Video conferencing platform Zoom announced it will make automatic closed captioning available to its free accounts to enhance accessibility. The closed captioning functionality is projected to be available in fall 2021.
Netflix pledged to establish a $100 million fund to support organizations promoting TV and film representation for underrepresented communities, including individuals with disabilities. A recently published analysis of Netflix programming revealed characters with disabilities comprise about five percent of lead and main cast roles.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month issued guidance for institutions on allowing residents to have visitors. CMS said visitation should not be restricted “without a reasonable clinical or safety cause,” but could be limited based on local Covid-19 positivity rates or other factors.
During a Joint Finance Committee meeting on the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) budget, lawmakers and witnesses questioned why DHSS was not requesting more money for direct support services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A 2018 law pledged to raise those payments, which are based on market rates more than a decade old. DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said meeting that obligation would cost at least $40 million dollars more per year.
Disability advocates and lawmakers are pressing the Social Security Administration (SSA) to issue guidance on whether “long-haulers” – people who survive Covid-19 but continue experiencing symptoms – qualify for federal disability benefits. In a statement, the SSA said the current disability policy rules should be sufficient but did not rule out changing its approach in the future.