Disability Policy News

June 1, 2020

Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
                 June 1, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 22

Civil and Human Rights

The death of George Floyd, 46, after a police officer knelt on his neck during his arrest in Minneapolis on Monday has lead to protests and demonstrations around the country.  The protests reflect how the history of race and injustice in America continues to impact all parts of our world. It is important to note that communities of color are already being hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19.  The disability community's connections to and intersection with all parts of the civil and human rights community are essential to who we are and lead us to stand together and speak out against injustice and inequality in all its forms.

CDC COVID-19 image


Congress and the administration are responding to 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. The latest Congressional COVID-19 response includes people with disabilities. Your education to members of Congress about the impact on people with disabilities is important during this time.

Congressional Efforts:



What it means for People with Disabilities

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

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

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.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act)



Became law on March 27, 2020

  • Allows state Medicaid programs to pay for direct support professionals to assist disabled individuals in the hospital
  • $13.5 billion available for formula grants to States, which will then distribute 90 percent of funds to local educational agencies to meet needs of all students, including students with disabilities
  • $85 million for Centers for Independent Living
  • $50 million for Aging and Disability Resource Centers
  • Extension of Money Follows the Person and Spousal Impoverishment through November 30, 2020
  • Waives nutrition requirements for Older Americans Act (OAA) meal programs during the public health emergency related to COVID-19 to ensure seniors can get meals in case certain food options are not available

Paycheck Protection Program and Heath Care Enhancement Act

Became law on April 24, 2020

  • $321 billion to refill the CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses
  • $75 billion to help hospitals treat COVID-19 patients and address drops in revenue
  • $25 billion for states to increase testing capabilities

Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act)


Passed the House on May 15, 2020


  • Home and Community Based Services investment to support wages, services, leave, and related critical needs to support access to home and community- based services.  
  • $10,000,000 for Developmental Disabilities Act Programs
  • $10 Billion additional for nutrition services and increased flexibility to support greater access for people with disabilities
  • Requirement for CDC Field Study Pertaining to Health Inequities   
  • Specifically: "the impact of disability status on health care access and disease outcomes"

What happened last week: 

    Senate leadership has not yet expressed an interest in "taking up" or considering the legislation. It may be the case that Senate action may come in June or later. Senators continue to work introducing legislation that indicates their priorities to be included in the next package.
Plain Language:
  • Congress is working on bills to support people during COVID-19. They need to hear from you about the needs of people with disabilities.

What this means to you:

  • More than 105 million Americans - or about 4 in 10 adults - are at greater risk if infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19), including older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions. The front-line workers and family caregivers who support these individuals also face increased risks, requiring additional resources and supports to protect their health and well-being.

Action steps:

Committe on Health Education Labor and PensionCommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions 

On June 3rd, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold nomination hearings, including the nomination of Julie Hocker (current Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities at the Administration for Community Living (ACL)) to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy.

Plain Language:

  • The Senate is going  to  consider Julie Hocker for a new job in government in the Department of Labor.

What this means to you:

  • This is a presidential political appointed position. It would leave a leadership vacancy at ACL.

Action Steps:

The Senate HELP Committee also has scheduled two hearings focused on how to reopen schools this fall. The hearing on how to reopen colleges and universities is slate for June 4, and a hearing on K-12 schools will be on June 10.

votin ballet boxVoting

The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is collecting public comment on the proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 (VVSG 2.0). The EAC made the decision to undertake the drafting of VVSG 2.0 as a result of feedback received over several years from a variety of stakeholders, including state and local election officials, voting system manufacturers, and usability, accessibility and security interest groups.

Plain Language:

·       The government wants to hear from you about voting guidelines.

What this means to you:

·       There is concern that VVSG 2.0 may decrease accessibility when compared to the current VVSG 1.1 standards. While security guidelines in 2.0 are important, they could have a negative impact on accessible voting for people with disabilities.

Action Steps:

·       Submit comments on VVSG 2.0 via Regs.Gov. Comments are due June 22, 2020. 


Campaign 2020 checklistCampaign 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden as released a disability policy plan, The Biden Plan for Full Participation and Equality for People with Disabilities, as well as a disability plan addressing COVID-19, Supporting People with Disabilities During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.  Biden is the expected Democratic nominee for President.

President Donald Trump has published a list of current accomplishments, by the issues.

Action Step:

·       Continue to support people with disabilities, families and supporters to get out the disability vote. Learn more about the AAPD/REVUP Power: The Disability Vote summit being held virtually June 22. 

AUCD Policy Talklogo of AUCD Policy Talk

"No one understands anyone else's experience better than them, which is why Tuesdays with Liz is so amazing: real people are sharing their story with others." - Jalyn Marks, Producer of Tuesdays with Liz, shares her reflections on this week's #AUCDPolicyTalk #Policy4All

Action Steps:

AUCD logoLove Policy? We do too!

Check out AUCD's new policy resource, a one-page fact sheet to help explain AUCD's policy efforts, and engage with us today!


Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub

Tuesdays With Liz

Storytelling with Dina Johnson

"We all have experiences in our lives that can help other people." - Dina Johnson

Liz sits down with AUCD Storytelling Committee Co-chair Dina Johnson to talk about why storytelling is so important in the disability community.

Share your story with AUCD! https://www.aucd.org/template/page.cf...