Disability Employment Benefits Us All

Each year, October is designated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) to recognize and celebrate the diversity and talent people with disabilities bring to the workforce across our nation every day. NDEAM is also a time when we renew our commitment to ensuring that all people have equal opportunities at work, regardless of disability.

At ACL’s Administration for Disabilities we continue to focus on employment as a key pillar of community living. We know that people who find meaningful work are happier and healthier, and are strong contributors in their communities. While we have participated and led several events to celebrate NDEAM, ACL strives all year round to lead and partner on national programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Americans with disabilities who are working.

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Older Americans Act (OAA) State Program Performance Report (SPR) Redesign: Technical Documentation

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has recently completed redesigning the Older Americans Act (OAA) State Program Performance Report (SPR) and has almost finished development of a new, web-based tool for submission of those data.

The Older Americans Act Performance System (OAAPS) will be the new reporting tool the Administration for Community Living (ACL)/Administration on Aging (AoA) uses to monitor performance and collect information on Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III, VI (Chapters 3 and 4 grants) and VII programs. States and Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) will be able to submit their annual performance report data on OAA program participants, services, and expenditures either through uploading data files (based on a template to be provided by ACL) or entering directly inputting data into OAAPS. The system is expected to be completed in early 2019.

The resources and links below include details on the redesigned SPR, new and old data elements with definitions, and uploading files. Each resource includes a brief description of the document’s purpose and overall content.

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A Milestone for Community Living: Reflecting on 19 Years of Olmstead

The right to live independently, integrated into the community, is a cornerstone of the disability rights movement. It’s also the core of the mission for the Administration for Community Living — it’s even built into our name. ACL was created around the fundamental principle that all people, regardless of age or disability, should be able to live independently and fully participate in their communities.

For decades, people with disabilities have worked to turn this principle into a reality. Looking at this history, certain moments stand out as turning points. For example, the passage and implementation of landmark legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act have each helped make community living possible for more Americans.

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Summary of Responses from a Request for Information: People with Disabilities and Opioid Use Disorder

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL issued a request for information about people with disabilities and opioid use disorder, which yielded comments from 50 respondents, including consumers, community and national organizations, research teams, and federal partners.

Key findings from this effort are helpful to NIDILRR as it considers developing new funding opportunities related to the opioid crisis. These responses provided information about what is known and what are the most pressing research questions for the disability and rehabilitation research fiends. A common thread among respondents was that there are many important unanswered research questions at the nexus of chronic pain, opioid misuse, and people with disabilities.

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Engage at Every Age

May is Older Americans Month, a time when we recognize the contributions of older Americans and think about how we as Americans work together to support and value people over age 65. Our theme this year for Older Americans Month is “Engage at Every Age.”

According to our just-released 2017 Profile of Older Americans, one in seven Americans are 65 or older, and just two years from now, this fast-growing segment of the population will number more than 56 million people. In this increasingly diverse and vital group are treasured family members, expert craftspeople, skilled professionals, seasoned adventurers, and wise advisors. They are our connections to history, and our guides for the future.

Research suggests that seniors who are socially engaged also are healthier, mentally and physically. That’s why ACL is committed to supporting older adults with the tools and services they need to continue to engage in their communities throughout their lives. Through the national Aging Network, which includes thousands of agencies and organizations in every state, and with the help of advocates and partners from both the public and private sectors, ACL is working to connect older Americans and their families to the systems of services and supports available to help them remain healthy, live independently, prevent abuse and neglect, and support caregivers. We’re also working together to expand employment opportunities for older adults who wish to work.

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New Funding Opportunity for Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer.

The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities (including international activities) to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

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Webinar: Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Primary Care

Although a growing body of research suggests that social determinants of health—social, functional, environmental, cultural and psychological factors—are intricately linked to health and wellness, our fragmented medical and social services are often underequipped to address these needs. The Ambulatory Integration of the Medical and Social (AIMS) model—developed by the Center for Health and Social Care Integration (CHaSCI) at Rush University Medical Center—integrates masters-prepared social workers into primary care teams to identify, address, and monitor social needs that influence health.

Preliminary evidence indicates that AIMS reduces clients’ emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and readmission rates. AIMS also creates opportunities for community-based organizations (CBO) to develop partnerships with local health clinics to integrate care and promote better health outcomes.

Please join the Aging and Disability Business Institute  on April 24 at 1:00 PM Eastern for a one-hour webinar. This webinar will highlight training and implementation support for CBOs interested in replicating AIMS.

For more on this Webinar, visit acl.gov

New Funding Opportunity for Research on Community Living and Participation of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for an Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on community living and participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The purpose of the RRTC program, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topic areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders.

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Supporting nutrition, Supporting health and independence

We all know that good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Healthy eating can help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, prevent the onset of chronic diseases, reduce inflammation, and speed recovery from injuries. On the other hand, poor nutrition is connected to a variety of health problems.

Earlier this month, I had lunch with Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General. I shared some of the things ACL was working on during National Nutrition Month, and we talked about how important nutrition is for the people ACL serves.

VADM Adams gets it. “People who don’t have enough healthy food are more likely to be hospitalized, tend to experience longer hospital stays, and are more likely to be readmitted after discharge.  Good nutrition is important to everyone, but it is even more critical for those at risk for being food insecure, such as older adults and people with disabilities, many of whom already are already at increased risk of hospitalization.”

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A South Carolina CIL Leads the Way on Employment for Youth with Disabilities

Able South Carolina is a Center for Independent Living (CIL) that has taken a leading role in promoting successful employment outcomes for the state’s youth with disabilities. Reflecting the independent living principle of “nothing about us without us,” 80% of Able SC’s staff are people with disabilities. Their efforts highlight the importance of building broad coalitions and letting people with disabilities lead the way.

In 2016, Able SC became the first Center for Independent Living awarded a Partnerships in Employment (PIE) Systems Change Grant. These five-year grants fund various state agencies and organizations to form consortiums that improve employment outcomes, expand competitive employment in integrated settings, and improve statewide system policies and practices for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since 2011, ACL’s Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has funded PIE grants for 14 state projects.

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