Disability Policy News

March 29, 2021

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)
                 March 29, 2021   |   Vol. MMXXI, Issue 12

medical injection needle and calendar, black and white

COVID-19 Vaccine

The White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force is seeking public comments for an upcoming meeting, date TBD. The Task Force is tasked with developing a set of recommendations to the President for mitigating the health inequities caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and for preventing such inequities in the future. The Task Force is accepting public comments on the health inequities faced by COVID-19 survivors that may merit a public health response, the factors that contributed to disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, and recommended actions to combat such disparities in future pandemic responses. Comments are due via email Thursday, April 1st.

Plain language:

  • The White House has a team of people working to make sure no one is left out of the government's COVID-19 response, including people with disabilities.
What it means to you:

  • They want to hear from you about how the government can do better in the future to make sure everyone is included going forward.
Action steps:

black and white image of capitol domeHouse Education and Labor Committee

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on ‘Lessons Learned: Charting the Path to Educational Equity Post-COVID-19.' The hearing included testimony on the needs of students with disabilities going forward.

Plain language:

  • The House Education and Labor Committee is learning more about how to help all students get a good education, including students with disabilities.
Action steps:

three dollar bills, black and whiteAppropriations

Members of Congress are currently seeking your input on Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 priorities. Now is the time for network directors, faculty, partners, trainees, families and allies to educate their members of Congress about why investments in programs that support people with disabilities are important.

AUCD's FY 22 Budget Request by Program:


FY 20 Enacted

FY 21 Enacted

FY 22 AUCD's Request

FY 22 President's Budget Proposal

Autism and other DD


$52.344 million

$35.245 million

$53.844 million

$36.245 million

$56.5 million

$38 million

To be announced


$41.619 million

$42.119 million

$45 million

To be announced

NCBDDD (within CDC)

$160 million

$167 million

$180 million

To be announced


$11.8 million

$13.8 million

$14 million

To be announced


$12.25 million

$12.25 million

$14 million

To be announced

NICHD (includes IDDRCs)

$1.59 billion

$1.59 billion

$1.708 billion

To be announced

Plain language:

  • AUCD is starting the process of asking for its yearly money from the federal government.
What it means to you:

  • Many AUCD programs get their funding from the federal appropriations process.
    • Appropriations is the act of setting aside money for a specific program from the federal budget.
Action steps:

black and white image of capitol domeSenate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has issued a request for stakeholder comments on workforce innovation to address lost jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic. Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) are asking for the following information in pursuit of bipartisan solutions:

  • how to enhance or improve workforce training in direct relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery, including ways to address workforce needs of the health care and public health sectors;
  • reforms to programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act;
  • ways to develop, modernize, and diversify the national apprenticeship system, including innovative approaches such as youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship; and
  • strategies to encourage innovation to address worker and industry needs.
This is an excellent opportunity for members of the disability community to advocate for the inclusion of employees with disabilities in national economic recovery efforts. All comments must be submitted to [email protected] by April 9, 2021.

Plain language:

  • Lawmakers want to hear new ideas on how to help more people return to work after COVID-19.
What this means to you:

  • People with disabilities are an important part of the country's workforce. We need to make sure they are included in economic recovery efforts.
Action step:

black symbol of building to look like hospitalHealthcare.gov

This week, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that the special enrollment period that began on February 15 for HealthCare.gov will continue through August 15, 2021. This three-month extension allows people to enroll in or switch health plans with the credits that were included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP). People who received unemployment for at least one week this year are eligible for $0 premium plans and the highest level of cost-sharing reductions.

Plain language:

Action steps:

  • If you need health insurance, go to Healthcare.gov before August 15th. If you already have coverage, help your family and friends sign-up and enroll.

outline of U.S. Capitol Building in blueDisability Policy Seminar

The Disability Policy Seminar and the pre-DPS events for the AUCD network will be entirely virtual this year.

  • The next AUCD event will be virtual on April 16. You may register for that free event now. 
  • Disability Policy Seminar will be April 19, 2021 to April 22, 2021. The cost to students and self-advocates is $135, and $225 for all others. Registration is now open!
The Disability Policy Seminar offers the opportunity for passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field to come together and learn about key federal issues that affect them most. After a wide range of sessions offering training and learning, participants will learn how best to engage with their Members of Congress and be given opportunities to do so. You are welcome to register for both the AUCD events and the Disability Policy Seminar or for either.

Plain language:

  • The Disability Policy Seminar will be a virtual event from April 19, 2021 - April 22, 2021. You can register now!
  • The next AUCD pre-DPS events will be virtual on April 16. You may register for that free event now.
Action steps:

logo of AUCD Policy TalkAUCD Policy Talk

"Moving forward, we need a strong commitment to transitioning people from institutional settings to their home and communities with an emphasis on empowering people with disabilities."

This week on AUCD Policy Talk, Dr. Amy Houtrow, a professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, builds upon her Senate testimony in support of improving Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services through the HCBS Access Act.

Action steps:

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

We are excited to announce that Tuesdays with Liz is back on a new Youtube channel! In this new episode, Liz talks about why you should get the COVID-19 vaccine and shares her own experience getting the vaccine. Subscribe to Tuesdays with Liz today!