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

Cancelled: SPIL Development – Preparing Your SPIL and Recommendations from the SPIL Revision Committee

SILC-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar:

SPIL Development: Preparing Your SPIL and Recommendations from the SPIL Revision Committee

August 29, 2018; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

** We regret to announce that this training has been cancelled.  ACL is planning to provide new information on the forthcoming SPIL instrument and instructions.  They have asked us to withhold trainings on SPIL development and the new SPIL instrument until they release that information. While we believe that this is an important time for trainings on SPIL development, we have agreed to cancel this event until ACL has an opportunity to communicate with the SILCs about plans for next year’s SPIL.  Registration fees will be automatically re-funded.  Registrants do not need to take further action to cancel or receive a refund.  We regret any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETState Plans for Independent Living (SPILs) are due next June, less than a year away. Your plan is likely well underway, but there is still time to improve your process. Join us on August 29 to learn the latest on the SPIL, including what has changed since the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) passed, how to get the most out of your SPIL, and the recommendations of the SPIL Revision Committee – a group of SILC and IL advocates that advised the Administration for Community Living (ACL) on the forthcoming revisions to the SPIL instrument and instructions.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get the latest information on SPILs. Sign up today!

Registration Fee: $75.00. Fee is per site (connection) and does not apply per participant; registrants are encouraged to gather as many individuals as desired to participate by telephone.  [Read more…]

NCIL Conference Attendees Invited to Kennedy Center ADA Anniversary Performance featuring Mandy Harvey

On July 26, 2018 there will be a free 6:00 p.m. performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage featuring Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer / songwriter, to celebrate the ADA’s 28th Anniversary.

Mandy HarveyThe Kennedy Center expects this to be a popular show. Seating will be on a first-come, first-seated basis, but everything is wheelchair accessible and the show will be captioned, signed, and audio described. No tickets or reservations are necessary.

A vocal music education major at Colorado State University, Harvey lost her residual hearing in 2006–2007 at age 18 due to a connective tissue disorder, and left the program. She pursued several career options, including education, but returned to music in 2008. Mandy’s music attracts the attention of those around the world.  [Read more…]

NCIL and Centene Partner to Increase Provider Accessibility for People with Disabilities

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is partnering with Centene on an initiative to increase the accessibility of provider medical offices and services for people with disabilities. The Provider Accessibility Initiative (PAI) will kick off with the “Barrier Removal Fund” (BRF) in three pilot states, Illinois, Texas, and Ohio, as well as educational and compliance components that will be implemented in all Centene markets nationwide.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThe goal of the PAI is to improve member access and health outcomes by increasing the percentage of practitioner locations and services in Centene’s network that meet minimum federal and state disability access standards.

“NCIL is proud to have the opportunity to leverage the wealth of knowledge and expertise of Centers for Independent Living to increase accessibility of medical offices and services. We look forward to the day that all Americans can enjoy equal access to this fundamental civil right,” said Kelly Buckland, NCIL Executive Director.

“Studies have shown that Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities receive less preventive care due to inaccessible provider exam rooms and/or diagnostic equipment. Through this partnership, Centene and NCIL aim to solve a vital national problem and key social determinant of health for people with disabilities and their companions,” said Dr. Ken Yamaguchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Centene.   [Read more…]

NCIL Condemns Judge’s Decision to Allow Electric Shocks to Continue

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is appalled and outraged by the recent decision of a Massachusetts judge to allow the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) to continue administering electric shocks to disabled individuals as behavior ‘treatment’. We stand with countless other disability rights organizations and advocates in opposing this cruel ruling.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingDespite opposition from disability rights organizations, previous residents, parents and advocates, JRC continues to use electric shock devices as behavioral treatment on disabled individuals. Even in the face of decades of evidence showing these devices to be both dangerous and cruel, and even after the United Nations (UN) condemned the use of these devices as torture, JRC continues to be the one and only institution in the country to continue this practice.

In Judge Field’s decision, she wrote that Massachusetts officials did not prove that the practice fails to conform to “the accepted standard of care for treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of NCIL, said of the ruling: “The judge’s decision is appalling. There is no question that the use of these devices causes lasting harm to disabled people. For Judge Field to so blatantly disregard the safety and well-being of JRC residents is completely despicable.”  [Read more…]

Annual Conference Speakers Confirmed!

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"Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Vallas

We are happy to announce the confirmation of Keynote Speaker Rebecca Vallas, who will deliver an address during the Opening Plenary, which takes place 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 23. This event will kick off a week of movement-building and mobilization. Read Rebecca’s biography.

ILA Update

The 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living will feature an ILA Update on Thursday, July 26, 4:15-5:00 p.m. Administration for Community Living (ACL) and Independent Living Administration (ILA) leadership will provide an update on NCIL’s priorities and concerns for oversight of the Independent Living Program, as well as other current affairs at ACL and ILA. An opportunity for questions and answers will be provided.

Confirmed Rally Speakers:

  • Senator Bob Casey
  • Representative Gene Green
  • Representative Colleen Hanabusa
  • Senator Maggie Hassan
  • Representative Jared Huffman
  • Representative Joe Kennedy
  • Representative Ro Khanna
  • Representative Jim Langevin
  • Representative Seth Moulton
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson
  • Representative Dina Titus
  • Representative Juan Vargas
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen

Join Us!

Online registration for the 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living closes at midnight on Friday, July 13. Onsite registration is also available. Please note that onsite registration fees differ from standard registration fees and plan accordingly. Plan to join us for the March for Disability Rights and Rally on Capitol Hill – no registration is required!

NCIL Mourns the Passing of Jamey George

Dear friends and colleagues,

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingIt is with a heavy heart that we write to inform you of the passing of Jamey George. Jamey was the founder and longtime Executive Director of the Freedom Center for Independent Living in Maryland, a dedicated two-time member of NCIL’s Governing Board, and a past member of the Maryland SILC. Jamey passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, July 8, 2018. Read Jamey’s complete obituary.

Sarah Sorenson, fellow Marylander and Executive Director of Independence Now, said of Jamey: “Jamey believed in and fought for independent living for absolutely everyone. She was incredibly proud of founding and directing The Freedom Center, a vibrant and active CIL in Central Maryland. She felt CILs could do anything and do it better than anyone else! She was solidly loyal to this movement. At many meetings, when the chips were down, I was proud she was on our side. This is such a loss for Maryland and the Independent Living movement at large.”  [Read more…]

2018 Annual Conference: Pre-Event Registration Ends This Friday, July 13!

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"All pre-event and online registration for NCIL’s 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living closes this week. All pre-event registrations must be received by Friday, July 13 at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time.

Individuals may still register onsite, but please note that onsite registration fees differ from standard registration fees and plan accordingly.  [Read more…]

Disability Integration Act (DIA) Update

First, we have THREE new cosponsors in the House! Our new cosponsors are:

  • Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX)
  • Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
  • Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA)

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WORKED TO SECURE THESE COSPONSORS!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingWe are approaching a critical time for our legislation with the NCIL Annual Conference, Day on the Hill, and upcoming midterm elections. To help get you ready, here are some “DIA Tools You Can Use”.

Need general information about DIA?

Learn about the bill at www.disabilityintegrationact.org.

Contacting your Member of Congress?

Here are some resources for meetings and other contacts with legislators. We have fact sheets and comprehensive Hill packets that you can email or print and give them. While DIA is bipartisan, in our discussions with legislators many of the questions we have received about the legislation have differed along party lines. In order to better help you address your legislator’s questions, we have developed materials specific to each party, so be sure to use the right ones.  [Read more…]

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.  [Read more…]

Integrating Disability into Emergency Management – A Blueprint to Saving Lives in the Community

The NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee is honored to present at the 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Our Pre-Conference session will be held from 2:00-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 22.

2017 was unprecedented in the number and severity of disasters in our country. The disability community was disproportionately impacted because we, and local and state emergency managers and society in general, have not acted upon the lessons we have observed from previous disasters by implementing practices, policies, and procedures to better prepare our response. Natural disasters are more intense, and human-caused disasters more frequent. If people with disabilities are to survive these disasters with less damage to us and our community, we must take action now! To paraphrase Justin Dart, “we must get involved as if our lives depended on it.” The NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee will discuss promising practices regarding developing strategies to integrate disability into emergency management in your community. In preparation for our pre-conference session, we encourage everyone to read:

Getting It Wrong: An Indictment with a Blueprint for Getting It Right

Disability Rights, Obligations and Responsibilities Before, During and After Disasters 
[Read more…]