Disability Policy News

June 8, 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 8, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 23

Civil And Human Rights 

The death of George Floyd, 46, after a police officer knelt on his neck during his arrest in Minneapolis last Monday has led to protests and demonstrations around the country. 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. 

Plain Language: 

  • Racism hurts our country. People are protesting and speaking out for change. 

What this means to you: 

  • We all have a role in addressing racism and making needed changes. The injustice and inequality experienced by black Americans is a human rights, civil rights, and disability rights issue. The disability community will work for change.

Action steps:

Additional Background: 

o Bills and Policy:




Plain language 

H.R. 4359 - Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone Act of 2019 

Introduced to House September 2019 

Prohibits lethal force unless necessary and only after required use of reasonable alternatives have been exhausted and encourages states to adopt similar laws or policies.

Police must try to calm everyone involved down and safely control them without using violence before using any weapons

Additional bills are expected this week to address a variety of policy changes Including:

  • Establishing policy that prohibits law enforcement officers from performing maneuvers that restrict the flow of oxygen or blood to the brain such as chokeholds, knee-to neck, and similar restraints. 
  • Establish policy that eliminates qualified immunity, a defense that shields officials from being sued, and has been interpreted by courts so broadly that it may allow officers to engage in unconstitutional acts with impunity.
  • Contact your congressional delegation by Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at: (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and advocate for justice. 

Sample Script:

"Hi, my name is _____ and I am calling because _______ (personal impact of police brutality)______.  I am from _______(university program name/city and state).  I have experience with ___________.  I care about____________."



CDC COVID-19 image


Congress and the administration are responding to the COVID-19 crisis in a variety of ways. It is important that the various relief and safety efforts meet the needs of 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: 

    • The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (HR 7010) was signed into law on Friday, June 4. The law extends the time business have to spend the funds from an eight-week period to 24 weeks. 
    • Senate leadership has not yet expressed an interest in considering "Package 4" legislation. It may be the case that Senate action may come in July 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:


International Disability Rights

  • U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Office of International Disability Rights Act (S.3880). The bill would:
  • establish an Office of International Disability Rights within the U.S. Department of State 
  • create an Ambassador-at-Large for Disability Rights
  •  require the State Department and other agencies that provide foreign assistance to integrate disability inclusion and policies into their programming.

Companion legislation (H.R.3373) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV-1) and Don Young (R-AK).


Plain Language:

  • Bills that requires disability inclusion in the work the government does is in front of the House and the Senate.

Action Steps:

  • Contact your Representatives and Senators to share your views and ask that they consider cosponsoring these bills. 

Public Health Logo tan sheild with white arched crossPublic Health Loan Repayment 

The Strengthening the Public Health Workforce Act (S. 3737) - introduced by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) - would reauthorize and strengthen the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program to provide loan repayment assistance to eligible individuals who work in a local, state, or tribal public health department for two consecutive years. Under the proposal, an individual could receive up to $35,000 in repayment assistance for each year of service. A related bill, "Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act," (H.R. 6578) has been introduced by Reps. Jason Crow (D-CO) and Michael Burgess (R-TX).


Plain Language:

  • Bills that would provide money to help people who work in public health jobs pay back student loans are in front of the House and the Senate.


What this means to you:

  • Local, state and tribal public health departments may be able to hire staff because of some loan forgiveness


Action Steps:

  • Contact your Representatives and Senators to share your views and ask that they consider cosponsoring these bills. 
  • Our partners at NACCHO have an online form you can use to contact your members 

CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesCommitte on Health Education Labor and Pension

Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 

On June 3rd, the Nomination of Julie Hocker to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy was considered in Executive Session of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The committee voted to move the nomination favorably to the Senate by a vote of  12 to 11 (along party lines). We do not have a date for the full vote by the Senate, but it is likely within the current Congressional work period.

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 the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Action Steps:

  • View the recording of the hearing.


The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing, COVID-19: Going Back to College Safely, on June 4.

Action Steps:

·       Watch the hearing.

A related hearing on K-12 schools is scheduled for June 10.

Action Steps:


hand putting ballot in box Voting

As primaries continue and we prepare for November 3rd, AUCD shares these voting resources:

  • Our partners at American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) have announced POWER: the Disability Vote, a national, non-partisan disability & election virtual summit on Monday & Tuesday, June 22 and 23, from noon to 3:45 pm ET.
    • Both days will include panels, presentations, and a national call-to-action to mobilize disability voters and allies.
    • Registration is free and you are able to register for one or both days. 

AUCD Policy Talklogo of AUCD Policy Talk

"The current COVID-19 health crisis - along with unprecedented levels of unemployment, income loss, and uncertainty - has made it clear that programs like General Assistance are more critical than ever." Jennifer Wolf from Pennsylvania Health Access Network analyzes the impact of General Assistance for many, including #PWD, on this week's #AUCDPolicyTalk.

Action Steps:

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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

Mentoring is preparing leaders for the future. Liz talks to Mark Crenshaw of the Georgia LEND program about mentoring.

To learn more about the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) Hall of Fame, visit https://ndmc.pyd.org/hall-of-fame/


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