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COVID-19 (coronavirus)
We know that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is causing people with

disabilities concerns about protection from the virus and their

needed supports during this time. We will continue to provide

resources below as updates become available.

The Endependence Center remains available to provide

information and advocacy. Please contact us if needed.

Resources related to Coronavirus:

Administration on Community Living

American Association of People with Disabilities 

The Medicaid Memo “Developmental Disabilities (DD) and
Commonwealth Coordinated Care (CCC) Plus Waivers: Provider
Flexibilities Related to COVID-19 from April 22, 2020. 
ECI’s Operational Plan
ECI recognizes the seriousness and effect that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) can have on those that we serve and work with. So that our staff and participants can stay safe, we have established the following Operational Plan.
  • ECI’s office will be closed to the public through June 10, 2020. 
  • ECI staff are available by phone and e-mail Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.
  • ECI will not be holding any group activities and participant-led events at ECI until further notice. All events held will be through the Internet and phone.
  • ECI’s Facebook page, website, and newsletter will be updated to reflect this policy and any changes.
Check out ECI’s NEW Calendar of Events for all scheduled

and canceled activities.

Virtual Independent Living Skills Training Webinars
During the month of May, the Endependence Center will hold a daily webinar. All participants are welcome to join these webinars. Webinars will be held from May 1 to May 29, and each webinar will begin at 11:00 am for about 45 minutes, Monday through Friday.

To obtain a list of the topics, see the calendar on page two, or page three of this newsletter or view our calendar of events at http://endependence.org/event-calendar/

You must register in advance one time for any of the webinars in this series: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_XZvuyu7xTbOe1lEmkPPe7A.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar. If you have sound on your computer, you will be able to hear the presentation through your computer. If you do not have access to the Internet or do not want to use sound through your computer, you can join the webinars by phone by calling 1-312-626-6799 or 1-646-876-9923, and when prompted, you will need to provide the meeting ID number and password that will be provided to you.

ECI will facilitate the webinars. If you have a suggested topic for a webinar, please let us know. Call 461-8007 and leave a message with your ideas for future webinar topics.

If you need captioning for the webinar, call Cheryl Simpson at 351-1575 or csimpson@endependence.org at least two days before the webinar and leave your name and e-mail address and once captioning is scheduled, the link will be e-mailed to you.

Youth IL Skills Training

During the month of May, the Endependence Center (ECI) is hosting Youth IL Skills Trainings on Tuesdays and Thursdays for youth only who use ECI services. Each training will last for 30 minutes. You can join the training either by the Internet or by telephone.

If you are interested in attending these virtual Youth IL Skills Training sessions, please contact Amy Ouellette at (757) 351-1597 or aouellette@endependence.org for information on how to participate.

Youth who participate in any of these training should already be using ECI services. If you want to participate in these training and are not yet involved with ECI, please contact Amy Ouellette, Youth Independent Living Coordinator, at (757) 351-1597 or aouellette@endependence.org

 Ages 14-17:  Tuesdays – 3:30pm-4:00pm

  • May 5, 2020 – Introduction to Independent Living Skills Training
  • May 12, 2020 – What Happens When You Turn 18?
  • May 19, 2020 – Demystifying the IEP Meeting
  • May 26, 2020 – Your Educational Rights and Distance Learning

Ages 18-24: Thursdays – 3:30pm-4:00pm

  • May 7, 2020 – Introduction to Independent Living Skills Training
  • May 14, 2020 – Secondary Education Opportunities
  • May 21, 2020 – SSI and Employment
  • May 28, 2020 – Ways to Save Money
Medical Rationing and COVID-19: Information and Resources

As cases of COVID-19 are increasing across the country, so, too, is the need for equipment and treatment. In response to both the fear and reality of needs exceeding resources, we are hearing with increasing frequency about medical professionals, hospitals, and states developing plans for medical rationing. This refers to any type of guidelines, rules, or protocols that define or determine who does and does not get to have access to treatment for COVID-19. Much of this guidance has been discriminatory, recommending denying some or all life-saving care to certain groups of people – often older people and people with disabilities. 

This is not only horrendous; it is also illegal. Nearly all healthcare providers in the country are subject to nondiscrimination mandates of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557), and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. 

In recent weeks, several complaints have been filed by disability rights organizations with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) regarding states’ medical rationing plans. In response to the discriminatory actions of several states – and in large part because of the advocacy by the disability community – on March 28, the HHS OCR released a bulletin (PDF) to ensure that during this emergency, covered entities follow civil rights law. 

The bulletin clearly explains that HHS-funded health programs and activities cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. Specifically, it says that “persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative ‘worth’ based on the presence or absence of disabilities. Decisions by covered entities concerning whether an individual is a candidate for treatment should be based on an individualized assessment of the patient based on the best available objective medical evidence”. 

This bulletin is important and timely. The lives of disabled people are equally valuable to the lives of nondisabled people. The answer to limited resources is to figure out how to make sufficient resources available; not to pit groups of people against each other. 

Our rights are still rights in times of crisis. Plans to deny care to people based on disability are discriminatory and illegal. Our community needs to remain vigilant and continue advocating and filing complaints when discriminatory plans are being set in motion. This bulletin provides an important tool for ongoing advocacy. 

Some additional resources and information about medical rationing can be found at the links below:

For more updates and information, resources, and past alerts about COVID-19, visit www.ncil.org/covid-19.

Social Security and Economic Impact Payment

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) announced on April 1 that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an economic impact payment.  The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 to generate $1,200 economic impact payments to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.”

For more information, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/.