Disability Policy News In Brief

November 7, 2016

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November 7, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 97
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2016 Elections

Tomorrow is Election Day! If you haven't already voted and still need information, please see AUCD's online Election Guide.  All you need is your zip code to find information about the candidates and where to vote.  See last week's In Brief for voting guides on the issues.  Tomorrow, watch for Tuesdays with Liz's special message for voters.

FY 2017 Appropriations

AUCD helped draft a letter on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Education Task Force to lead appropriators in the House and Senate working to finalize the FY17 funding bill for the Department of Education.  The letter recommends the highest possible funding amounts from the current House and Senate bills regarding programs under the IDEA, including early intervention; research within the Institute of Education Sciences; and funding for the Office of Civil Rights responsible for enforcing civil rights to public education.  See the letter here and consider sending a letter with similar recommendations.

Social Security

AUCD signed on to CCD Social Security Task Force comments in response to Social Security's NPRM regarding the evaluation of medical evidence to determine eligibility. CCD's comments are opposed to the proposed rules.  In the letter, the task force, among other things, points out that the Rules will not lead to more accurate decisions or decrease processing times; the process of training adjudicators on this complex new regulation and adapting SSA systems to comply with it will be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive; and that some of the proposed changes are not evidence-based and appear to be at odds with the Social Security Act.  The proposed Rule can be found on Regulations.gov. Comments are due by COB tomorrow, Nov. 8. (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence, 81 Fed. Reg. 62559). 

Health Care

National Health Interview Survey

The CCD Health Task Force, of which AUCD is a member, commented on the proposed changes of decreasing the type of data currently being collected with the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The letter urges the National Center for Health Statistics to develop and test questions to identify adults with developmental disabilities or to reconsider asking about the specific conditions (intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and others) and the age of onset in order to be able to continue to identify individuals with developmental disabilities. NHIS disability data provides critical data to policymakers, researchers and others to represent the complete population of people with disabilities as a demographic, and to inform policymakers and those of us who work to decrease disability health disparities.  As the population ages and the number of people with disabilities increases, this data will be vital to policymakers and advocates.  Decreasing the data currently collected is contrary to the intent of Affordable Care Act's Section 4302's overall goal of increasing data collection as a means to decrease health disparities.

Health Insurance - Open Enrollment

Last Tuesday, the fourth open enrollment period started, allowing millions of Americans who currently lack the security of health insurance to have another opportunity to gain access to affordable coverage.  This also allows those who enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplaces in previous years to renew or change their plans.  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, for this coming year, due to tax credits that protect people from rising premiums, more than 7 in 10 consumers will be able to find a plan for less than $75 a month. Notably, if every returning consumer shopped around and selected the lowest cost plan offering similar benefits, average premiums would fall by $28 per month - 20 percent - compared to 2016. 

Public Health

Zika Resources

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) issued a guide for states and communities responding to the needs of children affected by Zika. This resource is focused on the comprehensive health needs of infants and children affected by Zika Virus (ZIKV). It is intended as a planning resource for states and communities as they develop a coordinated response to meet the immediate and long term needs of infants and children affected by ZIKV, and their families. HRSA also has a website dedicated to providing up-to-date information and resources.


On November 1, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance about the application of Title II and Olmstead to employment. This guidance responds to a number of questions 1) What is the ADA's Title II integration mandate, and how does it apply to state and local governments' employment service systems? 2) What is the most integrated setting under the ADA and Olmstead? 3) How can state and local governments' employment service systems ensure that people with disabilities (PWD) have access to competitive integrated employment? 4) What evidence may a person with a disability rely on to establish that an integrated setting is appropriate? 5) What factors are relevant in determining whether an individual does not oppose receiving services in an integrated employment setting? 6) Do the ADA and Olmstead apply to persons at serious risk of segregation in sheltered workshops? 7) What remedies address violations of the ADA's integration mandate in the context of disability employment systems? 8) What is an Olmstead Plan in the state and local government employment service system context? 9) Is the ADA limited to segregation in employment settings when the same individuals are also subject to segregation in other settings during the day, like facility-based day programs? We are pleased with the content of this guidance and DOJ indicating that the integration mandate applies to sheltered work programs and non-work day programs; however, it does not consistently specify non-work segregated day programs.


ABLE Webinar

With the recent launch of the Ohio, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Florida State ABLE programs, the ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) is offering a free webinar for potential ABLE participants, their families, and other stakeholders (Tuesday, November 15). This webinar will concentrate on how beneficiaries and their families can better understand the investment side of owning and maintaining an ABLE account.

New ABLE Program

Michigan recently launched its ABLE program called MiABLE. Michigan's program allows any qualified individual in the country to enroll. For more information, visit the MiABLE website, and for general information and news about other state's ABLE program visit the National Resource Center.

President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

On October 21 President Obama appointed nine members to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID). AUCD would like to especially congratulate Tawara Goode (Associate Director of the Georgetown UCEDD and Director of the National Center for Cultural Competence), Rebecca Salon (Project Director at the National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities), and Merrill Friedman (Senior Director of Disability Policy Engagement at Anthem, Inc.). The mission of PCPID is to provide advice and assistance to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual disabilities and the field of intellectual disabilities.


Today, November 7, the White House held a Disability and Inclusive Technology summit to bring together disability rights activist, technology industry makers, and federal officials to examine approaches to ensure that the internet among other things is accessible to all; along with making universal design a key part of advances in technology. View the archived event here and follow the conversation using #DesignForAll and #InclusiveTech.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All                   

During this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz, for Election Day, Liz speaks about the importance of voting. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Shea Tanis, of the Coleman institute, about technology and the Declaration of Rights for Technology for people with disabilities.


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For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

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