PCPID Quarterly Meeting: November 19–20, 2008
President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Announcements, Meeting Announcements, Publication (Documents and Resources), Meeting Minutes
- Meeting Minutes, Meeting Announcement
Chariman Rhatigan invited Ms. Roach to continue with the proceedings.
Review and Status of Activities to Prepare PCPID 2009 Report to the President
Laverdia T Roach, Project Officer, PCPID
Ms. Roach reviewed the status of activities to prepare the 2009 Report to the President. She began by thanking Dr. Mank and the members for respecting the process put in place to prepare the Report.
All members attended an ODEP (Office of Disability Employment Policy) and the PCPID Forum. The papers from that forum provided the basis for the 2009 Report to the President. Ms. Roach specifically thanked the ex officio representatives and Neil Romano, the Assistant Secretary of ODEP at the U.S. Department of Labor, for providing the fiscal support for the Forum. She also acknowledged the concern of Dr. Banik about the inclusion of his paper and assured him that material from that paper would be used by Dr. Mank.
Members received an opportunity for face-to-face dialogue with the writer on September 10th. Dr. Mank found the meeting very helpful.
All of the information sent to Ms. Roach last year by members of the committee on the topic of employment was packaged and sent on to Dr. Mank. As members view the report, they will see much of that information reflected in the draft.
Ms. Roach also emphasized Dr. Mank’s exceptional work on the Report. She also thanked those who reviewed his documents and submitted comments in a timely fashion. Their timeliness allowed comments to be reflected in subsequent drafts. Increased attention will need to be devoted to the next draft since it will probably be the final draft. Members will want to review their comments, consider the comments made in this meeting, look at the report and begin thinking about voting approval. The sooner the Members are ready to approve the Report, the sooner the PCPID staff can submit the Report for review. Ms. Roach expressed the hope that this would be done in the next week or two. If that could be done, the Committee could have the final draft of the 2009 Report to the President by November 28, 2008.
Ms. Roach then asked if there were any questions. Mr. Stephen Hollingshead asked Ms. Roach if she was saying that she planned to vote on the Report before the final words were in it. Ms. Roach responded that members should see the next draft as very close to the one on which they will vote. Any concerns with the drafts should be voiced at that time.
Mr. Hollingshead also asked Ms. Roach if she anticipated any problem for the different departments. Did she see anything controversial or should it get quick approval? Ms. Roach saw no real concerns. She expected that Richard Balkus would work with the members and writers to make the language more palatable to the Social Security Administration policies.
Ms. Linda Starnes asked Ms. Roach if “Official Declaration of Understanding” to Approve the 2009 PCPID Report to the President” on the schedule was the current discussion. If so, was that just a revisit? Ms. Roach explained that it was indeed the current discussion and that the Chairperson would speak more about that later.
For clarification, Mr. Balkus asked if November 28, 2008 was the date that the final draft of the document would be submitted to the Ex Officio Members for voting purposes. Ms. Roach confirmed that it was. She expressed hope that members will be talking to their policy people all along and will expedite the report to the best of their ability. The goal is to get the report out to the current administration by mid-December, although this is late. Otherwise, the White House may not have an opportunity to review it.
Mr. Balkus stated that he had already submitted a prior draft to some of the key components that will be involved in the review process. Thus, he did not expect difficulties. However, the voting may take a week to ten days to get through the components once there is a final draft to work with.
Ms. Roach acknowledged Mr. Balkus’ comments, stating that she appreciates the system within which they are working. When comments come from ex officio members, she immediately forwards them to the writer. If ex officio representatives will begin informally passing statements, issues, concerns, and recommendations by their policy persons, there will be nothing in the final draft that will surprise them or their policy persons.
Mr. Casey O’Halloran joined the meeting via telephone call.
Chairman Rhatigan invited the ex officio members to update the Committee on the developments in each area starting with Mr. John Vaughn from the National Council on Disability (NCD).
Mr. Vaughn introduced himself and explained that he looks forward to working with the Committee as the usual representative reached the end of his term. He felt that the Report was nicely done. The recommendation on transition service, getting more money and beginning at an earlier age, is similar to one of his organization’s recommendations. At NCD, they put out an annual progress Report to the President and Congress. This year, it focused on current critical and emerging issues. This Report will come out in March at the Quarterly Meeting so there will be time for the new Administration to setup, and they will be able to hit the President and new Congress. The Committee may want to compose another letter to the incoming Administration as well. Mr. Vaughn also discussed the need for public awareness of intellectual disabilities and stated that the biggest issue today is societal attitudes.
Chairman Rhatigan thanked Mr. Vaughn for his contributions. The letter, which he recommended, will be discussed in the afternoon session. Mr. O’Holloran requested the chance to be part of that conversation since he was planning on writing a letter to the President as well. Ms. Atwater confirmed that the question would be taken up in the afternoon.
Following up with the comments of Mr. Vaughn, Mr. Richard Balkus mentioned his opportunity to attend the last quarterly meeting of NCD. This gave him the opportunity to discuss the research priorities of the SSA. The SSA staff are looking at the return-to- work issues and work incentives policy. The meeting gave helpful feedback.
Mr. Balkus then noted the following points:
- The agency has issued a new strategic plan which is by far the best plan put out so far. It contains objectives for the disability programs. In the update, some highlights of those objectives are included.
- Mr. Balkus expressed the hope of his group that legislation from the incoming Administration will help simplify the work incentive program for the public. Currently, the primary focus of work is the Disability Insurance Program.
- The Supplemental Security Program needs improvement. This includes doing a better job with reporting and recording earnings in a timely fashion.
- The agency’s strategic plan calls for updating the medical listings.
- An Occupational Information System needs to be developed to replace the
- Dictionary of Occupational Titles which is now outdated.
- The Ticket-to-Work program has made some progress so far.
- In the Benefit Offset National Demonstration One-for-Two Project, the final design has been accepted, and they are moving into the implementation stage. Mr. Balkus talked about why this program is important and eliminates the cliff effect.
Mr. Rob Sweezy arrived at the meeting and his presence was recognized by the Chairman.
Ms. Bellegarde gave updates from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS). The work continues to include an increasing number of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Their most recent large event was the National Conference on Disability Inclusion in National Service that was held last October in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to that meeting, there was a Benefit Summit where administrators of their disability programs in states across the country were brought together. The purpose of the conference was to talk about the HEART Act and what it means for the future. The conference attendees discussed how should workers in Social Security and National Service be educated to work together and include people with disabilities in national community services?
The conference included the Spirit of Inclusion Awards. The award for distinguished leadership in disability inclusion across the country was received by Ollie Cantos. There was also an outreach to veterans with disabilities at the conference. The conference was very successful, beginning a dialogue that they hope to continue.
Ms. Margaret Schaefer came on behalf of Dan Sullivan, the Office on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Claudia Gordon. Ms. Schaefer talked about the continuation of work in the area of individuals with disabilities and other special needs pertaining to emergency management. A publication in this area, Emergency Management Planning for Special Needs Populations, is now available on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website and has been well-received so far. They are still actively working to publicize this guide, especially through conference involvement and presentations to state and local governments.
Ms. Schaefer also discussed disaster services that her organization provides and gave examples of their involvement in preparation for hurricane Ike. Feedback was so positive after the storm that the organization was given a mission assignment by FEMA to be part of the Emergency Support Function or ESF—14 Group. This will be a good opportunity to make sure that special need individuals are considered in recovery plans and communities are rebuilt to be accessible and inclusive.
Ms. Caffin Gordon, from the Department of Transportation (DOT), has been working closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/ Margaret Schaefer on emergency transportation for individuals with disabilities and special needs populations. DOT is responsible to ensure that all states, local governments, and tribal governments include persons with disabilities in emergency evacuations. The large number of entities responsible for this initiative has been a problem. It created confusion about which members should finance the actions of the group, causing delays in decisions which needed to be made quickly. Thus, they are now working on a policy initiative to ensure that, whenever issues arise, there will not be a question of financial backing. The most important thing will be getting the job done first and taking care of financial issues afterwards. DOT has also signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Labor to make sure that they continue to update the DisabilityInfo.gov website.
Ms. Mary Kay Mauren from Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) informed the group that the Commission continues to update its Americans with Disability Acts ADA regulations and supporting guidance documents in light of the recent ADA amendments. They are still working on their initiative to increase employment for people with disabilities in the Federal Government as well. She referred to the presentation by Ms. Jo Linda Johnson back in September for more information on that initiative.
Mr. Stephen B. Hollingshead stated that there was nothing new in his area.
Mr. Ollie Cantos stated for the record that he was speaking as a Citizen Member who happens to work at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and happens to know what's going on there within the context of disability implementation. He was not speaking on behalf of Mark, since Mark did not give him authorization to do so.
Mr. Cantos talked about how the DOJ had recently incorporated the DOT’s internal website on emergency preparedness for people with disabilities into its own emergency management efforts. They are working to incorporate efforts from the DHS in the area of emergency preparedness as well. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department also puts out articles focused on employment of individuals with disabilities. This will be coming out shortly.
Chairman Rhatigan asked any ex officios on the phone line to identify themselves, and there were no affirmative responses.
Ms. Starnes asked Mr. Cantos if he knew the date when the article would be coming out and whether there would be public access to it online. Mr. Cantos responded by saying that the article would be out by mid-January 2009. Past versions can be obtained in Microsoft word format by emailing email@example.com. Individuals receiving the article may post, distribute, or send it.