Encompass COVID-19 Resources

1. People with Disabilities, Families, and Direct Support Professionals: Tell Congress #WeAreEssential. There is still time to advocate at the federal level to ensure funding to support people with disabilities, families, direct support workers and community providers are included in the third relief package. Follow the two steps below to act now: 

Step 1: Tell Congress #WeAreEssential 
Congress must pass legislation to support the ESSENTIAL programs and workforce that help people with disabilities to lead independent lives - not in institutions! Call or send a message to your Members of Congress now! This legislation must include: 

  • Additional funding to create a Medicaid grant program to support access to home and community-based services (that combat institutionalization) and to support the direct support professional (DSP) workforce.
  • A permanent reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. 
  • Raising Medicaid, SSI, and SNAP asset limits for stimulus payments.  
  • Boosting Social Security and Supplemented Security Income benefits for the crisis.  
  • Paid leave for caregivers for people with disabilities.  
  • No limitations on disability rights protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act.   

Step 2: Spread the Word! 
Do you have a cell phone with a camera? Take a short video of yourself answering one of the questions below: 

  • Without my direct support professional…
  • The services that I get from Medicaid make it possible for me to... 
  • If my mom/dad/sister/brother can't take time off work during this pandemic to support me... 
  • This is my home, and if I don't have healthy staff to support me... 
  • I rely on my Social Security benefits to... 
  • My chapter of The Arc supports me to ... 

Then post your video on social media with the hashtag #WeAreEssential. It's important to include the hashtag so that we see your story! You can also share this Action Alert: How our elected officials respond to this crisis is a matter of life and death, especially for people with disabilities, direct support staff, and families.

2. Illinois Home Services Program (HSP) Update: See this link for guidance for HSP customers and providers. It includes clarity on temporary exceptions allowed, and what to do given that the Illinois DRS physical offices are closed. Personal attendants ARE considered essential workers so they can still go to work.

3. Information from SARTAC (Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center): 

March 19 meeting recording on What is Social Distancing? How to Take Care of Yourself During COVID-19. Click here. To see or get the PowerPoint used for this meeting click here.

A 3-minute video Coronavirus Tips for Staying Healthy by The Self-Determination Channel of Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. Click here

March 17 meeting recording on What is the Coronavirus? Click here.
Links to the booklets mentioned:

4. Action Needed: We need people to keep up the advocacy, using the Twitter hashtag #WhatWeNeed (check out the cool Twitter tool at www.disabilitydemands.org) and our email advocacy tool at this link, which has been updated to focus on the House at the moment. Please take action ASAP!
5. Pushing Back on Rationing: As the COVID-19 crisis continues and medical professionals face the prospect of limited staff and equipment, especially ventilators, disability advocates across the states are stepping up to ask policymakers to issue guidance for emergency triage to eliminate disability bias. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund put out a brief that looks at the issue from a disability standpoint. Access Living is monitoring this issue closely in Illinois, as are many Illinois disability and health groups.

6. Beginning this Sunday, March 29th, through Thursday, April 2nd, at midnight. Following two successful live screenings this past year, and in response to demand, No Shame On U has partnered with IndieFlix to make the film, Angst, available online to our entire community. For ages 10+, Angst is a compelling and educational documentary designed to raise awareness around anxiety. The message in Angst will resonate with those wondering how to promote mental well-being during this time of uncertainty.  Viewers of the film will also have access to supplemental support materials, such as an at-home discussion guide, a tip sheet, a knowledge quiz, and online resources. The film, along with the supplemental resources, will be accessible to our community through: https://www.indieflix.com/ocs/Angst/NoShameOnU/watch.html

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