LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, September 25, 2020


Registration for CEO Summit Series: 2020–2021 Now Open

CEO Summit is going virtual this year, and while we will miss seeing you in person, our new format offers the opportunity for additional CEOs to participate nationwide, and for us to engage an even broader, strong lineup of thought leaders. With your direct feedback, we’ve developed a series of four virtual leadership seminars designed to strengthen, inspire and enrich leaders across our network with a focus on emerging stronger.

Renowned corporate strategist and advisor to Fortune 500 executives David Morey returned this year and kicked off the series on September 24 by discussing how CEOs can lead effectively through crises. On November 10, Dr. Garth Graham, vice president and chief community health officer at CVS Health, will guide us through some of the most innovative partnerships in the health and human services sector. In 2021, Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, will examine the broader trends of the workforce and its recovery. Carolyn will be followed shortly thereafter by Advocate Aurora Health president and CEO Jim Skogsbergh and others to share their visions for 2022 and beyond.

Join us in crafting the answers to the biggest questions now facing our entire network. Register for this timely series today!

The Lutheran Services in America Strength & Service Series

Upcoming Series Webinars

Becoming an Antiracist Organization
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Time: 1:00-2:00 EDT

Hear from three peer leaders as they continue addressing their organization’s role in systemic racism, explore efforts to engage community partners to dismantle racism, and discuss the importance in recognizing and naming the pain that racism causes.  Join Damyn Kelly, President and CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New York, Michael Bertrand, President and CEO & Beverly Jones, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois and Paulo Pina, Pediatric Medical Director, Assistant Clinical Professor, NYU Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone.  For more information and to register click here.

Engagement Technology — What Happens When You Pair Technology and Creative Leadership
Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020
Time: 1–2 p.m. EDT

The COVID-19 crisis has brought to the forefront the importance of staying connected, and the consequences of being isolated. Come see how the pairing of technology and creative leadership can lead to successful outcomes and improve the quality of life for everyone involved. Hosted by Jack York, President and CEO of iN2L, Dave Gehm, President and CEO of Wellspring Lutheran Services, and Kevin McFeely, President and CEO of Tacoma Lutheran, will share their own experiences and expertise on creative ways they have kept their residents, families and staff connected and engaged through the pandemic. For more information and to register click here.

Honoring Our Front Line Heros

Lutheran Services in America is proud to honor the incredibly brave front line workers serving during this historic time in our national network. This week we are launching a new digital booklet that offers every inspiring entry to date in our Front Line Heroes series. Our Summer 2020 issue highlights the courageous efforts of our members dating back to March, and is just the first collection in what will be a continuing campaign to lift up the impact our members are making on their communities across the country. You can find the summer issue and an overview video on our new Front Line Heroes page. Please feel free to share these resources on your own social media pages, and to email Caitlyn Gudmundsen ( with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

CMS Announces $165 million in New Funding for Money Follows the Person Demonstration Programs

On September 23rd the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the availability of up to $165 million in supplemental funding to states currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs. This funding is being provided to help state Medicaid programs jump-start efforts to transition individuals with disabilities and older adults from institutions and nursing facilities to home and community-based settings of their choosing. According to CMS, this action delivers on the Administration’s commitment to transform Medicaid by fostering increased state flexibility and innovation and to ensure safety and quality for beneficiaries.

Millions of Individuals Have Yet to Claim Their CARES Act Stimulus Payments

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), many people have not yet received their stimulus payment (Economic Impact Payment or EIP) available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the COVID-19 legislation Congress enacted in March.  Millions of individuals who do not normally file income taxes are entitled to this payment, and to receive it they must enter their information into the IRS Non-Filers Tool by October 15, 2020.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just released the guide Helping Consumers Claim the Economic Impact Payment: A guide for intermediary organizations. The guide is free and contains step-by-step information for direct service and community organizations frontline staff on how to: discuss the EIP with clients, determine if clients need to take action, and support clients with what to expect and how to troubleshoot common issues or address scenarios such as not having a permanent address.  If you have questions about the guide, contact

Advocacy Update

Lutheran Services in America CEO Charlotte Haberaecker joins several others in urging Congress to address the needs of nonprofits by enacting a COVID-19 relief bill now

Warning of large impending job losses, Haberaecker and 37 other CEOs wrote to Congressional leadership that the Paycheck Protection Program and other job-saving initiatives of the CARES Act must be re-upped and include relief for nonprofits of all sizes before the November election. Negotiations remain at a standstill and have become less likely prior to the November election. The House of Representatives is expected adjourn next week until after the election, and while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun to assemble a new package for a possible House vote next week, reports of its $2.4 trillion cost appears to be far beyond an amount that the Senate will accept. Meanwhile, Congress has other pressing business. The federal government is set to shut down on September 30th unless Congress acts to keep it running. Earlier this week the House passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December 11th. The Senate is expected to take up a stopgap measure next week.

Join Us in Urging Lawmakers to Provide Additional Nonprofit Relief NOW by clicking here

As mentioned, Congress is scheduled to adjourn by early October and not to return until after the election—but lawmakers have still not passed an additional COVID-19 relief package that addresses the ongoing needs most important to our members, as outlined in our key priorities. We are asking lawmakers to address the urgent remaining needs of nonprofit health and human services providers NOW.  Your participation will be vital: join us again in writing to your lawmakers.

Coronavirus Resources

Lutheran Services in America has compiled a list of COVID-19 news and resources that is regularly updated. In particular, we are tracking philanthropic and federal funding opportunities and requirements for our members and compiling a list of upcoming webinars, meetings, and events. Be sure to check out these pages and feel free to reach out to or with any related questions you have.


Trump Administration Pushing Program That Moves People Out Of Institutions

Medicaid officials are looking to “jump-start efforts” to move people with disabilities from institutions to community-based settings and they’re offering up millions of dollars to do so.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said this week that up to $165 million is available to states for a program called Money Follows the Person.

The Medicaid program provides funding to states to cover employment supports, housing and other services so that individuals with disabilities can transition from nursing homes and other institutional facilities to homes in the community.

More from Disability Scoop

Pelosi abruptly shifts course, restarts relief push amid signs economy is straining

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi abruptly shifted course Thursday and moved to assemble a new coronavirus relief bill to form the basis for renewed talks with the White House, amid mounting pressure from moderates in her caucus and increasingly alarming economic news.

The new legislation would be significantly narrower in scope than the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act the House passed in May. Pelosi (D-Calif.) has more recently focused on an additional $2.2 trillion in aid — a figure Republicans say is still too high. But in a meeting with House Democratic leaders Thursday she said the new bill would be around $2.4 trillion, because of urgent needs arising from restaurants and airlines. 

More from Washington Post

Supreme Court Fight Complicates Coronavirus Aid Talks, Spending Bill

The battle over replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court has quickly overshadowed the rest of the agenda on Capitol Hill, complicating efforts to prevent a government shutdown and further narrowing the possibility of another coronavirus relief bill before the election. While negotiations in the House and Senate on both government funding and another coronavirus relief bill had already faced their own set of hurdles, the death of Justice Ginsburg has injected further uncertainty into an already-delicate legislative process. Lawmakers and outside analysts said the vitriol of the nomination battle will likely leak into other issues. 

More from The Wall Street Journal

‘A Failed System’: What It’s Like to Vote With a Disability During a Pandemic

Sheryl Grossman voted in Maryland’s primary this year by taping a blank mail-in ballot to her door, alongside a list of her choices.

As she watched through the window of her home in Baltimore, two election officials filled out the ballot, texted her a photo and sealed the envelope. The director of the local board of elections texted her later to confirm that the officials had returned it.

“It was not an independent, private ballot,” said Ms. Grossman, 44, the board chairwoman of the Jewish disability advocacy group Yad HaChazakah. “But if that was not an option, I would not have been able to cast a ballot at all.”

The accommodations were necessary, and will be again in the general election, because Ms. Grossman has Bloom syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens her immune system and causes cognitive disabilities. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, she can’t safely go to a polling place or allow anyone into her home. And because she can’t read text with formatting, like italics or borders, she can’t complete a mail-in ballot.

More from The New York TImes


Texans With Disabilities Are Eligible For Mail-In Voting, But People Must Decide For Themselves If They Qualify

Citing a disability is among the few reasons that Texans can qualify to vote by mail during the pandemic this November — in addition to being 65 or older, being outside of their county during the election, or being confined to jail but otherwise eligible to vote.

But in recent months, what counts as a disability in Texas has been politicized and litigated. The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that a lack of immunity to the coronavirus is not in itself enough to qualify. Beyond that, the court ruled that voters should decide for themselves if their medical situations meet the state's criteria.

More from Texas Tribune

Delays Hinder Florida Program For People With Disabilities

A push by state lawmakers to encourage Floridians with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work has been stalled in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration for more than a year, and there's no clear indication when the program will get up and running.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew assured top legislative leaders and the governor’s office in a June 29 report that her agency was developing an outreach plan to promote what’s known as the Working People with Disabilities Program and that it would take effect in July.

But the program, initially passed by lawmakers in spring 2019, still isn’t operational, according to people who have tried to use it.

More from Health News Florida

New York: Group homes, services for disabled face devastating state cuts at a time of crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the precarious fiscal shape of agencies that aid New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, say families and nonprofit leaders.

The dire situation is even more shocking, families say, considering New York's human care system was once at the national forefront.

Nonprofit agencies say that during the COVID-19 crisis they have often been left to their own devices by the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. They have had to figure out how to ensure safety in congregate settings with an extremely vulnerable population.

More from The Journal News on MSN

Research & Reports

Disability Vote Grows to 38.3 Million, a 19.8% Jump Since 2008

People with disabilities form an increasingly large, powerful, and potentially decisive percentage of the electorate in key battleground states and across the country, according to a new report by the Program for Disability Research at Rutgers University. A projected 38.3 million eligible voters have a disability, representing a 19.8% jump since 2008, and millions more live with someone who has disability. Taken together, more than 25% of the American electorate may be motivated by issues affecting the disability community.

More from

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

ADA30: Increasing Access and Opportunity

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National League of Cities published a blog written by U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy on "ADA30: Increasing Access and Opportunity." The blog discusses the importance of involving all Americans, including individuals with disabilities, in local and municipal economic recovery and workforce development efforts. It also provides information on workplace flexibilities during the pandemic, such as accommodations, and highlights ways for policymakers and other government officials to promote and celebrate the ADA.

More from CitiesSpeak

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 3–4, 2021
Details TBD


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Doug Walter at

  • Policy & Advocacy Team
  • Culture and Engagement Workgroup
  • Administrative Cost Survey Working Group

Keep in Touch

Lisa Morgan
DN Convener
Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia

Mary Mulliet
DN Treasurer
Vice President of Community Services, Samaritas

Doug Walter
Director of Policy and Advocacy, Disability Network, Lutheran Services in America