April 23, 2020
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ODP Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates


Governor Outlines COVID-19 Recovery Plan for Pennsylvania  More information here

COVID-19 Resources
Check out The Arc of Pennsylvania's Website for additional resources here
Updated resources are added as they become available.  



United States Treasury Announces Automatic Stimulus Payments for SSI Recipients
On April 15, the Treasury Department announced that people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Treasury Department's initial plan was to require individuals receiving SSI to file or have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019. Payments will be made via the same method by which an individual receives SSI. Read The Arc's statement and see the updated fact sheet


Infant/Toddler & Preschool Early Intervention Provides Tele-intervention
With the stay at home order,  many people are asking for updates regarding Birth to Three Early Intervention or Preschool Early Intervention. Early Intervention programs across the state have contacted families with children that have a developmental disability to discuss options available for services and, where appropriate, have begun to provide teleintervention. Early Intervention programs continue to process referrals during this time.   More information here.  

Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council Issues Report
Read the 2018-2019 Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council's Annual Report to the Governor here.
Office of Civil Rights Resolves PA Complaint after Revision to Pandemic Care Policies
The Office of Civil Rights Complaint against Pennsylvania has been resolved after Pennsylvania revised the Pandemic Health Care Triaging Policies to protect against disability discrimination.  More information here.  Read the Disability Rights Pennsylvania press release here.  

Pennsylvania Establishes Health Disparity Task Force
The COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity will help identify how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations. The Health Disparity Task Force, which will be led by Lt. Gov. Fetterman, will prepare recommendations for the governor to address the short and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state’s minority and vulnerable communities.  Read more information here.



SB 613 is amended to address the impact of COVID-19 on the Commonwealth. The legislation would have redefined which businesses were considered life-sustaining and allowed to be open during the COVID-19 Emergency Disaster Declaration. The Governor vetoed the legislation on Monday, April 20th.

SB 327 is amended to address the impact of COVID-19 on the Commonwealth. The legislation creates a COVID-19 Cost and Recovery Task Force to monitor and track the response by the Commonwealth to COVID-19.  The legislation has gone back to the House for agreement to the Senate’s amendments.

HR 843 is a Resolution calling on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to apply to participate in the US Department of Agriculture’s SNAP Online Grocery Purchases Pilot Program. This program enables SNAP participants to purchase groceries online during this unprecedented time. The legislation is referred to the House Health Committee.

HB 1822 is amended to address the impact of COVID-19 on the Commonwealth. The legislation has passed the House and now goes to the Senate.

HB 2376 is amended to address the impact of COVID-19 on the Commonwealth. The legislation would allow all retail stores not considered “life-sustaining” to be considered “life-sustaining” if certain requirements are met. The legislation has passed the House and now goes to the Senate.

SB 857 would allow for telemedicine services to be offered to ensure specialists and other healthcare providers can continue to offer care to patients in rural areas.  The legislation has passed the Senate and House, and now goes to Governor Wolf.


Office of Developmental Programs Announcements & Communications

The Office of Developmental Programs has created a webpage for stakeholders to stay up to date with updates and resources from ODP.   Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates webpage


20-047 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Facilitating Personal Relationships When Visitors are Restricted in Residential Settings  

20-046:Adult Autism Waiver Provider Information Table Reissued

20-045: Adding the Transportation Service to an Individual Support Plan in the Adult Autism Waiver 

20-044: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)Supports Coordinator Check-In for Well Being Tool 

20-043: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Communication and Attachment: COVID-19 Communication Toolkit

20-042: Final Public Notice for Transportation Trip Fee Schedule Rates in the Adult Autism Waiver 

Medication Administration Upcoming Online Classes Announced

May ACRE Flyer 2020

Human Services Secretary Encourages All Pennsylvanians to Help Report Child Abuse Amidst COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

Safeguard Against Disability Discrimination During COVID-19 Fact Sheet 

Department of Human Services Emphasizes Importance of Support for People with Disabilities During COVID-19 Emergency

Take Action & "Learn More" Opportunities

           #WeAreEssential: Tell Congress to Include the Disability

Community in COVID-19 Relief Bills!


We can't be left behind!

Congress must include the needs of people with disabilities, family caregivers, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce in the next coronavirus relief legislation - there is so much at stake.      

The entire country is facing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, but people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. People with disabilities are more likely to have underlying health conditions and live in poverty - this means that they will be disproportionately impacted and need ongoing support.

Ask your Member of Congress to pass a bill that addresses the specific and critical needs of people with disabilities during this pandemic, including:
  • Funding for a Medicaid grant program to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the DSP workforce.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals is urgently needed to protect their health and safety. DSPs must be designated as essential workforce so that they have access to the PPE and medical supplies they need.
  • Paid leave for caregivers. As more people with disabilities lose their usual sources of care, family caregivers are scrambling and need access to paid leave and sick days to help their loved ones.
Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Here are the actual links if blocked from using the buttons above.


Questions about COVID-19 School Closures & Students with Disabilities?  Check out the Education Law Center's guidance here.  

Business-to-Business Directory for COVID-19-Related Supplies:  Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced the creation of the Business-to-Business Interchange Directory to connect organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers producing COVID-19-related products and supplies.  

Help Your Community by Responding to the Census!  A lot is at stake—the census determines funding for programs like special education, health care, and more. On top of that, the U.S. Census Bureau considers people with disabilities a "hard to count" population.  When everyone is counted, communities get their fair share of federal funding to help keep all people safe and healthy. Health care, education, and emergency planning all depend on getting an accurate census count. Haven't filled out your form yet? Learn more.

Family Forums with PA Family Network:  Every Wednesday until May 6, 2020, 7:00 p.m.  More information here

Read the Slice of PIE here.

April 22 & April 29, 2020 - Financial Literacy and Resilience in the Midst of a Global Pandemic:  A two-part webinar series.  The LEAD Center, a project of the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), is hosting a two-part webinar series that will provide information, financial tools, and strategies that individuals and workforce professionals can use immediately in response to the urgent challenges ahead.

      Financial Strategies for Workers with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Pandemic
      Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. EST

      How WIOA Can Support Workers Facing Economic Challenges
      Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. EST 

April 20, 2020 - Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) 
Free Webinars for Family Members:  Lead by Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.  

      April 20, 2020 - 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. 
SPEAKER: Carol Costello, HCBS Family Trainer.  REGISTER HERE.  

April 30, 2020 - 10:00 - 11:30 AM;  SPEAKER: Attorney Alison Barkoff, Director of Advocacy, Center for Public Representation
      REGISTER HERE.  Topic:  Home and Community Based Services Settings Rule and Heightened Scrutiny

May 18-20, 2020: ACRE Basic Certification Training for Providers of Employment - More information here.

Learn about the PA ABLE Savings Program at  A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.  To help you learn about the important features and benefits of PA ABLE, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is hosting free webinars.  Some of the topics that we will discuss include: eligibility requirements for opening a PA ABLE account, the federal and state tax benefits of PA ABLE, and how PA ABLE account interacts with current benefits.  Click on the date below for details.

Communication Matters Training:  Effective communication, both as the expressive communicator and the listener, shows respect and value of the other person.  The Office of Developmental Programs is holding four virtual sessions surrounding the complexity and importance of communication. Attendees will leave with strategies and tools to better support those with complex communication needs.   To Register, please click on one of the following available sessions:

      May 14th from 9:00am-1:00pm

      May 15th from 9:00am- 1:00pm

      May 27th from 12:30- 4:30pm

      *May 28th from 9:00am- 1:00pm   *This session will be available in English and American Sign Language

Welcome to WorkforceGPS - WorkforceGPS is an online technical assistance website created to help build the capacity of America's public workforce investment system. Sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, WorkforceGPS was developed specifically for workforce professionals, educators, and business leaders. Here you will find curated communities of interest, useful webinars and other training resources, promising workforce development practices, and relevant evidence-based research – giving you the tools you need to help you create innovative approaches to improve the employment prospects of job seekers. We invite you to come and engage with your peers by joining WorkforceGPS today.  Information for employees with disabilities also included.  For more information, click here.  

Additional Supports/Resources Dealing with the Impact of COVID-19 Impact

United Way Resource Support - Many Pennsylvanians are struggling with a loss of income during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Read full article. 

Center for Creative Works Finds Success in Remote Supports - Over the past month, the Center for Creative Works (CCW), a program of Resources for Human Development, has successfully implemented remote support technology with glowing results.     Read full article.

How are You Doing?  Are you remembering to take care of yourself so you can continue to support others?  Read full article.

Aid in PA Resource  If there is one positive thing in response to the COVID-19 crisis, it is the incredible creation of resources and support networks to get people the information they need in a timely manner.  Read full article.

Practice Gratitude  These days, it is hard to think on the bright side and easy for us to get lost in the confusion of what has become our new realities.  Read full article. 

Remote Support Series: Using Interests, Preferences, and Choice to Engage  Adjusting to new ways of supports during this time may be difficult for all of us.  Read full article. 

Remote Support Series: Positive Self-Management Strategies  Particularly for participants living independently, there may be a need for assistance in developing and maintaining self-management skills to create consistency and stability during times when they may have previously been receiving paid support or out in their communities.  Read full article.

ODP Encourages Individuals, Families, and Supporters to Utilize Helpline for Support During COVID-19  The Statewide Support & Referral Helpline is staffed by skilled and compassionate staff that are  available 24/7 to respond to those struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency. Read full article.

Conducting Remote Functional Behavioral Assessments  After releasing the resources and webinar on Presenting and Responding to Behavioral Crisis, we received a few questions about conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Read full article.

Beware of Scams  We all have been spending more time on our phones and computers these days  Read full article.

The Importance of Sleep Hygiene  Are you or someone you support struggling with getting a good night’s sleep? Read full article.

Looking to Fill the Time? Try These Virtual Tours  As we enter our fifth week following stay-at-home orders, some of us are getting a little stir crazy and looking for ways to fill the day.  Read full article

Emergency Preparedness Checklist  Many of us were taken by surprise at the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read full article

Maybe It’s Time for Takeout  As COVID-19 has affected our eating habits and our typical routines (e.g., eating out), some of us are starting to wish we signed up for a cooking class or two before this all started, others are just missing their favorite foods.  Read full  article. 

Preventing and Responding to Behavioral Crises  During this time of uncertainty that can be challenging for individuals and supporters, we are providing guidance to Behavioral Specialists, Supports Coordination Organizations (SCOs), and other providers and diverting and responding to potential crisis situations.  Read full article

Your Voice in Harrisburg 

The Arc of Pennsylvania is OPEN and staff are working remotely.  If you need to reach us, contact our phone number at 717.234-2621 or email.

Upcoming Activities from The Arc of PA Staff:  In the next two weeks, The Arc of PA staff will be participating in these meetings and activities of special interest: 

Sherri Landis, Executive Director: Meetings with Legislators, PA Developmental Disabilities/Policy Information Exchange, Coalition for Inclusive Community, Disability Integration Task Force, Office of Developmental Programs Technology Taskforce, Office of Developmental Programs Budget Update, weekly meetings with Senator Casey's staff, and various meetings with local chapters & executives.   

Katie Yost, Director of Government & Chapter Relations:  Various meetings with the PA House and Senate, PA Developmental Disabilities Council Policy Calls, Coalition for Inclusive Community, Disability Integration Task Force, Arc Advocate Network Call, & Technology Task Force Strategic Partnership and Funding Committee.
To view archived copies of In Touch:
Copyright © 2020 The Arc of Pennsylvania, All rights reserved.
The Arc of Pennsylvania
1007 Mumma Drive, Suite 100
Lemoyne, PA 17043
717.234.2621 | 1-800-692-7258
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The Arc of Pennsylvania 
Serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Sherri Landis, Executive Director
Shirley Keith Knox, LSW, Communications Director, Editor