The Corporation for National and Community Service is committed to providing access to our web pages for individuals with disabilities, both members of the public and Federal employees.
To meet this committment, we will comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from us, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on us. Section 508 also requires us to ensure that Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on us. (To learn more about the regulations governing the accessibility of Federal electronic information, please read the Synopsis of Section 508 Accessibility Requirements.)
If you use assistive technology (such as a Braille reader, a screen reader, TTY, etc.) and the format of any material on our web sites interfere with your ability to access the information, please use the following point of contact for assistance:
To enable us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please indicate the nature of your accessibility problem, the preferred format in which to receive the material, the web address of the requested material, and your contact information.
DisabilityInfo.gov is a comprehensive online resource designed to provide people with disabilities with quick and easy access to the information they need. With just a few clicks, the site provides access to disability-related information and programs available across the government on numerous subjects, including benefits, civil rights, community life, education, employment, housing, health, technology and transportation.
DisabilityInfo.gov is the result of an Executive Memorandum issued by President George W. Bush on August 28, 2002 as part of his New Freedom Initiative which directed federal agencies to work together to build a one-stop interagency Web portal for people with disabilities, their families, employers, service providers and community members. The website is managed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), in partnership with 20 other federal agencies.
On June 17, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 6081, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (“the HEART Act”), making AmeriCorps more accessible to people with disabilities.
How does the HEART Act make AmeriCorps more accessible to people with disabilities?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal program that provides a monthly cash benefit to low-income individuals who are aged, blind, or who have a disability. In the past, receiving an AmeriCorps living allowance could disqualify an individual from eligibility. The new law directs the Social Security Administration to ignore an individual's receipt ofAmeriCorps benefits for purposes of SSI eligibility.
Why did Congress make this change?
This brings all AmeriCorps members under one treatment of benefits rule for SSI. In the past, only AmeriCorps VISTA benefits were excluded by law from countable income for SSI purposes.
Which AmeriCorps benefits are excluded from countable income?
The Heart Act excludes “any benefit (whether cash or in-kind)” and so covers the living allowance, health insurance, child care, and the education award (and related interest payments).
What other items are excluded from countable income under the SSI program?
The SSI program rules exclude specific amounts of earned income, unearned income such as tuition scholarship and disaster relief payments, and resources such as a residence or household automobile.
Why doesn't the law cover both SSI and SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a Federal program that provides money to individuals with disabilities based on their having paid into the insurance program. There are separate laws and regulations for SSDI eligibility and theHEART Act moved through Congress too quickly to include SSDI. We hope that Congress will extend the AmeriCorps exclusion to SSDI in the near-future.
When does the new law take effect?
The exclusion of AmeriCorps benefits takes effect for benefits payable after August 16, 2008.
Does the HEART Act affect former AmeriCorps members as well as current members?
Yes, the exclusion covers benefits beginning on the effective date, regardless of the status of the AmeriCorps member.
How many people will this help?
We don’t have exact figures, but because a relatively higher percentage of VISTA members self-report as having a disability, we expect that expanding the VISTA SSI rule will result in an increase of several hundred individuals with disabilities serving in AmeriCorps State/National and NCCC each year.
Will the Corporation be issuing guidance?
We are working with the Social Security Administration to update guidance and will provide guidance resources on the Corporation’s Accessibility page at http://www.nationalservice.gov/home/site_information/accessibility.asp. We plan to provide training and technical assistance on this topic at the National Conference on Disability Inclusion & National Service, October 15-18, 2008, in Alexandria, Virginia.