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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

Last update: 07/01/2020

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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, planning tips, and other reliable data and recommendations

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)

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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 more susceptible for severe illness. See the CDC website for a list of conditions and suggestions on how to protect yourself or watch the video below on high risk conditions that may require additional precautions.

 

 

KDHE has released tips for protecting yourself and your family if you have a chronic disease.

The ADA National Network shares national disability-related COVID-19 links and resources on their regularly maintained and updated resource page.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a Diabetes and Coronavirus Resource Page with frequently asked questions, self-advocacy guidance, and additional resources.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) manages an updated and extensive COVID-19 resource list for Older Adults and People with Disabilities.

The National Council on Aging published an article on what Older Adults need to know during the pandemic, and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging shared COVID-19 tips and resources for LGBT Elders and those living with HIV.

The National Down Syndrome Society published a frequently asked questions manual on COVID-19 and Down Syndrome.

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Tips for planning and prevention

To prevent COVID-19 infections, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands frequently, avoid close contact with people that are sick and people that you don’t live with, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when you are in public, clean and disinfect your home frequently, and monitor your health closely. As Kansas moves forward in its reopening plan, it will depend on us all to follow these guidelines to prevent future outbreaks.

Social Distancing

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.

Face Coverings

You should always wear a face covering when you need to be around others in public – however, this is an additional tool to prevent the spread of the virus and it is not meant to replace the other CDC recommendations. You can carry COVID-19 without knowing that you have it, and a face covering will help to prevent respiratory droplets from travelling in the air and possibly infecting someone else. When you wear a mask, it protects everyone else around you. When they wear a mask, it protects you!

Here you can see KDHE’s guide with information on face coverings and how to use them.

See the U.S. Department of Labor’s frequently asked questions on face coverings in the workplace.

More information on planning & prevention

It helps to be prepared in the case that you or someone in your family becomes sick. See KDHE’s Family Action Plan or Shawnee County Health Department’s Personal Preparedness Checklist for planning tips and steps to take before anyone gets sick.

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. See some common myths and the actual truth behind them explained by the World Health Organization (WHO) here.

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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.

 

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

See Coronavirus explained by a doctor in ASL here from the Deaf Professional Arts Network.

Communication Service for the Deaf includes videos in ASL, news updates, an ASL COVID-19 hotline, and additional COVID-19 resources for the Deaf community.

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More Disability-Related Resources by Topic

Benefits and Assistance

To see if you are eligible for benefits such as food assistance, cash assistance, child care, or others and to apply online, visit the Kansas Department for Children and Families portal here.

Or, you can get a paper application from outside any DCF service center in Kansas and you can leave it in a drop box outside at your regional office.

More up-to-date information on benefits and assistance in Kansas during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Kansas Legal Services has a Q & A article about KanCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Unemployment Assistance

The Green Mountain Self Advocate’s Guide to COVID-19 in plain language includes a chapter on unemployment benefits during the coronavirus emergency. This guide offers information on unemployment benefits, how they may interact with other benefits, how to apply, and other tips.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a newer unemployment program that expands access to unemployment benefits to include people affected by COVID-19 who have not been able to receive unemployment benefits in the past, such as those who are self-employed, independent contractors, “gig” workers, etc. See frequently asked questions about PUA and a tutorial on how to apply here.

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 unemployment insurance benefits and other benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Security Benefits

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 recipients and you need more information on the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments, see DRC’s FAQ here.

The Federal Trade Commission issued an alert to inform SSI and SSDI recipients that the economic impact payment belongs to the recipient, not the payee. Learn more here about what you can do if a facility took or tried to take the payment from you or someone you know.

Food Assistance

Both Feeding America and Harvesters have food assistance locators that allow you to enter your zip code to find local foodbanks in your community.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a similar interactive map that gives information on where to find free meals for kids when schools are closed.

Harvesters can also help you to determine if you are eligible for SNAP, and they can help you with completing and filing your application. Information on how to email, call, or fill out a form requesting this service can be found here.

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Special Education

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

The Kansas State Department of Education regularly updates this page with special education information.

Families Together, Inc. has created a COVID-19 resource guide, with an extensive section providing information on both national and Kansas-specific special education concerns and updates.

Even when IEP meetings cannot occur in person, 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, as well as student privacy policies.

VISTAS Education Partners has a free national homework hotline service for Blind/Visually Impaired students. Its services are open to any K-12 or college student experiencing school closures due to COVID-19. Find information on how to request support here.

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Employment

Employee Rights & Employer Responsibilities

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. These materials are being updated regularly.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a fact sheet addressing common questions about teleworking as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

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 through December 31, 2020. The specific reasons are 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.

Virtual Accessibility

This article provides a list of various accessible work-from-home tools for remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many employees in Kansas whose job duties allow them to telework are still doing so to prevent the spread of the virus. It is important that conference calls, virtual meetings, and other remote work practices are accessible and inclusive to all participants. The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology provides three resources: a checklist for an accessible meeting, guidance on how to pick an accessible meeting platform, and 7 steps to making virtual presentations accessible.

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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 the 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 the video below.

If you are sick, KDHE suggests to use this tool from the CDC to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19. You can see the most up to date information on Kansas COVID-19 testing and testing implementation here, as well as Kansas COVID-19 testing sites.

The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities created a one page fact sheet on knowing your healthcare rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video below is part of NDRN’s Know Your Rights during COVID-19 series and it addresses the health care inequities in Black communities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black Kansans that has happened as a result. Watch the video below and follow the link to see more information and resources.

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Mental Health

It is increasingly common to feel stressed and anxious during this time of uncertainty, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our state and country heavily. Resources to strengthen and support mental health are available! The Kansas Department of Health and Environment have published a list of Kansas crisis hotline numbers as well as a guide with a variety of mental health resources and supports for Kansans.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) created an extensive COVID-19 information and resource guide to answer mental health related questions.

Mental Health America has a resource page filled with links related to resources, tips, articles, and other important information on COVID-19 and mental health.

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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Survivors/Victims of Crime

DRC’s Disability and Aging Crime Victims Unit helps Kansans with disabilities and Kansas seniors who have been victims of crime with civil legal matters.

You have the right to be safe at home and with your caregivers. See NDRN’s video on caregiver abuse during the pandemic and your rights.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

As we continue to social distance and stay home as much as possible, many people may continue to be stuck at home in unsafe situations. The Kansas Coalition against sexual and domestic violence (KCSDV) provides safety planning suggestions, as does the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their interactive safety planning tool.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence also gives guidance and answers on safety and privacy considerations that survivors may have when seeking help online.

You can see more resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault at Future’s without Violence’s resource page.

KDHE provides a guide of supports and resources available to survivors and victims of sexual or domestic violence during the pandemic.

Financial Exploitation

Coronavirus has increased scamming attempts, and many are targeted at government assistance programs. Any calls, text, 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 more information. To report a COVID-19 scam, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or fill out the online form.

Read this information by Senior Medicare Patrol for guidance on how to avoid Medicaid or Medicare fraud during the pandemic, or this fact sheet by the Social Security Administration with advice on recognizing phone scams and how to report them.

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Jails and 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. They share more resources for education and advocacy focused on COVID-19 in correctional facilities here.

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.

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

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