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COVID-19 Announcements and Resources

This page is intended to serve as a resource for individuals with disabilities seeking information on the status of various services, offices and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Information is changing and being updated frequently.  Disability Rights Pennsylvania will endeavor to keep this page updated as information is available or provided to us, but DRP urges the individuals with questions to obtain the most current information directly from the municipality, agency or business. If you have a disability-related problem or question, DRP’s live intake line remains open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Call us at (800) 692-7443.


Disability Rights Pennsylvania Advocacy

DRP, together with other disability advocacy organizations from across the state, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights challenging Pennsylvania’s guidelines for rationing of health care in the event that the COVID-19 pandemic leads to a shortage of health care resources. Pennsylvania’s rationing scheme, which was developed without any input from the disability community, discriminates against and jeopardizes the lives of people with disabilities. (April 3, 2020)

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DRP Joint Position Statement on the Right to Equal Access to Medical Treatment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

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DRP signed on to letter to PA Department of Human Services (DHS) from Community Legal Services (CLS) and other advocacy organizations urging a moratorium on all benefit terminations (March 16, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to PA Department of Human Services (DHS) from Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) and other advocacy organizations urging a moratorium on all service denials and all Medicaid benefit terminations (March 17, 2020)

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DRP letter to the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation regarding the needs of the disability community related to COVID-19 (March 23, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to Governor Wolf and the Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Education from Education Law Center (ELC) and other advocacy organizations urging that appropriate educational supports and services be provided to children with disabilities and others (March 23, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to PA Department of Human Services (DHS) from Imagine Different Coalition and other advocacy organizations urging strategies for promoting well-supported and safe family life for children with medical complexity (March 24, 2020)

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DRP letter joined by 36 organizations to Governor Wolf and Secretaries Levine (Department of Health), Miller (Department of Human Services) and Torres (Department of Aging) urging a policy to ensure that rationing of medical treatment and supplies does not discriminate against people with disabilities (March 27, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to Philadelphia judges, Mayor Kenney, and Philadelphia City Council from Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project (YASP) and other advocacy organizations urging immediate action to protect Philadelphia's youth in confinement from COVID-19 (April 2, 2020)

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DRP, together with other disability advocacy organizations from across the state, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights challenging Pennsylvania’s guidelines for rationing of health care in the event that the COVID-19 pandemic leads to a shortage of health care resources. Pennsylvania’s rationing scheme, which was developed without any input from the disability community, discriminates against and jeopardizes the lives of people with disabilities. (April 3, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to the Secretary of PA Department of Health from Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) and other advocacy organizations urging a moratorium on involuntary discharges of nursing facility residents (April 13, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to Governor Wolf from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Foster Care Alumni of America urging action to meet the health and safety needs of older youth in the foster care system and youth who are aging out (April 16, 2020)

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DRP, together with other disability advocacy organizations, wrote to Governor Wolf requesting a release of names, numbers of COVID-19 infections of residents and staff, and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in long term care facilities in Pennsylvania (April 21, 2020)

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DRP signed on to letter to Governor Wolf from the Center for Interests and Rights of the Elderly (CARIE) and Community Legal Services (CLS) urging targeted response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (April 24, 2020)

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DRP signed onto letter to PA Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) from advocates and providers requesting that brain injury services providers be designated as Life Sustaning (April 29, 2020)

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Disability Services

PA Department of Health (DOH): Guidance on Hospitals' Responses to COVID-19, including guidance on visitor/supporter policies for patients with disabilities

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Video guide for people in Group Homes, Nursing Homes, and other Residential Facilities to help answer questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

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American Foundation for the Blind (AFB): COVID-19 Resources

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) FAQs

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COVID-19 Resources Webpage (National Health Law Program)

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COVID-19 resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

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List of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Philadelphia, clinics which provide free or low-cost medical care to residents of Philadelphia regardless of insurance status (Jefferson Center for Urban Health) (English and Chinese)

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

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PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs (DDAP): Guidance on written patient consent and confidentiality in telehealth (March 20, 2020)

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Summary of Key Provisions of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including mention of moratorium on MA terminations (Kaiser Family Foundation) (March 23, 2020)

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PA Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL): Operational Recommendations for Long-Term Service & Support (LTSS) Providers in response to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and its potential impact on the delivery of services to individuals receiving LTSS

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PA Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL): Temporary Changes to the Community HealthChoices 1915(c) Waiver to accommodate potential issues with staffing shortages and the need for service provision outside of approved service descriptions due to COVID-19 (March 23, 2020)

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U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): COVID-19 Waivers and Flexibilities approved by CMS to temporarily modify or waive certain Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, or HIPAA requirements

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U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies (April 2, 2020)

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U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): Guidance on Medicaid telehealth flexibilities in rural healthcare and in substance use disorder treatment (April 2, 2020)

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PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR): Guidance about provision of OVR General Vocational Rehabilitation Services during COVID-19 mitigation measures (April 3, 2020)

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Disability Services: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Autism

Resources especially helpful during the COVID-19 response (Compiled from many sources by Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Intellectual Disability)

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Autism and Intellectual Disabilities in Pennsylvania (AID in PA) is a resource channel/collection for the autism and intellectual disability communities. Current resources focus on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

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COVID-19 Health and Safety Guide for people with autism and their caregivers (Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative)

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COVID-19 resources for the autism community in Pennsylvania, including resources on staying engaged, having fun, and avoiding stress while stuck at home (Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative) (April 3, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding services rendered through the Consolidated, Community Living, Person/Family Directed Support, and Adult Autism Waivers during the COVID-19 pandemic

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Tool Kit for Communication and COVID-19

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Closure of Older Adult, Adult Training and Prevocational Facilities (March 16, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Home and community based service and intermediate care facility providers are essential and life sustaining services and will remain open (March 20, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Operational Guides for Appendix K (temporary and emergency amendments to the CMS approved 1915(c) waivers): Emergency Preparedness and Response for the Person/Family Directed Support, Community Living, Consolidated Waivers and Adult Autism Waivers (March 23, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Emergency Preparedness and Response Operational Guide for the Adult Autism Waiver (March 23, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Emergency Preparedness and Response Operational Guide for the Intellectual Disability/Autism (ID/A) Waivers [Person/Family Directed Support, Community Living, and Consolidated Waivers] (March 23, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): COVID-19 Update for Individuals and Families including changes to waivers and policies (March 27, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Annual licensing inspections and other listed ODP functions suspended statewide until further notice (April 3, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): ODP's Supports Coordinator (SC) Check-In for Well-Being Tool is to be used when conducting weekly check-in calls with individuals, caregivers, and/or staff during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 13, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Facilitating Personal Relationships When Visitors are Restricted in Residential Settings (April 17, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Guidance for Modifications to Medical Examinations for Residential Staff and Individuals and to Service Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 5, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in Counties Designated by the Governor as Yellow Phase (May 13, 2020)

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PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP): Government Benefits for ODP Participants During the COVID-19 Emergency (updated May 27, 2020)

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Disability Services: Mental Health

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Virtual recovery resources

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U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Includes contact information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and for Spanish speakers.

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U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Tips for taking care of your behavioral health while practicing social distancing, quarantine, and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak

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Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19

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COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide (National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI))

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Statewide Addiction & Recovery Resources: Contact numbers for treatment facilities and online resources for support during COVID-19 outbreak (ABC27 News) (March 19, 2020)

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PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs (DDAP): Policy bulletin about Telehealth Services for Gambling Treatment (March 20, 2020)

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PA Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS): Behavioral health services, both mental health and substance use services, are essential and life sustaining services and will remain available (March 20, 2020)

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PA Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS): A new statewide Support & Referral Helpline available 24/7 to assist Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency and refer them to community-based resources (April 2, 2020)

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PA Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS): COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Memorandum (May 5, 2020)

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PA Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) Bulletin: Telehealth Guidelines Related to COVID-19 (Updated May 5, 2020)

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PA Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS): OMHSAS Behavioral Health Services in Counties Moving from RED Phase to YELLOW Phase (May 22, 2020)

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Employment

WORKING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS, AND COVID-19 WORKPLACE SAFETY

Employee Rights in COVID-19 (Disability Rights Pennsylvania)

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COVID 19: Are You Caring for a Loved One at Home? New Paid Leave, Unemployment Benefits, and Waiver Payments Available to Families Taking Care of Loved Ones with Disabilities at Home (Disability Rights Pennsylvania)

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PA Department of Health (DOH): COVID-19 Complaint Form (for reporting violations of DOH Orders / COVID-19 safety protocols)

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U.S. Department of Labor: Coronavirus Resources (includes information on workplace safety, leave, and unemployment insurance flexibilities)

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Coronavirus and COVID-19 (includes information about the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, and pandemic preparedness in the workplace)

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Job Accommodation Network (JAN): COVID-19 Resources (includes information on requesting reasonable accommodations, masks, and accommodation strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic)

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Disability Rights Pennsylvania: Additional Employment Resources

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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

PA Office of Unemployment Compensation: COVID-19 Guidance and Resources (includes FAQs and information on eligibility and filing for unemployment benefits)

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PA Attorney General: Unemployment Rights and Resources – COVID-19

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Frequently Asked Questions: Unemployment Compensation and COVID-19 (Philadelphia Legal Assistance)

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When you apply for Unemployment Compensation you have to state a "reason for separation." Here are common scenarios during the COVID-19 crisis to help you figure out what to select under "reason for separation" (Philadelphia Legal Assistance) (English and Spanish)

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If you are out of work or are losing hours because of the current public health crisis, you should qualify for PA Unemployment Compensation (Philadelphia Legal Assistance) (English and Spanish)

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Food Stamps (SNAP), Medicaid (MA), Cash Assistance (TANF), and Heating Bill Assistance (LIHEAP) benefits information (Community Legal Services)

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Federal, State, and Local Government

U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (full text)

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U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Economic impact payments: What you need to know

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): Information about COVID-19 from the nation’s health protection agency

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PA Governor's Office: FAQs for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency (including Common Questions About Masks)

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PA Department of Health: Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings (July 1, 2020)

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U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) guidance on controlled substance prescribing (March 20, 2020)

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PA Public Utility Commission: Emergency Order in place prohibiting utility terminations for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6 related to COVID-19, is in effect

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PA Department of Health: Order Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations, Including Mask-Wearing Directives (April 15, 2020)

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Information from the PA Department of Health on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

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PA Governor’s Office: How to contact online, by phone, fax or mail

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City of Harrisburg: Information on COVID-19

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City of Pittsburgh: COVID-19 Response

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City of Philadelphia: Providing information and updates about COVID-19 in Philadelphia

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City of Philadelphia: Where to find free, nutritious food in Philadelphia during COVID-19 (March 28, 2020)

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