LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, April 9, 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.

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

President Biden's American Jobs Plan, the first of two major infrastructure initiatives, is facing early opposition. The $2 trillion package, as outlined by the administration, would make a major $400 billion investment in home and community-based services for aging adults and persons with disabilities and would extend the Money Follows the Person program.  The plan also proposes to create jobs and raise wages for essential home care workers and invest in high-speed broadband, housing, and workforce development infrastructure.

With initial and unified Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate, Democrats, who control both the Senate and House of Representatives, are likely to move the plan through the reconciliation process, as they did the American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief package enacted last month.  However, to do this Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer needs every Senate Democrat supporting the package, and Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, has already signaled concerns, mainly with the tax provisions of the plan.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled an April 15 hearing to consider Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be the next Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency which administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  It is anticipated that the committee will confirm her nomination after the hearing.

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.


Feds Ramping Up Vaccine Access For People With Disabilities

The Biden administration is putting big bucks behind an effort to get more people with disabilities vaccinated against COVID-19.

As eligibility opens up to everyone nationwide, federal officials are acknowledging that challenges remain in reaching many people with disabilities who face transportation barriers, difficulty with scheduling appointments or who might struggle to manage a visit to a mass vaccine site, among other issues.

Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Administration for Community Living will provide nearly $100 million to improve access for people with disabilities and older adults.

More from Disability Scoop

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Health Care as Infrastructure

Health care makes some surprising appearances in President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, even though more health proposals are expected in a second proposal later this month. The bill that would help rebuild roads, bridges and broadband capabilities also includes $400 billion to help pay for home and community-based care and boost the wages of those who do that very taxing work. An additional $50 billion is earmarked for replacing water service lines that still contain lead, an ongoing health hazard.

Meanwhile, more than half a million people have signed up for health insurance under the new open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act — and that was before the expanded subsidies passed by Congress in March were incorporated into the federal ACA website,

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.

More from KHN

People With IDD Can Get COVID-19 Vaccination Help From New Website

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities — 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 last week to help guide people with IDD to trusted resources on COVID-19 vaccines, particularly where to find one in their area.

More from Disability Scoop

Fauci Thanks US Health Workers for Sacrifices but Admits PPE Shortages Drove Up Death Toll

Dr. Anthony Fauci thanked America’s health care workers, who “every single day put themselves at risk” during the pandemic, even as he acknowledged that PPE shortages had contributed to the deaths of more than 3,600 of them.  “We rightfully refer to these people without hyperbole — that they are true heroes and heroines,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian. The deaths of so many health workers from covid-19 are “a reflection of what health care workers have done historically, but putting themselves in harm’s way by living up to the oath they take when they become physicians and nurses,” said Fauci.

KHN and The Guardian have tracked health care workers’ deaths throughout the pandemic in the “Lost on the Frontline” database. More than 3,600 health worker deaths have been tallied in the database, considered the most authoritative accounting in the country.

More from KHN

Most Students With Disabilities Still Attend Remotely. Teachers Say They’re Falling Behind

Most students with disabilities are still learning remotely during the pandemic, and new research suggests that may not be an ideal learning environment for them—even when they receive the same supports that would traditionally help them in an in-person classroom.

While teachers of students with disabilities in remote classes were as likely or even more likely than colleagues teaching in-person or hybrid classes to report that they were providing students with weekly small-group and one-on-one instruction, they were far more likely to say their students weren’t completing assignments, according to a new nationally representative survey conducted in the fall by the research firm RAND Corp. The survey included nearly 1,600 general and specialized teachers who work with students who have special education plans under IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Two-thirds of the teachers felt that they were less able to meet the requirements of students’ individualized education plans and provide the support that their students needed when they were teaching remotely.

More from Education Week


Nebraska advances unemployment benefit for family caregivers

Nebraska residents who stop working temporarily to care for a family member with a serious health condition could claim unemployment benefits under a bill that lawmakers advanced Tuesday.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval with a 27-11 vote.

The proposal by Sen. Megan Hunt, of Omaha, would allow workers to collect benefits if they left a job due to family caregiving needs but are planning to return to work.

Hunt said the bill will help caregivers who might otherwise struggle financially while caring for a loved one and will help the state avoid costly long-term care services in cases where no one else is available to take care of the person with a health condition.

More from AP

Texas elections bill approved by House committee, stoking concerns from disability advocates

A bill that changes how Texas administers its elections continues to roll through the Legislature Thursday with its passing through the House Elections Committee.

The committee passed the bill, House Bill 6, Thursday and it will move to the House floor for consideration.

The bill would provide additional protections to poll watchers — limiting an election judge’s ability to expel them from a polling location — and prohibit government officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to voters. People assisting disabled voters with their ballot would have to provide identification and a reason for helping the voter if the proposal is approved. Additionally, voters with disabilities would have to prove they can’t get to the polls to qualify for a mail-in ballot.

More from KXAN NBC

Bill To Enable More Autonomy for Arkansas Adults With Disabilities Fails in Legislature

bill that would allow certain adults with cognitive or intellectual disabilities to have supportive decision-making rights, rather than more restrictive guardianships, failed to progress in the Arkansas legislature. Advocates say supportive decision-making laws are trending and have been enacted in 13 states, so they plan to press forward with similar measures in Arkansas. More from KUAF

In Connecticut, How people with disabilities are accessing the coronavirus vaccine

Kevin Skeggs was smiling under his mask. The 24-year-old sat with his mom in the activity room of the Arc of Litchfield County in Torrington on Friday.

Christine Skeggs briefly pulled back her son’s mask to show a big smile. He had a good reason — Kevin had just received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic set up by the state for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or IDD.

This group includes people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or, in some cases, autism spectrum disorder.

Kevin is non-verbal. His mother says he “lives his life on his face and in his movements and his sounds. And [right now] he misses everybody.”

Skeggs says Kevin is happy to just be around other people, and she knows he’s eager to be getting out more  — he gets excited every time they get in the car.

With all Connecticut adults now eligible for the vaccine, the focus has turned to getting shots in arms. Dedicated clinics like this one are reaching some of the most vulnerable populations. But many in the disability community are still left to navigate the process on their own.

More from The CT Mirror

Research & Reports

Black women 3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than White men

Since the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, it's been widely believed that men are more likely to die of COVID-19 than women. Now, research is challenging the notion that the likelihood of dying of the disease largely comes down to biology, finding that coronavirus mortality rates for Black women in the U.S. are more than three times that of White and Asian men. 

Black women in the U.S. are dying from the virus at a higher rate than any other group, male or female, except Black men, according to an analysis of COVID-19 mortality patterns by race and gender in Georgia and Michigan published this week in the Journal of Internal Medicine. 

"The deaths we see in the pandemic reflect pre-existing structural inequities; after the pandemic is gone, those will still be there," Heather Shattuck-Heidorn, assistant professor of gender and women studies at the University of Maine and the study's senior author, told CBS MoneyWatch. 

More from CBS News

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Op-Ed: Employers’ diversity and equity efforts often overlook people with disabilities

2020 brought forward a crucial national conversation centered on the need for companies — from Main Street to Wall Street — to look inward at hiring practices, employment policies, recruitment and other aspects of the employment process to expand opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion. It seems every company in the United States, from Google to Pepsi to the family-owned small business down your street, is exploring DEI strategies and tactics to attract new employees, retain existing employees and appeal to a wider customer base.

You can’t log into LinkedIn or Indeed without viewing a new job post for an executive dedicated to internally championing DEI. You can’t scroll through Instagram or Facebook without coming across a new consumer-directed social media campaign like L’Oréal’s new partnership with the NAACP. And you can’t shop at your favorite store without noticing the latest social justice philanthropy initiative like Crate & Barrel’s new 15 Percent Pledge to ensure 15% of its products and collaborations are represented by Black businesses, artists and designers by 2024.

More from CNBC

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Summer Meeting (virtual)
August 5, 2021
1:00-5:00 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