Disability Advocacy and COVID-19

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a national cross-disability civil rights organization that works to advance the political and economic power of the more than 60 million individuals with disabilities in this country. The COVID-19 pandemic occurring in the United States should be of utmost concern to every lawmaker in the country. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and additional public health experts have stated that people with disabilities are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Beyond the specific conditions or diagnoses that may raise susceptibility to the virus itself, people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to the broader social, civil, and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Below are some resources and actions advocates can take to support people with disabilities’ needs and concerns so they are adequately addressed in COVID-19 efforts.

AAPD Community Calls:

On Friday, April 3 AAPD hosted a teleconference focused on the legal non-discrimination obligations for healthcare providers during the COVID-19 crisis. The teleconference addressed legal rights for people with disabilities in health care settings, current practices related to people with disabilities in medical triage, and recommendations to prevent medical rationing and disability discrimination. Featured presenters and experts were:

Ted Kennedy, Jr., Board Chair, American Association of People with Disabilities and Law Partner, Epstein Becker Green.


Kara Ayers, Ph.D., Associate Director, UCEDD, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics Cincinnati Children’s Hospital 

Samuel Bagenstos, Professor of Law, University of Michigan

Jennifer Mathis, Policy and Legal Director, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law 

Silvia Yee, Senior Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

Review the transcript and recording of the call.


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