Disability Policy News In Brief

April 30, 2018

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April 30, 2018   |   Vol. XV, Issue 159
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Health Care

Autism CARES Data

On April 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Data, which shows that about 1.7%, or 1 in 59, school-aged children in 2014 were identified with autism.

  • Action Item: Use this new report as a chance to reach out to your congressional delegation and educate them on the work you do as it relates to Autism CARES (LEND, state plans, training of developmental behavior pediatricians, lifespan services and supports, etc.). Additionally, you are encouraged to invite members of your delegation to join the Autism Caucus by using AUCDs new tool to support your efforts; you can also use this pre-crafted letter (that can be personalized) to thank them for joining or to encourage them to join the Autism Caucus if they have not.

Food Security Update

As reported in last week's In Brief, the House Committee on Agriculture approved H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (also known as the "Farm Bill"). Introduced by Rep. Conaway (R-TX), the bill includes sweeping changes to nutrition benefit programs and reduce or cut SNAP for millions of people across the U.S., including many people with disabilities and low-income families. Sources indicate that the bill will go for a vote on the House floor the week of May 7.

  • Action Item: Use this pre-crafted letter (that can be personalized) to continue to educate your congressional delegation about the importance of food security for people with disabilities and low-income Americans.  


Discipline Disparities

On April 24, the Department of Education released the biennial Civil Rights Data Collection. The report highlights disparities in the way students are treated in the nation's schools. Students with disabilities, for instance, accounted for 28 percent of students referred to law enforcement or arrested in 2015-16, despite making up just 12 percent of overall student enrollment. Those students were also by far the most frequent targets of bullying. Such disparities exist in rates of suspensions, expulsions and incidents in which students were restrained or secluded as well.

  • Action Item: Submit individual or organizations comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking that would postpone by two years the compliance date for implementing efforts to correct disparate treatment of students of color with disability; deadline to submit is May 13, 2018. You are also encouraged to send a copy of your comments to your congressional delegation.

Higher Ed

For children and adults with disabilities and their families, the Higher Education Act (HEA) is of critical importance. AUCD has joined nearly 50 other organizations in signing onto civil rights principles that we believe must be included in the upcoming reauthorization of that law. The HEA creates higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disability (ID) through its creation of the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Disabilities (TPSIDs). Inclusive postsecondary programs are effective at helping students with ID find meaningful competitive employment with increased wages thus helping individuals who may never have had such opportunities achieve financial stability. Additionally, through these programs we are seeing better outcomes in employment and wages, social networks, self-determination, and community living for students with ID. The HEA also provides support for special education teachers in the form of loan forgiveness, and grants and scholarships in a field where 98% of school districts are already facing and limiting services and supports to students with disabilities. It also represents the only federal investment to help prepare teachers in high need fields, such as special education, with the state of the art effective strategies for success.


Subminimum Wage

Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lets Department of Labor (DOL) issue certificates to eligible employers allowing them to pay workers with disabilities a subminimum wage. According to public DOL data, employers held more than 1,700 14(c) certificates covering more than 150,000 workers eligible to receive a subminimum wage as of January 2018.  This week Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bob Casey, Patty Murray, Chris Van Hollen, Maggie Hassan, Tammy Duckworth, and Bernie Sanders sent a letter pressing DOL to publicly report the pay rates of individuals with disabilities paid by employers using 14(c) certificates, at the national and state level. In addition, the senators requested a variety of data on DOLs evaluation of certificate applications, violations of FLSA among certificate holders, and DOLs revocation of certificates, among other information.

  • Action Item: Reach out to both of your Senators and express your interest in receiving the requested information as it related to your state.

Home and Community Based Settings Rule

In 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the HCBS Settings Rule - please visit hcbsadvocacy.org for background and timelines. This weekend, AUCD became aware of a letter from Representatives Grothman (R-WI) and Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to CMS requesting that the Rule be modified to eliminate the presumption against intentional communities, sheltered workshops, campus settings, farmsteads, and other residential, work, and day programing options designed to serve only individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

  • Action Items: Advocates, especially those in Wisconsin, should continue to work with their state Medicaid Agency and Members of Congress regarding: 1) comprehensive person-centered planning best practices, 2) timely notice of public comment periods in order to respond to revised statewide transition plans, 3) ongoing monitoring of settings that were deemed isolating.

If you have any questions please contact Christine Grosso.


On April 25, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson unveiled a package of reforms - Making Affordable Housing Work Act - that would amend the Housing Act of 1937 to introduce new rent reforms and standards. The bill establishes a new formula for calculating rent: increasing what families must pay of their gross monthly income up to 35 percent or 35 percent of what an individual would earn working 15 hours a week for four weeks at minimum wage (whichever is higher) and establishes a new minimum rent for households who are currently exempt from paying 30 percent, namely older adults and people with disabilities; the bill also enables public-housing authorities (PHAs) and landlords who accept vouchers to set work requirements for people who receive housing assistance and includes "alternative" rent structures, such as tiered rents that PHAs can choose to adopt (these standards, to be established through future regulations, would serve as time limits for households receiving housing aid). AUCD is concerned that these measures will have negative impact on low-income American's who temporarily rely on subsidies housing and make it more difficult for families to develop economic stability.

  • Action Item: Educate your Members of Congress on the importance of accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities and their families.

2018 Disability Policy Seminar

We hope you enjoyed the AUCD Trainee Summit and Disability Policy Seminar, please be sure to complete your evaluation and share your experience on the hill with AUCD Director of Public Policy, Rylin Rodgers. Building relationships - hill visit follow-up:

  • Send thank you notes
  • Send any promised or requested information
  • Set a reminder for future communication. Ideas include: Share you LEND project; Share your Center's newsletter; Share local media coverage of issues related to disability.

For future reference: Topical factsheets and Your Role in Policy Advocacy as a Federally-Funded Program.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

The Tuesdays with Liz series is taking a break while Liz Weintraub is on detail working with the Senate Aging Committee. Tuesdays with Liz will return to a regular taping schedule and new episodes will air in the late Spring when Liz returns to AUCD. Until then, we will be highlighting some of our favorite Tuesdays with Liz episodes from this past year on social media at @AUCDnews.


For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

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

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

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