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Capitol Correspondence - 06.17.19

ANCOR Joins Letter of Concern on Reorganization of Federal Disability Agency

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As part of its coalition work with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), ANCOR signed onto a letter with 15 other national organizations expressing concerns with a proposed re-organization of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which is the helm of many disability programs for the Department of health and Human Services (HHS). More on the re-organization can be learned in this previous article.

In addition to delving more into the details of the re-organization, the letter states:

“The intent of the transfer of the Independent Living Program from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to the Administration for Community Living with the 2014 reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act (in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) was to strengthen the national Independent Living network and better allow the program to fulfill its goals of independent living, consumer control, and inclusion. To that end, the law requires that the Director of the Independent Living Administration must be an individual with “substantial knowledge of independent living services.” The apparent downgrading of the Independent Living Administration to the Office of Independent Living Programs, coupled with the combining of the Director of the ILA position with the Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities into one position, virtually ensures that the intent of the law cannot be met. We are very concerned that the lack of a full-time director for the ILA will have a very negative impact on the Independent Living Program.

As the principal agency in the department designated to lead aging and disability programs, ACL must have sufficient resources, support, and clarity in its goals to be successful in this role and avoid unnecessary disruption. We call on ACL leadership to work with stakeholders to safeguard necessary supports and services and advance community living. We look forward to meeting with you at your earliest convenience to further discuss our concerns.”