Disability Policy News

April 12, 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)
                 April 12, 2021   |   Vol. MMXXI, Issue 14

three dollar bills, black and white


On Friday, April 9th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released an overview of the President's appropriations proposals for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 discretionary funding and some further details on priorities within individual agencies. The President's proposal is a 16% increase in non-defense discretionary spending over FY2021, and includes several lines of interest to the disability community:

  • Education:
    • $15.5 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) (+ $2.6 billion)
  • Health and Human Services:
    • $8.7 billion for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (+ $1.6 billion)
    • $51 billion for National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • $551 for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
  • Social Security Administration:
    • $14.2 billion (+ $1.3 billion)

The President's budget is typically considered an opening bid in negotiations with Congress.

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

U.S. Health and Human Services topline:

$131.7 billion 

Exact number TBD


$41.619 million

$42.119 million

$45 million

U.S. Health and Human Services topline:

$131.7 billion 

Exact number TBD

NCBDDD (within CDC)

$160 million

$167 million

$180 million

CDC topline:

$8.7 billion

Exact number TBD


$11.8 million

$13.8 million

$14 million

U.S. Department of Education topline:

$102.8 billion

Exact number TBD


$12.25 million

$12.25 million

$14 million

U.S. Health and Human Services topline:

$131.7 billion 

Exact number TBD

NICHD (includes IDDRCs)

$1.59 billion

$1.59 billion

$1.708 billion

National Institutes of Health:

$51 billion

Exact number TBD

Plain language:

  • The President has announced his ideas for the federal government's budget in 2022. It does not include many details.
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:
  • Learn more about the President's budget: FY22 Discretionary Request
  • Email your Congressional delegation sharing AUCD's language and ask:
    • LEND
    • Members of Congress are encouraged to show their support for LEND by signing the Letter requesting an increase in funding to align with the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's (IACC) recommendations for funding at NIH, CDC, HRSA, and Dept of Ed, as well as HRSA's funding of the LEND program. Your member of Congress can sign this letter by sending an email to [email protected] by Friday, April 23.
    • UCEDD
    • PNS
    • IDDRC
  • Learn more about the federal appropriations process in plain language from AUCD.

outline of a road underneath a bridge, black and white

President Biden released the American Jobs Plan, a proposal for infrastructure reform and economic recovery. The proposal is a framework that will need to be translated into legislative text and passed through Congress. Priorities in the disability community that may be considered as part of the legislative package include:

  • Ending subminimum wages and modernizing disability employment supports to allow for competitive, integrated employment;
  • Continued expansion of access to HCBS for people with disabilities, ending waiting lists for services and ensuring a stable, valued direct support workforce;
  • Meeting the educational needs of students with disabilities in PreK-12 and higher education; and
  • Ensuring all modernization of physical and virtual infrastructures are accessible.

Plain language:

  • President Biden has a new plan for improving our country's infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure means the buildings, roads, bridges, power lines, and other things our country needs to work every day. It can also include systems that make our country work like schools, healthcare, and other government services.
What it means to you:

  • Disability issues are a large part of the American Jobs Plan, creating a need for all members of Congress to hear from you about Home and Community-Based Services and Competitive Integrated Employment.
Action steps:

carton of milk and apple, black and whiteNutrition Assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an additional $1 billion per month in emergency food assistance to participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The increased funding, authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is intended to assist the lowest-income families with temporary food needs during the pandemic.

Plain language:

  • The government is giving extra help buying food to people who do not make a lot of money during COVID-19.
What it means to you:

  • Some people with disabilities could be eligible for the extra help to buy food. 
Action steps:

Seal of the United States Department of Education, colorU.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education has released the second part of its Ed COVID-19 Handbook: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs. This volume addresses the social, emotional, mental-health, and academic impacts of the pandemic on students, educators, and staff. The first volume, Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools, focused on health and safety measures that schools can use to reopen. These publications are part of the Department's broader goal of returning students to schools.

Plain language:

  • The U.S. Department of Education has a new resource to help schools support students, teachers, and staff when they return to school in-person.
What it means to you: 

  • It is important that schools receive guidance on how best to protect the health of students with disabilities and support their learning as they return to school in-person.
Action steps:

black and white image of capitol domeEmployment 

Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) introduced the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (H.R.2737) to phase out subminimum wages for workers with disabilities and to provide states and employers with the resources to transition workers with disabilities into integrated employment. Currently, employers can apply for Section 14(c) waivers under the Fair Labor Standards Act to pay workers with disabilities less than federal wage. Introduction of this legislation follows the release of President Biden's American Jobs Plan, which calls for ending 14(c) waivers and supporting competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities. AUCD supports this legislation.

Plain language:

  • There is a new bill to make sure all workers with disabilities are paid at least the federal minimum wage.
    • The minimum wage is the lowest amount of money that an employer can pay an employee.
What it means to you:

  • It is important that people with disabilities have employment opportunities, access to employment support services, and are paid well for their work. 
Action steps:

black and white image of capitol domeOpportunity for Input: Home and Community-Based Services

Congresswoman Dingell (D-MI), Senator Hassan (D-NH), Senator Casey (D-PA), and Senator Brown (D-OH) released a discussion draft of the HCBS Access Act and are requesting feedback from stakeholders. The draft bill would mandate Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in Medicaid to provide services, create national minimum requirements for HCBS, and make it possible to improve upon those services and the direct support professionals workforce. To build on the discussion draft, the offices are currently seeking feedback on:

  • Provider pay and rate structures of states for HCBS;
  • Workforce development, including but not limited to wages and benefits for direct service workers and personal care attendants as well as training and recruitment;
  • HCBS infrastructure in states that support family caregivers, provider agencies, and independent providers, including but not limited to housing, transportation, employment, and enrollment systems and processes;
  • Other related policies and programs such as Money Follows the Person and Spousal Impoverishment Protections; and 
  • Many other critical items to further expand and improve access to HCBS for those who desire the supports.
Plain language:

  • Lawmakers are working on a bill to improve Home and Community Based Services across the country. They want to hear from you about what you need and any ideas you have.
What this means to you:

  • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) help people with disabilities live in their own homes and receive services in the community. It is important that all people with disabilities have access to good HCBS no matter where they live.
Action steps:

black symbol of building to look like hospitalHealthcare.gov

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

"The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that approximately 32% of people in prison and 40% of people in jail have a disability.2 These rates are significantly disproportionate to the number of people in the general U.S. population who have a disability, which is about 19%."

Now on AUCD Policy Talk, Caroline Muster, a PhD candidate in Social Work at the University of South Florida and LEND trainee, argues for expansion of Title II of the ADA in order to protect people with disabilities in the criminal justice system.

Action steps:

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

New on #TWL, Liz shares all of the important information for AUCD's FREE, virtual Gala on Wednesday, April 14, 7:00 - 9:00 -pm EST.
Action steps:

  • Register for the FREE 2021 AUCD Virtual Gala on Wednesday, April 14, 7-9 pm EST.
  • Subscribe to Tuesdays with Liz today!