the advocacy monitor

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

Contact Your Senators to Stop Graham-Cassidy!

A targeted Action Alert for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia

Senate Republicans have only 9 days left to pass their latest effort to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and radically restructure and cut Medicaid. Previous attempts in the Senate failed largely because of the disability community’s efforts, and we need to make sure the Graham-Cassidy proposal (PDF) does not succeed!  [Read more…]

Less than One Week Until #NationalVoterRegistrationDay 

September 26, 2017 is National Voter Registration Day, a holiday established in 2012 to encourage people to register to vote and update their registration. This year, NCIL is a partner of National Voter Registration Day and will be promoting the day on social media. It’s not too late for your CIL or SILC to get involved!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThere are a few ways that you can participate in National Voter Registration Day 2017 next Tuesday:

  • It’s not too late, so sign your organization on as a partner!
  • Encourage your consumers to register to vote or update their registration, especially if they recently turned 18 years of age, have moved recently, changed their name, or have not voted in recent elections.
  • Engage on social media! Tweet using the hashtag #NationalVoterRegistrationDay, post on Facebook and encourage your followers to register to vote through an online registration page such as AAPD’s online voter registration tool.
  • Encourage voters with disabilities to engage in great non-partisan voting initiatives such as #CripTheVote on Twitter and AAPD’s Rev Up Campaign.
  • Let your consumers know if there are local elections in your municipality or state this year.

Please contact Sarah Blahovec, Disability Vote Organizer, at if you have any questions.

Are You Wondering How You Can Help Disaster Survivors Right Now?

A message from the NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee

Our country has been wracked recently with one natural disaster after another. Right now there are three storms in the Atlantic with one of them heading straight toward the American Territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which have not yet begun their recovery from Hurricane Irma. Texas will be recovering from Hurricane Harvey for years and we must not forget about the wildfires in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, and other western states.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingBecause we have done a great job of advocating for home and community-based services over the years, we are living lives of increased freedom in the community, which naturally means that we are more susceptible to adverse changes in those communities. A Hurricane wreaks havoc on the natural support systems that we depend on to live independently.

Fortunately, there is a dedicated group of individuals who recognize our vulnerability in a disaster and have, over the past 20 years, formed agencies, committees, and task forces to address the specific issues of people with disabilities affected by disaster. These agencies are stepping up in incredible ways to help our people who are hungry, homeless, and without their usual support systems as a result of a recent natural disaster. Many of you are asking how you can help and where and what to donate. Here are four specific ways.  [Read more…]

Resources for Individual and Workplace Wellness: An Update from the NCIL Violence & Abuse Subcommittee

Increased violence in our communities results in more victims – and victim advocates – seeking ways to stay well and opportunities for support. Trauma and vicarious trauma deeply impacts people.

The NCIL Violence & Abuse Subcommittee encourages Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to make time to support peers and staff in daily wellness and sharing wellness resources. Tending to workplace wellness and supporting individual wellness plans will go a long way as we persist in the face of oppressive systems and the attacks on our civil rights across our country.  [Read more…]

Project Innovate

By Rudy Contreras, NCIL Veterans Subcommittee Member

Like all goals in life, it all started with a dream, an idea to think beyond the social norm and reach for the stars. Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS) Executive Director Rudy Contreras envisioned a program unlike any other. The idea of bringing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) to youth with disabilities became a journey of collaboration and unity. With the partnership from the Columbia Memorial Space Center, SCRS launched the first ever STEM program designed specifically for youth with disabilities in February 2017. SCRS selected youth from six different high schools with various disabilities; all participating in a program to empower them to become future innovators.  [Read more…]

CIL-NET Presents… An IL Conversation via Teleconference: Parenting with a Disability

  • Presented by: Kelly Buckland, Sarah Launderville, Susan Yuan, and Kimberly Tissot
  • September 21, 2017; 3:00 – 4:30 PM Eastern

Join to discuss:

  • Work the NCIL Taskforce on Parenting with a Disability is involved in
  • Opportunities available for advocacy
  • Rights of parents with disabilities
  • Where we need to go from here

Join the conversation via teleconference: 281.404.1544 using PIN 9558554.  [Read more…]

Free Webinar: Business Acumen – Tools to help you succeed!

Business Acumen Center Logo - Providing Resources to Sustain Disability OrganizationsBusiness Acumen describes an organization’s ability to quickly and keenly understand and address a business situation in a manner that will likely to lead to a good outcome. Many Community Based Organizations (CBO)* seeking to diversify their payer portfolios – specifically those seeking to sell or deliver services to health plans and other payers or providers of health services – find that they must learn or strengthen existing skill sets. Organizations effective in engaging stakeholders, developing relationships, negotiating and contracting, understanding and maximizing the financial position, articulating the business case for services and navigating change while maintaining the organization’s mission are positioned for success in a changing environment.  [Read more…]

Survey to Help Improve Financial Services for Service Members, Veterans and their Families

Source: National Disability Institute (NDI)

Are you an active duty Service Member or Veteran? If so, make your voice heard by taking less than 10 minutes of your time to complete this voluntary, anonymous and confidential survey.

The National Disability Institute (NDI) has worked closely over the past several years with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Veterans Affairs to identify opportunities to improve the overall financial wellness of Veterans, Service Members and their families. NDI is seeking survey responses in order to better understand how to help members of our military and veteran communities connect to and benefit from trusted, reliable, no-cost local community-based tax and financial services.

Ticket to Work Announcements

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that federal contractors and subcontractors – companies doing business with the federal government – take affirmative action to recruit, hire, employ, promote, and retain qualified people with disabilities. You can learn more about Section 503 with latest resource from Ticket to Work: Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act: Working for a Federal Contractor. This document answers frequently asked questions, including:

  • What is Section 503?
  • What does self-identification mean?
  • What does Section 503 mean to Social Security disability beneficiaries?

Ticket to Work is also hosting a Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinar on September 27, which will focus on Ticket to Work and Work Incentives for people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Register for this free webinar online.

Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill Introduced

This Wednesday, Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) proposal (PDF), the Republicans’ last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major cuts to Medicaid.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingLike the previous bills we’ve seen, the GCHJ proposal would eliminate coverage and protections for millions while completely decimating Medicaid. The proposal would repeal the ACA individual and employer mandates, eliminate assistance that makes coverage affordable, revoke protections for people with pre-existing conditions, phase out Medicaid expansion, and dramatically cut Medicaid by imposing per capita caps. Just like the other bills, the GCHJ proposal will be devastating for people with disabilities.

NCIL is closely monitoring the progress of the GCHJ proposal, and we will be sending out a targeted action alert next week with more information for constituents of key Republican Senators. In the meantime, call your Republican Senators NOW and urge them to oppose the GCHJ proposal!

You can reach your Senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). New tools are available at You can also use Resistbot to have your texts turned into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters; use to fax your Senators for free; or contact them via social media. You can find social media contacts on Contacting Congress.