Advocacy ACTION Alerts!

August 3, 2020: This alert comes to NYAIL from the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS).

Call on Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to Demand that Federal Emergency Relief Funding is Allocated to the States!

COVID-19 has devastated the United States economy and eviscerated the tax revenue that governments need to provide essential services. States, Cities and Counties from across the United States are about to run out of money.

Medicaid and education systems will be devastated.

Wages won’t be paid.

Vital services like behavioral healthcare and other critical human services won’t be delivered at a time when they’re most desperately needed.

Only the Federal Government has the ability to solve this problem!

New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand Must Take the Lead.


Call Senator Schumer Now at 202-224-6542

Call Senator Gillibrand Now at 202-224-4451

and insist that “that the Senate must not pass another bill without ensuring that the next round of Federal Emergency Relief funding addresses the disaster in our states!”

Take Action Today

Tell Congress: Provide full unemployment benefit reimbursement to nonprofits that self-insure these benefits

(July 16, 2020) This request today comes from the National Council of Nonprofits, of which RCAL and many, if not all, Independent Living Centers partner with:

Tell Congress to provide full unemployment benefit reimbursement to nonprofits

Nonprofits operating as “self-insurers” bear a large responsibility in paying unemployment benefits to furloughed or unemployed workers and are organizing to urge the public to reach out to their elected officials in Congress to ask them to increase the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-insured (reimbursing) nonprofits to 100% of costs. Please read below for details on how you can act to help RCAL and nonprofits across the country support their staff through this unprecedented crisis.

Take Action Today

Tell Congress: Provide full unemployment benefit reimbursement to nonprofits that self-insure these benefits

Federal and state unemployment laws give nonprofits and governments the option of operating as self-insured (“reimbursing”) employers that reimburse their state unemployment insurance systems for benefits the state paid to the organization’s laid off or furloughed employees. Shutdown orders by government officials, program cancellations, and reduced revenue streams have forced many nonprofits to furlough or layoff staff, triggering catastrophic unemployment payment bills that are due this month in most states. These challenges are exacerbating cash flow difficulties at a time when funds are desperately needed to deliver on missions, but when other employers will likely experience little or no additional costs resulting from COVID-19-related layoffs.

Advocacy Ask: Congress needs to increase the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-insured (reimbursing) nonprofits to 100% of costs.

More background on the unemployment insurance issue can be found on the National Council of Nonprofits website.

Send these messages to Congress today:

Simply email this message to your Senators and Representative:


Two-thirds of the states are sending out invoices this month to thousands of charitable nonprofits requiring reimbursement of the unemployment compensation paid to their employees laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19. While other employers are able to conserve resources to weather the pandemic storm, self-insured (reimbursing) nonprofits must make major outlays of cash, right now, while the pandemic continues to rage. This means that nonprofits that already had to reduce staffs because of COVID-19 are now going to have to lay off even more employees just to come up with the resources to pay unemployment compensation bills to their states. It’s the public that suffers from this spiraling down of jobs and services. It is imperative that Congress increase the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-insured nonprofits to 100% of costs.

And tweet this message to each Member:

“.[TwitterHandle], Don’t force #nonprofits to lay off more employees to pay massive unemployment bills. Include #Relief4Charities in the next #COVID19 relief bill

From The Center for Public Representation:

We need your help! Contact your Senators now and tell them #WhatWeNeed is HCBS funding!

The Senate is about to begin negotiating the next COVID-19 relief package and we need your help to make sure that additional funding for home and community based services (HCBS) is included! We need to tell the Senate why HCBS matters!

HCBS funding is critical to help people with disabilities and older adults stay in their own homes and avoid unnecessary placement in congregate settings (such as nursing homes). These settings are especially dangerous during this crisis and the extremely high infection and death rates they face make additional HCBS funding a matter of life and death for many.

The new bill is in the works, so we can’t wait! We need to flood the Senate with calls and emails to make sure our voices are heard. Most of the negotiating will be done by Senate leadership, so even if you’ve called or emailed before, or shared your HCBS story on social media, we need you to contact your Senators again and tell them to convey to leadership why dedicated HCBS funding must be included in the new relief package. The bill is expected to be introduced shortly after the Senate returns from recess on July 20th, so we need to be persistent, we need to be loud, and we need to do it now!

Contact your Senators today! Below we have information on contacting your Senators, email and call scripts, and sample social media.

  • Email: We’ve put together a portal you can use to email your Senators directly here using our email script.
  • Call: You can also use this easy tool to find your Senators’ phone numbers and call them, using our call script. The tool also has links to their Twitter and Facebook and a link to contact them via email.
  • Social Media: You can use this tool to easily tweet your Senators using our sample tweet, below.
  • We are also co-hosting call-in days every Wednesday and we encourage everyone to participate! You can find call-in scripts and more information here.

Easy Call/Email Script:

Hello, this is [Name]. I’m a resident of [Town, State].

I am [calling/writing] to ask [Senator’s Name] to make sure that the Senate’s COVID-19 relief bill includes dedicated funding for home and community-based (HCBS) to help the millions of people in this country with disabilities, who are among those most impacted by the pandemic. Dedicated HCBS funding is desperately needed to help people with disabilities and older adults remain safely in their homes rather than being forced in nursing homes and other congregate settings, where infections and deaths from COVID-19 are rampant.

The House included dedicated funding for HCBS in the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), and it is critical that the Senate do the same. The need for HCBS funding is more urgent now than ever, with major outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes and other congregate settings in the country. I ask you to convey the critical importance of dedicated HCBS funding to Senate leadership.

Thank you!

[IF EMAILING/LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied]

Sample Tweet

[Your Senator’s Twitter Handle] #WhatWeNeed is dedicated HCBS funding in the next #COVID19 bill so people with disabilities can access the services they need safely at home, not in institutions with severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

Please also consider contacting Senate leadership as well. Those members are:


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