LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, May 22, 2020


Advocacy Update

As part of our ongoing effort to actively seek emergency financial resources for our members, we’re tracking with concern S. 3814. This new legislation introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN) would create a new partially-forgivable loan program for small businesses, including nonprofits, but its terms disadvantage nonprofits.  While for-profits could get 90% loan forgiveness, nonprofits with between 1-50 employees could only get 70% forgiveness; nonprofits with between 51-500 employees would get 20% forgiveness; and nonprofits with more than 500 employees would get zero forgiveness.  We invite you to join us in contacting your Senators through our advocacy tool to urge them NOT to co-sponsor or otherwise support this legislation, and to support health and human services nonprofit providers by including our key priorities, including fully forgivable loans for nonprofits of all sizes, in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. 
For more information, please contact Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, at or 202-499-5832.

House Passes HEROES Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed on Friday, May 15 H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. This is a $3 trillion measure which builds on previously passed relief legislation. It is meant to continue to blunt the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on businesses, individuals, and the economy overall. It is clear that our collective voice as a faith-based network is being heard, as several specific provisions in the House bill align with our key priorities for relief measures for nonprofit health and human services organizations.

Namely, the HEROES Act calls for: establishing a $200 billion Heroes Fund to provide hazard pay for essential workers (including those at nonprofit organizations), such as health care and custodial workers in both in- and outpatient settings and nursing homes, home- and community-based health care workers, behavioral health workers, and childcare providers; and improving and expanding loan options for nonprofit organizations, including expanding eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans to include nonprofits with more than 500 employees. The bill would also expand the Main Street Lending Program to include nonprofit organizations as eligible borrowers.

While Senate leaders have indicated they do not plan to take a vote on this exact bill from the House, they are continuing to prepare their own version of the next coronavirus relief package. Leader McConnell continues to indicate his preference for a much smaller measure and a longer timeline for passage.

Small Business Administration Releases Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application

Last Friday, May 15, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released the application borrowers who have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan must use to determine the amount of their loan that may be forgiven by their lender. The application form is available here, and more information about this SBA program and other funding opportunities related to coronavirus relief is also available on our website here

Hot Topics Call to Feature Senior Policy Advisor for Speaker Pelosi

Lutheran Services in America will host a Hot Topics call for members featuring Wendell Primus, the senior policy advisor on budget and health issues for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Other speakers have been invited as well. The Hot Topics call will cover the most recent coronavirus relief legislation passed by the House, what comes next, and recommended action steps for our members. The call will take place at 2 p.m. EDT on May 27. Please register for the call beforehand.

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 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.


House OKs COVID-19 Relief Plan With More Payments For People With Disabilities

A fresh round of stimulus checks for people with disabilities and billions for home- and community-based services are part of a $3 trillion relief bill that faces an uncertain future.

The bill known as the Heroes Act, or H.R. 6800, passed the U.S. House of Representatives Friday by a vote of 208 to 199. The measure is unlikely to be taken up in its current form by the Republican-led Senate, but it is seen as a first step in negotiating another relief package to address the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Significantly, advocates say, this is the only major COVID-19 response from Congress so far to consider the needs of people with disabilities who have been deeply affected by the pandemic.

More from Disability Scoop

Medicaid Providers At The End Of The Line For Federal Coronavirus Funding

Casa de Salud, a nonprofit clinic in Albuquerque, N.M., provides primary medical care, opioid addiction services and non-Western therapies, including acupuncture and reiki, to a largely low-income population.

And, like so many other health care providers that serve as a safety net, its revenue — and its future — are threatened by the COVID-19 epidemic.

“I’ve been working for the past six weeks to figure out how to keep the doors open,” said the clinic’s executive director, Dr. Anjali Taneja. “We’ve seen probably an 80 percent drop in patient care, which has completely impacted our bottom line.”

More from Disability Scoop


Virginia investigates complaints that Fairfax's online learning fails students with disabilities

The state of Virginia is investigating Fairfax County Public Schools over allegations it has failed to provide equal learning opportunities to students with disabilities during the coronavirus shutdown, as mandated by state and federal law.

The Virginia Department of Education opened its investigation Monday, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. The investigation is based on a complaint filed this month by five parents on behalf of their six children, all Fairfax County students with disabilities, including dyslexia and autism.

More from The Washington Post

Sweeping Federal Lawsuit Seeks Election Changes in Wisconsin

Advocates for people with disabilities and minority voters in Wisconsin filed a sweeping federal lawsuit Monday asking a judge to order that more poll workers be hired, every voter in the state receive an absentee ballot application and a host of other changes be made to ensure the August primary and November presidential election can be held safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More from The New York Times

Research & Reports

Study Pinpoints Autism Risk For Kids With Aunts, Uncles On The Spectrum

Children who have an aunt or uncle with autism are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with the developmental disorder too.

New research finds that about 3 to 5 percent of kids whose parents have a sibling on the spectrum also have autism themselves. By comparison, the condition is seen in about 1.5 percent of all children in the general population.

Researchers examined health records for nearly 850,000 children born in Sweden between 2003 and 2012 and their families. About 13,000 of the kids were ultimately diagnosed with autism.

More from Disability Scoop

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Upcoming ACL and CMS Webinar

Navigating Provider Transformation

Thursday, May 28 at 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET

Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are hosting a monthly Webinar series to assist states and stakeholders in developing high quality programs to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and provider capacity building in home- and community-based services (HCBS). The series will focus on best practices in a number of key areas, including person-centered planning, guardianship reform, aligning HCBS policy with SDOH, housing, employment, community inclusion, transportation, and more.

This webinar will feature resources and projects on provider transformation from congregate settings into community integration. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will start by discussing the National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network (NEON) grant for competitive integrated employment. Attendees will hear from nonprofit organizations on operational implications of transitioning congregate day services and sheltered workshops to those that are truly person-centered and community-based.

There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

Register for the webinar

Upcoming Events

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

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 24-26, 2021
Details TBD


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

Lisa Morgan
DN Convener
Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia

Rita Wiersma
DN Treasurer
Chief Executive Officer, Accord

Jen Beltz 
VP, External Affairs, Lutheran Services in America