Principles and Policy Priorities
Principle 1: Community Integration
People with disabilities have the right to live independently in the community in the most integrated setting of their choice.
Community Integration policy priorities:
- AAPD will advocate for policies that ensure people with disabilities have access to affordable home and community based long-term services and supports that enable people to be integrated into the community, including the expansion of the availability of home and community based services to end the institutional bias in the Medicaid program;
- AAPD will advocate for policies to ensure people with disabilities have access to affordable accessible housing, including non-provider owned scattered site housing, and will advocate against the use of institutional or congregate “clustered” models that segregate people with disabilities from their communities;
- AAPD will advocate for policies that ensure that people with disabilities have access to accessible and affordable transportation; and
- AAPD will advocate for policies that promote the development of universally designed technology, and that ensure affordable access to that technology, to support people with disabilities to live independently.
Principle 2: Equal Opportunity and Economic Self-Sufficiency
People with disabilities have the right to equal opportunity, to be economically self-sufficient, and to earn and save without jeopardizing access to the services and supports that allow them to live and work independently.
Equal Opportunity and Economic Self-Sufficiency policy priorities:
- AAPD will advocate for policies that support individuals with disabilities to work in integrated competitive settings in which they are paid competitive wages and for policies that end segregated subminimum wage work;
- AAPD will advocate for policies that provide individuals with disabilities the opportunities to earn and save without losing access to services and supports through expansion of employment based services, including supported and customized employment, and improving Medicaid Buy In and other Medicaid options that provide access to home and community based services;
- AAPD will advocate for policies that improve and enhance inclusive workplaces in both the public and private sectors; and
- AAPD will advocate for policies that provide young people with disabilities opportunities to achieve economic independence, including through education, internships, and mentoring.
Principle 3: Equal Rights and Political Participation
Discrimination against people with disabilities that produces barriers to community integration, independent living, equal opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, and political and civic participation must be eliminated. Strong civil rights laws and enforcement of those laws are essential to ending discrimination.
Equal Rights and Political Participation policy priorities:
- AAPD will advocate for strong enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other laws that guarantee the rights and full participation of people with disabilities and for improvements in those laws when necessary;
- AAPD will advocate for policies that allow people with disabilities to fully participate in the political process, including ensuring the accessibility of polling locations and through promoting the availability of accessible voting technology; and
- AAPD will promote the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act around the world to increase the ability of individuals with disabilities to travel, work, and live abroad.
Principle 4: People with disabilities have a right to Quality, Comprehensive, Affordable Health Care
Health Care policy priorities:
- AAPD will advocate for policies that ensure people with disabilities have access to quality, affordable, and comprehensive health care;
- AAPD will advocate for policies that ensure that individuals with disabilities have control over their health care decisions through the promotion of individual choice, person centered planning, and consumer self-direction; and
- AAPD will advocate for policies that ensure the accessibility of health care facilities and medical devices and equipment.
2021 Action Alerts and Advocacy
- Comments on Voting Access, Submitted to the National Institute on Standards and Technology – July 16, 2021
- Supreme Court Decision in Brnovich v DNC Undermines Right to Vote – July 9, 2021
- AAPD Statement in Response to Voting Rights Attacks at the State Level – June 14, 2021
- AAPD Statement in Solidarity with Asian American Communities – March 25, 2021
- Passage of the American Rescue Plan Marks Victory for Disability Community – March 12, 2021
- AAPD and New America Publish Storybook on Disability in the Age of Covid-19 – February 26, 2021
- Comments Opposing ISO Assistance Dog Standard Proposal – February 25, 2021
- Action Alert! Tell Your Senators We Need Emergency HCBS Funding! – February 17, 2021
- AAPD Response to SEC Regarding Nasdaq Diversity Rulemaking – February 2, 2021
- Turner v. Washington State Department of Social & Health Services – January 28, 2021
- AAPD Comments on Emergency Broadband Benefit Program – January 25, 2021
- AAPD Statement on Capitol Insurrection and Inauguration – January 19, 2021
2021 Sign-On Letters
- Letter on Medications Access in Emergencies – July 27, 2021
AAPD signed on to this letter with multiple organizations to urge Congress’s HELP committee to include provisions improving medications access in emergencies in their upcoming pandemic preparedness legislation. The letter emphasizes the need to build on the provisions made for the COVID-19 public health emergency and address medications access in future emergencies.
- Letter Requesting Full $400 Billion HCBS Investment – July 19, 2021
AAPD joined numerous organizations in a letter to Congress expressing the need for the full $400 billion Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) investment that was initially laid out in the American Jobs Plan. The letter details the flaws within the system and the impacts on both people with disabilities and the workforce serving them.
- Broadband Equity for All Letter – July 16, 2021
The Broadband Equity For All coalition sent a letter to the New Democrat Coalition regarding Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. The program is currently temporary and this letter emphasizes the need to make it permanent and how it can help close the digital divide for all communities.
- Letter Addressing Technology’s Role in Hiring Discrimination – July 13, 2021
AAPD joined seven other organizations in a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Department of Justice that offers proposals to the Biden-Harris administration for addressing discrimination arising from the use of new technologies in the hiring process.
- Disability and Labor Joint Submission on Advancing Rights of Workers with Disabilities in Federal Procurement and Contracting – July 6, 2021
This letter provides feedback on OMB’s recent Request for Information (Methods and Leading Practices for Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Government, OMB-2021-0005). Specifically, it presents a shared agenda for disability-inclusive federal procurement and contracting on behalf of both disability and labor advocates.
- Senate Voting Rights Appropriation Request – June 18, 2021
A letter requesting Congress to increase funding for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in order to add positions in the Voting Section and enforce the Voting Rights Act’s protections against discrimination in elections.
- Disability Organizations Warn the For the People Act’s Paper Ballot Mandate will Disenfranchise People with Disabilities – June 15, 2021
AAPD joins over 20 other disability organizations expressing support for the vast majority of the For the People Act, while warning about the paper ballot mandate included in the act and how it will disenfranchise voters with print disabilities.
- Support Letter for the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act – June 15, 2021
AAPD and over 400 other organizations support this act which diverts federal funding away from police in schools, and toward evidence-based and trauma-informed services that create culturally-sustaining and positive learning environments.
- Coalition for Smart Safety’s Letter to Congress – June 11, 2021
This letter is in strong opposition to the Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act (S.1383/H.R.2877) or the “BIG Act”. Specifically the letter rejects the use of threat assessments, violence risk assessments, and the preemptive use of law enforcement in efforts to reduce gun violence.
- Comments on the FY 22 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule – June 7, 2021
As a part of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation, AAPD signed on to a letter that comments on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) and the implementation of the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM).
- Letter Calling on Congress to Restore Certainty to the 2020 Census Timeline – June 1, 2021
AAPD signed on to a letter with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Census Project, and many other organizations urging senators to pass the 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act (S. 1267). S.1267 would extend statutory deadlines for delivering apportionment and redistricting data to May 1, 2021 and October 1, 2021, respectively.
- Letter Supporting the $400 Billion Committed by the Biden Administration to Home and Community Based Services – May 25, 2021
AAPD joined over 300 organizations supporting the Biden Administration’s Commitment of $400 Billion towards Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and the workforce that provides these services. People with disabilities deserve to have full control and autonomy over their lives and their care decisions. That also means they should have multiple, high-quality options for care from which they can make the best decision for themselves and their families. Investing in HCBS will help make that a reality, while also making long-overdue improvements to working conditions for care workers.
- Letter Regarding Accessibility Innovation in Transit – May 24, 2021
The letter urges policymakers to consider increasing investment in on-demand microtransit while ensuring accessibility in those and any other future transit services and creating a federal grant program to bring innovation to ADA paratransit services. The letter was sent to the Senate, the House, and the Department of Transportation.
- Letter Regarding the Seniors Access to Vaccines Ensured (SAVE) Act of 2021 – May 14, 2021
AAPD signed on to a letter in support of H.R. 3013, the Seniors Access to Vaccines Ensured (SAVE) Act of 2021, which clarifies that non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is within the scope of the temporary increase to 100% in federal matching payments (FMAP) for administration of COVID-19 vaccines. This legislation would also authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants for removing transportation barriers for individuals with disabilities.
- Disability Rights Organizations Join the National John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Action Day – May 8, 2021
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) will participate in the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Day of Action on May 8th, 2021, in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
- Amicus Brief for Winn-Dixie, Inc v. Juan Carlos Gil – April 22, 2021
AAPD joined several other civil and disability rights organizations in support of the petition for a rehearing in the Winn-Dixie v. Gil case, which addresses the definition of public accommodations when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Letter Calling Policymakers to Reject Health Policies That Discriminate – April 14, 2021
This is a joint letter with over 80 organizations that strongly urges policymakers to reject policies that discriminate against people with disabilities and chronic conditions, older adults, and reinforce health inequities.
- Supplementary Letter to Regarding Nasdaq Board Diversity – April 6, 2021
This is the second letter submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by AAPD and Disability:IN. The letter reiterates and emphasizes the importance of including disability in diversity statistics.
- HAB Letter to HHS Secretary Becerra – April 6, 2021
This letter introduces the Habilitation Benefits Coalition to the new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra. The letter explains the purpose of HAB, what habilitation and habilitative services mean, and the priorities of the coalition.
- Letter Supporting the Nomination of Vanita Gupta to serve as the Associate Attorney General of the United States in the U.S. Department of Justice – March 8, 2021
AAPD convened disability and aging organizations in support of Vanita Gupta’s nomination to the role of Associate Attorney General, attesting to her demonstrated commitment to civil and disability rights, as well as her skill as a convener and champion for justice.
- Letter to Congress on HCBS Funding in Covid Relief Reconciliation Bill – February 23, 2021
AAPD led a letter of more than 200 disability and civil rights organizations to express strong support for the provision in the COVID relief reconciliation bill (section 3108) adopted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will provide life-sustaining support for people with disabilities, older adults, and individuals, predominantly low-income women of color, who make up part of the direct care workforce.
- Letter to Nasdaq Board on Disability Inclusion – February 17, 2021
AAPD’s board chair, Ted Kennedy Jr., wrote a letter to Nasdaq in conjunction with Disability:IN, regarding their omission of disability demographics in their proposal for diversity statistics, which would be used to evaluate the make-up of board of directors. The letter emphasizes the importance of corporate engagement in the disability rights movement and offers amendments that can be made to Nasdaq’s proposal to make it truly inclusive.
- AAPD Joins in on Letter Explaining How a Paper Mandate in H.R.1 and S.R.1 will Make Voting Inaccessible to Many Voters with Disabilities -January 29, 2021
- AAPD and AUCD Testify Against QALY Bill in Washington State
The American Association of People with Disabilities and
the American Association of University Centers on Disabilities provided testimony to the Washington State Senate to express concern that Washington State Senate Bill SB 5020 explicitly references value assessments that are developed in reliance on the discriminatory quality-adjusted life (QALY) year metric.
- Communication Equity Call to Action for the Biden-Harris Administration
AAPD is proud to join with 47 other disability organizations in issuing this Communication Equity Call to Action to the incoming administration. The Call to Action lists 9 key steps we feel are critical to protecting the rights and interests of people with expressive communication
- 2021 Letter to HSS Secretary-Designate Xavier Becerra
AAPD was proud to be among the disability advocacy organizations that met with Education Secretary Designate Xavier Becerra to discuss concerns about the response to COVID-19, ending discrimination in healthcare settings, and more. AAPD and other leading disability rights organizations sent a follow-up letter with detailed recommendations on the disability community’s priorities for the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration.
- AAPD joins the disability community in opposing the potential nomination of Lily Eskelen Garcia as Secretary of Education
Disability groups oppose Eskelsen Garcia’s potential nomination to serve as Secretary of Ed due to the positions taken by the National Education Association during her tenure as President. Many of the positions taken by the NEW oversaw the development of many positions that stood in direct opposition to those taken by parents and parent advocacy organizations in support of children with disabilities and were detrimental to the success of students with disabilities. Read more details in our letter to the Biden-Harris Transition team.
2020 Action Alerts and Advocacy
- AAPD Condemns Congress’s Exclusion of People with Disabilities from Coronavirus Relief Bill – December 23, 2020
- National and Texas-Based Disability and Civil Rights Organizations Speak Out on Lawsuit Challenging Drive-Thru Voting – November 1, 2020
- Action Alert! Tell Your Senators to Vote No on Amy Coney Barrett – October 24, 2020
- AAPD Report with Recommendations on Voting Accessibility and Safety During the Pandemic – September 30, 2020
- AAPD Comments on Vaccine Allocation Framework – September 8, 2020
- The Implications of Referencing Foreign Prices for Importing Discrimination: AAPD, NCD, and NCIL Webinar – August 25, 2020
- AAPD and NCIL Letter to the House Regarding Impact of U.S. Postal Service Disruptions – August 24, 2020
- AAPD 2020 Auto Accessibility Scorecard Progress Report. – July 27, 2020.
- AAPD Statement on Recent SCOTUS Rulings. – June 30, 2020.
- AAPD Statement in Solidarity with Racial Justice Organizers. – June 4, 2020.
- Oklahoma QALY Ban Support Statement. – May 21, 2020.
- AAPD Letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders: COVID-19 Response Package. – March 18, 2020.
2020 Sign-On Letters
- Groups Call for a Justice Department Committed to Civil Rights Enforcement – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
AAPD joined Civil Rights groups in calling for President-elect Joe Biden to name an attorney general of the United States and other senior leadership of the U.S. Department of Justice who have strong records with regard to civil rights enforcement and justice reform.
- AAPD joins the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation’s Comments on HHS Proposed SUNSET Rule
AAPD opposes the SUNSET rule on the grounds that the proposed process is overly broad, the requirements on agency staff would be onerous and prevent important, timely regulatory work, and the blanket expiration of regulations could significantly erode the regulatory framework established over decades to protect patients, especially those that our organizations represent. The risk of unintended consequences of this proposal cannot be overstated.
- AAPD joins Every Child Deserves a Family Transition Recommendations
Discrimination is widespread and entrenched in the child welfare system, impacting children, families of origin, kin, and prospective foster and adoptive parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning and Two Spirit (LGBTQ+2S) and gender nonconforming, who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, who live with disabilities, who are religious minorities or secular, who are immigrants or language minorities and those at intersectional identities. Addressing systemic racism, discrimination and disproportionality in the child welfare system is essential for improving outcomes for and the well-being, health, and safety of children and their families. AAPD has joined a coalition of groups in supporting these recommendations to the Biden-Harris transition team.
- AAPD Joins Disability Rights Groups in Supporting H.R. 8581, the “Triple A” Study Act (10/29/2020).
- AAPD Joins Disability Rights Groups in Supporting S. 4343, the “Triple A” Study Act (10/29/2020).
- AAPD Joins Disability Rights Groups to Oppose the Confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. (10/23/2020).
- AAPD Joins Over 50 Disability Rights Groups in Opposing Nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett (10/5/2020). AAPD joins disability rights groups to express our opposition to the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It is imperative for the disability community that Justice Ginsburg’s replacement be someone who understands and respects the rights of people with disabilities.
- Joint Letter on Forced Sterilizations (9/24/2020). AAPD united with multiple disability, immigrant and reproductive health rights, and justice organizations to condemn the non-consensual hysterectomies being conducted at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.
- Amicus Brief Regarding the Challenge to Section 1557 of the ACA (9/17/2020). AAPD joined multiple civil rights organizations in filing an amicus brief aimed towards emphasizing the importance of ensuring the healthcare nondiscrimination protections provided by Section 1557 of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
- Letter to Congress Regarding Exclusion of Immigrant Families from Covid-19 Relief Packages (7/28/2020). AAPD has joined the National Immigration Law Center and about 800 other organizations in urging Congress to include immigrants and their U.S. citizen spouses and children in the next COVID-19 relief legislation.
- COVID-19 Crisis in America’s Nursing Homes Petition. (6/23/20). ACLU, SEIU, AAPD, and disability rights organizations file petition demanding HHS mitigate the COVID-19 crisis in America’s nursing homes and other congregate setting for people with disabilities.
- Election Assistance Commission Notice (6/2020). AAPD joins the Accessible Voting Working Group on a Comment on the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Notice: Proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 Requirements.
- Letter to House and Senate Leadership on Federal Policing Priorities. (6/1/2020). AAPD joins over 220 national organizations to promote and protect civil and human rights in the United States. The letter urge congressional members to take swift and decisive legislative action in response to ongoing fatal police killings and other violence against Black people across our country.
- Letter to the Senate on the HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act. (5/29/20). AAPD joins over 250 organizations in support of HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act. Health coverage and care are critical for every family. However, the U.S. policy has created unnecessary barriers that make it harder for immigrant women and families to get the care they need. This Act would open up access to the comprehensive health care that is central to our agency and our lives, families, and communities.
- Letter to DHS and CDC Urging the Administration to Restore Humanitarian Protections. (5/27/20). AAPD joins over 250 organizations in urging the DHS and CDC to restore humanitarian protections required under U.S. law and treaty obligations and to implement practical, science-based safeguards endorsed by public health experts while processing unaccompanied children and asylum seekers asking for refuge at the border.
- Oklahoma QALY Ban Support Letter. (5/21/20). AAPD with national and state disability organizations writes the governor of Oklahoma to express strong support for the Nondiscrimination in Health Care Coverage Act, which has passed both the House and the Senate and is waiting to be signed.
- National Disability Rights Organizations as Amici Curiae. (5/18/20). AAPD joins an amicus brief related to the Supreme Court case California V Texas. This case challenges the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This brief articulates the importance of the ACA to the disability community.
- Letter to DOL Urging Revised Guidance on Returning to Suitable Work. (5/12/20). AAPD joins NELP in a letter urging the Department of Labor to issue new guidance and FAQs that address the standards that determine when workers remain eligible for regular state Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if they leave work or refuse to work due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns.
- Joint Statement on Universal Human Rights (5/12/20). AAPD joins ASAN and a group of disability organizations on a joint statement that addresses the universal civil and human rights of people with the most significant developmental disabilities.
- Open Letter to PBS in Response to Mental Health Documentary Bedlam (5/7/20). AAPD joins over 70 organizations in an open letter to PBS on the documentary Bedlam. Our organizations call for the publicly funded media entity to center and uplift the voices of ex-patients, psychiatric survivors, and others diagnosed with mental illness.
- COVID-19 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA SIGN ON LETTER TO HHS (5/4/20). AAPD joins the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and partners at the Trust for America’s Health in a letter to the HHS about collecting data in communities of color around the impact of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 DEMOGRAPHIC DATA SIGN ON LETTER TO CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS (5/4/20). AAPD joins the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and partners at the Trust for America’s Health in a letter to congressional leaders about collecting data in communities of color around the impact of COVID-19.
- Letter to to Prohibit Discrimination during Medical Rationing. (4/16/20). AAPD led over 400 organizations in a letter to urge Department of Health and Human Services to issue further guidance ensuring that plans to ration scarce health care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic comply with federal non-discrimination laws.
- OFCCP Waiver Coaition Letter Sign On. (4/8/20). AAPD joins the the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to express deep concern about the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ March 17, 2020 decision to temporarily exempt and waive certain affirmative action obligations connected to supply, service, and construction federal contracts specifically to provide coronavirus relief.
- Letter requesting full funding for the Assistive Technology Act. (4/1/20). AAPD joins the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Technology and Telecommunications Task Force to request the inclusion of $45 million in the FY 2021 Assistive Technology Act. Funding provided through the AT Act supports programs that assure people with disabilities have access to and acquisition of the assistive technology devices and services they need to live, work, and attend school in their communities.
- Letter to Congressional Leaders on COVID-19. (3/24/20). AAPD led over 270 organizations in a letter to congressional members on the COVID-19. Our organizations wrote to strongly encourage congress to include address the needs of people with disabilities in the third COVID relief package.
- Lavatories Part I NPRM Comments. (3/2/2020). AAPD joined disability rights organizations on comments to respond to the Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning Accessible Lavatories on Single-Aisle Aircraft.
- HAB Coalition Comments on 2021 NBPP. (3/2/2020). AAPD, as a member of the Habilitation Benefits (HAB) Coalition, submitted comments on the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act regarding Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021 for individuals with disabilities who utilize habilitative services.
- Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation Comments on 2021 NBPP. (3/2/2020). AAPD, as a member of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation (CPR), contributed to comments regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act regarding Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021 for individuals with disabilities who utilize habilitative services.