Action Alert: COVID-19

March 18, 2020


Congress and the administration are responding the COVID-19 crisis in a variety of ways. It is important in the fast-moving decision process that the various relief and safety efforts meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Congressional efforts:



What is means for People with Disabilities

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

Became Law on
March 6, 2020

The bill requires that agencies "pay back" money that was moved from programs like NIDILRR and emergency heat funding when the crisis began. 

Families First Coronavirus
Response Act

Passed House on March 15, 2020;Passed  Senate on March 18, 2020; Signed by President and became law on March 19, 2020

Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. Increased paid leave. Enhanced Unemployment Insurance to people unable to work. Increased funding for food security programs.

Package 3

Being written

Your voices are needed to make sure the needs of people with disabilities are addressed.

Package 4 and beyond

Almost certainly needed

Action Step:

Contact your Congressional Delegation:

  1. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (tty) and ask to be connected to your member.
  2. You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.
  3. Tip: Most Hill offices now have some or all of their staff working from home.
  4. If you can email the staff member that handles disability or health policy directly you can have the greatest impact. If you need assistance finding that email, please send a request for help to [email protected].

Ask that all emergency relief action includes the needs of people with disabilities. Specific talking points include:

  • Protections for the civil rights of people with disabilities, including ensuring they are not forced into institutional settings (where they are also at higher risk) or discriminated against in access to care and treatment
  • Increased federal reimbursement for state Medicaid programs to help states respond to the crisis
  • Include specific dollars to support access to Home and Community Based Services
  • Expand nutrition assistance - increased funding and expanded eligible food items
  • Workforce support, including paid sick leave and paid leave for all workers
  • Support to make sure that online and other learning is accessible and meets the needs of students with disabilities
  • Inclusion of all people with disabilities in emergency income relief, waiving of any asset and program limits that would be impacted