Accessibility must be part of your COVID-19 response

by Sharron Rush: For More Info, Go Here…

undreds of millions of people have transitioned to conducting their lives through remote digital systems. The need for accessibility has never been greater and our responsibility to provide equal access has never been more clear.

We work, learn, and teach on the Internet. We rely on the web to shop for groceries and other essentials and to participate in social, civic, and cultural events. As institutions scramble to create policy and process around remote participation for workers and students. the needs of those with disabilities are too often being ignored.

With so much at stake, this cannot continue. At-risk people with disabilities – from K-12 students to working adults and vulnerable seniors – are increasingly isolated from people, services, social support, and health information they critically need. Here is a brief look at the associated risks for people with disabilities of all ages and different needs. Some suggestions are included about what you can do to mitigate that risk and provide equal access to all your stakeholders.

Protecting Civil Rights While Responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

By Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric S. Dreiband: For More Info, Go Here…

It is important that we all work together to address unlawful discrimination, including violent acts or threats based upon protected classes. As in all emergencies, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected people of many different races, religions, and ethnicities, as well as those with disabilities. Unlawful discrimination may also discourage people from coming forward to seek treatment or information. Laws prohibiting unlawful discriminatory
behavior must and will be vigorously enforced.

If you believe you are a victim of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected classes, you can find information about how
to file a complaint at and

Complaints of employment discrimination can be filed with the EEOC at You can also contact the Civil
Rights Division at toll-free 855-856-1247 or 202-514-3827.

In addition, the Division provides resources at (disability-related topics) and (language access information).

Webinar 5/13: Medicare Appeals

From Administration for Community Living: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- There will likely be more denials and reductions of Medicare services during the pandemic and some of those will be motivated by discriminatory triage frameworks…

Register for the webinar on Wednesday, May 13, at 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) will host a second free webinar from the Center for Medicare advocacy on “Medicare Appeals” with an overview of the Medicare appeals process from attorneys who have extensive experience handling Medicare appeals.

The program will include:

  • Medicare rules and requirements;
  • Helpful resources to use while preparing a Medicare appeal;
  • Appeal tips to help maximize the chance of a successful appeal; and
  • Case studies to illustrate the appeals process.

Presenters: Center for Medicare Advocacy Attorneys Mary Ashkar and Paul Grabowski

Register for the webinar.

UPDATE: Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch COVID-19 outbreak includes 34 Greater Lansing residents so far

By Megan Banta: For More Info, Go Here…

UPDATE: This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. April 29 to include confirmed cases in Eaton County

BOSTON TWP. – So far, 34 Lansing-area residents are among those impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak at a poultry farm in Ionia County.

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, located off Interstate 96 between Saranac and Clarksville, first reported one employee who tested positive for the virus two weeks ago.

Since then, the single case has become an outbreak impacting multiple Michigan counties, according to Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail, who spoke about the outbreak at a Tuesday media briefing.

Herbruck’s is the largest egg producer in Michigan, according to a recent company press release.

9 in Ionia County, 34 in Lansing area have tested positive for coronavirus

In ‘historic legal decision,’ court rules education is a fundamental right

By Allison Donahue: For More Info, Go Here…

In 2016, a group of Detroit students filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan claiming their right to a “basic minimum education” was being infringed upon when the district was under state emergency management. And on Thursday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in their favor.

In a 2-1 ruling, a federal Court of Appeals panel decided that Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD) students have a “fundamental right to a basic minimum education” in the case of Gary B. v. Whitmer, sometimes known as the “right to read” lawsuit.

The suit, which was originally filed against the state during then-Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, demanded Detroit students have “access to literacy by ensuring that they are provided with evidence-based, grade-appropriate programs for literacy instruction and intervention and monitoring conditions that deny students access to literacy such as lack of teachers and deplorable school conditions.” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is now listed as the defendant in her role as governor.

Updated IRS Guidance for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients with Qualifying Dependents

From the ACL COVID-19 Update: For More Info, Go Here…

Use the IRS Non-filer Tool

by Tuesday, May 5, for full payment as soon as possible

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued updated guidance for SSI recipients with qualifying dependents eligible for COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments. SSI recipients who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and who have qualifying dependents must submit additional information using the IRS’s Non-Filer tool by Tuesday, May 5, 2020 to receive the full amount of their Economic Impact Payments as soon as possible. Eligible SSI recipients will start receiving their automatic payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May.

Please note that Direct Express account holders may use the IRS’s Non-Filer tool, but they cannot receive their and their children’s payment on their Direct Express card. They may only enter non-Direct Express bank account information for direct deposit, or leave bank information empty to receive a paper check by mail.

Learn more about Social Security and COVID-19

Request for CMS Action to Better Protect Nursing Facility Residents

From a large LTC Coalition of Organizations: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- I only posted two of the recommendations, but all of them are very important and worth review if the continuing death of people with disabilities in various institutions, like nursing homes, are to be contained…

Dear Administrator Verma:
We write on behalf of the approximately 1.3 million Americans currently living in nursing facilities. As you are well aware, the current COVID-19 pandemic has put nursing facility residents at great risk of infection, illness and death. The first significant outbreak in the United States took place in a Seattle-area nursing facility and, to this point, COVID-19 infections have occurred in thousands of long-term care facilities across the country. The evidence of COVID19’s danger is legion but unnecessary to cite here: we are all well aware of our situation’s unprecedented severity.

We appreciate the efforts that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among nursing facility residents. But more action is needed.

We make six recommendations, all aimed at offering more protection to residents, while better retaining residents’ ability to make decisions regarding their health care and place of residence. We discuss our recommendations in detail in an attached memorandum and summarize them below.

1. CMS should ensure that facility residents, their families, and the general public know
whether and to what extent a facility’s residents and staff members have contracted
COVID-19. CMS’s actions in this area — primarily guidance released on April 19 – fall
short. Broad public disclosure is vital and must happen as soon as possible.

2. CMS should ensure that nursing facilities are competent to provide care for residents
with COVID-19. Particularly when CMS and the states emphasize placing COVID-positive
residents together in a specific facility or wing, CMS must ensure that facilities have the
necessary staff, training, and equipment.

ngd- and many more…

Almost every day has brought a new death from coronavirus at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke; 67 have died so far

By Hanna Krueger: For More Info, Go Here…

In late March, when the first resident of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke died from the coronavirus, 226 residents lived at the elder care facility. Just over a month later, nearly 30 percent of them have died in one of the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, and another 83 have tested positive.

With 67 deaths linked to the coronavirus, the facility has a greater reported death toll than any other nursing home in New England, New York or New Jersey, or the long-term care facility in Kirkland, Wash., the initial epicenter of the US outbreak, according to a Globe review of cases.

Almost every day brings a new death.

As several investigations into the state-run facility’s handling of the crisis move forward, employees and their union representatives say the situation has stabilized, in large part because the facility is now half-empty. Forty-three residents have been hospitalized, and 10 others have died from other causes. As of Monday, just 106 residents remained, according to Brooke Karanovich, a spokeswoman for Health and Human Services.

Advocates: Michiganders with disabilities face coronavirus discrimination

By Paul Egan: For More Info, Go Here…

Michigan residents with disabilities are at high risk for the coronavirus due to their reliance on others for assistance. But they say they are being ignored or discriminated against in emergency government policies enacted to address the pandemic.

In recent days:

  • A coalition of disability rights groups wrote to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, saying current policies will leave Michigan residents who have disabilities without access to ventilators or other life-sustaining medical treatment if medical rationing becomes necessary during the pandemic.
  • Blind residents sued Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Saturday, saying that as the state encourages vote by mail for upcoming elections, it is failing to provide blind people with ballots they can read and mark with their preferred candidates, thereby violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Friday letter to Whitmer and Nessel — signed by Michigan Protection & Advocacy Services, Inc. and 18 other groups and individuals who advocate for people with disabilities — said that current policies adopted by the state would discriminate against residents with “a severe underlying disease” in the event that rationing of access to ventilators was enacted in overloaded hospitals.

NDY’s 24th Anniversary: Never Has the Fight For Our Lives Been More Urgent

From Not Dead Yet: For More Info, Go Here…

On this day, April 27, 24 years ago, I was at a national disability rights conference in Dallas. ADAPT organizer Bob Kafka called out to me and said, “I’ve got a name for your group,” a group that increasingly seemed to be needed to combat the growing public sentiment that disabled people are better off dead (and society is better off without us). The name Bob suggested was “Not Dead Yet”, based on a running gag in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. On that day, over 40 disability leaders (Justin Dart, Judy Heumann, Marca Bristo and more) signed on to testimony I would give at a Congressional subcommittee hearing two days later. Not Dead Yet had begun.

Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plague scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail hits painfully close to home, as an older man is thrown on a dead body cart, protesting he’s “not dead” – yet. Today, we’re seeing countless medical triage policies that would literally throw older and disabled people away. Never has the need to fight for our lives been more urgent.

Our name has a bit of humor as well as a bite to it. Sometimes disability humor can be dark. So, on NDY’s 24th Anniversary, we share the plague scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and quote disability humorist John Callahan (1951 – 2010) who said, “Comedy is the main weapon we have against ‘The Horror.’ With it we can strike a blow against death itself.”

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a medieval village during the Black Death, men in rags pushing a wooden cart through mud, as one man bangs a pot and calls “Bring out your dead!” Then a young man brings an older man, we assume his father, thrown over his shoulder, but the old man says “I’m not dead” – yet. After a back and forth, the pot banger clubs the old man in the head, and the young man throws him on the cart, and thanks the pot banger for his help.]

Video is on NDY page