LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, April 30, 2021


Strength & Service Series

May 12: 1-2pm EDT - Preserving the Not-for-profit Legacy in Senior Living

A new wave of complexity is hitting the senior living & care sector. More Americans are entering retirement than ever before, but economic pressures from the pandemic and increasing complexity of the care for seniors are driving many nonprofit senior services providers to either affiliate or undergo acquisition with private sector companies. Many not-for-profits are taking a hard look at their long-term viability as they reconcile their extensive history of caregiving, vast industry knowledge, deep connection to the community, and mission-driven culture with the goals of remaining competitive, relevant and financially sound. During this webinar, Ziegler will talk about trends in the not-for-profit senior living & care sector and will highlight what providers need to consider as they look to preserve their Lutheran heritage and not-for-profit spirit. 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 on Wednesday unveiled the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion package, that he wants Congress to pass together with his $2 trillion infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, laid out a month ago.  Whether enacted together or separately, the packages are aimed at pulling the nation out of the COVID-19 pandemic and revitalizing the economy.  The new proposal lacks health care provisions but would extend or make permanent key tax credits initially enacted as part of COVID-19 pandemic relief packages last year to help working families through the pandemic.  The proposal would also provide for universal paid family and sick leave.  The American Jobs Plan 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. 

Also this week President Biden issued an Executive Order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 per hour beginning January 30, 2022.  Significantly, the raise in the minimum wage will apply to federal contract workers with disabilities, whose wages are calculated pursuant to special certificates under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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 plan omits major health care measures pushed by Democrats

President Biden's American Families Plan unveiled Wednesday leaves out two major health priorities pushed by congressional Democrats: reducing the cost of prescription drugs and lowering the eligibility age for Medicare.

The major legislative package, which Biden will discuss in an address to Congress on Wednesday night, includes measures in areas like child care and paid leave, but largely steers clear of health care.

It does include a measure to make permanent the increased subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to help people afford their premiums after the American Rescue Plan earlier this year had increased those subsidies for two years. But the plan leaves out other major health care measures: allowing the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for Medicare recipients and people with private insurance, and lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55 or 60. More from The Hill

How Biden’s Families Plan Impacts People With Disabilities

President Joe Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan would establish a federal paid leave program and boost child care and special education, but the proposal falls short on modernizing Supplemental Security Income.

Biden laid out the sweeping plan to expand access to education and child care during his first address to a joint session of Congress this week. The president called the proposal a “once-in-a-generation investment in our families and our children.”

The plan would provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to workers. Biden also wants Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to give workers the opportunity to accrue seven days of paid sick leave annually, which could be used to care for a family member with a disability, among other things.

More from Disability Scoop

Microsoft Announces ‘Doubling Down’ On Prioritizing Accessibility And Narrowing The Disability Gap

In a blog post published Wednesday, Microsoft announced an ambitious five-year plan in which they pledge to “create and open doors to bigger opportunities for people with disabilities” not merely technologically, but also in the workforce and in the workplace. The plan comes nearly a year since they introduced their equally ambitious Accessibility Evolution Model, based on learnings that previously were kept in-house.

The overarching goal of Microsoft’s plan is to bridge the “disability divide”—essentially, existing barriers—which are part of systemic ableism—that typically preclude disabled people from being successful, contributing members of society. That includes areas such as employment and education, which unsurprisingly in modern times, is largely driven by technologies created by Microsoft, Apple, and others.

The company says the initiative is driven by technology, and will reach every corner of its business. President Brad Smith, who authored the post, wrote there are three objectives to Microsoft’s goal. First, spurring development of accessible technology across the industry and economy. Second, utilizing said assistive technology to generate more opportunities for disabled people to enter the workforce. Finally, building workforces that are more inclusive of workers with disabilities.

More from Forbes


Pennsylvania: People with intellectual disabilities are helping providers improve the vaccination experience

When Natasha Black learned that she was eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, she said she was excited — and hopeful that daily life might finally get back to normal.

Black, a member of a self-advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities, had spent the year away from family, friends, and work.Isolated in her group home in the Pennsylvania suburbs,she missed being able to take walks, chat with neighbors, play a game of pickup soccer.

“I was staying at home every day — we couldn’t do nothing,” said Black, who knew she needed to be especially careful not to get coronavirus.“I was worried. I was bored. I had some hard times,” she said.

People with intellectual disabilities are at much higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population, but most were not recommend for higher priority for vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Some states did prioritize people with intellectual disabilities, and advocates campaigned for higher prioritization in others.)

More from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Minnesota looks to close vaccine gap as governor weighs easing of COVID-19 restrictions

Health officials in Minnesota say they are redoubling their efforts to vaccinate hard-hit communities in the state for COVID-19.

Over the next four weeks, they say, approximately 40% of Minnesota's vaccine doses will be deployed to poorer and more isolated communities as well as to ZIP codes that people of color, people with disabilities and LGTBQ residents predominantly call home.

Speaking with reporters on a phone call Wednesday, April 28, Dr. Nathan Chomilo of the state Department of Human Services announced that the earmarked doses will in part be distributed according to a federal government measure of disaster preparedness. But he added that Minnesota will have to act on more than just "equity metrics" to close gaps in immunization, perhaps by extending the use of pop-up and mobile vaccine clinics.

"By providing a way to set and measure concrete vaccine equity goals, we are a step closer to doing right by the communities in Minnesota that have been hardest hit by COVID-19," he said.

More from Brainerd Dispatch

Missouri Senate votes down funding for Medicaid expansion

The Missouri Senate on Wednesday voted against paying to expand Medicaid as called for by voters last year.

The late-night Senate vote locked in the House’s decision to refuse funding for the program, likely setting up a court battle with supporters of greater access to health care.

The vote divided Republicans and came after hours of sometimes-heated debate.

Several Republicans, including the Senate budget leader, argued that expanding Medicaid would obligate the state to pay for an expensive program that could mean a huge financial hit to the state’s budget in the future.

“I’m sorry, if you’re a healthy adult, you need to get a job,” said Manchester Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig, arguing that those newly eligible for Medicaid should instead get employer-based health insurance.

Democrats countered that many people who would get access to Medicaid are already working multiple jobs but still can’t afford health care.

More from AP News

Loan Program Helps Montanans with Disabilities Afford Assistive Tech

People with disabilities face a number of barriers to getting the equipment they need in daily life. A program in Montana is helping change that. The Montana Assistive Technology Loan program offers low- and no-interest loans for devices like hearing aids, screen-readers and even wheelchair-accessible vehicles, which usually aren't covered by private insurance or Medicare and can be costly. Julie Williams, outreach coordinator for the program, said assistive technology is vital to people's lives. "It can span a variety of different types of technology," said Williams. "But all of them are allowing people to live their best life, to be participating in society in ways that they might not otherwise be able to do." The program is a partnership between the financial nonprofit Rural Dynamics and the Rural Institute at the University of Montana's assistive technology program MonTECH. It was able to expand through a federal grant last fall. More from Public News Service

Research & Reports

Government Ignoring Recommendations On Autism Funding, Study Finds

A panel of federal officials, advocates and other stakeholders is supposed to set the government’s autism priorities, but new research suggests that’s not what’s happening.

The long-running Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee is charged with advising the secretary of health and human services and coordinating federal activities related to the developmental disability. The panel regularly updates a strategic plan outlining what types of autism research should be funded.

As of 2017, the committee’s plan indicated that more priority should go toward research looking at treatments and interventions, evidence-based services and lifespan issues, all areas that traditionally received limited support. But, a study published recently in the journal Autism indicates that spending is not following suit.

More from Disability Scoop

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

How the Americans With Disabilities Act Impacts Me in Real Life

“If you’re listening to what others are talking about,” my mother said the other day, “and you get excited or worked up and start scratching your hands, they’ll fire you.”

The “them” in question is the management at my local Tim Hortons. After a year-and-a-half of job searching and applying, I’m finally an actual working 17-year-old woman. However, as mothers often do, mine had some reservations, including me unknowingly stimming in the workplace. Because self-stimulatory behavior is a common characteristic of being autistic, Tim Hortons can’t legally fire me on that account, contrary to my mom’s belief. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is the reason for preventing this discrimination. Still, on a local level for the disability community, the bare minimum required isn’t supportive enough.

According to the ADA government site, The Americans With Disabilities Act Of 1990 “prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress.” Despite this, the ADA can only realistically be applicable if there’s enough funding to back it up. 

As an Ohio citizen and neurologically disabled resident myself, I’ve been able to receive benefits from my county’s Board Of Developmental Disabilities for a few years now. One of these benefits is $600 per year of Family Service Support (FSS), which can be spent for approved activities, services, and events. This is about a third less than the FSS offered from Franklin County, the largest county in the state, with $2,000 per year. This may seem like a lot at first, but expenses can add up quickly, especially when it comes to mental health counseling or large conferences.

More from YR Media

Climate Change Solutions Must Include People with Disabilities

When natural disasters and other emergencies hit, resources become scarce, and, too often, people with disabilities cannot access them. As global warming continues to drive up temperatures and sea levels around the world, discussions of climate resilience and adaptation must do better to include these communities.

The United Nations estimates that people with disabilities constitute about 15 percent of the world’s population, or roughly 1 billion individuals. According to the U.N.’s Environment Programme, people with disabilities:

  • May not have adequate access to resources and services to adapt to environmental challenges.
  • May suffer from health conditions that exacerbate their vulnerability to extreme climate events, ecosystem losses, or infectious diseases. For example, a new study by Holly Elser, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, found that rising temperatures could cause people with multiple sclerosis to feel more fatigue and pain, sending them to the hospital more often.
  • Are more likely to have difficulties during required evacuations or migrations. Inconsistent electricity can hinder critical health equipment and emergency shelters may not be ADA compliant.

More from Just Security

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