Speak Up and Speak Out Registration Out!
Last year Speak Up  and Speak Out sold out faster than ever before!  Don’t miss it – register now!  Here is the registration brochure.  Call the Arc office with any questions.  This year there is an even stronger focus on speaking up for our rights!

Connect to Policy!  Partners in Policymaking – Applications Due August 17!

Partners in Policymaking applications are open for the next class.  Don’t forget to attend Speak Up and Speak Out to hear from some of the self advocates in the class about their projects.

Partners in Policymaking Downloadable Application
Visit the ICDD website to view the Partners in Policymaking Class 2 Brochure

For more information, please contact Jan Bergman (Partners Project Coordinator) at

Disability In the News
Federal Disability Policy Office Proposed

Disability Scoop, 07.31.18
Federal policy is often implemented with little consideration for how it will impact people with disabilities, but that could change under a new proposal. A bill introduced this month in the U.S. Senate calls for the creation of an Office of Disability Policy.

Belleville Newspaper Article on 16 Person Home – 

Up to 16 people live in this Alorton house. The state thinks they’re trapped inside.


President Trump Sign EVV Bill – Delaying Implementation for 1 year
A success for individuals and families in the homebased waiver happened with the signing of the Electronic Visit Verification bill that passed both houses and was signed into law this week by President Trump.  Here is President Trump’s statement.  Although the administration put out clarification that those individuals living in CILAs, ICFDDs and other facilities would be exempt, without this bill, states would have needed to immediately implement an electronic visit verification system for those individuals who have personal support workers come into their homes through the homebased program.  The EVV system is currectly used by home services and the community care program but we have seen challenges in the implementation.

Now Illinois will have alittle more than a year to implement EVV for homebased.  If you are a person or family member who is supporting someone in homebased and is interested advocating around this issue, please email


Urge Congress to Pass the EMPOWER Care Act

Major Recent Events

Education – Career and Technical Education Reauthorization Enacted

Last week, the House and Senate passed, and the President signed, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) which reauthorizes federal career and technical education (CTE) programs. The law includes several disability community priorities such as including individuals with disabilities among the stakeholders who must be consulted in the development of the state plan; creating a new set aside for the recruitment of individuals with disabilities to CTE programs that lead to high-wage in-demand careers; including provisions around public reporting on student subgroups and special population performance by program of study; and expanding access and requirements for teacher professional development in universal design for learning and other research-based teaching methods. See the statement from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Education Task Force here.

Education – Alternative Reauthorization of Higher Education Act Introduced in the House

On July 26, Representative Bobby Scott and sixteen co-sponsors introduced the Aim Higher Act (H.R. 6543) to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Among many other things, the bill would require colleges to accept formal disability documentation from high school so the students no longer must re-prove their disability to receive accommodations in college. The bill would reauthorize the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities and teacher preparation programs that train teachers to educate diverse learners. The Aim Higher Act is the alternative to the PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508) that passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in February. See the statement from the CCD Education Task Force here.

Employment – Disability Employment Incentive Act Introduced

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced the Disability Employment Incentive Act. This bill increases three tax credits for employers. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides incentives for businesses to that hire people referred by vocational rehabilitation, or who are on Supplemental Security Income of Social Security Disability Insurance, would be increased from $2,400 to $5,000. The Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit will be increased from $5,000 to $10,000. The Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit will be increased from $15,000 to $30,000. The Arc supports this bill.

Health – Bill Declaring People with Developmental Disabilities (DD) a Medically Underserved Population Introduced in the House

On July 26, Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs UP) Act of 2018. This bill would declare people with DD a medically underserved population (MUP). People with DD face a shortage of primary care providers, as well as higher infant mortality rates, higher poverty rates, and shorter life expectancy than the general population. The MUP designation comes with increased access to resources from 25 different government programs including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Community Health Centers, loan repayment and training programs under Health Resources and Services Administration Workforce Development and Training Programs, and preference in research within agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. The Arc supports this bill.

Social Security – House Committee Holds Hearing on Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process

Last week, the House Committee and Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on “Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process.” As stated in the Committee’s announcement, the hearing focused on “…recent and planned changes affecting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability appeals process, the metrics the SSA uses to evaluate process changes, and the progress the SSA has made to address the appeals backlog.” Visit the Committee web site for testimony and archived video of the hearing.

Following the hearing, Subcommittee Chair Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT) led all Subcommittee Members in a bipartisan letter to Acting Commissioner of Social Security Nancy Berryhill stating that the agency should not proceed with plans to reinstate the reconsideration level of appeal in 10 states, until a Senate-confirmed Commissioner is sworn in. President Trump has nominated Andrew Saul of New York to be Commissioner of Social Security.


Education – Report Shows Most States are Not Meeting IDEA Obligations

The U.S. Department of Education found that only twenty-one states deserved the “meets requirements” designation for the 2016-2017 school year. Twenty-eight states were placed into the “needs assistance” category. Michigan and the District of Columbia were placed in the “needs intervention” category. The findings come from an annual mandatory assessment of state compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The ratings are based on how well states meet their obligations to serve students with disabilities ages 3 to 21.

Rights – President Trump Issues Proclamation Commemorating ADA Anniversary

On July 25, President Trump issued a proclamation commemorating the 28th Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is the primary civil rights law for people with disabilities. It passed Congress with bipartisan support and was signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Read the statement here.

Meg Cooch Signature
Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)