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Federal Advocacy



AMTA Government Relations Department Updates 

updated 11/15/2021

AMTA’s Government Relations Department continues to closely monitor updated information about COVID-19/Coronavirus, from local, state, and national officials. 

On November 15th, President Biden signed into law a $1 trillion Infrastructure bill that signifies the largest one-time federal investment in highways, bridges, mass transit, climate resilience and the expansion of high-speed internet access into rural and other underserved areas.  Provisions of the bill include but are not limited to:

  • $110 billion to repair aging highways, bridges and roads;
  • $39 billion to improve public transit and expand transportation systems;
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses and hybrids;
  • $65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the nation's power grid;
  • $25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals.
  • $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. The bill includes $15 billion to replace lead pipes and $10 billion to address water contamination

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), into law on March 11, 2021.  The $1.9T bill represents the fifth major COVID relief bill enacted within the past year. 

The key provisions of the law include:

  • $63 billion for COVID-19 vaccine, testing and workforce efforts; including the manufacturing of medical supplies and equipment, diagnostic products, PPE, medical devices and biological products. 
  • Direct payments: Individuals with adjusted gross income of $75,000 (and married couples earning up to $150,000)  are eligible for $1400 each plus $1400 for each dependent.
  • $350 billion for state and local government relief including assistance to small businesses and nonprofits.  Funding can also be used for the expansion of broadband coverage to rural and densely populated metropolitan areas.
  • $125 billion in emergency funds to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools within 100 days.  
  • $1.4 billion in Older Americans Act program funding, including increased funding for home and-community-based support services.
  • Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through early-September and continuation of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement to all state and federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week.  The first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits will be non-taxable for those with an adjusted gross income below $150,000.
  • Additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and $15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance program.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (2021), was signed into law on December 27, 2020.  The Consolidated Appropriations Act represents a combination of  FY21 Omnibus spending and a fourth coronavirus relief package. The coronavirus relief provisions include:

  • $73 billion to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to support public health; research, development, manufacturing, procurement, and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics; diagnostic testing and contact tracing; mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services; child care support; and other activities related to coronavirus
  • Stimulus payments up to $600 per person for individuals earning $75,000 per year and married couples who earn up to $150,000, with an additional $600 for each dependent under 18 living in the same household.
  • Extension of CARES Act Unemployment Provisions including an extension Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and restoration of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplement to all state and federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week.
  • Additional funding for both the Paycheck Protection Loan (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs through the Small Business Administration.  Previous program applicants will be eligible for additional rounds of funding.
  • Emergency Rental Assistance and extension of the CDC eviction moratorium.

AMTA will continue to monitor developments and post updates as appropriate.

Small Business Administration (SBA) – Disaster Loan Information

updated January 15, 2021

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorizes loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, 501(c )(3) organizations, sole proprietors, and independent contractors. The Paycheck Protection Program received additional funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.  


The PPP application opened for community financial institution-initiated First Draw PPP applicants, on Monday, January 11, 2021.  The PPP application for second time or “Second Draw” applicants with community financial institution-initiated grants, is active as of Wednesday, January 13, 2021.  The PPP will open to all participating lenders on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.  Details will be provided as they become available. 

Paycheck Protection Program First Draw Borrower Application Form (revised 1/8/2021)

Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Borrower Application Form (1/8/2021)

Supplemental Materials


The SBA recently published PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Instructions for Borrowers, providing additional guidance and specific instructions for completion of the PPP application.  In addition, the SBA issued a FAQ document for Paycheck Protection Loan lenders and borrowers.


Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program

Federal disaster loans provide working capital to small businesses, private non-profits, homeowners and renters suffering substantial economic injury.  The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program received additional funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. 

EIDL Program funding can be used to:

  • Repay obligations that cannot be met due to revenue loss
  • Maintain payroll
  • Provide paid sick leave to employees unable to work due to COVID-19
  • Make rent or mortgage payments

A streamlined application for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application and advance funding is available HERE

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

AMTA’s Government Relations Department continues to closely monitor updated information about Coronavirus from local, state, and national officials.  In addition, we will continue to share updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other reliable agencies providing information relevant to music therapy practice.  We will update information regularly.

Additional Resources

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and COVID – 19

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

US Department of Education (School Settings)
US Department of Labor (Workforce)

Additional Online Resources

NHPCO: Press Release on Hospice Telehealth

Joint Commission shares guidance and resources.

American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine is hosting free, live webinars with experts from the Tele-Medicine industry.

NAMM Foundation shares a number of music making webinars and resources.

Americans for the Arts has created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource and Response Center


Special Education 


  • IDEA 45th Anniversary

On November 29, 2020, we will celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), into law 45 years ago.  An amendment changed the name of the law to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), in 1990.  The IDEA ensures that eligible children and youth with disabilities receive special education and related services that help children benefit from special education. According to the US Department of Education, music therapy is recognized as a related service under the IDEA.  (IDEA, Sec. 602, paragraph 22).

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) will be providing new resources and stories each day during the week of Nov. 30, 2020. 

US Department of Education – IDEA 45th Anniversary page

OSEP Fast Facts: IDEA 45th Anniversary

  • Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) Appreciation Week 2021!

    2021 SISP Appreciation Week was April 25-30th.  As a members of the National Alliance for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP), we take part in celebrating this week, and raising awareness about the important contributions of specialized instructional support personnel in helping students.

    As a part of 2021 SISP Appreciation Week, NASISP held a Congressional Briefing on April 28th titled, “The Value of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel in Improving School and Student Outcomes Post COVID-19”.  AMTA Board of Directors member, Natalie Generally Kirk, MMEd, LPMT, MT-BC, served as a panelist and highlighted music therapy services in the school setting.  SISP Appreciation Week is a yearly NASISP event highlighting Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) and the services they provide.

    2021 NASISP Briefing

SISP Awareness Week Congressional Resolutions were also passed both the House and Senate.




  • Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) guidance

            IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution in COVID-19 Environment Q&A Documents

            IDEA Part C Dispute Resolution in COVID-19 Environment Q&A Documents

            IDEA Part B - Service Provision 




  • 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by George H.W. Bush 30 years ago, on July 26, 1990.  The ADA was written to ensure that those living with disabilities are afforded the same rights and access as all people.  This landmark piece of civil rights legislation was intended to create opportunities for people with disabilities and ensure their rightful place in society.

As we celebrate 30 years of the ADA, it is a time for reflection on triumphs to be celebrated and the opportunities to learn and grow in the pursuit of inclusion for all.  Please see below for information about various events and activities commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act:

  • Habilitation Coalition (HAB) – Technical Assistance for States to Update Design of EHB Packages for Rehabilitative and Habilitative Services and Devices

April 20, 2020

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered health plans in the individual and small group markets to cover essential health benefits (EHB). All EHB-benchmark plans must cover the 10 mandated categories of benefits listed in the ACA. The ACA also requires defining EHB in a manner that (1) takes into account the health care needs of diverse segments of the population and (2) reflects appropriate balance among the 10 categories.

The Habilitation Coalition (HAB), promotes a unified voice on the contents of the federal guidance that states are using to make decisions involving EHB, particularly around habilitation benefits.  AMTA is an active member of HAB. Given the additional flexibility and options for states to select new EHB benchmark plans following the 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule, HAB recently developed and submitted an EHB toolkit to all state governors and insurance commissioners.  The toolkit is designed to provide technical assistance to states regarding the essential health benefit category of “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.” Music therapy specifically listed as one of the many services to be included to ensure appropriate coverage of rehabilitative and habilitative services in EHB benchmark plans.

Find the toolkit here.



  • The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-171), was enacted on October 17, 2020.  The Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase the services it provides for suicide prevention and mental health care and to collect and analyze medical data on veterans receiving mental health care from the department.  

Fact Sheet Available Here

  • New Qualification Standards from the Veterans Health Administration

As of June 9, 2019, all new music therapist hires for the Veteran’s Administration must be board certified as a MT-BC approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Specific knowledge, skills and abilities have been defined for GS-7 to GS-14.

New position levels above the Journey Level - Full performance GS 11, such as GS-12, have been defined to promote recognition of specialization in various areas of assignments.  Examples of additional certification in specialty treatment areas in music therapy include, but are not limited to: advanced improvisational music therapy, Bonny method of guided imagery and music (BM-GIM), neurological music therapy (NMT), creative music therapy, or in a directly related field, such as palliative care, dementia care, or substance abuse. Additional specialization examples include assignments such as: Clinical Education Coordinators; Program Coordinators; Lead Creative Arts Therapists; Supervisory Creative Arts Therapists, Assistant and Service Chief as well as Clinical Research Specialists. 

The VHA Handbook Part II, Appendix G60 new qualification standards will effectively benefit thousands of Veterans and their families by advancing the clinical services and competence level of the professional disciplines within the organization.  The conversion of the therapists to Hybrid Title 38 will ensure our Nation Veterans receive the highest level of specialized experience in clinical care and technology.