LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, May 1, 2020



Coronavirus Resources

Across the United States, Lutheran Services in America’s members are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable people including, of course, people with disabilities. You well know that given the depth and breadth of the pandemic, it is challenging to find resources, protective equipment, and available staff to respond to all those in need.

To this end, and in efforts to keep you informed on timely, related resources, we have compiled a list of news and resources you may find helpful. 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 us with any related questions you have.


EEOC Updates Guidance on Testing Employees

On April 23, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued additional answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. This Legal Update video explains further.

Secretary DeVos Forgoes Waiving Disability Law Amid School Closures

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will not recommend that Congress waive the main requirements of three federal education laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA. The federal law ensures that children with disabilities have a right to a free, appropriate public education whenever and wherever schools are operating.

More from NPR

Stimulus Payments May Be Extended To Dependents With Disabilities

Many people with disabilities will miss out on economic stimulus payments because they are counted as someone else’s dependent, but that could change under a proposal in Congress.

The government is currently sending cash payments to millions of Americans as part of a large package of relief efforts approved in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More from Disability Scoop

Disability Advocates Say Billions Needed For Community-Based Services

As federal lawmakers weigh another coronavirus relief bill, disability advocates say nothing could be more important than increasing funding for home- and community-based services.

A coalition of advocacy groups is pressing Congress to rubber-stamp emergency grant funding to support people with developmental disabilities living in their own homes or small group homes in the community.

The request comes as lawmakers craft their next major relief bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to be considered in May.

More from Disability Scoop


How Do You Sign 'Don't Drink Bleach'?

“Coronavirus” is one fist nestled against and behind the other, then opened, fingers spread like a sunburst or a peacock tail.

Rorri Burton demonstrates via FaceTime, her sturdy hands and bare nails even cleaner than she usually scrubs them. The gesture is almost pretty compared to, say, “serological testing,” which, as she translates it, goes: “Pricked finger, test, analyze, see. Person before had coronavirus inside body? Doesn’t matter. Feels sick? Not feels sick? Doesn’t matter.”

More from New York Times

Research & Reports

Disability, Urban Health Equity, and the Coronavirus Pandemic: Promoting Cities for All

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) living in cities during the COVID-19 pandemic response may be four times more likely to be injured or die than non-disabled persons, not because of their “vulnerable” position but because urban health policy, planning and practice has not considered their needs. In this article, the adverse health impacts on PWDs during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the “everyday emergencies” in cities for PWDs and that these can be avoided through more inclusive community planning, a whole-of-government commitment to equal access, and implementation of universal design strategies.

More from the Journal of Urban Health

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

The True Story Of Returning To Work With A Disability

Finding a job can be difficult for anyone, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and massive unemployment nationwide. Having a disability can further complicate matters, as discrimination and stigma enter the picture.

According to a report by the nonprofit RespectAbility, only 29,893 people with disabilities were hired in 2018, compared to 343,000 in 2016, representing a ten-fold decrease. This is a massive gap, and a concerning statistic when it comes to the fact that 52% of former workers who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits say when surveyed that they want to return to work if they medically recovered from their condition. If employers won’t hire, there’s little chance these individuals can become financially independent again.

More from Forbes

People with disabilities are at a disadvantage when scarce medical resources are being allocated

I have nightmares, whether I’m asleep or awake, as do many of us as we endure the trials of the Covid-19 pandemic. Will it strike us, our families, our friends? Social isolation weighs on us, but not as much as the fear of being isolated from those we love in illness and in death.

Mothers like me of children with significant mental or cognitive disabilities have yet another fear: If my child gets ill and needs hospitalization, especially when resources are scarce, the outcome is almost certain to be tragic, and I won’t be able to be there.

More from Stat News

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2020 Summer Meeting
August 5-7, 2020
Details TBD

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 24-26, 2021
Tampa, Florida


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Jen Beltz at

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

Keep in Touch

Bill Kallestad

Lisa Morgan

Jen Beltz 
VP, External Affairs
Lutheran Services in America