Disability Policy News

July 13, 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)
                 July 13, 2020   |   Vol. MMXX, Issue 28

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically.COVID-19

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.

What happened last week: 

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:

black and white image of capitol domeUCEDD Funding in COVID Package 4

A group of Democratic Senators sent a letter to Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer requesting $30 million be included in the next COVID-19 Package for the Developmental Disabilities Network, and calling for the funds to be divided equally among the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (CDD or Councils), the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), and the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) programs. The ask comes in response to the disproportionate effect the pandemic is having on the disability community and recognizes the unique capabilities of the network to address the growing needs of individuals with developmental and other disabilities.

Plain Language:

  • Congress is working on ways to support people with disabilities in the next COVID-19 package. Some Senators want to give money to organizations that support people with disabilities.

What this means to you:

  • Senators are working right now to decide how to support people during the COVID-19 crisis. They need to hear from you about what would best help you and people with disabilities in your community.

Action Steps:

  • Read the letter sent to Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer requesting funds for the Developmental Disabilities Network in a COVID-19 Package 4. 
  • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators- share with your Senators the importance of this funding.
    • You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress

seal of House of Represenatives Fiscal Year 2021

This week the House Appropriations Committee released a fiscal year 2021 (FY21) funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other related agencies. The bill, which increases overall funding by $2.4 billion above the fiscal year 2020 level, stands in direct contrast to President Trump's significantly smaller budget request. Highlights of the bill particularly relevant to people with disabilities include increases in funding for programs to improve maternal and child health, Medicare and Medicaid services, Home and Community-Based Supportive Services (HCBS), and Special Education. Details related to AUCD ask include:


FY 2020 Funding

AUCD FY 21 Ask

House Committee FY21





















The Senate has not yet released funding legislation for FY21.

 Plain Language:

  • Congress has started working on next year's budgets for the government. They are deciding how much money to spend on different programs that support education, housing, health, and job training.

 What this means to you:

  • Many services and systems that support people with disabilities rely on federal funding.  Educating members of Congress about how systems work and why the funding is valuable is important to ensure continued funding.

Action Steps:

United Nations logo, black and whiteWorld Health Organization

This week the Trump Administration officially moved to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO), a withdrawal that would become effective July 6, 2021. The action comes months after President Trump first voiced his displeasure with the international global health organization's response to the emergence and spread of COVID-19 around the globe. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as numerous public health officials, have expressed alarm over the decision to withdraw from the WHO even as the number of Coronavirus cases rise in the United States and worldwide. It is important to note, however, that the withdrawal will not take effect for a year and that the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, former Vice President Biden, has stated that he would keep the United States in the WHO should he be elected.

Plain Language:

  • President Trump wants to end the relationship between the United States and the World Health Organization. No change will happen for a year. 
    • The World Health Organization, which is also called "WHO," is a part of the United Nations. They work on keeping people healthy around the world. The governments of many countries work with WHO, including the United States.

What it means to you:

  • The World Health Organization helps to keep people, including people with disabilities, healthy around the world. If the United States leaves the organization, it might make it harder to keep people in the United States and other countries healthy.

Action Steps:

  • Read the WHO's guidance note on COVID-19 for people with disabilities as an example of the important work the WHO does for people with disabilities around the world.
  • Note that the United Nations (UN) does important work related to international disability rights beyond the WHO. Watch the UN Secretary General speak on the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people with disabilities.

hand putting ballot in boxVoting

This week is National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW)!

AUCD is excited to join partners across the disability community working to increase the political power of people with disabilities by sharing resources and getting folks registered to vote. This National Disability Voter Registration Week is part of our plans to continuously share information and resources up to Election Day 2020.

Things to Do:

  • Follow AUCD's social media accounts and share AUCD's posts on your own social media platforms. Find AUCD at:
  • Post local-/state-specific information on social media using #REVUP #DisabilityVote
  • Share voting resources with AUCD to distribute

AUCD resources to share and support your efforts:

Voting Resources from Disability Partners:


logo of AUCD Policy TalkAUCD Policy Talk

This week Laura Rodgers, a college student and disabled woman, challenges colleges and universities to consider the rights and needs of students with disabilities when reopening this Fall during #COVID19 on this week's #AUCDPolicyTalk. #WhatWeNeed #PWD #ADA #ADA30 https://bit.ly/300Dax8

Action Steps:


Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz Weintraub Tuesdays with Liz

July marks the 30th anniversary of the ADA! Hear thoughts from AUCD leaders on the 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act.