portman) and the House (H.R. 5306, introduced by Representatives Guthrie and Dingell). Both versions have the exact same text, and the same name: The Empower Care Act.

Please contact your legislators now! Tell them what this program means to you and your consumers. Tell them what it means to your Center for Independent Living (CIL). Ask for them to sign on as co-sponsors. Please copy or contact Community Living Advocate Sheryl Grossman ( with your correspondence so that she can track our progress.

Senator Tammy Duckworth and 42 Other Senators Pledge to Protect the ADA!

Yesterday 43 Senators sent a letter written by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) pledging to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from notification bills like the ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620). This letter comes on the heels of House passage of H.R. 620 and some GOP Senators expressing support for seeing a similar bill in the Senate. This group of 43 Senators is large enough to block any similar measure in the Senate.

Thank you to our NCIL members across the country who have contacted their Members of Congress repeatedly and urged them protect the ADA! The most recent efforts by disability advocates to ensure that our Senators know the dangers of bills like H.R. 620 have all but guaranteed that this Senate will not have the votes to gut the ADA.

This letter is a huge win in the fight to protect the ADA. We are incredibly grateful to Senator Duckworth for her leadership on this issue, and for authoring a letter that so clearly states how dangerous and misguided bills like H.R. 620 are – and how important the ADA is. However, if history has taught us anything, we know the efforts to roll back our rights are not over. Bills like this have been introduced for years, and the business community is unlikely to stop trying to chip away at the ADA. We must continue to follow federal and state threats to our rights, and we will keep you updated on this issue and any advocacy needs that arise. NCIL, other disability rights organizations, and disabled folks around the country have long been prepared to fight efforts to undermine the ADA; we now have 43 Senators who have pledged to fight alongside us.  [Read more…]