2020 April News
Message from Executive Director
Dear friends and families of CIDA,
It is finally April. Many of us here in New York have been having a hard time lately due to the Coronavirus that has been going on for the past three months.
Under the current situation, CIDA has been implementing many changes. First, all One-on-One services, IEP meetings, and service meetings will be conducted by telephone and video calls. From Monday to Friday (9:30am – 4:30pm), calls made to CIDA will still be available.
In addition, we will be able to meet and communicate with our CIDA families more often through our live meetings held every Tuesday. We hope that many will be able to participate in our live meetings and share important information while still being isolated away from others in these difficult times.
All events from April to May will be held online, and New York City Housing Information Sessions will be announced later as coordinated with the New York City Housing Authority (NYC HPD).
Always remember that you are never alone. If we work together, we will overcome the challenges ahead. Please feel free to contact CIDA at 718-224-8197 if you need assistance.
I hope everyone will stay healthy and I hope to meet everyone during our Tuesday Live.
Young Seh Bae, Ph.D.
Secretary DeVos Directs FSA to Stop Wage Garnishment, Collections Actions for Student Loan Borrowers, Will Refund More Than $1.8 Billion to Students, Families
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced on March 25 that the Department of Education will stop garnishing wages and seizing tax returns to repay student loans debt for 60 days as a response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Department has stopped all requests to the U.S. Treasury to withhold money from defaulted borrowers’ federal income tax refunds, Social Security payments, and other federal payments. At the same time, the Secretary directed the Department to refund approximately $1.8 billion in withholdings to more than 830,000 borrowers. Moreover, private collection agencies have been ordered to temporarily cease all proactive collection activities, including making phone calls to borrowers and issuing collection letters and billing statements. Borrowers with a federally held student loan are given the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to give them greater flexibility during the national emergency. This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest, as President Donald Trump announced that federally held student loan interest rates are set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days.
Senate Passes Bill Expanding Access To Respite Care
Lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to increase respite care support funding for families who have members with disabilities and various special needs. The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S.995) was approved by the U.S. Senate. This bill authorizes, over the next five years, $50 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program. 37 states have been provided grants by the federal government through the respite care program. Through this program, delivery of services, coordinate resources, and training are offered to providers and family caregivers.
Ed Department: More Students Being Served Under IDEA
With the number of American schoolchildren receiving special education increasing, more special education students are now learning through mainstream classrooms. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2017, more than 6.1 million students (between the ages of 6 to 21) throughout the United States are being serviced. That is an 8.6 percent increase of students receiving special education compared to 2008. Graduation rates of special education students have also increased from 59 percent (for the 2007-2008 school year) to 70.5 percent.
What’s Up at CIDA
Virtual Office – During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Crisis
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus), CIDA’s physical office will be closed until further notice. We are still operating as normal, Monday through Friday (9:30 am to 4:30 pm), but from our respective homes. For any assistance, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-224-8197. We hope that all families will practice proper sanitation and stay home unless there is an emergency.
CIDA’s Tuesday Live
Starting March 24, we will be hosting our weekly online ‘CIDA Tuesday Live’. We are preparing discussions on proper protocols regarding COVID-19, updates from NYS and the federal government, sharing education and activity ideas, and stress management strategies during this crisis. Our Tuesday Live is meant to build a stronger sense of community and to let our parents know that during this time of quarantine, they are not alone. We will have guest speakers from various fields every week so we hope many of our CIDA families will be able to join!
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, all events will be postponed until further notice. However, Webinars and Online Support Group meetings will be continued as scheduled. Information on events resuming will be announced later.