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NCD Notice of Funding Opportunity: 2021 Progress Report - COVID-19’s Broadscale Impact on People with Disabilities

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National Council on Disability

Notice of Funding Opportunity for a Cooperative Agreement

NCD-20-04: 2021 Progress Report, COVID-19’s Broadscale Impact on People with Disabilities


Type of Award:  Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards: 1

Maximum amount available for this project: $150,000

The funding amount is contingent on fiscal year 2021 funding availability.

All potential applicants are eligible to apply

Cost sharing is not required

The estimated period of performance is 10 months

Authority: Section 401, Title IV of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended

Full Proposal Deadline: 5:00 p.m. (submitter’s local time), August 21, 2020. Late applications will not be considered.

Deliver electronic Word and PDF versions of proposals to:

Project Summary

The National Council on Disability (NCD) seeks proposals for a cooperative agreement to develop NCD’s annual progress report which will examine COVID-19’s broadscale impacts on people with disabilities in seven major areas: nondiscriminatory access to healthcare; the direct care workforce; group housing; education; employment; mental health; and communications. The report will also include a discussion of the intersection of disability and race, and of transportation impacts. The research and findings in this report will provide policymakers, including the White House and Congress, and federal agencies, with insight needed to make policy decisions to improve the current and future welfare of people with disabilities in a national emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic. The report will also provide people with disabilities information on federal policy, legislation, and initiatives related to emergency preparedness and response.

Background and Statement of Work 

In 2020, the deadly COVID-19 virus swept across the U.S., having a significant, negative impact on almost every aspect of the lives of people with disabilities. By mid-March, most schools and businesses had closed, transportation was limited, and stay-at-home orders were widely in place as the nation attempted to contain the virus’ spread. By July, over 140,000 people in the U.S. had died from the virus, a large portion were people with disabilities, many of whom were compromised due to pre-existing medical conditions and many of whom lived in congregate settings like nursing homes and in group homes. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in group homes, the effects have been devastating – resulting from higher susceptibility and higher deaths from the virus. COVID-19 has severely limited the ability of people with disabilities to obtain necessary services and supports to live independently, to work, to study, and to access medical care on par with non-disabled people. While natural disasters, like hurricanes Katrina and Maria, revealed the lack of a federal emergency preparedness and response plan that included evacuation and accessible sheltering for people disabilities, COVID-19 has revealed weaknesses in nearly every government and social system supporting the health, welfare, and safety of people with disabilities. These weaknesses must be the impetus for energetic planning, and implementation of policies and practices that will ensure the needs of people with disabilities are met in future pandemics.

NCD has determined seven areas of focus for the development of this report:   

Nondiscriminatory Access to HealthCare

The pandemic struck the U.S. just months after NCD published a report series on bioethics and disability which described the discrimination that people with disabilities experience in healthcare and related services influenced by the prevalent and widespread belief by the medical profession that the life of a person with a disability has less value than the life of a non-disabled person. The more significant the disability, the more this comes into play, and the more it endangers disabled lives. The medical profession’s devaluation of disabled lives, gone largely unchecked, has resulted in historic and continuing discrimination against people disabilities as physicians and policymakers allow non-medical considerations to seep into medical decisions and healthcare policies that result in denying necessary care.

The report findings were quickly validated in the early days of the pandemic. Numerous news outlets, highlighted physicians and ethicists explaining that nondiscriminatory access to healthcare was at risk. They predicted that the U.S. healthcare system lacked the capacity to provide care to every COVID-19 patient, and, people with disabilities and the elderly would likely be deprioritized for life-saving care, or denied care completely, based on their relative lack of value. As resources quickly dwindled, States began developing and revising Crisis Standards of Care - plans on which patients should receive care if rationing became necessary. Some explicitly provided that physicians should not provide care to people with certain disabilities or put them at the back of the line for care. Some state plans allowed ventilators to be taken from a person with a disability for use by a non-disabled person. These plans were discriminatory and made more shocking given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that many people with disabilities were those most vulnerable to the virus and most likely to experience the most severe symptoms. Such plans were challenged under the ADA, Section 504 and the ACA through the HHS, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the federal courts. Further, many states provided immunity from medical liability to healthcare professionals, hospitals, long-term care facilities and intermediate care facilities. While such immunity is needed to allow healthcare providers to use their best medical judgment without fear of litigation in this unprecedented pandemic, it has given cover for the discriminatory healthcare practices reflected in the Crisis Standards of Care.

Group Homes

Group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have proven to be fertile ground for the spread of the virus. Because of the easy spread between people in close contact, living in a group home makes one especially susceptible to the virus as caregivers need to be in close contact and some patient/clients may not understand the necessity to social distance.  Those living in group homes are four times more likely to a contract COVID-19 than the general population, not just because of close contact with roommates and caregivers, but because are far more likely to have a preexisting health condition, such as respiratory disease, that adds to their risk. Moreover, when they contract it, they are twice as likely to die from it. The number of people who have contracted COVID-19 in group homes and who died of the virus is staggering and continues to grow. The danger has been exacerbated by the fact that direct care service workers enter the group homes daily to provide personal care assistance – close physical exposure to these workers increases the danger of residents contracting the virus due to the care workers exposure to other clients and to inadequate or lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). People with disabilities who were hospitalized for COVID-19 care or other medical issues, have also been discharged back to group homes and nursing homes – the very places where they are most at risk of exposure.

Direct Care Workforce

The direct care workforce has long suffered from low wages, lack of insurance and, in the pandemic thus far, a lack of PPE.  Direct care workers that work in nursing and group home settings have also experienced high levels of infection, and many have stopped going to work, or reduced their shifts for fear of contracting the virus or giving it to patients/clients. This has left people with disabilities lacking the care they need. A recent Presidential Proclamation and federal laws limit immigration may decrease the amount of health aids that are available to support the disabled community and leave it vulnerable to increased complications and negatively impact independent living. 


The closure of educational institutions created significant hardships for students with disabilities who required special education and supports under individualized education plans or 504 plans. The move to full-time, online education created challenges for students who need in-person supports. In order to participate in classes, students who are blind, Deaf or hard of hearing or who those who have cognitive disabilities need access to accessible online learning platforms. Without supports and tools, students with disabilities cannot participate in their education on par with nondisabled students and are at a severe educational disadvantage. Advocates have been concerned that in one of Congress’ COVID-19 relief packages, the Secretary of the Department of Education was given the authority to waive the IDEA’s civil rights requirements that ensure a free and appropriate public education -  if used, such a waiver would prevent many students with disabilities from continuing their education until students return to in-person classes. Given that schools may delay reopening for quite some time, this would put students far behind their nondisabled peers. 


COVID-19 resulted in a nationwide closure of most non-essential businesses for several months. Nationwide unemployment hit all-time highs. Re-opening and re-employment hit a wall as new cases surged again in May. In previous economic downturns, employees with disabilities lose their jobs at a higher rate than nondisabled employees. COVID-19 had the same result: by May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a much higher percentage of people with disabilities lost their jobs in March and April than those without disabilities. And as employers began reopening, people with disabilities were not rejoining the workforce as quickly as their nondisabled peers. People with disabilities also encountered a novel barrier to returning or starting to work: many with invisible pre-existing conditions, fearful of returning to work because of their susceptibility to the virus, lost their jobs and unemployment benefits because they were fearful of requesting an accommodation for a disability that they had not previously disclosed.

Mental Health

Quarantine and social distancing, though necessary for public health, have exacerbated existing mental health issues and created new mental health issues for many. A recent poll found that 47% of those sheltering in place reported negative mental health effects resulting from worry or stress related to coronavirus. Social isolation and loneliness are linked to both poor mental and physical health: isolation is a risk factor for suicide, and loneliness is linked to shorter lifespan and higher risk of mental and physical illnesses. Existing mental illness among adolescents may also be worsened by the pandemic as school closures limit or foreclose access to school-based mental health services.


The issue of accessible and effective communications overlays all of these topics. COVID-19 has required the nation to use communications in an unprecedented way: the inability to come to the office, to come to school, or even attend in-person doctor visit has made us dependent on Internet and phone communications. As discussed above, school closures require that students participate in online courses and many students with disabilities require accessible technology and software programs in order to do so. Businesses with teleworking staff use online meeting platforms to conduct daily business. For employees and employers with disabilities who are blind, low vision, hard of hearing, or have cognitive disabilities, accessible online platforms are absolutely necessary for continued inclusion and productivity. For healthcare, telemedicine has become common and telemedicine platforms must be accessible for patients with sensory or cognitive disabilities so that they can receive accurate medical advice and treatment.

Report Purpose

With the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the 1999 Olmstead decision as the legal backdrop, the report will examine how COVID-19 impacted the lives of people with disabilities in access to healthcare and direct care services, group housing, education, employment, mental health, and communications. It will discuss the challenges to these systems, identify systemic weaknesses or strengths, describe federal agency and congressional responses, and progress/lack of progress in addressing the problems that COVID-19 brought to light or exacerbated. The report will also include a discussion of the intersection of disability and race, and on transportation impacts. It will contain findings and make recommendations to Congress and federal agencies aimed at ensuring that policies and systems are put in place to ensure that civil rights are maintained, and the needs of people with disabilities are met now and in future pandemics.

Research Questions

The research questions may include but are not limited to:

Nondiscriminatory Access to Healthcare: The consequences of not having national data collected on the effects of COVID–19 on persons with disabilities?  What antidiscrimination protections should be incorporated into crisis standards of care? What has been the outcome of complaints filed with HHS/OCR and federal courts on the rationing schemes by states and hospital systems? What actions need to be taken to ensure that rationing schemes targeting people with disabilities are prohibited? What policy recommendations can be made to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to healthcare and their support services during national healthcare emergencies? How have infection control policies (i.e., no visitors policies) adopted by hospitals and healthcare systems adversely affected persons with disabilities?

Group Homes: What data was gathered on the deaths and causes of death in group homes during the year? Was the policy of discharging patients to group homes or nursing homes, after being hospitalized for COVID-19 medical care continued during the year? How was Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) leveraged to divert and transition people to community housing that were smaller? What about Maintenance of Effort by the states? Were changes made to solidify policies for future emergencies? What, if any, protections have been implemented to protect the health of both direct care service workers and the people with disabilities that they serve?

Direct Care Workforce: What policies/laws/regs were put in place to ensure that direct care workers were equipped with PPE? What changes in policies were instituted during the year to better protect workers and clients/patients? Are they permanent? How have efforts to improve pay, health insurance, and benefits to direct care workers been met by Congress or states? How have immigration proclamations and federal laws instituted during pandemic impacted the immigration of direct care workers?

Education: What barriers to online learning were experienced? Are they still being experienced by students? If not, how were they resolved and by who? How has the U.S. Department of Education responded? How have schools provided special education services to meet this need? What recommendations can we make to ensure students with disabilities don’t get left behind now and in future emergencies? How did the response to the pandemic change schooling during the 2020/2021 school year?

Employment: What were the comparative losses in employment between people with disabilities and non-disabled people? What were the comparative gains when hiring resumed and businesses re-opened? Have any federal initiatives been implemented to assist employees who left the workforce because of COVID-19, to return to work? Did employment trends change as a result of the pandemic, e.g., where people worked and what industries hired/fired. What was impact on employees/job seekers with disabilities? Did the broadscale implementation of telework during the pandemic remain as an option after the economy reopened? If so, was there an identifiable impact on disability employment?

Mental Health: What impacts did COVID-19 have on mental health for children, adolescents, adults? What was the federal response through, HHS, including SAMSHA and NIH? Did the pandemic result in policies to open tele-counseling on a broader scale? Were services increased to the highest risk groups? What services were provided to students during school closures? Were long-term polices put in place to address future crises?

Communication: What were the greatest challenges to communication for people with disabilities across all areas? Which communication platforms were most effective for businesses and schools during the pandemic? What accessibility issues arose in both business and schools in using these platforms? What platforms were most successful in regard to accessibility features? Were persons who used screen readers able to access all educational and business content? What, if any, innovative platforms were developed?  

The deliverables for this project will include:

An invitee list and agenda created within the first weeks of the project, for a virtual convening of stakeholders to ensure stakeholders are able to provide meaningful and timely input.

A virtual convening of stakeholders within first 2 months of the project term.

A detailed preliminary framing paper.

A revised framing paper.

An initial report draft incorporating findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

A second report draft.

A final report. that documents methodology, findings, and recommendations and must include a separate section containing recommendations, organized according to the entity to which they are directed. 

A brief “Report Highlights” document  that succinctly and in plain language encapsulates the report’s scope and purpose, major findings, and recommendations, and contains a link to the full report at the bottom, akin to GAO’s Report Highlights, see:


All reports must fully adhere to NCD’s editorial requirements (see section on editorial requirements below).

Any methodology used to obtain stakeholder input must allow for open-ended discussions between stakeholders, as opposed to soliciting answers to specific, predetermined questions.  While the use of data from existing surveys is permitted, conducting surveys for purposes of this study is strongly discouraged. The inclusion of people with disabilities must be integral to the planning, development, and execution of this project.

The awardee is responsible for reasonable accommodations at any meetings, events, forums, focus groups, etc. (i.e. sign language interpreters, CART reporters, and other such providers, as well as documents or other materials that are made available in public forums), associated with this agreement, except when making a presentation at an NCD meeting, in which case, NCD will provide such accommodations.

Depending on COVID-19’s impact on travel and in-person meetings, the awardee may be required to co-present in person before NCD at a quarterly Council meeting and should factor travel expenses into the proposed budget. If travel is not possible, presentations will be conducted electronically.

Eligibility Information

Proposals that merely offer to conduct a project in accordance with the requirements of the government’s scope of work will not be eligible for award.  Submissions must explain the proposed technical approach in conjunction with the tasks to be performed in achieving the project objectives.

This solicitation does not commit the government to contract for any work or services whatsoever. Respondents are advised that the Federal Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this solicitation notice.  All costs associated with responding to this solicitation notice will be solely at the responding party’s expense. It is the responsibility of the interested parties to monitor and sites for additional information.

Proposal Information and Instructions

Proposals must be submitted in two parts: A 'Technical Proposal' and a 'Business Proposal. Each part shall be separate and complete so that evaluation of one may be accomplished independently of the other. The technical proposal must not contain reference to cost; however, resource information, such as data on labor hours and categories, materials, subcontracts, etc., must be contained in the technical proposal so that the offeror’s understanding of the scope of the work may be evaluated. It must describe the offeror’s technical approach in sufficient detail to provide a clear and concise presentation that includes, but is not limited to, the requirements of the technical proposal instructions.

Proposals must be signed by an official authorized to bind the submitting organization/s.

Alternate proposals or proposals which deviate from the requirements may be submitted; if they address the requirements in the statement of work, and if overall performance would be improved or not compromised and are in the best interest of the Government. Alternate proposals, or deviations from any requirements of this funding opportunity, must be clearly identified.

NCD will evaluate proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteria set forth in this solicitation.

The winning proposal submitted in response to this solicitation will become part of the cooperative agreement.

A detailed work plan must be submitted indicating how each aspect of the statement of work is to be accomplished. The technical approach should contain as much detail as necessary to fully explain the proposed technical approach or method.

Technical proposals must:

  • Show a clear understanding of the nature of the work being undertaken. The technical proposal must include information on how the project is to be organized, staffed, and managed. Information must demonstrate an understanding and describe the management of important events or tasks. The technical proposal must explain how the management and coordination of consultant and/or subcontractor efforts will be accomplished.
  • Include a list of names and proposed duties of the professional personnel, consultants, and key subcontractor employees assigned to the project. Their resumes must be included and should contain information on education, background, recent experience, and specific requirement related or technical accomplishments. The approximate percentage of time each individual will work on the project must be included. The proposed staff hours for each of the above individuals must be allocated against each task or subtask for the project.
  • Provide the general background, experience, and qualifications of the organization. Similar or related contracts, subcontracts, or grants should be included and contain the name of the customer, contract or grant number, dollar amount, time of performance, and the names and telephone numbers of the contracting officer’s representative or project officer and contracting/grants officer.
  • Describe present or proposed facilities which will be used in the performance of the contract.
  • Contain a proposed timeline and “deliverables and payment schedule” chart which will be used to guide the conduct of the research. Payments will be based on 3 deliverables - with the last payment occurring after NCD approval of the final draft of reports.

Format of Technical Proposals

1. Abstract (no more than 2 pages)

A two-page summary shall be provided abstracting the proposal contents (e.g., objectives, activities, expected outcomes) in language understandable to an informed layperson. The narrative should be limited to no more than 250 words.

2. Table of Contents

3. Introduction (no more than 10 pages)

Offerors shall summarize, in their own words, the purposes and objectives of the project to demonstrate their complete understanding of NCD’s intent and requirements. This section also should contain a specific statement of any interpretations, questions, qualifications, limitations, deviations, or exceptions to the scope of work and the extent to which the offeror’s proposal can be expected to meet the requirements set forth in the scope of work.

4. Procedural Plan (no more than 20 pages)

This section shall fully describe the theoretical and technical approaches the offeror will employ in complying with each task in the scope of work. While a general statement of strategy is appropriate, the offeror shall be specific in describing the way the overall review will be conducted, and the intended approach to the design.

Contain a proposed timeline and deliverables schedule that will be used to guide the conduct of the study and monitor the work.

5. Management Plan and Schedule (no more than 10 pages)

The management plan shall show the feasibility of implementing the offeror’s resources. The offeror shall present a time chart that specifies the amount of time (in person days) each staff member will commit to implementing each task. The plan shall present a clear description of the working relationships among personnel. Finally, the plan shall contain a method for insuring the timely and successful completion of each work task.

6. Personnel

Personnel with major responsibilities shall be listed by name, title, position, academic background, relevant experience, responsibilities with the project, and the extent to which this commitment is assured. This section should include specific time commitments of staff to other projects, both Federal and non-Federal. Consultants who have agreed to serve on the project should be similarly identified and assurances of their commitment included. The Project Director shall be committed for no less than approximately 60 percent of the cooperative agreement. Vitae for all principal personnel, including consultants, should be appended to the proposal. Each curriculum vitae should be limited to not more than two (2) pages and should emphasize areas of experience directly relevant to this work statement.

7. Organization Experience

This section shall describe the offeror’s pertinent experience and qualification in conducting work of a similar nature. Offerors shall offer evidence of not more than five previous related assignments, including the names and telephone numbers of client project offices who would be able to comment on the offeror’s performance of those assignments. Summaries (not to exceed one page) of related work shall be included. References to products resulting from these related activities shall also be included.

8. Resources/Facilities/Equipment

This section shall identify those resources (other than personnel), facilities, and equipment (e.g., library holdings, computer hardware, and software) available for use in conducting this project.

9. Current Contractual Obligations

Each offeror will be required to outline both federal and non-federal contractual obligations existing during the time period of this award for all projects involving personnel who will be assigned to this project. Such organizations/agencies must be identified by name and the percentage of work time allotted to these projects by personnel committed to the proposed project must be provided.

10. Issues and Associated Data Items

When responding to the tasks and when identifying what should receive emphasis, careful consideration should be given to the issues identified, their associated data items, and the statement of products desired in the final reports.

All information provided by NCD must be returned to NCD upon completion of the analysis and no later than 10 working days after the completion of the cooperative agreement. The information may not be reproduced or released without the prior written permission of NCD.

11. Rights in Data, Copyright, and Disclosure

a. Data – The term data as used here includes written reports (progress, draft, and final), electronic format and work of any similar nature that is required under any resulting Cooperative Agreement to perform this project.  It does not include the awardee’s financial reports, or other information incidental to awardee administration. Data submitted to and accepted by the NCD under the cooperative agreement shall be the property of the NCD, and NCD shall have full and unlimited rights to use such data for any purpose in whatever manner deemed desirable and appropriate, including making it available to the public. Such use shall be without any additional payment to the awardee. Data may be published as the property of NCD without giving authorship to the awardee.

b. Copyright – The awardee relinquishes all copyrights and/or privileges developed under the Cooperative Agreement. The awardee shall not include in the data any copyrightable matter without the written approval of NCD, unless the awardee provides NCD with the written permission of the copyright owner for the NCD to use the matter.

c. Disclosure – The awardee agrees not to divulge or release any information, reports or recommendations developed or obtained with the performance of any cooperative agreement with NCD, and not otherwise available to the public, without the prior approval of the NCD.

d. Final approval of deliverables

All final deliverables are the product of NCD and require acceptance and approval by NCD prior to payment.  NCD reserves the right to make substantive edits to all deliverables.

12. Award Information

NCD will make an award to the responsible offeror(s) whose proposal conforms to the solicitation and is most advantageous to the Federal Government.

Upon notification of intent to award, the offeror will be expected to consult with NCD to:

Finalize a mutually agreeable timeline and deliverables schedule that will be used to guide the conduct of the study and monitor the work;

Develop a payment schedule chart to be used for installment payments of the award based on 3 deliverables;

Meet with select NCD staff and board members at a pre-award meeting.

13. Reporting

Throughout the project, the awardee and the NCD Agreements Coordinator will conduct mutually agreed upon monthly progress calls to include other project staff members, NCD staff and, as appropriate, selected project advisors and NCD council members.

The awardee will provide monthly electronic progress reports to the NCD Contracting Officer’s Representative three days prior to the monthly progress calls.

Business Proposal

The business proposal shall contain a detailed budget for the project and the certifications and representations required by OMB Circular A-110. 

Note:  For each type of entity, there is a set of Federal principles for determining allowable costs. Allowable costs shall be determined in accordance with the cost principles applicable to the entity incurring the costs. Thus, allowable costs incurred by State, local or federally-recognized Indian tribal governments is determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A–87, “Cost Principles for State and Local Governments.” The allowable of costs incurred by non-profit organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A–122, “Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations.”

The allowable costs incurred by institutions of higher education is determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A–21, “Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.” The allowable costs incurred by hospitals is determined in accordance with the provisions of appendix E of 45 CFR part 74, “Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Research and Development under Grants and Contracts with Hospitals.” The allowable costs incurred by commercial organizations and those non-profit organizations listed in Attachment C to Circular A–122 is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR part 31.

Technical Evaluation Criteria for Proposals

Evaluation criteria allow proposals to receive a maximum of 100 points, divided as follows:

1. A clear understanding of the nature of the work (20 points)

The proposal presents a clear understanding of the tasks required and the importance, quality and reliability of those tasks. The proposal will present the rationale and/or interpretation of the project approach.

2. Procedural Plan (30 points)

The proposal contains evidence of a fully described technical approach to comply with each of the tasks in the scope of work. The proposal is consistent with the goals, objectives, compliance requirements, and is practical in terms of producing needed information, analysis and recommendations.

3. Management Plan and Schedule (20 points)

The degree to which the project team, including any use of consultants, is organized, managed, and motivated to accomplish effective and efficient implementation of all tasks to be completed. The proposal budget is appropriate to the administration of the project. The time frame is realistic. Plans and schedules to assure smooth cooperation with the NCD staff involved are evident. The proposal clearly identifies who will be key personnel and includes a table showing the number of person-days by tasks for each of the key personnel.

4. Personnel (15 points)

The proposal provides evidence of the specific qualifications and skills of staff and consultants to be assigned to this project, and their experience and familiarity with the topic, including relevant laws, regulations, procedures and practices in the Federal Government. Skills in writing and conducting research should also clearly demonstrated.

5. Organizational Experience (15 points)

The proposal describes to which the overall experience and past performance of the offeror in executing similar projects should be described. Evidence of related assignments should be detailed. Offeror shall present evidence of related assignments, including the names and telephone numbers of previous project officers who would be able to comment on the offeror’s performance of those assignments.

Proposal Review Information

Reviews of proposals submitted to NCD are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed project. Reviewers are selected by the NCD staff overseeing the review process. A conflict check is conducted to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts that prevent a review of offeror’s proposal. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal. Reviewers score and comment on each proposal. Reviews are treated as confidential documents. The NCD staff overseeing the review examines the scores and comments and formulates a recommendation.

Notice of Award

NCD will notify the offeror by telephone, e-mail, and/or letter. This will begin negotiations for a cooperative agreement. The notification is not authorization to begin performance. Notification of the award will be made by Ana Torres-Davis, an NCD Senior Attorney Advisor. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible. A summary of the strengths and weaknesses identified by reviewers, of each declined proposal, not included identifying names or information about proposal reviewers, will be made available upon request. 

Project Start and End Dates

The projected start of the Cooperative Agreement is October 1, 2020. The projected end date is August 1, 2021. The projected due date for final drafts is one month prior to the end of the cooperative agreement. 

Final drafts must be professionally edited before they are submitted to NCD.

Citations & Style Guide for NCD Reports

NCD requires awardees to utilize the Chicago Style Manual for reports and papers and employs the documentary note system of citation (otherwise known as notes and bibliography). An explanation of this style of citation can be found at: and

Accessibility of Reports

NCD reports must be totally accessible to all people with disabilities at all iterative stages of its drafting and editing. All graphs and charts must have full text descriptions embedded as alt-text and ensure that it is Section 508 compliant. All drafts and final versions must be submitted in electronically in Word and PDF format.

About the National Council on Disability

Overview and Purpose

The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent federal agency comprised of a team of Presidential and Congressional appointees, an Executive Director appointed by the Chair, and a full-time professional staff. The purpose of NCD is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all people with disabilities regardless of the nature or significance of the disability and to empower people with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.

Specific Duties

The current statutory mandate of NCD includes the following:

Reviewing and evaluating, on a continuing basis, policies, programs, practices, and procedures concerning individuals with disabilities conducted or assisted by federal departments and agencies, including programs established or assisted under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, or under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, as well as all statutes and regulations pertaining to federal programs that assist such individuals with disabilities, to assess the effectiveness of such policies, programs, practices, procedures, statutes, and regulations in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Reviewing and evaluating, on a continuing basis, new and emerging disability policy issues affecting individuals with disabilities in the Federal Government, at the state and local government levels, and in the private sector, including the need for and coordination of adult services, access to personal assistance services, school reform efforts and the impact of such efforts on individuals with disabilities, access to health care, and policies that act as disincentives for individuals to seek and retain employment.

Making recommendations to the President, Congress, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and other officials of federal agencies about ways to better promote equal opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society for Americans with disabilities.

Providing Congress, on a continuing basis, with advice, recommendations, legislative proposals, and any additional information that NCD or Congress deems appropriate.

Gathering information about the implementation, effectiveness, and impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.).

Advising the President, Congress, the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services within the Department of Education, and Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research on the development of the programs to be carried out under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Providing advice to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration with respect to the policies and conduct of the administration.

Making recommendations to the Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research on ways to improve research, service, administration, and the collection, dissemination, and implementation of research findings affecting people with disabilities.

Providing advice regarding priorities for the activities of the Interagency Disability Coordinating Council and reviewing the recommendations of this council for legislative and administrative changes to ensure that such recommendations are consistent with NCD’s purpose of promoting the full integration, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities.

Preparing and submitting to the President and Congress an annual report titled National Disability Policy: A Progress Report.


In 1995, NCD was designated by the Department of State to be the U.S. government’s official contact point for disability issues. Specifically, NCD interacts with the special rapporteur of the United Nations Commission for Social Development on disability matters.

Consumers Served and Current Activities

Although many government agencies deal with issues and programs affecting people with disabilities, NCD is the only federal agency charged with addressing, analyzing, and making recommendations on issues of public policy that affect people with disabilities regardless of age, disability type, perceived employment potential, economic need, specific functional ability, veteran status, or other individual circumstance. NCD recognizes its unique opportunity to facilitate independent living, community integration, and employment opportunities for people with disabilities by ensuring an informed and coordinated approach to addressing the concerns of people with disabilities and eliminating barriers to their active participation in community and family life.

NCD plays a major role in developing disability policy in America. In fact, NCD originally proposed what eventually became the ADA. To view our past and current key issues, and for general information about NCD, please visit our website at

Statutory History

NCD was established in 1978 as an advisory board within the Department of Education (P.L. 95-602). The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-221) established NCD as an independent agency.



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