COVID-19 Update
April 7, 2020

Executive Order 202.14
Today, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.14. Notably, this order directs that any medical equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE), held in inventory by any entity in the state be reported to the New York State Department of Health (DOH). On April 4, we communicated our position to OPWDD that we would be advising Chapters not to respond to the DQI Agency PPE Review and would keep them apprised of our needs collectively as The Arc New York. Today OPWDD indicated that we will be required to report on PPE supply by Chapter to comply with the EO. We will discuss this further on our call with Executive Directors in the morning, and will continue to advocate for appropriate PPE for our front-line staff. 

The EO also addresses the Surrogate's Court Procedures Act (SCPA), specifically  relating to the successor guardianship of minors . While this will not apply in many situations, it is something that Chapters can share with parents who are expressing fear over not having a standby guardian identified in case they are exposed to COVID-19. As a reminder, The Arc New York Guardianship Program is still accepting applications during this time. The changes in the EO should not be used as an alternative to the process of appointing NYSARC as corporate guardian.

Other items of importance in the Executive Order include:
  • continuation of all in-person business restrictions and workplace restrictions established by previous EOs through 11:59 p.m. on April 29, 2020; 
  • an increase in the fine amount to $1000 for a violation of the restrictions on public gatherings, failure to abide by social distancing restrictions outside of a person's home, and business/workplace restrictions; and
  • continuation of closure of schools statewide through April 29, 2020.
Provider Association Letter to the Field  
The Arc New York collaborated with members of New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) and the Provider Association on a letter to the entire system of voluntary providers of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York state. This letter includes an update on fiscal and regulatory advocacy efforts, as well as guidance to providers in navigating funding and reporting during the COVID-19 crisis. The full letter can be found here

Economic Incentive Treatment by Benefit Programs
The Recovery Rebate under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security  (CARES) Act, also known as an economic incentive, will be automatically sent to anyone under the income limits who filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, or who receives Social Security payments or veterans' benefits. This will include many people receiving OPWDD services, but not all. At this time, individuals receiving ONLY Supplemental Security Income who did not previously file an income tax return will have to do so to receive this benefit. Income tax returns can be filed for free here

The New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) released a memo stating that federally funded stimulus payments received under the CARES Act for current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, will be excluded from consideration as a resource for a period of 12 months following receipt of the payments. 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has also announced that they will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and will exclude the payments from resources for 12 months.  Medicaid has stated they will follow Social Security guidelines. Medicaid will not treat the payment as income in the month received, and will treat it as an exempt resource for the following 12 months for individuals receiving SSI and those not receiving SSI.

Please note these incentive payments are not income. Pursuant to 633.15(f), residential providers should not use them to make provider payments until the resource exemption expires. After that time, they pay be used only if the person is over the asset limit for benefit programs. These stimulus payments are part of the individual's resources and may be used by the individual for personal spending at any time.
ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITY: COVID-19 Package 4 Letter to Congress
Discussions surrounding the next federal relief package are already under way. In order to ensure that the needs of our community are addressed, The Arc New York has signed on to a letter of support focused on the following requests:
  1. Increased funding for home and community-based services
  2. Access to PPE for direct care workers
  3. Increased production of PPE and ventilators nationally
  4. Technical fixes to the recovery rebate and paid leave provisions of other COVID-19
Chapters are encouraged to add their name to the list of signatories and demonstrate to Congress that we demand to be heard and have our needs included in the next wave of funding.

To sign on to the letter, complete and submit the form found here. The full text of the letter can be found here.

FBI Guidance on VTC Hijacking and Zoom-bombing
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released an  article on defending against video-teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking (referred to as "Zoom-bombing" when attacks are to the Zoom VTC platform). Please review this article and share with your IT personnel and staff.

This and all related updates will be cataloged on  The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page   for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.

Josh Christiana , Associate Executive Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations

This email was sent to:
  • President Jack Kowalczyk 
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance 
  • Guardianship Coordinators 
  • State Office Staff