LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, April 2, 2021


Strength & Service Series

Apr. 16: 1-2pm EDT – Understanding the Impact of Systemic Racism on Black Families

We know children thrive when they are raised in loving, stable families. Yet throughout American history there have been many forces that have actively destabilized black and brown families. Slavery, mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, and poverty are some of the many examples of policies and practices that have actively separated children from their families. Please join us for this captivating, original presentation by Dr. Harry Singleton, theologian, author, and one of the most passionate and informed voices on race and religion in America as he elevates the historical and cyclical impact that systemic racism has on children, families, and communities of color, and the considerations we as faith-based organizations must make if we are to disrupt its cycle. Register here.

April 27: 1-2pm EDT - OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Program — What You Need to Know The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers strictly adhere to a respiratory protection program, designed to protect employees from inhaling harmful contaminants in the workplace. Now and throughout the pandemic, OSHA is placing added pressure on skilled nursing, long-term care, and other healthcare facilities and providers to properly document COVID-19 cases, complete necessary N95 mask training with staff, and submit timely reports to maintain compliance. Not doing so can result in citations and financial penalties that are costly and difficult to challenge. During this webinar, leading experts from Johnson, Kendall & Johnson will explain the four main components of an OSHA compliant respiratory protection program as they pertain to COVID-19 protection in healthcare settings, and what organizations can do now to ensure their continued compliance. Register here.

NEW Application Forms and Extended Deadline for Paycheck Protection Program and Further Expanded Eligibility for Second Draw Loans

Thanks in part to advocacy from our network and the broader nonprofit community, President Biden signed into law the PPP Extension Act, which extends the deadline for Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan applications to May 31.  The program had been set to expire on March 31. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has also released the NEW application forms Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers must submit to apply for first-time loans or “second draw” loans, as well as indicating expanded eligibility for those second draw loans.

First Draw loan information

  • Loans are now available for nonprofit organizations:
    • with fewer than 500 employees total who have not already received funding
    • with 500 or more employees across multiple locations, but with no more than 500 employees at a single one of those locations. This group of nonprofits only became eligible to apply when the American Rescue Plan became law on March 11, 2021.

Second Draw loan information

  • Loans are now available for nonprofit organizations that:
    • have already received and spent an initial PPP loan AND
    • can demonstrate a 25% reduction in gross receipts AND
    • have one location with fewer than 300 employees, OR more than 300 employees across multiple locations BUT NO MORE THAN 300 IN ANY ONE LOCATION (this is new information per the updated application form for this type of loan).
  • Application form

More information is available on our website and on the SBA website, and from your lender.

Free Online Consumer CV19 CheckUp

CV19 CheckUp is an online system developed to help Americans be safer, healthier, and ensure their individual needs are met during the pandemic. CV19 CheckUp asks users to complete an easy, quick, confidential questionnaire. A personalized report is immediately provided, outlining the user’s level of risk and offering recommendations and resources to reduce those risks. CV19 CheckUp employs artificial intelligence and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Share it with your consumers and residents at

Our COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub

Lutheran Services in America network in peer guidance & resources on developing COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Communication plans for your organizations.    Lutheran Services in America has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub, which we are continuously updating, to assist with vaccine distribution and communications plans of our member organizations. Check out these latest resources including:

If you have any resources or strategies your organization would recommend to increase access and reduce barriers to the COVID-19 Vaccine, please share with with us at

Honoring Our Frontline Heroes — New Winter Issue Now Available

Lutheran Services in America is proud to honor the incredibly brave frontline workers serving during this historic time in our national network. We proudly offer digital booklets to recognize this extraordinary work with our Frontline Heroes series, and a new Winter issue has just been released, joining Summer and Fall 2020 issues that highlight the courageous efforts of our members dating back to March of last year, as part of a continuing campaign to lift up the impact our members are making on their communities across the country. You can find these issues 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 Chris Findlay ( with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

Advocacy Update

On March 31, President Biden released an outline of the first of two major infrastructure bills that his administration is preparing to bring to Congress for passage this year.  This first package, named the American Jobs Plan, will address mainly transportation and other infrastructure needs, while the second, with an outline to be introduced in the coming weeks, will address broader issues, including potentially healthcare reform. As outlined, the American Jobs Plan will create jobs and raise wages for essential home care workers and make a substantial $400 billion investment in home and community-based care services for the aging and persons with disabilities.  The plan also calls for extending the Money Follows the Person program.  Other provisions include building a high-speed broadband infrastructure with emphasis on providing access for unserved and underserved communities, investing in housing infrastructure with a focus on affordable housing, workforce development, and a general focus on infrastructure in underserved communities. On March 30, the President signed the PPP Extension Act into law, extending the Paycheck Protection Program through May 31.  Details on the PPP and the application process are included immediately above in this newsletter.

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.


Biden to push infrastructure before health and family care in next phase of economic plan

President Joe Biden will separate his sprawling plan to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure into two separate pieces that he will unveil weeks apart, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Sunday.

Psaki said on Fox News Sunday that Biden will unveil the first part of his plan, focusing on items like rebuilding roads and railways, on Wednesday. The second part of Biden’s plan will include child-care and health-care reforms — aspects of what is sometimes called social infrastructure — and will be released in “in just a couple of weeks,” she said.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Biden’s advisors were recommending that Biden separate traditional infrastructure proposals from the other aspects of his plan geared at relieving burdens on families via social services. Taken as a whole, the legislation is expected to cost more than $3 trillion.

Some Biden advisors believe that dividing the package and pushing for the roads-and-bridges proposal first may make it easier to gain support from Republicans, the Times reported. Documents reviewed by the newspaper indicated that it could include $1 trillion devoted largely to building and repairing physical infrastructure, with a focus on fighting climate change.

More from CNBC

Delayed Stimulus Payments May Come Soon For Social Security, SSI Beneficiaries

Stimulus checks for people with disabilities who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits could start flowing after the payments were held up.

The IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury said Tuesday that they expect to start issuing the $1,400 economic stimulus payments to beneficiaries this weekend. Most will be sent electronically and be received on April 7, the agencies said.

The Social Security Administration sent the IRS information needed to issue the relief funds to beneficiaries who qualify late last week.The move came after a group of lawmakers pressured Social Security officials to act. U.S. Reps. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., John B. Larson, D-Conn., Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., and Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., said that the IRS had requested the files two weeks before the American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 11 green-lighting the payments.

More from Disability Scoop

Biden administration waives rule for disabled borrowers, but advocates say much more could be done

The Education Department is ensuring that 230,000 disabled borrowers approved for loan forgiveness are not derailed by paperwork during the pandemic, but advocates say the agency can help nearly twice as many by automating the process.

Anyone who is declared by a physician, the Social Security Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs to be totally and permanently disabled is eligible to have their federal student debt canceled. Those who benefit are subject to a three-year monitoring period, in which they must submit annual documentation verifying their income does not exceed the poverty line. On Monday, the department said it will waive the paperwork requirement during the coronavirus pandemic, retroactive to March 13, 2020, when President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. The agency estimates the move will help more than 230,000 borrowers, including 41,000 who had a total of $1.3 billion in loans reinstated during the health crisis for failing to verify their earnings. Those who lost their discharge amid the pandemic will regain the benefit in coming weeks. More from The Washington Post


Advocates demand Philly make its vaccine rollout more inclusive of people with disabilities

Advocates are demanding Philadelphiachange key parts of its vaccine rollout to be more inclusive of people with disabilities.

More than a dozen advocacy groups along with Councilmembers Derek Green, Mark Squilla, and Helen Gym sent a letter Monday to Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, calling for changes around COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, clinic accessibility, and communication. They expressed concern that the health department is leaving behind some of the city’s most vulnerable residents in its effort to get shots into people’s arms.

“We have heard from many Philadelphians with disabilities who believe the city has failed to engage them in conversations about vaccine prioritization and how to best meet their needs,” the letter reads.

The city said it was reviewing the letter’s recommendations.

More from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Kansas: People with intellectual disabilities can get COVID vaccination help from new website

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) — such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism — have faced significant hurdles during the pandemic involving education, employment and mental and physical health.

Despite little research on the group comprising about 6.5 million Americans, it’s well known these individuals face significantly higher risks of coronavirus-related hospitalization and death — yet they have been mostly absent from many states’ vaccination priority lists.

To combat what experts deem a public health concern, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities launched a website on Wednesday to help guide people with IDD to trusted resources on COVID-19 vaccines, particularly where to find one in their area.

More from The Kansas City Star

In New Jersey, Murphy: Administration will review request to loosen disabled adult day program reopening guidelines

Gov. Phil Murphy said his administration is reviewing Republican requests to loosen reopening guidelines for day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, but it’s not clear any immediate changes are forthcoming.

“The mental health stress on everybody has been overwhelming, and then when you go to communities which have a particular challenge, which their letter alluded to, it’s even more acute,” Murphy said, referring to a March 29 letter sent by State Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Boonton). “So it’s something our team is obviously going to take very seriously and look at.”

Under guidelines released by the Division of Developmental Disabilities, a part of the Department of Human Services, earlier this month, the day programs must close in regions with high levels of virus activity.

Bucco and State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) called for the administration to loosen those guidelines Wednesday, cautioning the restrictions could harm adults with developmental disabilities who’ve been unable to access the day programs for months.

More from New Jersey Globe

NY state budget could cut services for the developmentally disabled

New York's state budget is due on Friday, the first spending plan put together in Albany in the aftermath of the pandemic and the scandals surrounding Governor Andrew Cuomo.

However, there are concerns that programs and services for people with developmental disabilities could be hit especially hard.

37-year-old Anastasia Somoza has worked hard to lead a productive, independent life. She even spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. She and her twin sister, Alba, have cerebral palsy and are quadriplegic. It is through home health aides and community-based services that they are able to live in an apartment instead of a group or nursing home.

But, proposed cuts in the state budget could dramatically affect their lives.

"That literally means that I may not have somebody around to assist me to go to the bathroom during the day," Somoza said. "When you get up in the morning, you don't think about getting out of bed because you can do that yourself, but those are the things that the people who work with me in my home do."

More from Fox5 New York

Research & Reports

Physician Biases Toward People with Disability and Implications for Care Delivery

The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 clearly requires that people with disability receive equitable care to the nondisabled population. But 30 years later, how are people with disabilities faring in their interactions with health care providers? In a first-of-its-kind study, a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, University of Colorado, and University of Massachusetts-Boston surveyed over 700 practicing physicians nationwide about their attitudes toward patients with disability. The study found that 82 percent of the physicians surveyed believe people with significant disability have worse quality of life than those without disability. Only 56 percent of physicians surveyed strongly agreed that they would welcome patients with disability into their practices and just 40 percent were very confident about their ability to provide the same quality care for individuals with disability that they provide for people without disability.

The Better Care Playbook recently met with the study's lead author, Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and based at the Health Policy Research Center-Mongan Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, to discuss the survey findings and implications on the health care of people with disability. Dr. Iezzoni, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during her first year in medical school in 1980, brings a unique personal and professional perspective to this issue.

More from The Playbook

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Misperceptions Of People With Disabilities Lead To Low-Quality Care: How Policy Makers Can Counter The Harm And Injustice

More than 82 percent of physicians in this country believe that people with significant disabilities have worse quality of life than nondisabled people. As someone who lives with the effects of a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia, I can say that this figure is shocking but not surprising.

For decades, millions of people with significant disabilities and those who love them have fought individual battles with physicians, hospitals, health care systems, and health insurers to receive basic medical services, thorough examinations, life-sustaining treatment, and medical equipment and supplies necessary to live independently. To people such as me with such experiences, the results—such as the statistic cited above—presented in the February 2021 issue of Health Affairs by Lisa Iezzoni, MD, and her colleagues are, indeed, not surprising. The findings of their article, “Physicians’ Perceptions of People with Disabilities and Their Health Care,” are most definitely not the first of their kind. But let them be the last.

More from Health Affairs

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Spring Meeting (virtual)
April 8, 2021
1:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern


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, enCircle

Myra Griffie Interim DN Treasurer Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Services Carolinas

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