Action Alert: Tell Congress to Protect the Rights of People with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Crisis!

Throughout the weekend, Congress has been working on the 3rd COVID-19 relief package. Once again, the current draft excludes people with disabilities and it is vital that they hear about the needs of people with disabilities and the service system that supports them to live and work in their communities!

Tell Congress to include people with disabilities and their direct supports in the next COVID-19 relief package!

APSE is joining the broader disability community in calling on Congress to demand that the rights and needs of people with disabilities are included in the next COVID-19 package.

Specific asks:

  • Passing the REAADI for Disasters Act (HR. 3208 & S. 1755) and the Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (HR. 3215 & S. 1754) in preparedness for a concurrent disaster or emergency the REAADI for Disasters Act and Disaster Relief Medicaid Act will provide funding for CILs and other disability-led organizations, will provide training and technical assistance centers, will enforce our civil rights to equal access of disaster programs and services, and will allow “Money to Follow the Person in a Disaster.” These bills created by, for, and with the disability community will address many of the concerns and issues people with disabilities face in disasters and emergencies.
  • Increased Medicaid funding for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to help state Medicaid systems cope with increased need during this crisis. The Families First Act’s increased funding is a good starting point, but more will be necessary.
  • Funding for personal care attendants (PCAs) and direct support professionals (DSPs), among other things, this funding could be used to increase rates for PCAs/DSPs; provide paid sick time, family leave, overtime or hazard pay to PCAs/DSPs; and provide HCBS to individuals on waiting lists.
  • More funding for educational services for disabled students and protection of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Senator McConnell’s recent proposal opens the door to waiving protections under IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. As schools are working hard to ensure that learning continues even as schools are closed, now more than ever we need IDEA and Section 504 to be protected. And, we need significant increases in funding to State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) for IDEA instructional and support services during this pandemic!
  • Increase funding for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and other disability-led organizations to be able to respond to and meet the needs of people with disabilities during this pandemic and other disasters and emergencies.
  • Protections for the civil rights of people with disabilities, including ensuring they are not forced into institutional settings (where they are also at higher risk) or discriminated against in access to care and treatment.


Contact your Members of Congress and ask them to ensure that
COVID-19 relief includes addressing the critical health and economic needs of older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions, front-line workers and family caregivers.

Call your state legislators and/or members of Congress (U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or Google the phone number for your local office). Don’t forget to provide your name and city/state where you live.

Email you members. You can reach your members directly using this helpful portal, which was put together by NDSC and uses a script developed by the Center for Public Representation.

Email your Members of Congress using this letter and tool from The Arc.

Email  your Senator using this letter and tool from Access Living.

Send a Tweet at Congress. Sample Tweets provided by ASAN & AAPD:

  • I call on @MEMBER-OF-CONGRESS to include people with disabilities in the 3rd #COVID19 relief package! #WhatWeNeed
  • Including people with disabilities in the #COVID19 relief package isn’t optional, @MEMBER-OF-CONGRESS. We need your help to get our community in the 3rd package. #WhatWeNeed
  • Disabled people are disproportionately impacted by #COVID19. #WhatWeNeed is inclusion in the 3rd COVID19 relief package.
  • People with disabilities are at risk as #COVID19 spreads across the country—tell Congress to prioritize people with disabilities in #Package3 and pass legislation that meets the needs of everyone #WhatWeNeed
  • We’re glad Congress passed two bills to respond to the #COVID19 pandemic – but more still must be done right now to support people with disabilities, including funding for HCBS, Housing, and more: #WhatWeNeed
  • Ask your Member of Congress to pass a new #COVID19 relief bill that addresses the needs of people with disabilities during this crisis! #WhatWeNeed

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