As of August 1, 2014, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced they have funds available to cover the costs of reasonable accommodations to make it easier for AmeriCorps State and National members with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of national service. This funding is available to AmeriCorps programs currently enrolling members with disabilities who need or would benefit from an accommodation. Grantees are eligible to submit requests for the reimbursement of the costs of products and services connected to reasonable accommodations that were provided within 90 days of the request – and for which you have the required documentation.
The first reasonable accommodation reimbursement grant application ran from August 1 – September 4, 2014. CNCS reimbursed organizations for accommodations for American Sign Language interpreting for members who are deaf to attend orientation, training and conduct meetings. CNCS also reimbursed grantees for the cost of products such as modified office equipment for members with physical disabilities requiring adaptive office products.
Things to know about the process:
It is important to understand that by applying for reasonable accommodation reimbursement grants, you are requesting to be reimbursed for expenses incurred. CNCS will not be making advance payments to cover reasonable accommodation expenses.
The reasonable accommodation grant funds are available on a noncompetitive basis and requests are processed in the order they are received.
CNCS encourages you to determine what each of your service members’ accommodation needs are for the service term/FY 2015 so you can submit requests for reimbursement. Requests for reimbursement of a single expense can be submitted at any time. If you intend to request reimbursement for multiple expenses throughout the year, your initial request must estimate what your total reimbursable expenses will be. Your request will be assigned an identification number, which you must use to submit subsequent requests for reimbursement on a quarterly basis.
Grantees must retain and be prepared to provide documentation for each member for whom reasonable accommodation grant funds are requested. The documentation must show that:
- The goods or services needed to provide the reasonable accommodation were procured in conformance with the procurement standard specified in 2 C.F.R. 200.317 – 200.326; and
- Verification by the member that the accommodation was provided.
CNCS will assign an identification number to each request for reasonable accommodation grant funds. This means that once you’ve submitted a request, CNCS will send you notification of the identification number that accompanies the transaction and it will be your responsibility to share this internally with those who track grant funds. It is important that you include this tracking number when you are emailing receipts for reasonable accommodation service contracts that extend throughout the fiscal year.
Please note the following:
- You will receive a response to your request for disability accommodation funds within a few weeks of submitting the request.
- Do not include personally Identifying Information in your request.
- Submission of this application for reasonable accommodation funds serves as a certification by the Grantee that the AmeriCorps member for whom the accommodation funds are sought has a disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (“A person has a disability if they have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”)
- You are not required to obtain documentation that the service member has a disability if the disability is apparent.
- You should obtain documentation from a medical or rehabilitation expert to better understand the need for the reasonable accommodation for service member requests where a disability is non-apparent or the accommodation request is not straightforward. These professionals can also verify that someone meets disability status. There is much broader coverage under the ADA after the Amendments in 2008.
- For information regarding accommodation options and reasonable costs, please consult the Job Accommodation Network (http://askjan.org/).
To request funds to provide this type of reasonable accommodation, please complete the form below. For additional questions, please contact Miranda Spiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.