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COVID-19 Resource Guide

This page provides updates and information to Kansans with disabilities about disability rights during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

COVID-19 Resources for Kansans with Disabilities

This page is a resource guide created by the Disability Rights Center of Kansas to provide updates and information to Kansans with disabilities about disability rights during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. While DRC’s employees continue to work from home, we want to remind you again that our mission of providing legally-based advocacy services to Kansans with disability rights issues has not changed. Even in this uncertain time, you have the right to live, work, and access services and resources free of discrimination. We emphasize that we are here to help, even while our office doors are technically closed.

If you are experiencing a disability rights issue or have questions about your legal rights as a Kansan with a disability, please contact us

 

Topics covered in this resource page

 

Websites with the latest information on symptoms, prevention methods, when to seek medical attention, and planning tips

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)

U.S. Government’s Coronavirus Website

World Health Organization (WHO)

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Kansans at higher risk

People aged 65 years and older and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions are also at higher risk. See the CDC website for a list of conditions and suggestions on how to protect yourself.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) have also released extensive resource lists for people at higher risk for illness. Kansas Department of Health and Education (KDHE) has also released tips for protecting yourself and your family if you have a chronic disease.

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Social distancing

Kansas is under phase one of the four-phase plan to reopen the state, as mandated by executive order 20-29. Stay-at-home orders are still in place in some counties, and state-wide restrictions on mass gatherings of more than 10 people as well as restrictions on certain establishments still apply. It is still strongly advised to practice social distancing, minimize non-essential travel, and follow all other CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What is social distancing and how can you practice it? See here the CDC’s guidance on how to practice social distancing, and how it is different from quarantine and isolation.

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Additional tips for planning and prevention

It may help to create a family action plan with your household. See the Kansas Department of Health’s checklist here.

If you use a wheelchair or an assistive technology device, it is important to clean them properly to prevent spreading the virus. A wheelchair user, designer, and engineer has created a fact sheet offering suggestions.

A lot of false information is being spread about COVID-19. Make sure your information has come from a credible source before sharing it with others. Some common myths and the actual truth behind them are shared by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Information in Plain Language

COVID-19 Video in Plain Language -
(Source: The Office of Developmental Disabilities Services)

 

Green Mountain Self-Advocates have created a plain language guide on COVID-19 by and for people with disabilities as well as a glossary on COVID-19 words to know.

This plain language guide provides tips for working with support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Information in American Sign Language (ASL)

The CDC has created a series of videos about COVID-19 in ASL about COVID-19 -

 

The National Association of the Deaf has created messages about COVID-19 and as well as how it affects education and employment access.

 

See Coronavirus explained by a doctor in ASL here (Source: The Deaf Professional Arts Network)

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More Disability-Related Resources by Topic

 

Special Education

School closures have increased the importance of protecting the rights of students with disabilities during the pandemic. The National Disability Rights Network has a page dedicated to resources about COVID-19 and educating students with disabilities.

The Kansas State Department of Education has shared resources for working with students with significant cognitive disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes guidance to school districts as well as distance learning resources and ideas.

Although IEP meetings cannot occur in person right now, schools are still responsible for making every effort possible to meet required IEP timelines. See the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center’s tips and considerations for your student’s IEP and services during COVID-19.

The Family Network on Disabilities released infographics explaining the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance for addressing the risk of COVID-19 in schools while serving children with disabilities.

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Social Security

The Social Security Administration (SSA) posts up-to-date information regarding SSA benefits and answers to frequently asked questions.

If you are an SSI or SSDI recipient, you will be receiving your $1,200 economic impact payment automatically. If you are an SSI recipient with dependent children, there is additional action that you need to take by May 5 here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.

See our FAQ on Economic Impact Payments for more information on these payments from a disability perspective.

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Healthcare

Communication First created a Communication Rights Toolkit to explain communication rights and provides advocacy tips to ensure that the right to access to communication supports are maintained during this pandemic.

Additional information on communicating in the hospital for Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deaf-blind individuals by the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, including this video -

 

Black U.S. Americans are impacted by COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate. See the National Disability Right Network’s video on health care rights and advocating for greater access to healthcare coverage during the pandemic -

 

A fact sheet created by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care gives information and tips for residents and family members of nursing homes to follow.

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Employment

A pandemic does not mean that employee rights disappear. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published materials about COVID-19 and how it relates to the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO laws, including frequently asked questions on employer rights related to disability-related inquiries, medical exams, reasonable accommodations, furloughing, layoffs, and confidentiality of medical information.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19 specific reasons explained here.

The Department of Labor answered frequently asked questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act and COVID-19 regarding employee rights and employer responsibilities.

See the Kansas Department of Labor’s FAQ on Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19.

The National Disability Institute’s Financial Resilience Center has a resource page for people with disabilities that answers frequently asked questions and provides links to resources about employment and unemployment during COVID-19.

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Mental Health

It is increasingly common to feel stressed and anxious during this time of uncertainty, especially as we continue to practice social distancing and may not be able to access certain coping mechanisms. For many who are already managing anxiety or other mental health conditions, the stress of COVID-19 may be especially difficult. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) created an extensive COVID-19 Information and Resource Guide to answer mental health questions.

KDHE has released a quick guide for maintaining positive mental health during COVID-19.

You can read the CDC’s guidance on stress and coping during an outbreak here.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a resource page with guidance and information to assist individuals, providers, communities and states. It includes tips for social distancing, quarantine, and isolation as well as a tip sheet with resources that can be used to virtually support recovery from mental/substance use disorders.

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Housing

Governor Laura Kelly extended executive order #20-10, temporarily prohibiting certain evictions and foreclosures across the state of Kansas.

Kansas Legal Services answered frequently asked questions about Governor Kelly’s order and other housing rights questions.

The National Disability Rights Network released a video explaining housing rights during the Coronavirus pandemic for both renters and homeowners that can be found here.

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Victims of Crime

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

As we practice social distancing, many people have been stuck at home in unsafe situations. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has published a guide for staying safe at home if you or someone you love is in an abusive situation. See more resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault at Futures without Violence’s resource page.

Find domestic violence and sexual assault service providers and contact information from the Kansas Coalition against sexual and domestic violence here.

Financial Exploitation

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased scamming attempts, and many are targeted at government assistance programs. Any calls, texts, emails, or requests from social media claiming to be from the government that ask for your personal information or an upfront payment to receive government assistance are a scam. If you are unsure, go directly to the source to find out and do not provide any information. Read more tips on dealing with COVID-19 scams here from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

The Federal Trade Commission offers 5 quick tips on avoiding a Coronavirus scam and where to report it.

Scammers are targeting Medicare beneficiaries with sham COVID-19 tests or treatments. Read this information by Senior Medicare Patrol for guidance on how to avoid fraud. These tips are also applicable to individuals covered by Medicaid.

The Social Security Administration has released this fact sheet with advice on recognizing phone scams and how to report the scam. Keep in mind that Social Security will never threaten you, suspend your Social Security number, demand immediate payment, of require payment by cash, gift card, or wire transfer.

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Jails & Prisons


The National Disability Rights Network launched a video addressing the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons, and the right of incarcerated individuals with disabilities to be protected from the virus.

The American Diabetes Association wrote a letter to Detention Centers regarding diabetes and COVID-19 and the important considerations to be taken pertaining to the detention setting.

A brief explaining the difference between solitary confinement, medical isolation, and quarantine for people detained in jails and prisons by Amend.

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