Gayl Brunk, President
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Mediacaid CD attendent acception final letter

Response regarding Consumer-Directed 40 hour letter to Governor


Medicaid Consumer-Directed Attendant Hours

May 24, 2016


The following questions were collected during the VACIL May 12 webinar focused on the upcoming cap on the hours that an attendant can provide Medicaid consumer-directed services. Responses to the questions were developed by VACIL and reviewed by the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

 More information about upcoming changes to the number of hours that a Virginia Medicaid consumer-directed attendant can work is at

 1. What is changing with Medicaid consumer-directed (CD) overtime pay? Overtime will no longer be paid.

 2. What is changing with the number of hours? The change effects the number of hours that any one CD attendant can work for any one Employer of Record (EOR). CD attendants will no longer be permitted to work more than 40 hours in a work week for the same EOR.

 3. What is a work week? For the purposes of consumer direction, a work week begins Thursday and ends Wednesday.

 4. When will the change be effective? The change will start June 30 as this is the start of a CD pay period.

 5. Is the number of hours I have approved for CD services changing? No. Your authorized hours for personal care, respite or companion services are not changing.

 6. How many hours can my CD attendant work?  CD attendants cannot work more than 40 hours of CD employment in a work week for the same Employer of Record (EOR).

 7. Is the 40 hour limit for the pay period or for the work week? Other words, could the CD attendant work 30 hours one week and 50 hours the next week so long as the total hours for the two week pay period do not exceed 80 hours/average of 40 hours a week? No, the 40 hours applies to each work week.

8. Does this 40 hour a week rule impact both models – agency directed and consumer directed? Yes, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) rule requiring overtime applies to both agency and CD services. Agencies determine if they will pay overtime. The Virginia General Assembly removed funds from the Budget for overtime pay to CD attendants and added language to the Budget that no overtime shall be paid. 

9. Can my CD attendant work 30 hours of personal care and 20 hours of respite for me during the same week? No. The CD attendant can only work a total of 40 hours a week of CD employment for the same EOR. This includes a combination of any of the three services that may be consumer directed (personal care, respite and companion). 

10. If someone has 50 hours a week of CD services, could the CD attendant be paid by DMAS for 40 hours and then the person receiving CD services or employer of record (EOR) pay out of pocket for the additional 10 hours? No. Payments made through Medicaid are considered payment in full. The EOR should hire another CD attendant. If an additional CD attendant cannot be hired, other services should be considered.

 11. Can room and board be considered as payment for Medicaid CD services? No, the individual receiving CD services or EOR cannot pay for services that are required to be paid by Medicaid. The individual’s plan of care stipulates the hours that Medicaid is responsible to cover.

 12. How will I find new people to hire as CD attendants? Your services facilitator can provide you with management training to encourage different recruitment strategies.

 13. What can I do if I cannot find another CD attendant to hire? Meet with your services facilitator to discuss how to recruit additional attendants and to discuss other options.

 14. What will happen if someone is unsuccessful in recruiting additional CD attendants to cover more than 40 hours in a work week? For someone who uses the EDCD Waiver, Medicaid Works, or EPSDT for their CD services, the services facilitator can assist you to change authorization of some service hours to an agency. Individuals can use a combination of agency and CD services. For someone who uses the DD or ID Waiver, you may consider changing some of your CD hours to another service such as in-home residential or one of the new day activities being put in place with the redesign of the DD and ID Waivers.

 15. Won’t it cost more to use those other DD and ID Waiver services? It may cost more. If those are the services that you require to maintain yourself in your home or community then they may be provided.

 16. If the Commonwealth is willing to pay the cost for those other services, why not just pay the overtime? The Virginia General Assembly removed funds from the Budget for overtime pay to CD attendants and language has been added to the Budget that no overtime shall be paid.

17. May the CD attendant work 40 hours for one individual and 40 hours for another individual in the same work week? It depends. If the CD attendant is working for the same EOR, the hours of both individuals are added together and the CD attendant cannot work more than a combination of 40 hours in a work week for the same EOR. If both individuals have different EORs, the CD attendant can work up to 40 hours for each individual (the limit is based on the EOR). The hours a CD attendant works for multiple EORs are not added together to determine the 40 hour limit. In contrast, the hours a CD attendant works for the same EOR are added together.

 18. Are there any exceptions to the 40 hour limit a CD attendant can work? Live-in CD attendants can work more than 40 hours a week and they are not and will not be paid overtime.

 19. Who is considered a live-in attendant? If the individual lives in the same household/residence with the CD attendant, that CD attendant is considered a live-in attendant. Information about live-in attendants is at

 20. How is it verified that someone is a live-in attendant? The Fiscal Agent/Employer Agent, PPL has the ability to match addresses and it is the information provided to the IRS and for payroll. It is Medicaid fraud to claim there is a live-in attendant if the attendant is not residing in the individual’s residence.

 21. Why does my services facilitator need to know if I am using a live-in CD attendant? Services facilitators must maintain documentation supporting the reason(s) why you are using a live-in CD attendant.

 22. How are people being notified of this change? PPL will send notice about this change to EORs and CD attendants. DMAS will send information about this change to services facilitators and others.

 23. What exactly did the Virginia General Assembly require? The General Assembly adopted the budget for the upcoming fiscal years that begin July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018. When the General Assembly completed their work on the budget April 20, the budget included the following budget amendment:

 “The Department of Medical Assistance Services shall amend the State Plan under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and any necessary waivers, to reflect that no authority is provided for the payment of overtime for Medicaid-reimbursed consumer-directed personal assistance, respite and companion services. The Department shall implement the necessary regulatory changes and other necessary measures to be consistent with federal approval of any appropriate state plan and/or waiver changes, and prior to the completion of any regulatory process undertaken in order to effect such change."

The amendment included the following explanation:

This amendment eliminates $8.4 million the first year and $10.5 million the second year from the general fund and language contained in the introduced budget to authorize the payment of overtime for Medicaid-reimbursed consumer-directed (CD) personal assistance, respite and companion services for a single attendant who works more than 40 hours per week. Language is added to require the Department of Medical Assistance Services to amend the State Plan for Medical Assistance to reflect that no authority is provided to authorize overtime for Medicaid-reimbursed CD personal assistance, respite and companion services and to allow the agency to implement emergency regulations to effect the change.



Select Budget Items That Would Impact People with Disabilities

(Not all budget amendments are in this chart)


Budget items can be viewed at

The items in the Governor’s December 17 introduced budget (second column below) are approved, unless the General Assembly changed the item as reflected in the third column.

The budget goes into effect July 1.

Chart prepared by the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living.


Department of Education

Item Description

Introduced Budget

(Dec 17)

General Assembly Final Budget

(April 20)

Workgroup to assess barriers to educating students with disabilities in local schools


Language only Item 132 #2c


Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Budget Items


Item Description

Introduced Budget

(Dec 17)

General Assembly Final Budget

(April 20)


Provide funds for newly required transition services provided by Centers for Independent Living


Adds $200,000 each year

Item 332 #4c


Increase Long Term Employment Support Services for people with significant disabilities to maintain employment


Adds $375,000 each year

Item 332 #2c


Increase services for people with brain injury


Adds $500,000 each year

Item 332 #3c


Increase people served through public guardianship: 295 people leaving training centers; 148 people leaving state mental health facilities; 50 people at risk

Adds 493 people

Keeps item from the introduced budget


Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services


Item Description

Introduced Budget

(Dec 17)

General Assembly Final Budget

(April 20)


Positions to assist with a local model of the Individual and Family Support Program

Add 5 positions

Eliminate 4 of the 5 positions

Item 314 #1c


Item Description

Introduced Budget

(Dec 17)

General Assembly Final Budget

(April 20)

Positions to assist with administrative actions related to the DOJ Settlement Agreement

Add 19 positions

Eliminate 4 of the 19 positions

Item 313 #2c


Independent review to develop options for consideration by the General Assembly of operating the Central Virginia Training Center, if needed, as a smaller facility utilizing the newly renovated buildings



$100,000 for review

Item 313 #7c


Replaces state general funds with funds from the Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Trust Fund (Trust Fund) for one-time use by people leaving training centers to live in the community



Item 314 #2c


Expenditures from the Trust Fund to be appropriated through General Assembly  appropriations bill



Item 313#1c



Department of Medical Assistance Services

Item Description

Introduced Budget

(Dec 17)

General Assembly Final Budget

(April 20)

Money Follows the Person Waiver slots for people transitioning out of institutions through

15 DD each year

110 ID each year


Keeps item from the introduced budget

DOJ required ID Waiver slots

390 ID July 2016

415 ID July 2017


Keeps item from the introduced budget

DOJ required DD Waiver slots

25 DD July 2016

25 ID July 2017


Keeps item from the introduced budget

Reserved Waiver slots for emergencies, transferring between newly designed Waivers and people transitioning from institutions

25 Day Support

50 DD

25 ID

Eliminates the 100 reserved slots

(Item 306 #26c adds 40 reserved slots)

306 #23c

Add 355 Waiver slots: 200 for people at the top of the DD Waiver chronological list; 115 DD Waiver slots; 40 for emergencies, transfers between Waivers and people leaving ICF/IDD and nursing facilities (the 40 would be between the 3 DD/ID Waivers)




306 #26c

Increase rates for private duty nursing in the Tech Waiver and EPSDT

2% increase

11.5% increase to equate rate to the rate in the redesigned DD/ID Waivers

Items 306 #3c

Increase rates for agency and consumer-directed personal care, respite and companion supports;

2% increase


Keeps item from the introduced budget

Item Description

Introduced Budget

(Dec 17)

General Assembly Final Budget

(April 20)

Modify DD and ID Waiver redesign

5.4% average rate increase (varies by service)

Amendments from conference committee in row below*

Item 306 #12c

*Rate increase for skilled nursing must be 25%

*Rate for private duty nursing must be equal to rates in the Tech Waiver and EPSDT

*Sponsored residential rate cannot change before January 1, 2017

*Following new services delayed until July 1, 2017: community guide, peer support, community coaching, benefits planning and non-medical transportation

*Rate differential for sponsored residential services in northern Virginia

Overtime wages for Medicaid consumer-directed employees

Up to 16 hours of overtime

Eliminates all overtime for CD employees

Item 306 #21c

FAMIS coverage for applied behavior analysis services

Fund in ’16 & ‘17

Keeps item from the introduced budget

Slight adjustment in match

Item 305 #2c

Increase EDCD Waiver adult day health care rates by 2.5%


Item #306 #4c

Workgroup to recommend improvements to data collection on the incidence of brain injury and to review expenditures on care provided outside of the state



Item 310 #5c

Increase financial eligibility for GAP (Medicaid demonstration waiver for adults with serious mental illness) from 60 to 80 percent of the federal poverty level



Item 306 #20c




Summary of VACIL webinar on the CD overtime issue

VACIL held a webinar on May 12 to discuss issues regarding overtime pay for Virginia Medicaid consumer-directed services. We started with a review of the US Department of Labor regulation, history of implementation, and related legislation in Virginia. The Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) reviewed how they are planning to eliminate overtime beginning June 30 to comply with the actions taken by the Virginia General Assembly. DMAS will eliminate all overtime and limit CD assistants to 40 hours a week beginning June 30. The exemption for live-in assistants will continue for now. Alison Barkoff with the Bazelon Center reviewed what could be accomplished with an exceptions process to the 40-hour cap.


The Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living is requesting that the Commonwealth develop an exceptions process to the 40-hour cap so that people who would have extraordinary difficulty with such a cap can request a limited exception for their Medicaid CD assistants to work more than 40 hours a week. If your organization is willing to sign onto a letter requesting an exceptions process, please contact Maureen Hollowell for a draft of the letter. If an exceptions process is not established, the Virginia Centers for Independent Living will be available to assist individuals to prepare complaints to the US Department of Justice. More about the complaint process will be available from VACIL through VaWaivers (a Yahoo discussion group) next month.


Additional information about the federal overtime rule is available.



Action Steps for Consumers and Advocates
Regarding the DOL Home Care Rule

Virginia Medicaid
Consumer-Directed Supports
Impact of DOL Rule

Implementation of the new Home Care Rule:
Requirements for Exceptions Process













Regional nonprofit seeks candidates for Executive Director to lead the organization through its start-up and beyond. Qualified applicants will possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in business, human services, or related field. Demonstrated experience (1-3 years) in a supervisory management position related to working with people with disabilities. Demonstrated experience in public speaking advocacy, and leadership. Specific duties include: direct and supervise center operations; act as primary liaison to general public, Board of directors, other organizations, and individuals in order to promote the mission of the center; supervise all center staff; and develop, implement, and maintain center policies, programs, services, and annual budget.


Salary commensurate with relevant education and experience. Individuals with a disability are encouraged to apply. EOE. Email cover letter, resume, and salary requirements no later than November 30, to






May 20, 2015  


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Public Comment: Managed Long Term Services, Supports  silver-keyboard.jpg

The Dept. of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) is seeking public comment regarding Medicaid reform. Comments are due by June 1, so make your voice heard! 



Virginia Department of Education Logo

DOE Survey Re: Parent Involvement

 If you're the parent of a child receiving special education services, complete this quick anonymous survey from the VA Dept. of Education (VaDOE) to reflect upon your experiences during the current school year. Your participation helps Virginia collect the information needed to report on its State Performance Plan to the U.S. Dept. of Education. If you have questions, please contact Hank Millward at 804-371-0525.


40% of Students with Disabilities = High School Dropouts Student in front of lockers

A new 140 page report produced in conjunction with John Hopkins University estimates that 85-90% of students with disabilities are capable of completing requirements to obtain a high school diploma, but only 6 in 10 students graduated in 2013.


Mental Health for ESL

In 2014, the Dept. for Behavioral Health & Developmental Services (DBHDS) surveyed stakeholders to identify the top 10 essential words for people with limited English proficiency to navigate Virginia's behavioral healthcare system. The result is a flexible curriculum that can be broken down into 2 sessions. This information is being introduced in public schools, adult language learning centers, and ESL classes at non-profit and religious organizations. For more information, contact Eva Stitt, DBHDS Office of Cultural & Linguistic Competence at 757.272.7406.   


Public Comment due by 5/31  Icon Users

DBHDS is collecting public comment online until the end of May for the Commissioner's Transformation Teams. Be part of the solution, give your thoughts and suggestions, and learn more.   


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Class Action Lawsuit against Abercrombie and FitchCo.



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Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
Call 603.862.4320 or email us.

The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), in partnership with the Kessler Foundation, is conducting a national survey focusing on employment issues for working age adults with disabilities. The primary purpose of this survey is to understand the mechanisms by which individuals with disabilities strive to work and the challenges they face in doing so. We anticipate that the findings from this survey will inform research and advocacy efforts to develop innovative and sustainable approaches (for individuals, families, service providers, and employers) to maximize the employment opportunities of people with disabilities. This survey is open to individuals with disabilities, or family members of individuals with disabilities, who are employed or seeking employment.
Take Survey
This survey has been reviewed and approved by the UNH Institutional Review Board (IRB). If you have any questions about this research project or would like more information before, during, or after the study, you may contact Dr. Vidya Sundar at (603) 862-0284 or



The ADA  celebrates 25 years!! 

Check out this video!


UMass Medical School is conducting an online survey to learn about the health care experiences of mothers with physical or mobility disabilities before, during, and after pregnancy. This survey is part of a research study.

To participate, you must:

·         Have a physical or mobility disability

·         Have given birth to a baby within the last ten (10) years

·         Be able to complete the survey in either English or Spanish  

Your participation involves:

·         About 20 minutes of your time

·         Access to a computer and internet

·         Answering questions about your health care experiences during your most recent pregnancy

·         Privacy; the survey is anonymous, we will not ask you to provide any contact information


Visit the survey website and answer a few brief screening questions to make sure you are eligible. Http://
If you prefer to complete the survey over the phone, please call to speak to the research staff: 1-888-368-7157





Logos: The HSC Foundation - The HSC Health Care System; NCIL: National Council on Indepedent Living



2015 Youth Transitions Fellowship (YTF)

The HSC Foundation, in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), is now accepting applications for a paid fellowship position with the organizations’ disability youth transition and collaboration work. This fellowship is ideal for a person with a disability who has an interest in youth career transitions and employment solutions. The fellowship starts in June 2015, and continues for 15 months. Under the supervision of NCIL’s Executive Director, the Youth Transitions Fellow (YTF) will gain exposure to youth programs serving people with disabilities and will have the opportunity to facilitate collaboration among internship, fellowship, and apprenticeship programs based in the Greater Washington, DC area.

Preferred Skills and Qualifications:

  • Ability to facilitate collaboration among large groups
  • Ability to work with people in all levels of an organization, including young people with a variety of disabilities
  • Strong communication skills and strong organizational skills
  • Creative and innovative personality
  • Familiarity with technology and social networking tools
  • Strong interest in youth transition for people with disabilities and organizing.


College graduate 26-or-younger who self-identifies as an individual with any type of disability is invited to apply. You will not be required to disclose your specific disability; however, your application for this program will signify that you consider yourself a person with a disability. Please Note: This fellowship is specifically for people with disabilities.

Please Provide the Following:

  • Please attach your resume in Microsoft Word format.
  • Please provide the contact information for four (4) references who are familiar with your qualifications relevant to this fellowship and your personal character.
  • Please attach in Microsoft Word format two (2) letters of recommendation from two (2) of the above-mentioned references.

What Happens Next:

  • Completed applications received by NCIL before 5:00 PM EDT, Friday, May 15, 2015 will be collected and reviewed by our team.
  • Semi-Finalists will be contacted for short, preliminary telephone interviews.
  • Finalists will be contacted for formal telephone interviews.
  • The fellow will be selected and notified by May 20, 2015.
  • The fellow must be able to begin work by June 15, 2015.

The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Center

The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Center is a collaborative learning community to benefit youth with disabilities and returning wounded veterans. The National Youth Transitions Center, developed by The HSC Foundation, will bring together the resources of multiple organizations to provide much needed transitions related services, research, public policy, best practices, pilot projects, and evaluation so that youth with disabilities can achieve their greatest level of independence. The Center will create a forum to enhance the ability of young people and veterans with disabilities to enter and reenter the workforce, participate in and contribute to community life, and become productive members of society.

The National Council on Independent Living

The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.

An outcome of the national Disability Rights and Independent Living Movements, NCIL was founded to embody the values of disability culture and Independent Living philosophy, which creates a new social paradigm and emphasizes that people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, that they have crucial and valuable perspective to contribute to society, and are deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities.


Applications must be received by 5:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time) on or before Friday, May 15, 2015.

Via Email: MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be



If you need immediate assistance please email Elissa Ellis at



Able SC is releasing the second "What You Need to Know" series about Medical Examinations. Whether you're a person with a disability or a health care provider, you should know the law and what's required to ensure equal access to healthcare! To learn more, check out the below video:


What You Need to Know Series about Medical Examinations.

ASL/CC Video<>

Audio Narration Video <>





Independence through Employment.

The World Institute on Disability (WID), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and Policyworks would like to introduce you to and get your support for the CareerACCESS initiative.

Does having a disability mean you cannot work?
Under current Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rules, an individual with a disability must prove they cannot work to be eligible for benefits, including health care and other independent living supports. After an SSI award, available work incentives are difficult to navigate and little used. Many youth and families think work will risk access to health care, personal care services, and the reliability of their monthly SSI check. 

CareerACCESS offers an alternative for SSI eligible youth to escape poverty and dependence. 
CareerACCESS is a community-driven proposed program of reforms to the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) that will provide an alternative benefits program for young adults with disabilities. The CareerACCESS goal is to make it easy to work. A young adult working with a Career Coach would develop an Individualized Career Plan to achieve personal and professional goals. CareerACCESS rules would allow increased earnings and remove asset limits. CareerACCESS will be piloted in several states to serve individuals up to the age of 30. SSI eligible youth from age 18 to 28 will automatically enter CareerACCESS.

  • Eligibility will NOT require an “incapacity to work” test.
  • Adult Coaching, Counseling, and Employment Support Services will be managed through an Individualized Career Plan to increase success.
  • Health Care and Independent Living Supports will remain available.
  • SSI Cash Benefit Retention and Removal of Asset Limits will offset the cost of managing a disability while building a career. 


We would love to get you involved in moving this initiative forward and informing your members and community about CareerACCESS. 


For more information, please feel free to contact Neil Jacobson at or Aya Aghabi at

Thank you for your time!


Copyright © 2014 CareerACCESS, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are an Independent Living Center and we would like to get your support.

Our mailing address is:


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Berkeley, CA 94703

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Here is a link to Virginia's Town Hall Meeting's Calendar whereall meetings for DBVI are held:



September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month and a good time to update your Reeve Foundation Wallet Health Cards.






Through our Paralysis Resource Center we offer three personalized wallet cards.


Personalized Wallet Health Cards Now Available



AD Wallet Card


Sepsis Wallet Card


DVT Wallet Card

Dear Karen,

September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month and a good time to update your Reeve Foundation Wallet Health Cards.

Through our Paralysis Resource Center we offer three personalized wallet cards that can help make sure you or your loved ones get the right care in the event of an emergency:

  • Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD) Wallet Card
    If you have a spinal cord injury at the T6 level or above Autonomic Dysreflexia and a rapid increase in blood pressure can case a serious medical emergency.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Wallet Card
    A blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the body, often in the leg or hip, are more common in people living with paralysis. These clots can be fatal if they break loose.
  • Sepsis Wallet Card
    Sepsis happens when the body's response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs and can be life threatening unless it is treated quickly.

Some medical professionals are not familiar with the way these conditions are especially threatening for people living with paralysis. These handy wallet cards provide the life-saving information those staffing EMT units, emergency rooms and other health centers need to best treat you.

Our wallet cards are FREE and can readily be personalized. You can request a laminated card or easily download one for yourself today.

Also, please take a few minutes to see all the information our Paralysis Resource Center offers.

You'll find helpful medical information, tips on how to live healthy, and where you can find assistance when you need it. We have experts available to help by phone or email.

Mark Spinal Cord Awareness Month by doing all you can to be as healthy as possible and tell others about all the great free resources available through the Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center.

Peter T. Wilderotter, President and CEO

Yours truly,

Peter T. Wilderotter, President and CEO

Peter T. Wilderotter
President and CEO
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation




Call on Congress to Fully Fund
Housing Programs Now

Tell Congress Housing Programs Need
Adequate Full-Year Funding

Congress returns from August recess this week and will get to work on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep federal programs, including HUD’s housing programs, funded until mid-December. A CR is necessary if Congress does not pass an FY15 HUD appropriations bill before September 30. While a CR will only fund programs at their FY14 levels, a stronger FY15 appropriations bill with strong funding levels would be much better for housing programs. For example:

  • A CR would only fund HUD’s homeless assistance programs at 14% less than the $2.406 billion level requested by President Obama for FY14.
  • At FY14 levels, the housing choice voucher program would be funded at $1.2 billion less than the amount needed to bring back the 40,000 vouchers lost because of 2013’s sequestration, and not yet restored.
  • And, for the critical public housing operating and capital funds, FY14 funding levels are less than both the President requested and the Senate’s FY15 appropriation bill would provide.


At this point, it is unlikely that Congress will pass a full HUD appropriations bill, but will rather move forward with a CR to fund programs just beyond the November elections.

Please join us in calling your Members of Congress to ask them to contact the Chair or Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee and tell them that providing adequate funding for the McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs, the housing choice voucher program, the public housing operating and capital programs, the HOME program, and HUD programs are top priorities.


The House and Senate are back from their August recess for just a couple of weeks before another recess prior to the elections.  During this time, Congress must pass some mechanism to fund programs after the start of the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. Housing programs will be better off if Congress adequately funds them in FY15 rather than continuing FY14 funding levels.


  • Pick up the phone! Call your Senators and Representative this week and ask to speak to the staff person who works on housing issues.
  • Make the ask! Urge them to support sufficient funding for McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants, tenant-based rental assistance, public housing, HOME, and other important programs.
  • Report back. Contact us to let us know what type of response you are getting when making your calls. We want to be able to track any progress that is being made. Reach us at
  • Spread the word. Forward this action alert to your networks with the phone numbers of your Senate and House offices.


To find the contact information for your Senators and Representative, simply visit NLIHC’s website and enter your zip code in the “Contact Congress” box at the lower right of the screen. When calling, make sure to ask for the staff person who works on housing issues.

See NLIHC’s budget chart:


If you have any questions or feedback to pass along, please contact us at

Thank you for your support!

Join NLIHC today to help further our advocacy efforts.

Click Here to Join NLIHC!


Comic Book Stars World's First Hero With Autism

Please check this out!





CFTB receives DG grant - accessible computers f/t blind available for $20 to SSI recipients

Computers for the Blind (CFTB), a non-profit 501 (c) (3) agency is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from the Delta Gamma Foundation which will enable us to provide our refurbished desktop computers with screen reader and screen magnification software to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients for only $20. 

In order to qualify a person who is legally blind must present us with a copy of their disability determination award letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicating that they are an SSI recipient due to blindness.

Please note that this grant is only available to SSI recipients.  Persons who receive SSDI or Social Security Retirement do not qualify for this grant unless they also receive SSI. Please do not share this with consumers who do not receive SSI or we will be inundated with calls from individuals who do not qualify. 

To request a computer, contact us at:  214-340-6328 or    This offer is good until grant funds are exhausted.

This year CFTB is celebrating its 25th year of connecting worlds – one computer at a time.  We have shipped out over 7,000 accessible computers to persons who are blind or have low vision.  With your assistance and that of the Delta Gamma Foundations we will continue to be able to provide low cost accessible computers to persons who could otherwise not afford them.  For more information about our computers and organization go to our website at

David Jeppson

Executive Director







BEP Announces U.S. Currency Reader Program for Blind and Visually Impaired




Volunteers Needed! 

Help develop a mobile App!  

The First 40 people to respond are eligible for a $10 stipend! If you are not one of the first 40 people we are still interested in your input—but you will not receive the $10 stipend. If you choose your name can be added to a database and you might be asked to participate in another project in the future.

What are we doing?  

We are asking people with disabilities to tell us how we can create the most “likable, accessible and usable” information for an App. The purpose of the App is to help people make healthy living choices based on their specific needs and interests such as weight loss and managing health conditions.  

What you get to do: 

Review some health information on a website. You will review short videos, audio files, and text documents. Then, you will fill out a survey to tell us what you like and don’t like about the ways you had to review the information. 

To qualify, you must: 

• Be very comfortable using technology including email, surfing the web, and using more than one tab within a browser

• Have access to a computer on a regular basis

• Adults over the age of 18 years

• Have a physical limitation or mobility impairment  

What you get:  

You will receive a $10 stipend for your time and feedback. But you must be one of the first 40 people to complete the survey to receive the stipend. You can expect to receive your stipend within 4-6 weeks after you complete the survey.

 Where to go:  

Visit the website and get started today:


Logo for the fair housing video series.



            Here is a link to the website where you can watch the videos. 




Take this survey




Center on Transition Innovations (CTI) - We are pleased to announce the launching of the Center on Transition Innovations (CTI) website! It is the vision of the Virginia Department of Education to create a centralized statewide resource for educators and other stakeholders in the transition of youth with disabilities.

We invite you to explore the website to learn about the many opportunities available to you that can immediately impact your transition planning efforts. We also will be posting information and resources on our Facebook page. Please take a moment to like us on Facebook and share the page with your colleagues.


Online Colleges Database is a website and organization focused on providing post-secondary information for students and learners across the world.  Our organization recently published a new resource that supports the families and students with disabilities: “ Online Learning for Students with Disabilities.”  We were fortunate to have experts in the field contribute to this resource, which you can find here: Online Learning for Students with Disabilities  

Some of the important topics covered in the guide include: Resources online learning for students and families with disabilities, best practices for meeting the needs of students with disabilities, technology supporting the community, how to evaluate and online learning programs, and many additional helpful resources.




ADAPT Occupation of New York State Nurses Association Surpasses 100 Hours

Source: ADAPT

Follow ADAPT on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

The ADAPT activists who have occupied the offices of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) appreciate the outpouring of support from the disability community and others across the nation. It has been over 100 hours since members of New York State ADAPT started the occupation of the NYSNA offices because the union opposes amending the Nurse Practice Act to allow attendants to do health-related tasks. Throughout the occupation, ADAPT has negotiated with the nurses' union in good faith to get their support for nurse delegation so people who need assistance with health-related tasks - including medication administration, ventilator care, assistance with catheters, suppositories and feeding tubes - can get that assistance in the community from attendants.

By allowing advanced home health aides to do health-related tasks, New York State will be able to implement the Community First Choice (CFC) Option.

This Medicaid State Plan Option would assure that any individual eligible for institutional placement is able to access services and supports to live in the community. Under CFC, NYS would receive additional federal funding and would significantly expand the services and supports for people with disabilities living independently. Additionally, after expanding the availability of services, it is estimated that CFC - at full implementation - would generate an extra $340 million a year, every year.


ADAPT Logo - Free Our People!

On Wednesday, when ADAPT first arrived at NYSNA, there was significant disagreement about the provision of assistance with health related tasks, and the advocates were concerned that NYSNA's advocacy was focused on preventing people with disabilities from getting assistance with key health-related tasks to live independently. ADAPT explained that "full implementation of the Community First Choice Option" means that no person with a disability should be forced into an institution because they cannot get assistance with health-related tasks.

Through the negotiations, ADAPT secured a statement from NYSNA supporting "the rights of all New Yorkers to be independent in their own homes, and the rights to any and all care needed to maintain that independence." In that same statement, NYSNA said "To be clear, NYSNA fully supports the implementation of the Community First Choice program." NYSNA also proposed alternative legislative language amending NYS education law to allow advanced home health aides to do health-related tasks. ADAPT is now being told that NYSNA's language creates a contradiction between education law that would authorize nurse delegation and the Nurse Practice Act in health law that precludes this.

“We are not union lobbyists or lawyers; nor are we governmental officials or legislators. We are people with disabilities who want to secure our civil right to live in freedom in the community. We are also activists, and we will hold the union, legislature, and our governmental officials accountable. 

We have fought for 24 years to secure the right to live in the community rather than be forced into institutions. We will not wait any longer, so NYS ADAPT is continuing our occupation of the NYSNA offices.”


Because of the legal problems that appear to be created by NYSNA's proposed language, NYS ADAPT demands that NYSNA immediately provide a compelling legal analysis demonstrating that their language does not - in fact - create a contradiction between health and education law. If NYSNA is unable to provide such a compelling legal argument, it must agree to address the contradiction by supporting the addition of a "notwithstanding clause" to their language or support an amendment to the Nurse Practice Act.

NYS ADAPT further demands that the New York State Assembly Democrats ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities by supporting budget language that authorizes advanced home health aides to do health-related tasks, and if necessary, amends the Nurse Practice Act in order to fully implement the Community First Choice Option, end the Medicaid institutional bias, and FREE OUR PEOPLE!

Follow NCIL:

Like NCIL on Facebook

Follow NCIL on Twitter
2013 H St. Northwest | Sixth Floor | Washington, DC 20006 US




ASAN Unveils Toolkit for Advocates on Ending Discrimination in Organ Transplantation

ASAN has prepared a comprehensive toolkit to empower people with disabilities, their families, and other disability advocates to help combat disability-based discrimination in organ transplantation.

As ASAN found in our 2013 report, when people with intellectual and developmental disabilities need an organ transplant to treat a life-threatening condition, they frequently face barriers to receiving this lifesaving care. Doctors and transplant centers may refuse to approve organ transplants for people with disabilities who might need help in order to follow complicated post-transplant treatment plans. Others may refuse to approve transplants for people with disabilities based on the belief that, when deciding who should receive an organ transplant, people without disabilities should have a higher priority.

ASAN’s toolkit on ending discrimination in organ transplantation provides resources for advocacy both on an individual and a system-wide basis.

  • The “Know Your Rights” guide provides people with disabilities and their families with information on existing laws and policies that may protect them from discrimination, and information on who to contact if they experience discrimination.
  • The Guide for Advocates provides information on ways that advocates can help fight organ transplantation discrimination on a wider basis, such as through legislative advocacy and outreach to the medical community.
  • The Model Legislation on organ transplant discrimination provides an example of effective anti-discrimination legislation that advocates can propose to their state legislatures.
  • The Guide for Clinicians and Checklist of available supports and services gives doctors and other health professionals concrete advice on how to serve people with disabilities who may need an organ transplant.

ASAN’s toolkit on organ transplantation is the first of four upcoming toolkits for advocates on health care issues facing the disability community. These toolkits were made possible by funding from the Special Hope Foundation.

We hope that you find our toolkit useful and distribute it widely. Please send any concerns, feedback, or comments on how you plan to use the toolkit to ASAN’s Director of Public Policy, Samantha Crane, at




The Department of Justice has issued two new publications explaining its ADA Mediation Program.  Through its Program, the Department of Justice resolves many ADA complaints quickly and effectively at no cost to the parties.  Resolving ADA Complaints Through Mediation: An Overview outlines the Program, and The ADA Mediation Program: Questions and Answers responds to frequently asked questions about the Program.

To find out more about the ADA and the ADA Mediation Program, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or visit its website.


Introducing The ADA Project Website

On behalf of The ADA Legacy Project, we are pleased to announce the launch of our website. We invite you to visit

The website is designed to provide you with news, updates, scheduled events, and information about our partners who are preserving disability history, celebrating its milestones, and educating the public and future generations of advocates.

As you will see, the website is designed to be filled with content written by YOU: stories, events, articles, etc. As you have things you want to share, feel free to forward it to us. The success of this website - and The ADA Legacy Project - depends upon you.

This is Phase 1 of the website. As we raise additional funding, we will begin Phase 2, which will include more features to keep you connected to related activities and events across the country.

Please share this website with your network. And if you can, we invite you to donate or consider becoming a Champion or Sponsor, at

Our thanks goes to:
Amerigroup Foundation for their financial support
Dan Wilkins for volunteering his graphic design skills
Marsha Schwanke for volunteering her knowledge of accessible web design
Anil Lewis and the National Federation for the Blind for volunteering their assessment of our accessible web design
Jean Bergey and Gallaudet University for volunteering to create our sign-language WELCOME video:
Kelly Buckland and the National Council on Independent Living for their assistance
Tim Wheat for volunteering his web design knowledge
ClikFocus for building a beautiful, high-functioning, accessible, website

Please like us on Facebook:

We look forward to hearing your feedback.


Mark Johnson

Please Take this Disability Survey

Please submit this survey on disability issues and have a chance to win $500!  The results of this poll will be shared with the White House, all 50 Governors, top media, disability groups and more.

Mark Johnson
Chair, Coordinating Council, The ADA Legacy Project



Video Accessibility Act

The FCC released a Public Notice noting that October 8, 2013 marked the third anniversary of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and the start of new procedures for consumers to file requests for dispute assistance and informal complaints about the accessibility of the following technologies used for communication: 


·         Advanced communications services and equipment (such as cellphones, smartphones, computers, laptops, and tablets used for text messaging, e-mail, or instant messaging);


·         Internet web browsers built into mobile phones; and


·         Telecommunications services and equipment (such as telephones).


An overview of the new communications accessibility informal complaint procedures is also available at 


This information is also available through the FCC complaints system at by selecting “Access by People with Disabilities.”


 To learn more about the FCC’s accessibility requirements for communications and video programming services and equipment, visit:


Links to the Public Notice:






For additional information, please contact Rosaline Crawford at 202-418-2075, or e-mail<>; or Susan Kimmel at 202-418-1679, or e-mail<>, of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office. 



 Paralyzed NYC Principal Holed Up in Cramped Room Waiting for Wheelchair Lift

Check out her story!


Dear Colleague: 

Unfortunately Congress did not pass a continuing resolution in time to avert a government shutdown.  Consequently we will be unable to deliver the full range of our services to the American public.  There are three important things I would like you to know and pass along to your constituents:

  1. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments will continue uninterrupted with no change in payment dates.
  2. Social Security field offices will remain open with limited services, and hearings offices will remain open to conduct hearings.
  3. Social Security card centers will be closed. 

You can find more detailed information about the impact of the government shutdown on our agency at:


Hopefully this situation is resolved quickly so that we may resume normal operations. In the meantime, I thank you for sharing this information with your constituents, and I appreciate your continued support. 




Kojuan Almond 
Associate Commissioner
    for External Affairs\

Stay connected with Social Security:



Information for Independence: A Wealth of Resources Are Just a Click Away


MARYLAND – AbleData and the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) offer the most comprehensive collection of information on almost every aspect of disability, including resources, assistive technology, research, and support organizations, and the best part is most people can access this information for free. Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), NARIC and AbleData have served the disability and rehabilitation community for more than 35 years by providing information that is key to full participation for the disability community. Both serve people with disabilities, caregivers, researchers, educators, allied health professionals and others who provide support and services for people with disabilities.


“AbleData provides the public with free, objective information on assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment,” said Katherine Belknap, AbleData Project Director.  “We offer one of the most comprehensive listings of assistive products available and provide information on more than 40,000 products and 5,000 manufacturers and distributors.”  The AbleData project also provides detailed descriptions of each product’s functions and features, price information (when available), and contact information for the product’s manufacturer and distributors. From reachers and wheelchairs to smartphone apps and modified vehicles, AbleData covers the entire range of assistive products, including custom adaptations, prototypes and do-it-yourself solutions. All of this information is available for free from the, which also includes an extensive library of fact sheets, categorized lists of nearly 3,000 support organizations and resources, and the AT Literature database of over 11,000 research literature abstracts focused on assistive technology. Information specialists are available on AbleData’s toll-free information line, 800-227-0216, or via email at


“NARIC is a full-service library and information center without walls,” said Mark Odum, NARIC Project Director.  “Our online collection has more than 80,000 volumes of literature including journal articles, technical reports, and consumer-level materials fully available through the Internet. The NARIC project has paired these resources with innovative communication and dissemination services to be a catalyst in helping improve the lives of persons with disabilities.”  NARIC’s staff members provide free information and referral for patrons on a wide range of disability and rehabilitation issues. Information specialists assist professionals in locating the latest research in the field, help service providers identify programs and services for their clients, and offer support and information to people with disabilities and their caregivers so they can remain independent. features three searchable databases, including the REHABDATA index of disability and rehabilitation literature, along with information resource brochures, topic-specific newsletters, and browsable resource lists. Patrons can connect with NARIC information specialists in English and Spanish by toll-free phone at 800/346-2742, email at, and by chat and social media at


NIDRR operates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS); it is the main federal agency that supports applied research, training, and development to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Accomplishing NIDRR's mission is a first step on the journey toward ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to participate fully in every aspect of society. NIDRR’s staff and its grantees are committed to generating new knowledge and promoting its effective use in improving the ability of people with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community and expanding the nation’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities. Through NARIC and AbleData, NIDRR fulfills this commitment by providing the public, and especially the disability community, with two sources for reliable information.


Together, AbleData and NARIC provide the public with information on more than 100,000 products and resources, and they are available online for free and in print at no or low cost. People can turn to AbleData and NARIC for the latest in assistive and rehabilitation technology, new research in rehabilitation treatments and interventions, and referral to quality support organizations and services in their local area.


AbleData, Your Source for Assistive Technology Information


8630 Fenton Street, Suite 930

Silver Spring, MD 20910

800-227-0216 (V)

301-608-8912 (TT)

Download a Brochure!

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)

8400 Corporate Drive, Suite 500

Landover, MD 20785
800-346-2742 (V)

301/459-5984 (TT)
@NARICInfo @NARICenEspanol

Download our Brochure!

Independent Living Brochure




Check out the Lego set this guy designed!  Click on thepicture to go to the site.

Lego Accessability set picture




Information Alert: National Council on Independent Living Responds to U.S. Department of Labor Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of individuals with disabilities and organizations, including Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.

NCIL values the critical role that attendants play in supporting people with disabilities living in the community and we support policies that acknowledge the importance of their work and improve their lives. We repeatedly expressed serious concerns that proposed changes to the companionship exemption would have unintended but serious consequences for both attendants and attendant service users. Rather than increasing the earnings of attendants, we are concerned that the rule will reduce their earnings because their hours will be capped. We also expressed concern that these rule changes would consequently reduce the available workforce and – in a number of different ways – result in the institutionalization of people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid-funded home and community based services.

During the rule-making process, NCIL also expressed particular concern that the rules would also undercut consumer-directed services and, with ADAPT, proposed a compromise that would have covered 70% of attendants while minimizing the impact on people with the most significant disabilities who use consumer directed services.

NCIL is deeply disappointed that the Obama administration failed to address our concerns, and instead finalized a rule that without additional funding will result in caps on attendant hours and escalate a workforce shortage into a workforce crisis. Our members understand first-hand that states are continuing to cut Medicaid and simply do not have the funds to cover the additional costs associated with this rule. We do not understand how the Department of Labor could come to any other conclusion.

We were also appalled that the Department of Labor relied on the experience of Michigan in determining that the rule – as proposed – wouldn’t result in the institutionalization. According to the most recent Medicaid expenditure report, Michigan is ranked 47th among the states in the percentage of home and community based long term services and supports. Consequently, the DOL analysis based on Michigan’s experience lacks credibility.

NCIL will be holding a national conference call for our members to answer questions about these rules and explore the impact that this rule will have in the states. We urge our members to consider the impact that these rules will have and send their questions to us.

NCIL also calls upon Congress and the administration to work with our organization, our members, and the broader disability community to revisit this issue and find workable solutions that do not have the serious consequences for people with disabilities and the attendants who make community living possible.


Check out "Disability History" and register for a free Disability History Week poster!




Hear about Accredited Online Colleges and Disability Education!  Go to this site!



Job Accomadation Network LogoJob Accommodation Network

(800)526-7234 (V)
(877)781-9403 (TTY)

Job Accommodation Request Survey

Individuals aged 55 or older and in need of job accommodations are being sought for a study by researchers at the Florida State University.


You are invited to share your perceptions of factors related to accommodation requests by answering a few questions about yourself, your organization (if applicable), and your abilities and emotions in the process. This survey will take about 20-30 minutes.


The first 100 participants completing the survey will have a 1-in-4 chance of winning a $25 gift certificate; the rest of the respondents completing the survey will have a 1-in-4 chance of winning a $10 gift certificate. Moreover, you will be assisting service providers and employers to learn more about how to improve the job accommodation process for older workers, considering the fast trend in the aging workforce. The survey can be accessed through the following link:


If you have any questions about the research study or need an alternative survey format, please contact Dr. Shengli Dong by e-mail at

If you have received this email and do not wish to be part of the Job Accommodation Network's Email List, please email with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or visit our OptOut Server at  to be removed.



I have worked with children with disabilities for over a decade and have seen the negative impact that bullying and peer victimization can have on a child.  While bullying is gaining national attention, little is known about which factors make a child more or less vulnerable to such victimization.  I am investigating these vulnerabilities. 

To do this, I am recruiting caregivers of children (9-14 years old) with and without autism spectrum disorders to participate in a brief survey about their child and their child's experiences of bullying in school  (Teachers College, Columbia University IRB # 12-355).  

This is a topic that is deeply important to me and I am eager to hear from parents of children from a diverse range of backgrounds.  I greatly appreciate the time of any caregivers who are able to participate. All participants will be entered into a drawing to receive one of several Target gift cards in appreciation of their participation (1 in 10 chance of winning).   Additional information about this study and the survey itself can be found at:   


Sarah Mallory, M.Ed.

Principal Investigator and Ph.D. Candidate

Programs in Intellectual Disabilities/Autism

Teachers College, Columbia University





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Austistic Self Advocacy Network logo


ASAN is looking for autistic writers for our communications team!


We need volunteers with strong writing, journalism, or editing skills who are comfortable writing in a variety of formats (short informational articles, longer writeups and interviews, tipsheets and factsheets, news blurbs, action alerts, etc.) with quick turn-around. Experience with plain language is a plus. The time commitment is 3-5 hours a week, including weekly communications team check-in and planning meetings.

The ASAN communications team produces a wide range of material for the ASAN newsletter, website, and other communications platforms and campaigns. The communications team makes sure that our message of autism acceptance, neurodiversity, and disability rights is carried far and wide, that current and respectful information about autism, disability, and neurodiversity is readily available, and that the conversation about autistic people hears *our* voices first. We cannot do this without your help.

Interested volunteers should send two writing samples to

PO Box 66122 | Washington, DC 20035 US

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Restraint/Seclusion Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives 

Congressman George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education & Workforce Committee and Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS) on Thursday introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, HR 1893, a bill to protect all students nationwide from restraint and seclusion.  We salute and applaud them for their leadership in working to ensure that all students receive positive behavioral supports rather than be subjected to these dangerous practices.


Thanks to everyone who signed onto the letter from 200 organizations in support of the bill.  The letter was shared with members of Congress in support of reintroduction, and has been posted to Congressman Miller's website.  It is here:  We are continuing to take sign-ons from other organizations and groups and will update it every 3-4 weeks.


The Keeping All Students Safe Act will provide vital protections for all American children.  In 2009, a Government Accountability Office study found that children were injured, traumatized, and even killed through restraint and seclusion in schools.  The GAO documented 20 deaths of school children.  In March 2012, the Civil Rights Data Collection showed that nearly 40,000 students were physically restrained during the 2009-10 school year.  The data also showed that restraint and seclusion are disproportionately used upon students with disabilities and minority students.  


Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to Cosponsor and Support the Keeping All Students Safe Act, HR 1893.  Dial 202-224-3121; ask for your Representative’s Office, and then ask for the education aide.  If you are unable to call and need to use email, go to  (You can also find your Representative’s name here.)  But please try to call if you can.  I have attached a copy of the bill.  The link to Congressman Miller's speech is here: v=tgOTwD-UcOo&


America today is a tattered patchwork of state laws and guidelines, where some students receive comprehensive protections only to lose them if their parents move across a river, down a highway, or to the next town.  Only 19 states have statutes/regulations providing meaningful protections against both restraint and seclusion for all children. 


This is a summary of important points about the Keeping Students Safe Act, HR 1893, and reasons to support it.  Share these points, or points of your own, with your Congressional representatives.


  •  The KSSA will ban restraint/seclusion except in emergencies where someone is in danger of physical harm.  Only 13 states by law limit restraint of all children to emergencies where it is necessary to protect someone from imminent physical danger or serious physical danger; only 11 states have laws protecting all children from non-emergency seclusion.  Restraint and seclusion are so dangerous that they must be limited in this manner-to the absolutely rarest of circumstances when physical safety requires their use. 
  • The KSSA will require that parents be informed if their child was restrained/secluded on the same day that the event occurred.  Parents should be notified very quickly so they can seek medical care for concussions, hidden internal injuries, and trauma, and to work with the schools to create positive environments for their children.   30 states by law or guidance support informing parents of at least some children within a day or as soon as possible, indicating that this is an important public policy.  But as Congressman Miller has pointed out, far too often, parents never knew what happened to their child.
  • The KSSA will ban restraints that impede breathing, mechanical restraints, and chemical restraints.  These are highly dangerous practices.  Of the 20 deaths the GAO documented, 4 were of children who said they could not breathe due to restraint. Only 20 states ban restraints that obstruct breathing for all children; 27 for children with disabilities.  Only 14 states by law ban the use of dangerous chemical restraints; only 15 ban mechanical restraints.  These include chairs and other devices that children are locked into; duct tape and bungee cords, ties, rope, and other things used to restrain children; and other devices.  An Alabama child locked into a restraining chair and left alone in the bathroom turned the chair upside down and was hanging from the restraints, having urinated on herself.  
  • The KSSA will prevent restraint/seclusion from being used when less restrictive alternatives, like positive supports and de-escalation, would eliminate any danger.  It would require them to end when the emergency ends.  Some children have remained in seclusion/restraint until they can sit perfectly still or do other tasks unrelated to an emergency.  Children with significant disabilities may be unable to respond to such commands and yet pose no threat of danger.
  • The KSSA will require that if children are placed in seclusion rooms, school staff must continuously visually observe them.  Children locked in closets, bathrooms, and other rooms and spaces unobserved have been killed, injured, and traumatized.  But the majority of states do not require continuous visual monitoring.  At Atlanta teen died in seclusion while being checked on occasionally in 2007; an Indiana child attempted suicide while being monitored occasionally in 2011.
  • Instead of restraint and seclusion, the KSSA seeks to promote positive behavioral supports for all children.  The bill will shift schools toward preventing problematic behavior through the use of de-escalation techniques, conflict management and evidence-based positive behavioral interventions and supports.  This shift of focus will help school personnel understand the needs of their students and safely address the source of challenging behaviors - a better result for everyone in the classroom.  
  • There is much evidence that positive supports and interventions are very successful.  For example, the Centennial School in Pennsylvania, which serves children in 35 school districts, has cut the use of restraint and seclusion from well over 1,000 occurrences per year to less than ten through the use of positive supports. Reports and studies have also shown that students and staff are safer when positive interventions and supports, rather than restraint and seclusion, are used in schools. Worker's Compensation costs even decrease significantly.

The KSSA will also ban dangerous aversive practices that threaten safety; require the collection of data; and require appropriate training of staff.  Far too often, untrained staff injure and harm students.  Data is important to ensure that there is sunshine.  When Florida introduced data reporting and collection, a number of school districts cut their use of restraint/seclusion. 


We again salute Congressman Miller and Congressman Harper for introducing the Keeping All Students Safe Act.  Congressman Miller has led efforts in the House to adopt restraint/seclusion legislation since 2009, including ordering the GAO study, holding hearings, and introducing and championing the bill. 


Instructions for Contacting Congress to Support the BillPlease call your Congressional Representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Keeping All Students Safe Act, 202-221-3121.  Ask for your Representative.  Then ask for his/her education aide.  You can find your Representative on the House of Representatives website: You can also go to that link to send an email message directly to your Representative, but it is much better if you call. 

Thanks again for all of your support for the bill!

Jessica Butler
Congressional Affairs Coordinator
Autism National Committee  (AutCom)
22 years of advocating for children and adults with autism



Brain Injury Association of Virginia logo

The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) is conducting a statewide Brain Injury Needs & Resources Assessment of the needs of individuals with brain injury, their family members/caregivers, and professionals and programs serving persons with brain injury in Virginia. The Survey Evaluation and Research Laboratory (SERL) at Virginia Commonwealth University is assisting DARS in collecting information from individuals and caregivers about their experiences.

If you are at least 18 years of age and a survivor of a brain injury or the caregiver of someone with a brain injury, you may be eligible to participate. This survey is not limited to only those who sustained traumatic brain injuries (e.g. car accidents, assaults, falls, bicycle injury, sports Injury, combat related injury); it also includes other types of brain injury (e.g. stroke, brain tumor, brain aneurysm, lack of oxygen, infection).

As a professional or program, you may also be eligible to participate, to provide information about the resources you offer, the gaps in services you experience, and the needs you see among those you serve.

If you would like to participate in the survey, please click here and complete the information requested (this is not a link to the actual written survey, but this is where you give permission to send the survey to you either by mail or via a web link).

If you know someone who might like to participate but is unable to opt in via the internet, they can call Jenn Reid with SERL at 804-827-0459 to request a pen and paper version be sent by mail.

Information provided through the completion of the survey will help DARS and other brain injury providers plan and promote appropriate service delivery for survivors and their family members/caregivers. Survey information collected by SERL is treated confidentially; neither DARS nor SERL will share any personal information such as name or address in the final report.  

If you have any questions about the survey contact SERL via e-mail at or at 804-827-0459





Project Endeavor


Project Endeavor Health Topics in ASL Video

In addition to the new category Health Topics in ASL, a broad range of videos are available in the Video Library on the Project Endeavor website.

Health Topics in ASL
Project Endeavor is pleased to bring a brand new resource category to you — Health Topics in ASL!

The Video Library on the Project Endeavor website offers many educational videos. In this category,
Health Topics in ASL, you will find videos on Diabetes, Heart Health, Tobacco and Mental Health.
Find information on understanding Diabetes: What’s a ketone? Good nutrition? Best ways to stay healthy if you have diabetes? Likewise, in Heart Health: What are the ABC’s of heart disease prevention? What are the results of your health checklist? See personal stories in the Heart Truth video. In the Tobacco videos learn: What’s nicotine replacement therapy? See the “8 Smoking Lessons” and watch Tobacco Stops With Me to learn how others quit smoking. In the Mental Health videos learn: What is an anxiety disorder or depression? What do I need to know about my child’s mental health? These topics and many others can be found in the Video Library.

As always, all of the videos in this new category are filmed with the actors using American Sign Language, and are both captioned and voiced over — the different modes necessary to be inclusive for all of our viewers.

Welcome to Heath Topics in ASL, another resource we hope enhances your overall Project Endeavor experience.

02 North Krohn Place | Sioux Falls, SD 57103 | |






SSI, People With Disabilities, and Reaching the Federal Poverty Level.
Read all about it here.



Veterans Now Eligible for Telecommunications Equipment from Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

New program provides equipment for military veterans living with hearing or speech loss


RICHMOND – The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Virginia Relay announced today that military veterans living with a hearing or speech loss are now automatically eligible for telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP).


Adaptive telecommunications equipment, including text telephones (TTY), captioned telephones (CapTel) and other devices are available to individuals who meet the following qualifications:


·         A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and proof of an Honorable Discharge

·         A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and documentation of a service-related disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

·         A surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was killed in the line of duty and has a hearing or speech loss

·         An active member of the Virginia National Guard who has completed the required initial active-duty service


“I am pleased to announce today that veterans living in Virginia with a hearing or speech loss are now automatically eligible for telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program. I urge all eligible Virginia veterans to learn more about this new program to help reduce communications barriers.”


“Our veterans have dedicated their lives to protecting our way of life, and now through our Technology Assistance Program, we are honoring their service by offering veterans with a hearing or speech loss adaptive telecommunications equipment,” said Ron Lanier, director of VDDHH. “Our goal is to make daily life easier for Virginia’s veterans living with a hearing or speech loss by helping them to stay connected with their family, friends, and employers as well as their grateful community.”


Paul Galanti, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, noted, “the US Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence estimates 60 percent of veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq have hearing loss as a result of their military service. This new benefit will help provide these men and women with the tools necessary to adapt to this loss.”


TAP provides telecommunications equipment to all qualified applicants whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone. To qualify for the program, individuals must be deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled. Applicants must also be Virginia residents and meet income eligibility requirements that are based on household income and family size. There are no age restrictions; however applications from minors must be co-signed by a parent or legal guardian.


To learn more about VDDHH, Virginia Relay and TAP for veterans, call 1-800-552-7917 v/tty or visit


VDDHH and Virginia Relay


The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Virginia Relay provide the most up-to-date technologies and assistive devices to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and speech impaired to communicate via a standard telephone network. Virginia Relay services are easily accessible to anyone by dialing 7-1-1. For more information on Virginia Relay and its calling features, please visit, or call VDDHH at 804-662-9502 v/tty.



Elsewhere in the Community: Includification

The AbleGamers Foundation has released Includification: A Practical Guide to Game Accessibility (PDF), a 48-page, full color guide to building accessible games for everything from mobile devices to gaming consoles. The guide is divided into sections for universal design, and mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. It includes consumer quotes and extensive statistics to support universal design for gaming. The guide is available free to download from