Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Disease 2019(Covid-19)

What's New (February 19 - March 4)

Here are the latest additions to this page. Sign up for ACL Updates to receive these ad other updates via e-mail.

National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness

The National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness provides detailed information about the seven goals of Biden Administration's coordinated pandemic response. The 198-page strategy document begins with an overview of the goals, followed by details on a variety of topics, many of which intersect the core missions of the aging and disability networks. Among the topics covered are home and community based services, vaccination communication, impact on at-risk groups, equitable access to PPE, and community-based, multi-sector efforts to align health and social interventions. The strategy reflects the White House's priorities for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know?

Your risk of serious COVID-19 illness may be increased

It is particularly important for you to avoid exposure and be aware of the symptoms and emergency warning signings.  Not sure whether you should seek medical attention?  CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker tool can help you make decisions. 

Read more

Older adults and people with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for COVID-19 illness. Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities may also be at increased risk.

Risks from COVID-19 increase steadily as you age; it’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness. This may be because immune systems change with age, making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Older adults also are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.

Some health conditions identified by CDC that can increase your risk (see full updated list that was posted December 29, 2020 by CDC):

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Smoking 
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Based on what is known at this time, CDC has also issued a list of conditions that might put people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

This CDC graphic describes Risk for Covid-19 Associated Hospitalization Related to Underlying Conditions

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

COVID-19 symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, or at least two of the following:

  • fever
  • chills
  • repeated shaking with chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • new loss of taste or smell

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. These include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. Consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

Vaccination Information

Vaccinations will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring this pandemic to an end. As Americans get vaccinated over the next few months, it is important to continue to follow public health safety measures. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines, which are now being distributed by states and territories. 

You can find information on vaccine distribution in your state in the "Follow your state's guidance" section of this page (scroll down to locate this section).

More Vaccination Resources
Beware of Vaccination-Related Scams

Scammers rapidly alter their tactics and adapt their schemes to the changing landscape, and we anticipate that they will leverage the COVID-19 vaccine to prey on unsuspecting people. Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Here are things you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • You likely will not need to pay anything out-of-pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
  • You cannot pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine.
  • You will not be solicited door to door to receive the vaccine.
  • No one from Medicare or the Health Department with contact you.
  • No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Medicare number, Social Security number, or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.

The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns. SMPs help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud. Your SMP can help you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also provides information and educational presentations. To locate your local Senior Medicare Patrol, call 1-877-808-2468 or visit

More Information

Stay safe -- and protect others!

Everyone, regardless of age or disability, should follow CDC's recommendations to help prevent the spread of the virus.

How to prevent exposure

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are within about 6 feet of each other. Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. It is possible that these droplets may also be inhaled into the lungs. Learn more about how the virus spreads.

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Keep your distance! Stay at least six feet away from others when you must leave home
  • Cover your mouth and nose! CDC issued updated guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings and Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings. CDC recommends wearing such coverings in public settings (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Click HERE to view CDC's February 2021 "maximizing mask fit" guidance. CDC's Improve the Fit and Filtration of Your Mask to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 page offers some suggestions to maximize the performance of cloth and procedural masks and this video shows how you can "knot and tuck" a procedural mask to improve fit.
  • CDC has instructions for making your own mask and in this video, Dr. Jerome Adams, former U.S Surgeon General, shows you how.
    • Important notes: (1) N-95 respirators are NOT recommended. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders. (2) CDC advises that cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • On February 5, 2021, The U.S. Department of Transportation issued the following notice: Accommodation by Carriers of Persons with Disabilities Who Are Unable to Wear or Safely Wear Masks While on Commercial Aircraft - Notice of Enforcement Policy
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, etc. Cover your hand if you must touch something.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect your home regularly, especially frequently touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones, as well as visibly dirty surfaces. The virus that causes COVID-19 may survive for hours or days on a variety of surfaces. 
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
  • Stay home when you are sick, and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Comply with local social distancing recommendations!
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • There are many ways you can safely help during the COVID-19 emergency. FEMA has some suggestions here.
CDC's guidance for specific populations
CDC guidance for caregivers, direct service professionals, and group homes
For people with disabilities or medical conditions 

There are some additional things people with disabilities can do to prepare during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Plan what you will do if you or your direct support provider get sick. Create a contact list of family, friends, neighbors, and local service agencies that can provide support in case you or your direct support provider become ill or unavailable.
  • Plan at least two ways of communicating from home and work that can be used rapidly in an emergency (e.g., landline phone, cell phone, text-messaging, email). Write down this information and keep it with you.
  • Have enough household items and groceries so that you will be comfortable staying home for a few weeks, at least a 30-day supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines, and any medical equipment or supplies that you might need. Some health plans allow for a 90-day refill on prescription medications. Consider discussing this option with your healthcare provider. Make a photocopy of prescriptions, as this may help in obtaining medications in an emergency situation.

Stay Connected and Engaged

Staying at home and social distancing are critical to avoiding exposure to the virus, but social isolation and loneliness can be a devastating result. In fact, a study showed that they can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.  There are many ways to stay engaged, active and connected--both with and without technology. These resources can help you get started. (Some of them were created with older adults in mind, but the suggestions and resources they offer are good for people of any age.)

Engage Virtually - Ideas from ACL

Created as part of our celebration of Older Americans Month, this tip sheet provides ideas for socializing and exploring the world through technology, as well as some low-tech suggestions. 

Engage Virtually: Tips for keeping older adults connected. Please consider these ideas from the Administration for Community Living.

Avoiding social isolation and managing anxiety (from AARP)  

Guidelines from our partners at the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response include this great list of suggestions by AARP:

  • Develop a plan to connect with family, friends or loved ones: Talk to family and friends to develop a plan to safely stay in touch during social distancing. This is especially important for people living alone.
  • Limit news consumption: Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Care for living things: Caring for pets or plants provides a sense of purpose and improved health.
  • Take care of your bodyPhysical activity such as walking or light stretching helps calm tension; eat healthy, well-balanced meals, and avoid alcohol and drug abuse. It is also important to get adequate sleep.
  • Listen to music, find activities that bring joy: Beyond the music and activities available in the common living area shared by residents there are music events and activities online, such as free livestreamed concerts. National Public Radio is maintaining a list of Live Virtual Concerts.
  • Keep your mind active: Completing puzzles (e.g., jigsaw, crossword, sudoku), reading, and engaging in art projects helps to keep the mind occupied and can improve cognitive functioning.
  • Use calming techniques: Such as deep breathing, stretching, meditation, prayer, taking a warm bath or shower, or sitting with a pet.
  • Find ways to laugh: Watch a TV show, or chat with a friend or family member who brings joy.
  • Create short personal videos that can be shared between family and loved ones.

Staying Connected at Home - A Resource from the Eldercare Locator and engAGED

ACL's Eldercare Locator and engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults, which are both funded by ACL and administered by n4a put together these suggestions for how older adults -- and people of any age -- can prevent social isolation and loneliness while staying safe. 

Feeling Good and Staying Connected - An Activity Guide

This activity guide from the California Department of Aging has ideas that can help people of any age stay engaged. Now might be a great time to pick up that hobby you had in childhood, for example. 

Tips for connecting while social distancing
  • The Humanitarian Disaster Institute, a faith-based academic disaster research center at Wheaton College, has suggestions for connecting  while social distancing guidelines are in place.
  • Erie County, New York, developed a Social Isolation webpage that has many ideas worth exploring.
Get smart on technology
Video and digital communication - Comparing tools, ensuring, usability/accessibility
  • The University of Maine's Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies has partnered with Speaking Up for Us, an organization run by and for adults who live with developmental disabilities, to release an updated resource, Planning Accessible Meetings and Conferences: A Suggested Checklist and Guide
  • ODEP's Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) published a "How to Pick an Accessible Virtual Meeting Platform" tip sheet. This resource provides best practices on the process of ensuring that employers' meeting platforms support full accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • Disability:IN has developed a resource page on digital accessibility and other best practices for remote work.
  • Rooted in Rights offers tips for making virtual meeting more accessible for people with disabilities.
  • "The Big Hack," a project of the British non-profit Scope, provides an overview of accessibility features found in various video conferencing apps.
  • The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has developed a detailed overview of remote video communication options titled, Tools for Reaching a Remote Audience. NCOA provides pros and cons for each tool, including Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and several others. Links to additional information are included in the document. This resource is a convenient first stop for people wanting to connect to each other remotely and also includes information about tools that can be used for meetings and presentations.
Policy brief: How state are combating social isolation and loneliness

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Promoting Healthy Aging for People with Long-Term Physical Disabilities, which is funded by ACL's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, recently published a health policy brief on state responses to the social isolation and loneliness faced by adults with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow your state's guidance

Decisions about community measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as vaccine prioritization and distribution, will be made by local and state officials, The links in this section will connect you to some state resources.

Links to state resources

For the Aging and Disability Networks

The links and resources in this section are available to anyone, but they are specifically intended for  organizations that serve older adults and people with disabilities, particularly those who receive funding from ACL. 

Resources for Reopening

Reopening timelines and progress will be different from state to state, and one size won’t fit all, but in this section, we'll share guidelines and information to help as your state establishes its “new normal."

From ACL: Reopening Guidelines for Senior Nutrition Programs

Developed as a collaborative effort between the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services, National Council on Aging, and ACL, the Reopening Guidelines for Senior Nutrition Programs offers suggestions for senior nutrition programs to consider as their states move through the phases of reopening.  

From CDC

CDC has created a central repository of guidelines, tools, and resources for states, tribes, localities, and territories. In order to get and keep America open, states, tribes, localities, and territories must be able to quickly identify new cases, break chains of transmission, and protect first responders and health care workers from infection.

On that page, you'll find CDC activities and initiatives supporting COVID-19 response and reopening

For convenience, CDC also has a "What's New" page.

CDC has issued information on the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

CDC has issued guidance about Considerations for Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes.


FEMA released the Exercise Starter Kit for Workshop on Reconstituting Operations. FEMA states that the kit contains sample documents your organization can use to conduct your own planning workshop to navigate the complexities of returning to full operations during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Included in the kit are three items available for download: FEMA Fact Sheet Reconstituting Operations, Reconstituting Operations Facilitator Guide, and a set of slides.

FEMA also issues a set of FAQs titled Reconstitution: Reopening After Coronavirus.

From CMS

Visitation is a crucial issue for people in a range of congregate settings and one on which ACL has been heavily engaged. On Feb. 10,  CMS issued new guidance on visitation in Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and psychiatric residential treatment facilities. This guidance makes clear the rights to access for Protection and Advocacy systems and Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, reinforces requirements to allow visitors or in-person support as required by federal law, includes a broad definition of compassionate care, and provides best practices for allowing visitation safely.  This guidance complements the guidance CMS issued in September for visitation in nursing homes. See the ACL blog by Vicki Gottlich, which discusses this topic.

CMS released guidance for states and local officials to ensure safe reopening of nursing homes across the country. The guidance details critical steps nursing homes and communities should take prior to relaxing restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including rigorous infection prevention and control, adequate testing, and surveillance. The vulnerable nature of the nursing home population requires aggressive efforts to limit COVID-19 exposure and to prevent the spread within facilities. The recommendations issued today would allow states to make sure nursing homes are continuing to take the appropriate and necessary steps to ensure resident safety and are opening their doors when the time is right. This also serves to help states and nursing homes reunite families with their loved ones in a safe, phased manner. CMS is recommending that nursing homes do not advance through any phases of reopening or relax any restrictions until all residents and staff have received results from a baseline test.  In addition, CMS recommends that state survey agencies inspect nursing homes that experienced a significant COVID-19 outbreak prior to reopening. Finally, CMS recommends that nursing homes remain in the current state of highest restriction even when a community begins to relax restrictions for other businesses, and should be among the last to reopen within the community, to ensure safety of the residents.  

CMS also released the List of Members for the independent Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes. The Commission issued a final report on 16 September, 2020.

Adapting to a "New Normal"

Many Americans are adjusting to a "new normal” as a result of the COVID-19 – one that balances the critical need to prevent the spread of coronavirus with the other factors that also affect health and well-being. The pandemic has also brought about both positive and negative long-term changes that will outlast the virus itself.

Rethinking Services for People with IDD Webinar Series

ACL and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are hosting a webinar series on rethinking home and community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Promising Practices - Highlights from the network

There isn't enough space to list all of the outstanding examples of how the aging and disability networks are adapting and innovating to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities, but this is a small sampling of some of them.

Supporting Vaccination


The Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) AAA has been using COVID relief funding to pay for scheduling and transportation to vaccination sites. In a modification to their traditional transportation services, drivers wait while clients get their shots to take them back home, helping to minimize the time spent exposed to others.  DRCOG (AAA) also has supported large vaccination event. For example, they arranged transportation for more than 350 people to get their first shot at an event on Feb. 6 and have schedules rides for those clients to get their second shot in March.  

As the state gets more vaccines, and the number of vaccine sites grows, it is becoming more complicated to coordinate individual appointments and shot events, while also providing non-COVID transportation services, such as trips to dialysis, cancer treatment and doctor’s appointments. The AAA is partnering with the Rotary Club, faith based organizations and other volunteer groups who want to help provide rides to vaccines. 

Addressing social isolation - from ADvancing States 
  • ADvancing States published this resource to assist states and others with creative and thoughtful approaches to social isolation and loneliness in older adults, and to also facilitate sharing and learning across states. It includes a collection of ideas and actions from across the country. 
Examples from Area Agencies on Aging and OAA Title VI programs - from n4a 

n4a has compiled a wide range of examples of how area agencies on aging Older Americans Act Title VI programs are adjusting existing programs and services--and launching new ones--to continue to safely serve older adults, people with disabilities and families and caregivers throughout the COVID-19 crisis.  

Examples from DD Councils

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) has released “State Councils on Developmental Disabilities COVID-19 Report: Council Activities, Initiatives, and Impact.” This report highlights how ACL-funded DD Councils have used resources and connections to help people with developmental disabilities and their families stay safe, healthy, and connected to community during this ongoing pandemic.

Food insecurity and hunger
  • Central Florida's Meals of Love program had its 100,000th meal delivered by Governor Ron DeSantis. This public-private pilot program was established by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) in partnership with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). As of June 6, the DOEA Restaurant Meal Initiative has delivered over 600,000 meals to seniors throughout the state. The Meals of Love Program, serving Central Florida, was one of the first areas to begin delivery. Meal number 100,000 was delivered with food prepared from el Leoncito restaurant.  Meals of Love is the restaurant initiative serving homebound seniors in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties through the Senior Resource Alliance (SRA) located in Orlando. The SRA has provided up to 2,500 restaurant prepared meals in one day. 

    • “This program saved my kitchen staff,” said one restaurant owner. “Without Meals of Love we had 3 staff and now we have 12 full-time staff in the kitchen alone. We’re able to keep operations going and our former unemployed servers are now delivering.”

    • “Governor DeSantis has helped to facilitate this process and allowed restaurants and food establishments to become emergency meal vendors for Florida’s seniors who are homebound or self- isolating for protection,” said Richard Prudom, Secretary for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. “We’ve ensured that any older adult who received a meal from a congregate site that is now closed for safety, continues to receive a home-delivered meal and food reassurance through this program.”

    • “Drivers deliver more than a meal,” said Senior Resource Alliance CEO Karla Radka. “They deliver hope and human contact to vulnerable seniors and in many cases the meals include a small note, a puzzle, or a letter to keep seniors engaged and aware that they are not alone.”

  • Every Tuesday, the ONEgeneration COVID-19 Relief Drive Thru Food Pantry in Reseda, California, now provides food to hundreds of seniors and families.  Staff and volunteers provide no-contact, shelf stable foods as well as dairy and meat when available.
  • A partnership between locally-owned restaurants, private corporations, and leading non-profit agencies, Nevada’s Delivering with Dignity is bringing meals, snacks, and coffee directly to the doorsteps of some of vulnerable and isolated families and individuals. Launched in March in Las Vegas as an emergency response to coronavirus pandemic, Delivering with Dignity has recently expanded to Reno. In fewer than seven weeks, more than 50,000 meals have been delivered directly to residents. The program has also allowed two dozen food service workers to stay employed.
  • One of the centers for independent living that receives funding from ACL, Disability Network Wayne County Detroit, has partnered with other local community service organizations to deliver boxes of food to people with disabilities to help them safely stay at home. They also have partnered with local hospitals to provide free COVID-19 testing and follow-up services.
  • Michigan launched a statewide public-private initiative to provide “Quarantine Boxes,” or “Q-boxes” to older adults across the states. Each Q-box contains enough food to create 22 healthy meals for adults. The state unit on aging partnered with the Food Bank Council of Michigan and Gleaners Community Food Bank to purchase 10,000 Q-boxes and launched a virtual food drive so the public could contribute to provide more. The Q-boxes are distributed to older adults through the state’s 16 Area Agencies on Aging (often in partnership with other local community organizations, such as United Way).
  • The Midland Area Agency on Aging, located in Hastings, Nebraska, serves eight rural counties to the west of Lincoln. In the span of a few weeks they partnered with five local businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide seniors with 500 fruit/vegetable/bread baskets, 275 potato-themed food baskets, 350 grab-and-go baskets, and numerous meals from a local restaurant chain.
Checking in on older adults
  • With the closure of congregate meal sites in Vermont, the Thompson Senior Center decided to start making daily calls to their most isolated community members and weekly calls to many others. The calls revealed needs that seniors had, such as running out of groceries, prescriptions, and postage stamps, financial concerns, and help avoiding becoming the victims of scams. The Thompson Center volunteers took care of most issues, while the local police department stepped in to pick up and deliver prescriptions.
  • Maryland offers a free, opt-in, telephonic service to check on Maryland’s older residents, all across the state.​Every day, a telephone call will be placed to a participant at a regularly scheduled time. These calls will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. as close as possible to the one-hour time block pre-selected by the participant. If the participant does not answer their first call, they will be tried two more times. If those calls go unanswered, additional calls will be made to notify an alternative person who is selected by the participant during program enrollment. This could be an adult child, a neighbor, or another loved one. The alternate will then be encouraged to check on the older adult program participant. The failure of the participant and alternate to answer will result in a call to your local non-emergency service. 

  • The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) yesterday announced a free, daily check-in by phone service for Ohio’s older residents to ensure their well-being amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency and beyond. The program was announced during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily news conference.The “Staying Connected” service is open to Ohio residents age 60 or older who have a valid phone number. Those living alone in the community are encouraged to consider enrolling. The automated service, which is available 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, contacts participants each day within a one-hour window selected by them during sign-up. After confirming the caller is OK, it offers to connect the caller with the local Area Agency on Aging for information about services or assistance. If a participant does not answer after three attempts, a call is placed to an alternate contact, if one is on file. After multiple failed attempts to reach the participant and the alternate contact, a call is placed to the non-emergency services line of the local sheriff’s office.

  • The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging has developed Project HELLO, a volunteer effort to connect older adults who may be alone, and in need of socialization more than ever before. If you are an older adult who would like to receive calls from a Project HELLO volunteer, please contact the POINT, Rhode Island's Healthy Aging help desk, at 401-462-4444. Volunteers are equipped to provide you with information about Project HELLO and other resources that can help you meet your needs.

Exploring the Use of Robotic Pets to Combat Loneliness

Both New York State and Alabama have received local and national media attention for their use of robotic pets to combat loneliness due to visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities as a result of COVID-19.

Employment Examples

The Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is collecting examples and best practices around employment during COVID-19 for people with I/DD. The effort is part of the Institute's ThinkWork! project. Here are two items they have collected: Christina: Mastering a Job with Remote Supports During COVID-19 and Turn Community Services: Strategies for Remaining Employed or Returning to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Guidance for ACL Programs

For recipients of discretionary grants 

This FAQ covers the COVID-19-related questions we are hearing most often from recipients of discretionary grants. 

Independent Living programs 
Older Americans Act programs 

For all programs 

Senior Nutrition Program

State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Title III Programs

Title VI Programs

Aging and Disability Resource Centers

Other Older Americans Act Programs

Assistive technology programs

FAQ: State Assistive Technology Programs

NIDILRR programs (Updated March 30)

Application of OMB Memo M-20-17 to NIDILRR Grants (March 30, 2020)

ACL Guidance on Reporting Requirements (Updated May 2, 2020)

Guidance from other federal programs

Purchase/distribution of food as an Emergency Protective Measure under FEMA's Public Assistance Program  

Extensions now allowed for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency

On April 12, FEMA released a policy that authorized purchase and distribution of food as an Emergency Protective Measure. Under that policy, applicants could receive funding for an initial 30-day period and could request one 30-day extension. Depending on the time period for applicants requested reimbursement, eligibility under this policy for the initial 60 days could end as soon as May 13, 2020.

This policy was intended to allow FEMA to meet immediate needs, until other federal programs/funding became available. However, for a variety of reasons, including scale of need, it is likely that other federal programs will not be able to meet the needs of individuals coping with COVID-related food insecurity within the initial timeframe.

Therefore, Public Assistance has clarified that extensions beyond the initial 60 days are allowable (in increments of 30 days or fewer per extension) for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, if necessary.  

The State, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government entities should collaborate with government stakeholders including ACL, state units on aging, area agencies on aging , regional and local Housing and Urban Development Public Housing Authority (HUD/PHA), and USDA Food and Nutrition Service to understand what they are doing to address these needs and communicate assistance requirements.

The SLTT should also collaborate with non-governmental organizations including volunteer organizations, senior centers and adult day care, and service/volunteer organizations including Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, faith-based communities, and other organizations. Identify resources that might be applied or redirected to close gaps.

All efforts should be made to prioritize the most vulnerable populations, then register those needing assistance into these more traditional nutrition assistance programs, thereby further stabilizing the situation and ensuring FEMA eligibility.  Refer to these resources from the FEMA/HHS Community Mitigation Task Force: Sustaining Nutritional Needs for At-Risk Individuals and Information on Federal Programs to Sustain Nutrition for At-Risk Individuals 

While FEMA is coordinating with other partners to determine the appropriate level and source of support moving forward, it is very important that the SLTT work on transition plans that may be needed beyond additional extensions.

FEMA's Public Assistance Program supports communities’ recovery from major disasters by providing them with grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and restoring public infrastructure. Under the President’s emergency declaration and subsequent major disaster declarations for COVID-19, state, local, tribal, and territorial government entities and certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for assistance under the FEMA Public Assistance Program.

Assistance for Small Businesses (Includes non-profits)

Assistance for Small Businesses:

The Paycheck Protection Program ensures that small businesses can continue to pay employees and cover costs during this unprecedented health crisis. For up to eight weeks, this program can be used to cover the entire cost of payroll and other eligible expenses.

Private non-profit organizations are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.

UPDATE: As of Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 am ET, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) established a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees.

Resources from the Department of the Treasury:

Learn about other programs for small businesses.

CMS Guidance and Information:  Includes Nursing Homes Best Practices Toolkit,  telehealth flexibilities, HCBS waivers, nursing home visitation, & more 
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a Fact Sheet with information about the 2021 Special Enrollment Period for Marketplace Coverage on, which began on 15 February 2021. To read the CMS press release, click HERE.

  • The CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Quality Safety & Oversight Group has provided a holiday notice to Nursing Homes, Residents, and Resident Family Member(s)/Representative(s). CMS is urging nursing home staff, residents and visitors to follow established guidelines for visitation and adherence to the core principles of infection prevention. CMS is recommending that facilities find innovative ways of celebrating the holidays without having parties or gatherings that could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission (e.g., virtual parties or visits, provide seasonal music, movies, decorations, etc.). 

  • Toolkit on State Actions to Mitigate COVID-19 Prevalence in Nursing Homes.  Developed to aid nursing homes, governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies provide oversight and assistance to these facilities, with additional resources to aid in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic within nursing homes. It includes best practices from a variety of front line health care providers, governors’ COVID-19 task forces, associations and other organizations, and experts, and is intended to serve as a catalog of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes. 

  • The Department of Health and Human Services has expanded telehealth access to combat COVID-19. For example:

    • Medicare beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services through telehealth. See the CMS press release and FAQ for more information.
    • A covered health care provider also may use any non-public facing remote communication product that is available to communicate with patients. The HHS Office of Civil Rights will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. Details can be found in the OCR press release and this OCR bulletin.
    • The HHS Office of Inspector General provided flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive beneficiary cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs. See the OIG policy statement for more information.
    • CMS has created an electronic toolkit regarding telehealth and telemedicine for long-term care facilities. The toolkit includes electronic links to reliable sources of information regarding telehealth and telemedicine and information on choosing telemedicine vendors, equipment, and software; initiating a telemedicine program; monitoring patients remotely; and developing documentation tools. There is also information that will be useful for providers who intend to care for patients through electronic virtual services that may be temporarily used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Medicaid Telemedicine webpage (March 19, 2020)
    • Medicaid State Plan Fee-for-Service Payments for Services Delivered Via Telehealth (March 19, 2020)
  • CMS's COVID-19 web page includes a variety of resources for the networks:

  • CMS released guidance for states and local officials to ensure safe reopening of nursing homes across the country. The guidance details critical steps nursing homes and communities should take prior to relaxing restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including rigorous infection prevention and control, adequate testing, and surveillance.
  • The CMS Emergency Preparedness and Response Operations page has links to a variety of resources related to COVID-19. 
  • On May 22, HHS began distributing nearly $5 billion to help nursing homes combat COVID-19.
  • On June 19 CMS released the List of Members for the independent Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.
ASPR Resources for Community-Based Organizations

As the nation adjusts physical and social distancing practices, the risk and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will remain high for many at-risk individuals, particularly those with access and functional needs. COVID-19 is likely to continue to disrupt the lives of these individuals, many of whom rely on social services and home and community-based services. Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) play an essential role in helping these individuals obtain critical services and supports allowing them to adjust to the COVID-19 era.

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has created a new resource page providing information for community-based organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources focus on equipping CBOs to return to work, supporting clients and family caregiving networks, bringing innovation to CBO service, and improving integration. A resource tool is also available for Discharge Planning and Care Coordination during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

More resources for organizations that serve older adults and people with disabilities

Webinars and teleconferences

Upcoming Webinars & Teleconferences

What Your Community Needs to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines (Lo Que Su Comunidad Necesita Saber Sobre Las Vacunas Contra el COVID-19)

March 2, 2021, at Noon ET

Join the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) for a webinar about what communities need to know about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines that will help to slow the spread and save lives.  The webinar, co-hosted with the Partnership Center at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and featuring expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will be presented in Spanish.

Archived Webinars & Teleconferences

What Families Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines (Lo Que las Familias Deben Saber Sobre Las Vacunas Contra el COVID-19)

February 26, 2021, at 2:00 PM ET  Join the National Hispanic Pastors Alliance and the Pastor’s Wives of America for a webinar about what families need to know about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines that will help to slow the spread and save lives.  The webinar, co-hosted with the Partnership Center at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and featuring expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be presented in Spanish.

Health Equity Task Force

February 26, 2021, at 3 PM ET

A meeting of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force will be held and is open to the public. You must preregister to attend. The meeting will introduce Task Force members and to outline the charges as directed by Executive Order 13995, Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery. Information about the meeting can be found on the HHS Office of Minority Health website. Pre-registration for the meeting must be completed by 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

February 23, 2021, at  03:00 PM ET

The National Center for Applied Transit Technology is hosting a webinar titled, Virtual Public Engagement: Strategies and Trends on February 23, 2021, at 3:00 PM ET. The webinar addresses how the COVID-19 pandemic forced transit agencies to pivot in a number of ways, including how they engage with the public.

Addressing Social Isolation Through Senior Housing During COVID-19 

Feb. 24, 2:00pm ET

Join the EngAGED February Webinar: Addressing Social Isolation Through Senior Housing During COVID-19

Senior housing offers a space for older adults to engage and connect with their fellow residents and build a sense of community. While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the need for physical distancing, the Aging Network has found creative ways to continue to offer opportunities for engagement to address social isolation in senior housing facilities. Join engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults, on February 24 at 2:00 pm ET for a webinar focused on social engagement and housing. Attendees will hear from the American Association of Service Coordinators, Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc. and Atlanta Regional Commission on how they are addressing social isolation in senior housing through different initiatives and partnerships—and how your organization may be able to replicate similar engagement opportunities.

Community-based Organization stakeholder webinar

February 19th at 03:00 PM ET

Community-based Organization stakeholder webinar will be held on February 19th at 03:00 PM ET to discuss the Special Enrollment Period 2021.

Virtual Public Engagement: Strategies and Trends

CV-19 Check Up Webinar

Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 3:00-4:00pm Eastern

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of over 400,000 Americans, the majority of whom are older adults or other high-risk individuals. The ACL-funded National I&R Support Center invites you to join this webinar to learn about an online, free, and confidential tool, CV19 CheckUp, available to help users across the country evaluate their own risk levels associated with COVID-19 through a personalized and comprehensive questionnaire. ADvancing States is pleased to partner with the team that developed the CV19 CheckUp with the mission of helping millions of individuals identify and reduce risks. Data collected through CV19 CheckUp so far is already helping to highlight why it’s so critical to focus efforts around helping older adults understand and mitigate risk; as illustrated in this national infographic, older adults may underestimate the risk levels of their own behaviors. Join us on February 10 to learn more!

Presenter: James Firman, CIO, BellAge Inc., and former CEO of the National Council on Aging

Real-time captioning will be provided for this webinar. 

 Pre-registration is required for this webinar. Space is limited so make sure to register as soon as possible.

Mobilizing transportation to increase COVID-19 vaccination

On February 4, 2021 (2:00-3:30 pm Eastern time), the National Center for Mobility Management will present the webinar, “Mobilizing transportation to increase COVID-19 vaccination” with public health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The information presented will assist the public health and public transportation sectors in identifying ways to collaborate to ensure all Americans living in rural and small urban communities are vaccinated. In this webinar, hosted by the National Center for Mobility Management, CDC will be joined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA).

Georgia Tech and CDC Webinars for the Disability Community

Georgia Tech's Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI), in partnership with the CDC and the CDC Foundation, is hosting a series of webinars for the disability community. The next webinar is, A Closer Look: Guidance for Business and Employers Considering the Needs of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 2:00 PM.

A Conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Muslim Community
Thurs., Feb. 11, 2021, 1;30 p.m.
American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) hosts this conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director and Chief Medical Advisor on COVID-19 to President Biden. 

ACL/CMS Webinar Reducing Food Insecurity and Nutrition-Related Chronic Diseases During COVID-19 Among Medicaid HCBS Beneficiaries

Thursday, January 14, 2021, 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET.

Food insecurity is growing among Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) beneficiaries as the COVID-19 pandemic enters 2021. Many beneficiaries facing food insecurity also suffer from nutrition-related chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. This webinar hosted by ACL and CMS will provides HCBS stakeholders with resources they can use to ensure long-term success in addressing food insecurity; and invites them to consider referring beneficiaries to education and supports to manage often complex and long term needs.

The webinar will be recorded. If you are interested in the webinar and cannot attend, please register. We will send you the recording link via email.

Questions? Email

Georgia Tech and CDC Webinars for the Disability Community

Georgia Tech's Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI), in partnership with the CDC and the CDC Foundation, is hosting a series of webinars for the disability community. Below are the forthcoming events: 

Making Social Media Accessible for People with Disabilities - Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 2:00 PM A Closer Look: Guidance for Business and Employers Considering the Needs of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 - Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Traumatic Brain Injury TA Resource Center Webinar: Telehealth During a Pandemic

Friday, December 18, 2020

Download Webinar Slides

Telehealth has been a tool for providing care for a long time, however, there has never been a time where telehealth has been a more critical tool than it is now in light of COVID-19. Join the webinar to learn from a TBI State Partnership Program state grantee about the basics of telehealth; learn how COVID-19 has changed access to telemedicine; and explore the benefits for providers, people with TBI (traumatic brain injury), and related disabilities, and caregivers. Federal resources available on telehealth and maintaining accessible services will also be highlighted.

CDC/Georgia Tech Webinar Series

Access to previously aired webinars for the disability community that were produced by Georgia Tech's Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI),  in partnership with CDC and the CDC Foundation, are available here.

Applying Evidence to Inform State Responses to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Settings

Tuesday, December 1, 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET
One of the earliest hot spots of the COVID-19 pandemic was in a Seattle-area nursing home. To this day, the virus disproportionately affects residents of long-term care facilities nationwide. States took different approaches in an attempt to mitigate the initial spread of COVID-19, but communities are beginning to see another rise in cases. 
Mathematica and a panel of experts from across the country will share the latest evidence on how COVID-19 has affected nursing home residents and how evidence can be used to inform policy recommendations for state regulators, agency and long-term care industry executives, legislators, and other key stakeholders. Panelists will discuss testing approaches for residents and staff; the role of nursing home staffing in mitigating the impact of COVID-19; how nursing homes and their state regulators should balance resident health and safety to reduce social isolation; and how states might set up their reporting systems to ensure they have real-time data to identify and control hot spots.

ACL/CMS Webinar 11/12: HCBS Innovation During COVID--Medicaid HCBS Payers & Providers

Thursday, November 12, 2020 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

Download Slides

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) host a monthly webinar series that invites subject matter experts and practitioners from across the home-and-community-based services (HCBS) spectrum to share insights and best practices to develop high quality HCBS services and programs.  

In this webinar you will hear from payer and provider industry leaders about changes their industries experienced since the beginning of the PHE and what lies ahead for them. Several payers and providers will share innovations they used to address COVID and/or SDOH. SDOH areas addressed in this webinar include: direct support services, employment, food insecurity, housing, and transportation. See more details about the speakers on the registration webpage.

COVID-19 and Intergenerational Shared Sites: Lessons on promoting connections between young and old during a pandemic and beyond

Tuesday, October 20th, 1:00 pm ET

Join Generations United and The Eisner Foundation for a one-hour virtual briefing about the value of intergenerational shared sites throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Recognized in the Older Americans Act, intergenerational shared sites -- or settings where children, youth, and older adults participate in services and/or programs concurrently in the same space -- have been shown to increase wellbeing of participants of all ages while maximizing organizational and community resources. The program will include an overview of what we're learning from shared sites during the COVID-19 pandemic and speakers from shared sites that have adapted and/or served during the pandemic.

Speakers include:
-    Lynette M. Fraga, CEO, Child Care Aware® of America and Member of Generations United Board of      Directors 
-    Trent Stamp, CEO, The Eisner Foundation 
-    Donna M. Butts, Executive Director, Generations United 
-    U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Pennsylvania
-    Samantha Koehler, Senior Policy Aide, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging 
-    Colleen Farrell, Public Relations Manager, Providence Mount St. Vincent (Seattle, WA)
-    Elsa and Scott Detweiler, Family Members, ONEgeneration (Van Nuys, CA)
-    Suzanne Lair, Site Principal, Jenks West Elementary (Jenks, OK)

Providing In-person Services and Supports to People Living with Dementia during COVID-19
October 19, 2020, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

At the onset of COVID-19, most but not all community-based in-person services for people living with dementia and their caregivers were suspended. During this webinar, two providers will discuss how their organizations used innovative approaches to ensure people living with dementia continue to receive needed services through traditional means during COVID-19. Nevada Senior Services adult day center has remained open, providing services at two locations, albeit with strict policies in place to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19. Ventura County Area Agency on Aging adjusted home delivered meals to include all clients who live alone with dementia and those with intellectual disabilities and dementia. Multiple phone check ins and respite care further assist.

Rethinking Services for People with IDD Webinar Series

ACL and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are hosting a webinar series on rethinking home and community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Community-Based Strategies for Suicide Prevention Among Older Adults 

September 28, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, join us for a discussion of community-based strategies to support older adults in managing mental health. This webinar will discuss the prevalence of suicide among older adults as well as the unique risk factors present for an aging population both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers will highlight two community-based interventions, including one focused on training meal delivery providers in suicide first aid and another on implementing the evidence-based Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) in collaboration with clinical partners.

engAGED Social Isolation Virtual Summit

September 24, 2020

Join engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults for an interactive discussion and dialogue with Aging Network leaders on social isolation and engagement among older adults.

Attendees will learn about the latest research on social isolation and loneliness, as well as innovative social engagement best practices that respond to current challenges. National leaders and local experts will highlight COVID-19 adaptations and innovations that address social isolation in diverse communities and how technology is helping to foster engagement duringCOVID-19. 

The engAGED Social Isolation Summit is open to the public and is free. Questions? Contact

Opening remarks by Sandy Markwood, CEO, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging,  and Greg Link, Director, Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services,  Administration for Community Living.

COVID-19: Optimizing Healthcare Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies

September 24, 2020

The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response's Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) has posted slides and a recording from this webinar.

AT3 Webinar: Social Isolation, Assistive Technology, and a Partnership in Action

Thursday, September 24, 3:00 PM EST

Slides, Video Recording

The National Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training (AT3) Center hosted a webinar highlighting Connecticut’s CARES Act “Stay Connected” program, which is a collaborative effort between the Connecticut State Unit on Aging, Connecticut’s Tech Act Program, five Area Agencies on Aging, five Centers for Independent Living, three AT Partners and Quinnipiac University School of Nursing. The “Stay Connected” program utilizes Prof. Nicholas R Nicholson’s six question Social Isolation Scale to identify older adults and individuals with disabilities who are socially isolated or at risk of social isolation. Based on survey results, an individual will be referred for an assistive technology consultation and services provided by the Connecticut Tech Act Program and AT Partners.

How to make PDFs accessible for emergency communications

August 20th from 1:30-2:30 ET

State and local health organizations have a crucial role to play in disseminating information to citizens. Even in times of crisis, we must strive to reach the largest population possible to do the most good. Many people with disabilities (an estimated 1 in 4 Americans) rely on you to ensure the PDF communications you share are accessible to them.

Using Social Determinants of Health Data to Fight COVID-19

Wed., Aug. 12, 2020, 12:00 p.m. EDT

This webinar is for those interested in accelerating data-driven solutions to improve the prevention, treatment, and management of resources to fight COVID-19 and support the recovery effort. 

CMS Teleconferences

COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern)

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to:
• Increase Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls;
• Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce;
• Put Patients Over Paperwork; and
• Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare

Next Calls:

Tuesday, July 14th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2550919
Audio Webcast link

Tuesday, July 21st at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7477995
Audio Webcast link

Tuesday, July 28th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1492795
Audio Webcast link

Weekly COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Calls

CMS hosts weekly calls for certain types of organizations to provide targeted updates on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance. One to two leaders in the field also share best practices with their peers. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters if time allows.

Home Health and Hospice (twice a month on Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern)

Next Call

Tuesday, July 21st at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6080197
Audio Webcast Link

Supporting Rural Veterans and Caregivers During COVID-19

Wednesday. July 14, 2pm ET

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Philips will be hosting  a virtual seminar focused on the needs of rural veterans and caregivers in the midst of COVID-19. The hour-long session will feature Dr. Thomas Klobucar, Executive Director of the VA Office of Rural Health, and Dr. Steven Lieberman, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Health, who will provide an update on VA operations amid COVID-19 and a presentation on Rural Health resources available to Veteran families. Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and Nathan Naylor, Vice President for Veterans Health Care with Philips, will introduce Project Atlas - a new partnership initiative aimed at establishing virtual clinics in rural regions of the country.

Archived episodes on Accessing VA Telehealth Amid COVID-19 and VA Self-Care & Whole Health are available on the Elizabeth Dole Foundation YouTube Channel.

FEMA Region II Webinar: Scams Targeting Small Businesses

During disasters, small businesses often become targets for fraudulent scams claiming to provide assistance. FEMA Region II and the Federal Trade Commission are hosting webinars on July 22 (in English) and July 23 (in Spanish) at noon EDT to discuss emerging scams and how to avoid them.

Nursing Homes 

Wednesday, July 22nd at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1143564
Audio Webcast Link

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 (twice a month on Fridays at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern)

Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.

Friday, July 17th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Code: 3096434
Web Link

Successfully Engaging Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities via Technology: Strategies and Best Practices

July 9, 2020

View materials from this July 9th webinar where ACL and other national stakeholders highlighted programs, best practices, and tips for creating communities of learning and engagement via technology. Presenters addressed marketing/outreach, barriers to virtual participation, strategies for holding interactive and inclusive conversations, and more.

Click here for recorded webinar

Click here for slides

Click here for the transcript


Connecting Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities to Resources in Rural America in the Face of COVID19

Resources from the webinar available HERE.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 2:00 EDT/1:00 CDT (No preregistration required)

Please join the Administration for Community Living (ACL) for a webinar titled, “Connecting Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities to Resources in Rural America in the Face of COVID19.” Featured presenters will share COVID19-related and other resources and research to help support older adults and persons with disabilities residing in rural communities.

Featured presenters include:

  • Moderator: Amanda Reichard, PhD, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Administration for Community Living
  • Introduction and welcome: Lance Robertson, Administrator, Administration for Community Living (ACL)
  • Collette Adamsen, PhD, Director, National Resource Center on Native American Aging
  • Sara Tribe Clark, Director, Eldercare Locator
  • Richard Petty, MBA, Director, IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center for independent living at ILRU
  • Andrew Myers, MA, University of Montana Rural Institute

ASA "Future Proof" Series 

ASA president and CEO Peter Kaldes is hosting a series of conference calls with leaders in the field to share their strategies for coping with the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Featured leaders include:

  • May 7: Paul Downey, President & CEO, Serving Seniors
  • May 14: Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services 
  • May 21: Jean Accius, Senior Vice President, Global Thought Leadership, AARP and Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy, PHI
  • May 28: Bob Blancato, President, Matz, Blancato & Associates
  • June 4: June Simmons, President & CEO, Partners in Care Foundation
  • June 10: Michael Adams, CEO, SAGE
  • June 18: John Feather, CEO, Grantmakers in Aging
  • June 25: Karyne Jones, President & CEO, National Caucus & Center on Black Aging, Inc.

Meals on Wheels America and Caesars Foundation will host the National Social Isolation Summit on

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT.

During this virtual convening, you will hear from Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Brigham Young University, as she helps to set the stage for a wider conversation surrounding isolation and loneliness, particularly among homebound older adults. A panel of individuals representing an array of different sectors will also join the webinar. To learn more, chick HERE

Tackling High-Priority COVID-19 Challenges for Nursing Homes

Daily, 20-minute "National Nursing Home Huddles" weekdays at 12:00pm (noon) ET

​The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, with support from The John A. Hartford Foundation, is launching the COVID-19 Rapid Response Network for Nursing Homes to support nursing home leadership, staff, residents, families, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.The Rapid Response Network features a daily 20-minute National Nursing Home Huddle to provide real-time, pragmatic solutions that can be implemented in nursing homes today to solve many of the key problems brought about or exacerbated by COVID-19.

Call topics will reflect the most pressing issues identified by those providing care for nursing home residents, including access to personal protective equipment (PPE), lack of testing, hospital to nursing home transfers, staff illness and absence, and staff attrition.

Through a partnership with ACL and NCAPPS the huddles June 15-18 will focus on transitions from nursing homes June 15-18. Topics and presenters include the ACL Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (Monday), Centers for Independent Living (Tuesday), Georgia's Developmental Disabilities Network (Wednesday), and New York Mental Health Peer Supports (Thursday).

Addressing Social Isolation Through Technology Solutions

Webinar Transcript Available Here

Webinar Slides Available Here

Friday, June 26 at 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET

ACL presented a webinar highlighting how technology can be leveraged to increase social engagement, including specific hardware and software options. Presenters identified resources for acquiring and distributing technology, as well as mechanisms for training older adults and adults with disabilities to use technology solutions designed to mitigate social isolation.

Presenters: Majd Alwan, LeadingAge; Cathy Bodine, University of Colorado, Denver; Scott Code, LeadingAge; Ryan Elza, AARP Foundation; Sandy Markwood, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); Carolyn Phillips, GA Tech Pass It On Center

Contact Kristie Kulinski at with questions.

The National Center on Law and Elder Rights:COVID-19 Medicare Enrollment Information Q &A 

This webinar answered your questions about how to assist older adult clients with the Special Equitable Relief and COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period. 

Presenter Georgia Burke, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging

Resuming ‘New Normal’ Operations: A Peer-to-Peer Exchange for Urban Programs

May 26 & 28, 2020

Parts 1 & 2 available by clicking the link above.

Senior nutrition programs across the country are transitioning in ways large and small to “new normal” operations as localities and states are reopening to resume economic activity. Implementing “new normal” operations will differ from community to community, particularly along geographic lines. As such, the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging (NRCNA) and the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) hosted two virtual peer-to-peer exchanges – one for rural programs on Tuesday, May 26 and one for urban programs Thursday, May 28.  Participants reviewed available national plans for community reopening, heard what is working around the country in the time of COVID-19, and shared questions and concerns about what lies ahead.

In these webinars, attendees:

  • Heard how senior nutrition programs are preparing to transition to “new normal” operations;
  • Explored opportunities and strategies for the future that you apply locally; and
  • Gained practice-informed insights for providing home-delivered meals and congregate nutrition programming to seniors in both rural and urban settings.

Supporting Grandfamilies in a Pandemic

Thursday, May 21, 2020, 2:00 PM EDT

Join Generations United and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) for a conversation on how the aging network can best support older adults raising grandchildren or other young relatives during this tumultuous time. A grandparent currently raising her grandchildren will share first-hand experience, and other grandfamily and AAA experts will join the conversation.

National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Special Report - Implications of COVID-19 (5/15/2020)

Sponsored by NIDILRR, the Institute on Disability/UCED at the University of New Hampshire, and NIDILRR.

The coronavirus outbreak is affecting hundreds of thousands of people and having a growing impact on the economy and employment. During this special additional nTIDE Lunch & Learn, our team of experts will share their latest perspectives, based on data from a population survey released mid-month, on the coronavirus pandemic and its implications on employment, emerging bills and policies, and resources for the days ahead

National Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Day 2020 Webinar (5/7/2020)

PART 1: Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day 2020

PART 2: Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day 2020

PART 3: Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day 2020

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Administration for Community Living, Veterans Health Administration, and National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging hosted this webinar on "Combating Social Isolation for Seniors during the COVID-19 Pandemic." The event included remarks from the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz,  Assistant Secretary for Aging Lance Robertson, and the latest information on coping with social isolation and loneliness from University of California San Diego Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Dilip Jeste.

You may also wish to visit the ACL Behavioral Health page.

Providing Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed Services During a Pandemic (4/28/2020)

This webinar was hosted by JFNA’s Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, an ACL grantee and discussed how how agencies are providing Person Centered and Trauma Informed (PCTI) care to Holocaust survivors in the face of COVID-19.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at Work: Considerations for COVID-19 (4/1/2020)

Hosted by the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), this webinar featured guest experts from the NIDILRR-funded Northeast ADA Center and Mid-Atlantic ADA Center discussing balancing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on COVID-19 containment with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on the ADA. It also includes information on the implications of the pandemic on disability-related inquiries, medical examinations, interpreting direct threat, and reasonable accommodations for telework.

Supporting Family Caregivers of Older Adults through Times of Stress and Isolation (4/30/20)

More than 34 million individuals in the U.S. provide unpaid care for an older adult, including many individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Due to the emergency brought on by COVID-19, caregivers of older adults may be experiencing new challenges and others may be new to caregiving responsibilities. The emotional, physical, and financial impact of caregiving can lead to stress, depression, anxiety, and other health problems. Providers and health plan staff can play key roles in supporting caregivers, particularly during this time of isolation. 

This webinar hosted by Resources for Integrated Care offered strategies for supporting caregivers and their loved ones, information on access to health and social supports, and practical tips for addressing the needs of caregivers experiencing social isolation and stress-related conditions. Included strategies for virtual settings.

Ensuring Continuity of HCBS During the COVID-19 Pandemic (4/23/2020)

Recording Transcript Q&A and Resources

ACL and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are hosting a monthly webinar series to assist states and stakeholders in developing high quality programs to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and provider capacity building in home- and community-based services (HCBS). The April 23 webinar focused on best practices in continuing access to HCBS during the COVID-19 pandemic. HCBS waivers promote social distancing practices by giving individuals tools to stay at home. CMS discussed state options for flexibilities available in Medicaid HCBS programs. States, providers, and advocates provided information about innovative community actions for HCBS waivers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: To see the captioning, select the option to switch to “classic” view in the Internet browser pop-up. Bookmarks are available to skip to different parts of the webinar.

Managing Volunteer Programs and Outreach During COVID-19 Webinar Series

The SMP National Resource Center, the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center, and the Center for Benefits Access, and ACL offered a series of webinars to help grantees manage their volunteer programs and outreach efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.

Coping with COVID-19 – Financial Tools & Resources to Help Small Businesses – Q&A with the SBA’s Washington Metropolitan Area District Office (4/24/20)

Federal agencies and financial institutions are working diligently to implement the EIDL and CARES Act programs. In addition, Congress is currently negotiating legislation to add funds to assist Small Businesses through this challenging time. However, many questions still arise:

* If my application has been approved, what steps should I be taking now?
* If I submitted an application and it has not been approved, what steps should I take?
* Assuming additional funds will be approved, what changes can I expect in the procedures to apply for these programs?

Update on HIPPA and COVID-19 (Webinar PowerPoint Available) - HHS Office for Civil Rights (April 24, 2020)

AUCD COVID-19 Public Health Webinar Series

This 4-part webinar series reviewed different topics related to disability inclusion during COVID-19.

Session 1: Advice from Medical Providers
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET

Session 2: Advice from Family Members and Caregivers on Dealing with COVID-19
Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET

Session 3: Advice from People who have a Disability on Dealing with COVID-19
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 4:00-5:30 PM ET

Session 4: Advice on Your Questions
Thursday, April 30, 2020 4:00-5:30 PM ET

Addressing workforce shortages - direct services providers

HHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has created this webpage with data about the workforce shortages exacerbated by COVID-19, information about the impact, and mitigation suggestions. This page may be helpful as you are advocating for our populations in your state and community.   

Resources from ADvancing States 

Addressing Social Isolation for Older Adults during COVID-19

Addressing volunteer shortages

Addressing Volunteer Shortages during the Covid-19 Pandemic is a comprehensive guide for recruiting and adapting the volunteer workforces. This guide provides examples of creative strategies that various organizations have deployed to address the volunteer shortages within their communities. The document contains links to various journal articles around volunteering during times of crises as well as other relevant resources on volunteering. 

Want to help, but not sure how you can do that while staying safe? The Corporation for National and Community Service created this page just for you.  

Resource for faith communities - combating isolation and elder abuse

Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse and the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life wrote a letter encouraging faith leaders to raise awareness about elder abuse and help to support older survivors. The letter has been endorsed by 22 other national organizations, including several ACL grantees and partners.

Preventing Medicare fraud – Resources from the Senior Medicare Patrol Resource Center
Distance learning and IDEA resources for schools

On March 17, the Department of Education released a webinar on ensuring web accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing online learning, as well as a fact sheet on how to protect students' civil rights as school leaders take steps to keep students safe and secure. These resources will assist education leaders in making distance learning accessible to students with disabilities and in preventing discrimination during this Administration-wide response effort.

The Department of Education has also produced a document answering questions schools might have about students with disabilities and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document is one of several resources on the department's IDEA page.

Planning for and responding to COVID-19 (and other emergencies) in your community

Direct Services Workforce Shortages during COVID-19

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for preparedness and response has issued a Public Health Emergency document about "the critical role the direct services workforce plays in supporting the health, well-being and resilience of their clients—and the broader health system" and how "gaps in availability of direct services, direct care, supportive services, and home health" have been a significant and increasing problem during COVID-19.

Capacity-Building Toolkit for including Aging & Disability Networks in Emergency Planning

ACL worked with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to create this resource to guide the aging and disability networks in increasing their ability to plan for and respond to public health emergencies and disasters.

The Toolkit can help emergency managers and public health officials to understand the capabilities and expertise of CBOs within the aging and disability networks and welcome their partnership in emergency planning activities.

While the Toolkit is not specifically focused on COVID-19, its recommendations and resources apply to a wide range of emergency situations. Module Three, which begins on page 21, specifically addresses preparing for public health emergencies, including infectious disease.  

Resource Guide for Senior Centers

Senior Centers Connect is a resource guide from the National Council on Aging for centers that are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The guide includes ideas for programming and continuing services.

Telework and outreach resources from the MIPPA, SMP, and SHIP resource centers

Since March 2020, ACL and the SMP, SHIP, and MIPPA resource centers have been reaching out to the three networks to collect information on program needs, success stories, and successful practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The successful practices have been compiled by ACL's in a document covering topics including counseling, media, training, and volunteer management.

Survey of the Independent Living Network

The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living CHRIL-NET COVID Survey

This survey from the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), in partnership with the IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Independent Living at ILRU and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), used the CIL-NET platform to conduct a national survey of CILs to assess the impact of the pandemic and the impact of local, state, and federal policy actions on people with disabilities. Findings from 144 survey responses completed between April and June 2020 are reported.

Preparing for Medicare Open Enrollment Toolkit

The ACL Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling's Managing through COVID-19 Work Group has produced a toolkit to support grantees as they prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment. The toolkit includes resources on safety, confidentiality, marketing, counseling, and more.

Legal Resources from ACL's National Center on Law and Elder Rights

ACL's National Center on Law and Elder Rights has a variety of COVID-19 resources legal professionals, including:

Resources for Everyone 

The COVID-19 situation is fast-moving, and what people need to know is changing fast as well. In the interest of providing information as quickly as we can, we are sharing resources created by our partners in the aging and disability networks and non-governmental agencies when a comparable resource from a government source does not exist. This does not constitute endorsement for one organization over another or indicate support for opinions expressed by the organizations.

About COVID-19 overall has a directory of COVID-19 websites managed by government agencies. 

Health information from CDC 

CDC's COVID-19 web page includes a number of resources, including specific guidance for:

CDC video

Fact sheets for older adults, people with disabilities
Preventing Elder Abuse during COVID-19

Keeping Family Together During COVID-19: A Checklist is designed to aid families avoid elder abuse involving physical, emotional and financial harm. During the 2008 Financial Crisis the housing market and economy collapsed, finances were decimated and adult children moved back in with their parents. Cases of elder abuse soared. As a result of COVID-19, there is an increased risk of similar trends. By learning from the past, we can prevent similar mistakes ahead.

Even in the most genial of families, close quarters and changes in living situations may heighten emotions, potentially contributing to family discord. Efforts can be made to reduce tensions and promote a healthy and safe environment for all. The link above, from the National Center on Elder Abuse, provides a tip sheet and checklist that will help families maintain safe and positive household relationships. 

Community-Based Testing Sites for COVID-19

HHS has partnered with pharmacy and retail companies to provide COVID-19 testing in community settings.

This website provides up-to-date information about each company's efforts to provide timely and accessible COVID-19 testing. You can schedule an appointment for testing on each company's website.

ASPR Telehealth for Community-Based Organizations Webinar Series

The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response At-Risk Individuals Program has posted recordings from their Telehealth for Community-Based Organizations webinars series. The three-part series focused on implementing telehealth services to address the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals in partnership with HUD during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Part 1: Services, Payment and Partners. The first webinar of the Telehealth for Community-Based Organizations Series, Services, Payment and Partners, provided an overview of telehealth basics for community-based organizations such as public housing authorities, multi-family housing providers, aging and disability network stakeholders, and other social service providers. The webinar highlighted relevant resources and provided examples of telehealth use and lessons from the field.

  • Part 2: Promising Practices - Accessibility and Language Access. The second webinar of the Telehealth for Community-Based Organizations Series, Promising Practices: Accessibility and Language Access, focused on telehealth accessibility for individuals with access and functional needs and individuals with limited English proficiency. It highlighted innovative strategies for ensuring access to older adults, people with disabilities, and addressed cultural and linguistic competency when providing telehealth services.

  • Part 3: Addressing Barriers - Homelessness and Connectivity. The third and final webinar of the Telehealth Community Based Organizations Series, Addressing Barriers - Homelessness and Connectivity, provides information to help connect low-income and people experiencing homelessness with telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out about a federal program to improve access to phone and internet services for low-income individuals.

Protecting civil rights 

Guidance from the HHS Office for Civil Rights

On March 28, the HHS Office for Civil Rights published OCR Bulletin: Civil Rights, HIPAA, and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to ensure that entities covered by civil rights authorities keep in mind their obligations under laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, and exercise of conscience and religion in HHS-funded programs. 

The bulletin states that, “…persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative “worth” based on the presence or absence of disabilities or age. Decisions by covered entities concerning whether an individual is a candidate for treatment should be based on an individualized assessment of the patient and his or her circumstances, based on the best available objective medical evidence.”

A fact sheet for health care professionals titled Safeguard Against Disability Discrimination During COVID-19 is available from the The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities. A second Fact Sheet describes the rights of people with disabilities and self-advocacy tips when receiving medical care.

U.S. Department of Justice letter on nondiscrimination protections

The Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice issued a statement to ensure that victims of illegal discrimination know where to turn when their civil rights are violated.

Read "Protecting Civil Rights While Responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19."

Equal employment and other labor-related resources
Know your rights during the COVID-19 pandemic

The National Disability Rights Network has created a video series on the rights of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and what to do if they are violated. The series includes:

Training for healthcare triage teams: Preventing discrimination against people with disabilities

As part of the Disability Awareness and Sensitivity in Healthcare (DASH) initiative, the University of Miami’s Mailman Center for Child Development has created a rapid response team training for triage team members who are faced with making resource allocation decisions during shortages (e.g. ventilators, etc.). This brief training details how to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities during a public health emergency. It covers actions that triage team members and institutions can take to protect patients with disabilities, and it reviews tips for effective communication and the provision of accommodations. While this training is intended for members of triage teams who will be involved in making resource allocation decisions, others may also benefit from reviewing this content.

Protecting Personal Finances

Avoiding fraud and scams - Resources from federal partners

Scammers are taking advantage circumstances surrounding COVID-19.  For example:

  • People are receiving text messages that offer funding for an "Aging Empowerment Program." The message may offer $150,000. This is a scam, and the sender is trying collect personal information. Do not respond to these scams no matter whose name is attached to the text.
  • Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the COVID-19. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.

The following resources from the federal government can help you protect yourself:

From the HHS Office of Inspector General

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to COVID-19. Scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate.

Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits. These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harms. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft. If Medicare or Medicaid denies the claim for an unapproved test, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost.

For more information and tips, visit the Office of Inspector General Fraud Alert page.

From the Federal Trade Commission

With COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline, the Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers won’t be far behind.  For tips about how people can avoid becoming victims of scammers, click here. For an infographic from FTC, click here.

The FTC's Coronavirus Scams resource page (in English & Spanish) has blogs, links to law enforcement actions, recordings of scam calls, and tips for avoiding and reporting scams, including:

From the Securities and Exchange Commission

The SEC's Investor Alert warns about investment frauds involving claims that a company’s products or services will be used to help stop the coronavirus outbreak.

Department of Justice Resources

The Department of Justice's COVID-19 page includes alerts about known scams and resources. This flyer from DOJ's Elder Justice Initiative includes links for law enforcement and others who are working to combat elder abuse. 

Mail Scams

The United States Postal Inspection Service is tracking and providing resources on coronavirus-related scams.  

IRS warning: Watch out for schemes tied to economic impact payments

The Internal Revenue Service is urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.

Scammers may:

  • Emphasize the words "Stimulus Check" or "Stimulus Payment." The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer's behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on 

The IRS issued a new alert on June 16, 2020, titled IRS alert: Economic Impact Payments belong to recipient, not nursing homes or care facilities.

The Alert states: "The Internal Revenue Service today alerted nursing home and other care facilities that Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) generally belong to the recipients, not the organizations providing the care.

"The IRS issued this reminder following concerns that people and businesses may be taking advantage of vulnerable populations who received the Economic Impact Payments.

"The payments are intended for the recipients, even if a nursing home or other facility or provider receives the person's payment, either directly or indirectly by direct deposit or check. These payments do not count as a resource for purposes of determining eligibility for Medicaid and other federal programs for a period of 12 months from receipt. They also do not count as income in determining eligibility for these programs."

How to report COVID-19 scams
Financial tips and resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has resources to protect and manage your finances during the COVID-19 emergency. Some of the resources are specifically for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic.

Resources include:

For Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and SSI beneficiaries

Medicare highlights's COVID-19 page includes information for beneficiaries.  A few key things:

  • Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you're diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
  • At this time, there's no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits beyond the ones described below. Check with your plan about your coverage and costs.
Economic Impact Payments

Important Information for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

In June, the IRS clarified that Economic Impact Payments belong to recipients, not nursing homes or care facilities. This policy is applicable to the second round of Economic Impact Payments.

Congregate residential settings are not permitted to take Economic Impact Payment money, even if a facility believes a resident owes money to the facility. Nor may a facility require an individual to allow it not the individual to manage and/or spend the money.

If you, or someone you care about, lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, the FTC explains here that the money is meant for the PERSON, not the place they might live. 

Economic Impact Payments and Eligibility for Federal Programs

Economic Impact Payments are not income, and are not a countable asset for the 12 months following the month of receipt. Accordingly, they are not counted towards eligibility for -- or amount, duration, or scope of -- a public benefit like SSI, Medicaid, or SNAP.  As a corollary, transfer of assets provisions do not apply.

Second Round of Economic Impact Payments

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 created a second round of Economic Impact Payments for millions of Americans. As with the first round, payment will be issued based on the information the IRS has on file for your 2019 tax return, information provided using the IRS' non-filer or "Get my Payment" tools, or information provided by a federal agency issuing benefits such as the Social Security Administration, Veteran Affairs, or Railroad Retirement Board.

Direct deposits began on Dec. 29, and paper checks were mailed on Dec. 30. Pre-paid debit cards (EIP Cards) are being issued this month. You can get more information about the payments in this FAQ by the IRS. More information about EIP Cards is available at, which has been updated for the second round of economic impact payments. You also can check the status of your payment online.

Important Notes for Social Security beneficiaries:

Eligible Social Security (including SSDI and SSI), Veterans Administration, and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries who don’t normally file taxes will automatically receive economic impact payments for eligible adults. Economic Impact Payments were an advance payment of the Recovery Rebate Credit. If you did not receive your Economic Impact Payment for yourself or an eligible child, you may be eligible to claim the credit by filing a 2020 1040 or 1040-SR for free using the IRS Free File program.  Economic impact payments will not be counted as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

Information about Stimulus Payments and Representative Payees

The National Center on Law and Elder Rights has issued an FAQ document that answers questions about stimulus payments and representative payees. SSA has also provided answers to common questions about representative payees and Economic Impact Payments.

Medicare Beneficiary Q&A: Avoiding Medicare Scams

Scams related to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, are rapidly increasing as the public health emergency develops. Scammers are targeting older adults and those with serious long-term health conditions who appear to have a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Fraudsters are attempting to bill Medicare for sham tests or treatments related to the coronavirus and are targeting individuals to illegally obtain money or Medicare numbers.

ACL's Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program wants Medicare beneficiaries to have the most up-to-date information on what Medicare covers and when. This document  from the SMP Resource Center provides answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding Medicare’s coverage related to COVID-19. 

Tracking states' Medicaid Appendix K Waivers

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, states are using Medicaid Appendix K waivers to incorporate flexibility into their home- and community-based services to ensure access to long-term services and supports during the crisis. NASHP has launched an interactive map that tracks states’ use of Appendix K waivers to modify services for older adults and their family caregivers.

More resources

For family caregivers
For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and self-advocates
"Back to SCOL" Decision Guide for Families

Parents of children with disabilities are facing difficult decisions about how to keep their children safe and learning. To help, Stanford University has developed a Back-to-Safe Communities of Learning (SCOL) Decision Guide in English and Spanish. The tool was designed with and for parents of children with special healthcare needs based on input from public-health experts, parents, and health providers. It is meant to serve as a conversation starter and to guide discussion between a parent and a trusted advisor, such as a pediatric health provider.

NCAPPS Person-centered tool to help older adults and people with disabilities communicate needs and preferences.

ACL's National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems has developed a Health Care Person-Centered Profile to assist people with disabilities, older adults, and others to communicate their needs and preferences with hospital and other health care staff. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with communication, comprehension, and behavioral challenges may face the possibility of a hospital visit without significant others or usual supporters present. To address the heightened challenges this poses, a group of experts in person-centered planning developed a tool that people and their families and caregivers can fill out and share with medical staff upon hospital intake or care site transfer.

The tool has two pages: a Health Care Information sheet for capturing brief and vital information about the person’s health status and a Health Care Person-Centered Profile for describing who the person is, what is most important to the person, and how best to provide support—vital information that can help medical staff provide more tailored and person-centered care.

The Health Care Information Sheet also has a section for detailed contact information to help medical staff reach a person’s emergency contact or legal representative. It contains a section for indicating whether advance directives are in place and where those documents can be found.   

The tool and accompanying instructions and examples were jointly developed by experts from Support Development Associates and the University of Missouri Kansas City Institute for Human Development Charting the LifeCourse Nexus, and by Janis Tondora from the Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health.

Cross-disability resources from the the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
Complex communication needs: Resources and tools for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind, or who do not use speech; medical professionals, and others who provide support

This web page includes resources to help people with complex communication needs prepare in case emergency assistance is needed, as well as information and tools for caregivers and healthcare providers.  It was created by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication at Penn State University, which is funded by ACL's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research. 

Tools to use when verbal communication is not possible due to an individual's disability, injury, or shock.

  • These printable communication boards from Temple University Institute on Disabilities feature pictures, words and a "keyboard." They also include a planning page to record key information that may be needed during an emergency. 
  • The UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities developed a flipbook that provides strategies and tools to help emergency/medical personnel communicate with people who do not use speech. Aids include an emergency QWERTY board that can be used to spell words by pointing, pain charts, sign language basics, and icon-based tools. It can be printed out and hung inside emergency vehicles for easy reference on the job.
  • The Patient-Provider Communication Forum, with the support of the United States Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC), is providing free communication supports for people with disabilities and their health care workers.

For people who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind 

This web page provides tips to help people who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind communicate at the hospital while COVID-19 precautions are in place. It includes a list of smartphone applications and a printable medical placard that may be helpful. It was created by the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, funded by ACL's NIDILRR,  

For people with paralysis and those serving people with paralysis  

The Paralysis Resource Center, an ACL grantee, created their a COVID-19 resource for people living with paralysis. The fact sheet was updated on December 14 to include additional information on vaccinations.

Other resources from the Paralysis Resource Center include:

A report on the COVID - 19 Impact on State Pilot Grantees and Subawardees and an associated infographic that provides a dashboard view of self-evaluation and application process metrics.

See also:

Telehealth for deaf and hard-of-hearing people

A coalition of deaf and hard of hearing consumer advocacy organizations, deaf healthcare providers, and other experts have developed guidelines on telehealth for consumers and medical professionals.

Tribe and Tribal Elder Resources

COVID-19 is a serious concern for tribal communities. The resources located HERE, from the National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative, will help to inform your communities on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect your elders and loved ones, and prevent falling for scams.

The CDC has issued two sets of resources for tribes. One is titled COVID-19 Resources for Tribes and the other is Tribal Communities.

For health professionals/facilities and first responders

Building mental resilience during a crisis

Now more than ever, people in helping professions are balancing roles and responsibilities for others in need while also adapting to changing circumstances, grieving the loss of normalcy and managing the expectations of others in a crisis. The University of Southern California's School of Social Work has a blog post with advice on how social workers, first responders, public health professionals, and government officials can manage their own mental health.

Discharge Planning and Care Coordination during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Response At-Risk Individuals Program published a resource developed in partnership with colleagues from CMS and ACL titled Discharge Planning a Care Coordination during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This tool is targeted towards nurses, social workers, case managers, and others conducting discharge planning for adults with disabilities. It explains the Olmstead decision, lays out potential pathways for adults with disabilities diagnosed with COVID, explains the CMIST framework and person-centered planning, provides considerations for three potential discharge scenarios to facilitate person-centered discharge planning and care coordination to the most integrated setting, and describes state and federal resources to assist the care coordinators and discharge planners.

Healthcare professionals who serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

The American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD)'s Coronavirus Center is a resource and knowledge-sharing hub for individuals, caregivers, and, in particular, health care workers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

First responders

Tips for First Responders, developed by the University of New Mexico, Center for Development and Disability, the American Association on Health and Disability, and other partners, offers quick, easy-to-use procedures for assisting people with disabilities in an emergency. The guide includes specific tips to support:

  • Seniors
  • People with service animals
  • People with mobility impairments
  • People with Autism
  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • People who are blind or visually impaired
  • People with cognitive disabilities
  • People with multiple chemical sensitivities
  • People who are mentally ill
  • Childbearing women and newborns
  • People With Seizure Disorders

Download as a PDF.

Telehealth for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People

A coalition of deaf and hard of hearing consumer advocacy organizations, deaf healthcare providers, and other experts worked together to provide these guidelines for healthcare providers.

Accessibility at Drive-Thru Medical Sites

Drive-thru medical sites are one way that hospitals and health departments provide intermittent medical services with greater ease and/or safety for their patients. The sites are especially useful for medical testing during times of an outbreak since keeping patients in vehicles can help to minimize exposure to a contagious disease.

Whether these drive-thru medical services are funded/operated by the state, county, or city or a private business, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that the services are accessible to people with disabilities. The Northwest ADA Center has created a fact sheet that lists considerations and strategies to promote accessibility at drive-thru medical sites.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: FEMA's Personal Protective Equipment Preservation Best Practices

This fact sheet summarizes best practices for national implementation to sustain personal protective equipment (PPE) while ensuring the protection of healthcare personnel (HCP) and first responders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.

Resources for LGBT Older Adults and People Living with HIV

Behavioral health resources to help during social distancing and quarantine 
  • SAMHSA's Tips for Social Distancing and Isolation. This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts people may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care for behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help. (Published Mar. 16, 2020)
  • SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support to people experiencing disaster-related emotional distress.
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing instructions:
      • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
      • Use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990
      • TTY 1-800-846-8517
  • SAMHSA Virtual Recovery Resources describes resources that can be used to virtually support recovery from mental/substance use disorders and to help local recovery programs create virtual meetings.
USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program

As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, USDA was authorized to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products to those in need. USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat. Learn more about the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

Resources for Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to protect and care for veterans and their families, health care providers, and staff in the face of this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Veterans with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should contact their local VA medical facility before visiting. Veterans also can sign into My HealtheVet to send secure messages to their VA providers or use telehealth options to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.

More resources from the VA:

Family Resources from the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has established a Virtual Family Assistance Center to aid people in need during the COVID-19 emergency. Volunteers are available to help you navigate available resources.

FAQs and Resources Related to Guardianship

The National Guardianship Association has developed FAQs and provides other resources that may be useful to guardians during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The National Center for State Courts, the American Bar Association, and the National Guardianship Association have released a two-page brochure addressing common questions about guardians and the COVID-19 vaccine for long-term care facility residents.

Disaster Preparedness During COVD-19 Crisis

Healthcare System Preparedness for Secondary Disasters during COVID-19. Secondary disasters (e.g., natural disasters, cyberattacks, large-scale transportation accidents, mass casualty incidents) that strike during the COVID-19 pandemic will further stress the health and medical system and threaten vulnerable residents and infrastructure. Below are considerations for healthcare and emergency management professionals when planning for allhazard secondary disasters during a public health emergency.

The National Governors Association (NGA) released guidance on managing natural disasters during pandemics. The NGA notes that responding to and recovering from natural disasters presents a significant challenge to states, notwithstanding the impacts of COVID-19 on human, financial, and physical resources. Their document was created for the nation's governors, but contains information that is broadly useful.

AT3 Center has hurricane preparedness tips for users of assistive technology (AT) HERE.

FEMA has issued an interim policy titled Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency  The policy defines the framework, policy details, and requirements for determining eligible work and costs for non-congregate sheltering in response to a presidentially declared emergency or major disaster, or Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) declaration (Stafford Act declarations).

The American Red Cross has a site dedicated to Preparing for Disaster During COVID-19. The Red Cross advises that, during the COVID-19 crisis, we must prepare a little differently for disasters that may affect our communities.

American Sign Language

CDC COVID-19 resources are now available in American Sign Language via YouTube. You can see the entire Playlist on YouTube  (24 videos, as of Feb. 8, 2021) or browse by topic:

General Information
Know your risk
Symptoms and Care
COVID-19 and Children
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
New! CDC Foundation Report: Maintaining Physical and Mental Well-Being of Older Adults and Their Caregivers

The CDC Foundation, with technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), funded a study to examine the needs and concerns of community-dwelling older adults and caregivers during COVID-19, and the public health supports available to them. The report titled “Maintaining Physical and Mental Well-Being of Older Adults and Their Caregivers During Public Health Emergencies,” was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, with its partners TMNCorp and Burness. New accordion content

The National Association of the Deaf is compiling a list of other coronavirus-related ASL videos

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Last modified on 03/04/2021

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