COVID-19

Update: March 11, 2021

President Biden has signed the latest COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, into law. Thanks to your advocacy, the bill includes the dedicated funding for home and community-based services (HCBS) that we have been fighting for since the beginning of the pandemic, along with other important disability priorities. HCBS funding is critical to help individuals with disabilities and older adults remain safely in their home rather than being forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings that have faced severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

For more on what disability priorities are and are not included in the American Rescue Plan Act, check out our fact sheet. More on the bill is also available on our COVID-19 legislation page.

Overview

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has hit the disability community especially hard. In response to the pandemic, state and local governments around the country have declared states of emergency and issue stay at home orders. On March 13, 2020 former President Trump announced a national state of emergency to make additional funding available to combat the continued spread of COVID-19. However, there is still much that needs to be done to address the needs of people with disabilities and below we detail the response from Congress and federal agencies, along with the ways that the disability community is advocating for our needs to be included in the federal response to this crisis.

Congressional Response

On March 18, 2020 Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes increased Medicaid funding, emergency paid leave, increased funding for food assistance, and free coronavirus testing. Senate Republicans then introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which, following much negotiation, passed the Senate on March 25 and the House on March 27. The final bill included some of the disability community’s priorities, but many were omitted and we are now working to ensure those are included in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.

On March 10, 2021 Congress passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan. The plan included many important priorities, including full federal Medicaid funding for administration of vaccines and additional housing and nutrition funding. It also, importantly, included designated and increased funding for home and community-based services (HCBS), for which the disability community has fought for since the beginning of the pandemic. 

More must be done to meet the needs of people with disabilities and it must be done now. Given the fast-moving nature of this crisis, it’s crucial that Congress work quickly to pass legislation that recognizes the outsized impact this is having and will continue to have on disabled people. CPR and other disability organizations are already working on advocacy for the next COVID-19 package being negotiated in Congress. We are working closely with our allies to promote inclusion of the disability community priorities that were were not included in CARES and American Rescue Plan Act. 

You can find more details on all of the passed and proposed legislation on our COVID-19 legislation page

Federal Agency Response

Federal agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) have released guidance and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak.  We will continue to monitor those efforts as well to ensure the needs of the entire disability community are addressed by the guidance and resources released by agencies. You can find relevant guidance and resources from federal agencies below.

This page and our other COVID-19 webpages will continue to be updated throughout the crisis. Below are resources related to the coronavirus and its impact on people with disabilities and you can find additional information on our COVID-19 advocacy, congregate settings advocacy, legislation, waiver, and medical rationing and hospital visitor policies pages.

Resources from Federal Agencies

Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Census Bureau

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Congressional Research Service

Department of Agriculture

Department of Education

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury

Federal Emergency Management Agency

HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)

HHS Office for Civil Rights

Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC)

National Council on Disability

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Social Security Administration (SSA)

Other Resources

American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Center for American Progress

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Commonwealth Fund

Communication First

Community Living Policy Center

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

Educating All Learners Alliance

Families USA

Family Equality

Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

Health Affairs

Immigration Justice Campaign

Kaiser Family Foundation

Manatt Health

National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services

National Disability Institute

National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

National Employment Law Project

National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)

National Partnership for Women and Families

Northwest ADA Center

Office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey

Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign

Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Advocacy Materials

Letters

  • Letter from the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations to Senate leadership urging an increase to the FMAP in the next COVID-19 response bill (5/20/20)
  • Letter from advocacy organizations led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to Congressional leadership on priorities for education equity in COVID-19 response (5/7/20)
  • Letter to Congressional leadership from advocacy organizations led by Justice in Aging regarding coronavirus response priorities for older adults (4/30/20)
  • Letter from members of Congress to Congressional leadership on priorities for people with disabilities in the COVID-19 response (4/29/20)
  • Letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to members of Congress on COVID-19 priorities (4/27/20)
  • Letter from advocacy organizations led by Families USA to Congressional leadership regarding priorities for future COVID-19 legislation (4/23/20)
  • Letter from members of Congress to Secretary Mnuchin and Commissioner Rettig on stimulus payments for people experiencing homelessness (4/22/20)
  • Letter from the CCD LTSS Task Force to Secretary Azar, Administrator Verma, and Director Redfield in response to the Administration’s “New Nursing Homes COVID-19 Transparency Effort”
    announcement (4/21/20)
  • Letter led by the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign to Congressional leadership on priorities for package four (4/21/20)
  • Letter from the National Governors’ Association to Congressional leadership requesting supplemental funding (4/21/20)
  • Letter from members of Congress to Congressional leadership on protecting maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions in the Families First Act (4/21/20)
  • Letter from the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and the National Low-Income Housing Coalition to HUD on housing priorities in response to COVID-19 (4/21/20)
  • Letter from national organizations to Congressional leadership on the need for nondiscrimination protections in the coronavirus response (4/20/20)
  • Letter from members of Congress to Congressional leadership on protecting immigrant families in coronavirus legislation (4/20/20)
  • Letter from advocacy organizations led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to members of Congress on health and economic security priorities for future COVID-19 legislation (4/16/20)
  • Letter from the Hispanic Federation to Congressional leadership on priorities for package four (4/14/20)
  • Letter from CCD to Congressional leadership in support of HCBS grants (4/13/20)
  • Letter from Congress members to House leaders supporting inclusion of funding for homeless programs in fourth coronavirus response package (4/10/20)
  • Letter from Human Rights Campaign and over 70 other national organizations urging President Trump to fully invoke the Defense Production Act (4/9/20)
  • Letter from CCD and allies to Congressional leadership opposing IDEA waivers (4/9/20)
  • Letter from Senators to CDC requesting demographic data regarding COVID-19 testing (4/7/20)
  • Letter from Senators to Secretary Mnuchin asking to ensure people who are experiencing homelessness receive COVID-19 recovery rebates (4/7/20)
  • Petition from the National Health Law Program, the Coalition on Human Needs, and other healthcare advocates asking HHS to reopen the federal ACA exchange
  • Template Letter to Governors and Attorneys General on Medicaid and Controlled Substances drafted by AAPD
  • Template Letter to Insurance Commissioners on Private Payers drafted by AAPD
  • Letter to Congress on disability priorities from coalition of disability, civil rights, faith-based, health advocacy organizations led by AAPD (3/23/20)
  • Letter from Families USA’s “Give Families And States Covid-19 Support Now!” Coalition to Congress regarding “Phase 3” legislation (3/23/20)
  • Letter to HHS OCR regarding COVID-19 treatment rationing from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (3/20/20)
  • Letter from NGA to Congressional leadership with request for third Congressional COVID-19 bill (3/20/20)
  • Letter from 32 national advocacy organizations to Congressional leadership on COVID-19 housing priorities (3/19/20)
  • Letter to the Senate from the Disability and Aging Collaborative (3/16/20)
  • Letter to the Senate from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (3/14/20)
  • Letter to the Senate from the Coalition on Human Needs (3/13/20)
  • Letter from Senators to the White House Task Force on COVID-19 on Access to HCBS (3/12/20)
  • Letter from Senators to the White House Task Force on COVID-19 on Accessible Information (3/12/20)
  • Letter from Senators to the White House Task Force on COVID-19 on Nursing Homes (3/12/20)
  • Letter to the White House Task Force on COVID-19 from the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (3/9/20)
  • Open Letter to Federal Officials from Public Health and Law Experts Issuing Guidelines for U.S. Response to Coronavirus Transmission (3/6/20)

Other Materials

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