Disability Policy News March 15, 2021

March 15, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 10
COVID-19 Relief

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L.117-2) on Thursday, March 11th. The $1.9 trillion legislation provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses. The package includes an extension of $300/week enhanced unemployment insurance until September 6th, avoiding a lapse in benefits before the previous March 14th cutoff. Relief of interest to the disability community includes:

  • Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS): a 10{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055} FMAP increase for HCBS for one year.
  • Economic Impact Payments: Adult dependents who qualify for the $1,400 economic impact payments will receive this payment.
  • Funding tied to Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA):
    • 1) $2,580,000,000 for grants to states under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act;
    • 2) $200,000,000 for preschool grants under Section 619 of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act;
    • 3) $250,000,000 for programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

Plain language:

  • President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act. It provides money for Home and Community Based Services and education for students with disabilities.

What it means to you:

  • The money included in the Act for people with disabilities is a result of all the advocacy efforts of the disability community over the past year. We thank you for your contributions to these efforts.

Action steps:

  • Learn more about the American Rescue Plan Act:
  • Consider calling or emailing your Senators and Representatives to thank them for including funding for the disability community in the Act.
    • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives.
    • You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.
    • Note: If your Representative or Senator(s) did not vote for this legislation, you can thank them for their hard work on COVID-19 relief and share with them why the funding for HCBS, IDEA, or the inclusion of adult dependents in stimulus checks was important to you.

Disability Policy News March 8, 2021

March 8, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 9
COVID-19 Relief

The Senate passed an updated version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R.1319) on Saturday following hours-long voting on the COVID-19 relief legislation (50-49). The Senate-passed version does not include a provision included in the House-passed bill raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and it tightens the income eligibility limits for the $1,400 stimulus checks to $80,000 for an individual and $160,000 for a couple. The legislation will now return to the House to be voted on in its current form before heading to President Biden for his signature before the current enhanced unemployment insurance runs out on March 14th.

COVID-19 relief issues impacting the disability community:

Issue Biden Proposal Senate-passed Budget Reconciliation
Funding for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) None. Budget reconciliation includes 7.35{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055} FMAP increase for HCBS for one year.
Adult dependents included in Economic Impact Payments Yes. Yes.
Funding for Developmental Disabilities (DD) Network None. None.
Funding tied to Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) None. 1) $2,580,000,000 for grants to states under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act;

2) $200,000,000 for preschool grants under Section 619 of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act;

3) $250,000,000 for programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

Plain language:

  • Congress is working to pass COVID-19 relief. The goal is to pass it in March.

What it means to you:

  • Right now, there is some funding for the disability community in the COVID-19 relief proposal. However, continued advocacy will be needed to make sure that funding is passed. Now is the time to contact your Members of Congress.
    • In the House, let them know your needs. For example, your Home and Community-Based Services, stimulus payments, or education.
    • In the Senate, thank them for passage and let them know how these issues will impact the disability community.

Action steps:

  • Learn more about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021:
  • Learn more about the Budget Reconciliation process from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives.
    • You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.
    • Share AUCD’s top priorities for COVID-19 relief with House Representatives and give your thanks to Senators.
    • Consider sharing with your Members of Congress a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities‘, which summarizes the troubling data showing the risks of severe illness and death due to COVID-19 for individual with disabilities across living settings.

Disability Policy News March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 8
COVID-19 Relief

The House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R.1319) on Saturday (219 – 211). The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to face scrutiny from Republicans and moderate Democrats. As written, the bill includes a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour over the next five years and end subminimum wages, including 14(c) waivers for employees with disabilities. Due to a ruling on February 25th by Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth McDonough, the $15 minimum wage and provision to end subminimum wages will not be a part of the package as Senate negotiations begin.

The budget reconciliation process requires only a simple majority of 51 votes or 50 votes and Vice President Harris’s tie-breaking vote to pass the bill, as opposed to the 60 votes needed for typical legislation. A vote is expected before the current enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) expires on March 14th.

COVID-19 relief issues impacting the disability community:

Issue Biden Proposal Budget Reconciliation Legislation
Funding for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) None. Budget reconciliation includes 7.35{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055} FMAP increase for HCBS for one year. $9.7 billion COVID HCBS Relief Act reintroduced (H.R.525, S.151).
Adult dependents included in Economic Impact Payments Yes. Yes. Proposal for legislation from Sen. Smith (D-MN) and Rep. Craig (D-MN).
Funding for Developmental Disabilities (DD) Network None None. None.
Funding tied to individuals with Education in Disabilities Act (IDEA) None. None. Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act (S.240).

Plain language:

  • Congress is working to pass COVID-19 relief. The goal is to pass it in March.

What it means to you:

  • Right now, there is some funding for the disability community in the COVID-19 relief proposal. However, continued advocacy will be needed to make sure that funding is passed. Now is the time to contact your Members of Congress and tell them what you need, for example your Home- and Community-Based Services, stimulus payments, or education.

Action steps:

Disability Policy News February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 7
COVID-19 Relief

Last week House lawmakers continued to mark up the $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation proposal based on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Today, the House Budget Committee will combine the pieces from the other Committees into one legislative package. Once the Budget Committee has finished their own markups, the budget package will be brought to the House floor for a vote. It is expected that the Democratic majority House will pass the COVID-19 budget reconciliation within the next week. The legislation will then head to the Senate for consideration with a vote expected before March 14th when enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) is set to end.


COVID-19 relief issues impacting the disability community:

Issue Biden Proposal Budget Reconciliation Legislation
Funding for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) None. Budget reconciliation includes 7.35{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055} FMAP increase for HCBS for one year. $9.7 billion COVID HCBS Relief Act reintroduced (H.R.525, S.151).
Adult dependents included in Economic Impact Payments Yes. Yes. Proposal for legislation from Sen. Smith (D-MN) and Rep. Craig (D-MN).
Funding for Developmental Disabilities (DD) Network None None. None.
Funding tied to individuals with Education in Disabilities Act (IDEA) None. None. Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 Act (S.240).

Plain language:

  • Congress is working to pass COVID-19 relief. The goal is to pass it in March.

What it means to you:

  • Right now, there is some funding for the disability community in the COVID-19 relief proposal. However, continued advocacy will be needed to make sure that funding is passed. Now is the time to contact your Members of Congress and tell them what you need, for example your Home- and Community-Based Services, stimulus payments, or education.

Action steps:

Disability Policy News February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 6
Action Alert: #MedicaidCantWait Day of Action

AUCD is partnering with other organizations in the disability community for a national day of action tomorrow, Wednesday, February 17th, in support of COVID-19 relief for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS). These Medicaid-funded services are critical to helping people with disabilities remain in their homes and communities safely. People are currently being asked to stay home, yet this results in avoiding the community organizations that support them. Further investment is needed for people with disabilities and the direct support professionals who serve them to keep everyone safe and healthy.

We ask you to call your Representative and both Senators and ask that they support the inclusion of HCBS funds in the current COVID-19 relief negotiations. You can also tweet at your Members of Congress with the ask and the hashtag: #MedicaidCantWait. We know that funding for HCBS has been included in negotiations on past COVID-19 relief packages but never made it across the finish line, so it is crucial this system finally gets the funding it so desperately needs!

Plain language:

  • Tomorrow, February 17th, is a day of action in the disability community. We ask you to call your two Senators and Representative and tell them why it is important that Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services get money in COVID-19 relief.

What it means to you:

  • You can help people with disabilities who live in the community and the direct service professionals who support them get the things they need to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19. Be sure to call your Senators and Representative tomorrow!

Action steps:

  • Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 17th, email, call, and tweet at your two Senators and Representative and tell them #MedicaidCantWait.
  • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives.
    • You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.
  • Sample call script:

Hi, my name is (NAME), and I’m from (CITY, STATE).

I am (calling / writing) to urge you to make sure dedicated funding for Medicaid home and community based services is included in the final COVID-19 package. It is critical that you include the needs of disabled people in this package.

We have seen rampant rates of infection and death in congregate settings. Many disabled people rely on HCBS to live in their own homes, but people are struggling to stay there. Without more funding, many more people will be forced into nursing homes and other congregate settings, where they will be at much greater risk of catching COVID-19. The need for dedicated HCBS funding is more urgent than ever.

Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on you to protect your disabled constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(your name)

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL OR EMAILING: please leave your full street address and zip code. This will ensure your call or email is
tallied]

  • Sample tweets:

Congress must fund Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services to meet the emergency needs of people with disabilities and older adults living in the community. #MedicaidCantWait #whatweneed

People with disabilities & older adults rely on a network of services to stay in their homes and communities. They are asked to stay home during #COVID19, but this means avoiding the community organizations that serve them. We need investment in Medicaid #HCBS. #MedicaidCantWait

  • Note: it is important to include the Twitter handles of your Senators and Representative in your tweet to make sure they see it. You can find their Twitter handles by typing their names into the Twitter search box.

Disability Policy News February 8, 2021

February 8, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 5
Note: Due to President’s Day on February 15, 2021, the next Disability Policy News will be out on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

COVID-19 Relief

Both the Senate and House of Representatives approved a budget resolution on Friday that creates a path for COVID-19 relief efforts via budget reconciliation. This process allows lawmakers to pass a relief package with only a simple majority. Democrats currently hold the majorities in both the House and Senate. It is expected that most of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package will pass.

The process of budget reconciliation does not allow for policy changes, only changes to funding lines. The process is expected to take several weeks and even months as lawmakers negotiate details. Because of how budget reconciliation works we will not see detailed legislative language prior to passage. As currently proposed, the budget resolution includes $9.7 billion for Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services and includes adult dependents within the recipients of the $1400 Economic Impact Payments.

While lawmakers work through the budget reconciliation process, it is also possible that they will be able to negotiate a COVID-19 relief package passed through the typical legislative. President Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers continue to work on a potential COVID-19 relief package in place of the budget resolution. A bipartisan approach will require agreement of 60 Senators instead of the 50 Senators needed for budget reconciliation.

Plain language:

  • Congress is working to pass COVID-19 relief. The goal is to pass it in March.

What it means to you:

  • Right now, there is some funding for the disability community in the COVID-19 relief proposal. However, continued advocacy will be needed to make sure that funding is passed. Now is the time to contact your Members of Congress and tell them what you need, for example your Home- and Community-Based Services, stimulus payments, or education.

Action steps:

Disability Policy News February 1, 2021

February 1, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 4
COVID-19

The White House and lawmakers continue to negotiate aspects of President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The Plan, currently written as a framework rather than legislation, includes provisions to address the COVID-19 pandemic as both a health and an economic crisis. Of note to the disability community, the plan would include adult dependents in the proposed $1,400 direct stimulus payments. However, it does not name funding for Home- and Community-Based Services, education funding specifically tied to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), nor the Developmental Disabilities Act network. On January 28, 2021, the COVID HCBS Relief Act (H.R.525) was introduced in the House, which provides an emergency increase in federal funding for state Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS), funding that disability advocates continue to raise as an issue.

On Sunday, January 31, 10 Republican Senators announced plans to propose an alternative $600 billion dollar COVID relief package. Despite a series of bipartisan meetings, it is possible that Democrats will try to pass the President’s plan on their own. To do so, Congressional Democrats will need to invoke a complicated and rare Senate procedure called Budget Reconciliation.

Plain language:

  • President Biden and lawmakers are working on another COVID-19 relief package. We don’t yet know details of what is in it.

What it means to you:

  • Now is the time to contact your Members of Congress and tell them what you need, for example your Home- and Community-Based Services, healthcare, or education.

Action steps:

Legislative Action Alert 01/28/21

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Legislative

ACTION

ALERT

LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT #1

January 28, 2021

Dear Nellie,

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We need your help today. Do you know that people with disabilities are NOT protected under the Hate Crime law in Mississippi? We worked on getting this injustice corrected last legislative session but were unsuccessful. So we continue this year. We won’t stop until people with disabilities are protected! House Bill HB353 will finally right this wrong.

This legislation would protect all residents equally by adding disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity to our existing hate crimes law. A statewide hate crimes law would give local sheriffs and prosecutors the ability to investigate and prosecute crimes motivated by hate.

We need you to call or email TODAY and ask your Representative Nick Bain, Chairman of the Judiciary B Committee in the House of Representatives to support updating our state hate crime law.

  • Rep. Nick Bain, (601) 359-3770, nbain

Please don’t delay, make your calls now. Time is very short!

Thank you,

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Pam Dollar, Executive Director

Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities

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Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities

2 Old River Place Suite M

Jackson, Mississippi 39202

(601) 969-0601

www.msccd.org

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Forward this email

This email was forwarded to jerry.alliston, by Nellie Alliston.
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Disability Policy News January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 3
Biden Administration

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in an Inauguration Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol building. Guests were limited to family members, Members of Congress, past officials, and dignitaries as a security precaution following the insurrection at the Capitol two weeks previous. Appointments and conformations are underway. Leaders of note to the disability community include:

  • Acting Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator, Administration for Community Living (ACL): Alison Barkoff
  • Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities and Director of the Independent Living Administration: Reyma McCoy McDeid
  • Chairman National Council on Disability: Andrés J. Gallegos
  • General Counsel Office of Management and Budget: Sam Bagenstos

Plain language:

  • Joe Biden is now the President of the United States. Kamala Harris is now the Vice President of the United States.

What it means to you:

  • The transition to a new President and Vice President creates change in federal policy that impacts the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Action steps:

  • Watch the Inauguration Ceremony and related events on the Biden Presidential Inauguration Committee website.
    • Includes options for live captions, American Sign Language, audio description, and cued language transliteration.
  • Learn more about the people working in the Biden-Harris Administration on the White House website.
  • The official White House website features accessibility tools such as toggle print size, a high contrast option, and alt-text descriptions for most images. You can read their accessibility statement and ways to provide feedback on accessibility features here.

Disability Policy News January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 2
Inauguration Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20th, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States. The ceremony will take place at 12:00 pm on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. Attendance will be limited to Members of Congress due to strict safety protocols following the siege on the Capitol building two weeks ago. Many of the celebrations that traditionally take place following the event will be virtual, as had already been planned due to the pandemic. The Inaugural Committee will offer ASL interpreters, live captions and visual descriptions for events.

Plain language:

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will become the President and the Vice President of the United States tomorrow at noon.

What it means to you:

  • The new President, Vice President, and Administration will begin working immediately on COVID-19 relief, COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and other issues. We will learn better how to use our voices to advocate for the disability community in the coming weeks.

Action steps:

Disability Policy News January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 2
Inauguration Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20th, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States. The ceremony will take place at 12:00 pm on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. Attendance will be limited to Members of Congress due to strict safety protocols following the siege on the Capitol building two weeks ago. Many of the celebrations that traditionally take place following the event will be virtual, as had already been planned due to the pandemic. The Inaugural Committee will offer ASL interpreters, live captions and visual descriptions for events.

Plain language:

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will become the President and the Vice President of the United States tomorrow at noon.

What it means to you:

  • The new President, Vice President, and Administration will begin working immediately on COVID-19 relief, COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and other issues. We will learn better how to use our voices to advocate for the disability community in the coming weeks.

Action steps:

AUCD Disability Policy Priorities 2021

Disability Policy Priorities 2021

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs. AUCD’s mission is to advance policies and practices that improve the health, education, and social and economic well-being of all people with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and their communities by supporting our members in research, education, health, and service activities that achieve our vision.

COVID-19 Relief

Individuals with disabilities and their families have been disproportionately impacted1 by the dual public health and economic crises spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. The various health, education, employment, and social service systems that support individuals with disabilities are in desperate need of financial relief to continue meeting the needs of this vulnerable community.

Priority Action Steps:

1. Include individuals with disabilities among priority populations in Phases 1 and 2 of federal, state, and local COVID-19 vaccine allocation and distribution plans.

a. Expand definition of underlying conditions that cause “significantly higher risk” of severe COVID-19 symptoms and death in COVID-19 vaccine guidance to include individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities2,3.

b. Include both paid and unpaid4 caregivers (e.g. DSPs, therapists, family members) in Phases 1 and 2 of COVID-19 vaccine allocation to protect both the caregivers and individuals with disabilities.

c. Provide all information regarding COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine allocation and distribution in accessible5,6, clear, and consistent language.

1 https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20060780

2 https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/people-intellectual-developmental-disabilities- disproportionately-affected-covid-19

3 https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-4986

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151363/

5 https://www.aucd.org/conference/template/page.cfm?id=50214

6 https://www.plainlanguage.gov/about/definitions/

2. Secure additional, emergency funding for Home- and Community-Based Settings (HCBS) services to meet the needs of people with disabilities living in the community.

a. Continue to transition individuals with disabilities from congregate care settings where risk of COVID-19 infection is higher to safer HCBS, including long-term or permanent authorization of Money Follows the Person.

b. Ensure that workforce, economic, and public health systems are supporting the safe return to work for people with disabilities.

c. Invest in the systems that employ paid and unpaid caregivers to increase access to personal protective equipment (PPE), hazardous duty pay during COVID-19, and other measures for worker health and safety7.

d. Continue to push for federal and state agency collection on COVID-19 positivity counts and fatalities for both residents and staff in congregate care settings, including group homes, Intermediate Care Facilities, etc.

3. Maintain the full rights and protections afforded to students with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) throughout the public health crisis (e.g. access to Least Restrictive Environment, Individualized Education Plans).

a. Dedicate emergency education funds at the State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies levels to IDEA services to ensure funding supports Individualized Education Plan services designed for students with disabilities8 and Section 504 services for at-risk students.

b. Address the academic, social, and emotional impacts of interruptions to instruction caused by suspension of in-person education, and provide compensatory services as needed9.

Healthcare

Individuals with disabilities across the lifespan face considerable barriers and disparities in healthcare access, care, and outcomes10. The rights and protections secured by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are integral to the health of individuals with disabilities and to their and their families’ quality of life.

Priority Action Steps:

1. Further invest in Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to improve access and quality of care for individuals with disabilities11.

7 https://ici-s.umn.edu/files/iJphkG6fcN/dsp-covid-survey-results

8 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate- bill/4112/text?q={1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}7B{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}22search{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}22{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}3A{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}5B{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}22murray{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}22{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}5D{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}7D&r=2&s=6 9https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/frontpage/faq/rr/policyguidance/Supple Fact Sheet 3.21.20 FINAL.pdf

10 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/relatedconditions.html

11 https://www.kff.org/report-section/medicaid-financial-eligibility-for-seniors-and-people-with-disabilities- findings-from-a-50-state-survey-issue-brief/

a. Remove Medicaid’s Institutional Bias in Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS), which favors nursing facility care over Home- and Community- Based Settings12.

b. Expand offerings and coverage for services provided in HCBS.

c. Improve coverage for LTSS to support individuals with disabilities across the lifespan.

d. Secure permanent flexibility and reimbursement for telehealth services to better meet the needs of individuals with disabilities living in HCBS.

e. Ensure equitable access to telehealth services for individuals with disabilities and their families through improved wifi access, digital literacy training, etc.

f. Expand the number of and funding level for Disability and Health Grantees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2. Lower the cost of prescription drugs to reduce health disparities for individuals with disabilities who require them.

a. Adopt cost-lowering measures that do NOT index prescription drug cost to Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), which is a discriminatory policy toward individuals with disabilities13.

3. Promote influenza, COVID-19, and routine vaccines for individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who support them.

a. Provide all information on influenza and routine vaccines in accessible, clear, and consistent language.

b. Address common vaccine misconceptions and hesitancies in the disability community through community partnerships and targeted messaging.

4. Increase health outcomes and reduce health inequities by improving capacity of health and community organizations to address social determinants of health as related to individuals with disabilities and their families14.

5. Increase access to and coverage for mental health services for individuals with disabilities.

a. Expand funding for Children’s Mental Health Champions15 administered by the CDC.

Education

Quality education services for students with disabilities are necessary to securing stable employment and financial independence as adults. The services, rights, and protections afforded by the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA) provide long-term benefits to individuals with disabilities, their families, and their communities.

12 https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2017-01/Stretching{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}20Medicaid.pdf

13 https://aucdpolicytalk.org/2019/11/08/what-is-a-qaly/

14 https://www.tfah.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/SDOH-bill-fact-sheet.pdf

15https://www.aucd.org/template/news.cfm?news_id=14854&parent=505&parent_title=Archived{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}20News&url=/

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Priority Action Steps:

1. Pass the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA)16 to end harmful restraint and seclusion practices in schools. These practices are disproportionately applied to students with disabilities and students of color17.

2. Fully fund and enforce IDEA.

a. Fund training and technical assistance to the childcare workforce on developmental monitoring and interventions through IDEA Part C.

b. Protect the civil rights of all students with disabilities with the support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

c. Work with the U.S. Department of Education leadership on regulations, guidance, and initiatives related to least restrictive environment, inclusion of students with significant disabilities, disciplinary practices, etc.

3. Fully fund and support post-secondary programs for students with disabilities, including Think College and Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSIDs).

a. Ensure post-secondary students with disabilities receive necessary accommodations through the HEA.

4. Reauthorize the Assistive Technology Act of 1998.

a. COVID-19 highlighted the disparities in access to technology and gaps in Accessible Technology (AT) for students and workers with disabilities. Reauthorization should place an emphasis on coordination between AT programs, State Education Agencies, state/workforce labor agencies, and employee/employer organizations.

Workforce and Employment

Employment rates continue to lag for adults with disabilities compared to adults without disabilities. While some states have begun to transition toward competitive, integrated employment, progress is inconsistent. Over 100,000 individuals with disabilities continue to work in sheltered, segregated workshops for subminimum wages18.

1. Accelerate state and territory transition to competitive, integrated employment and supports in pursuit of ending all sheltered, segregated workshops.

a. Support the passage of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (introduced in the 116th Congress as H.R.873, S.260) or similar legislation that ends subminimum wages for individuals with disabilities through a multi-year phase-out.

b. Create federal incentives for states and territories to increase opportunities in and support systems for competitive, integrated employment for individuals with disabilities.

16 https://edlabor.house.gov/imo/media/doc/BEYER_142_xml.pdf

17https://www.aucd.org/template/news.cfm?news_id=15101&parent=1068&parent_title=Disability{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}20Policy{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}20

News{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}20Archive&url=/template/page.cfm?id{1e1718b102d2188b44c4459f5d1927437dc8ff6ce642cca5a89ff350d8d2d055}3D1068

18 https://www.usccr.gov/files/2020-09-17-Subminimum-Wages-Report.pdf

c. Include employees with disabilities in economic recovery efforts and climate-reform jobs.

2. Support federal and state efforts to professionalize the direct support professional (DSP) workforce.

a. Financially invest in the DSP workforce to promote workforce stabilization through efforts such as increasing pay, increased state reimbursement rates, and/or implementing a national credentialing system19.

Social Justice

The disability community includes individuals of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and other identities. Individuals with disabilities that have intersecting minority identities, such as Black, Hispanic, and/or American Indian, face significant, additional systemic barriers related to health, education, employment, and financial security20.

Priority Action Steps:

1. Engage in and promote anti-racist efforts at the national, state, and local levels.

a. Support the passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (introduced in the 116th Congress as H.R.116-317), which builds upon the protections afforded in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

2. Invest in national data collection, monitoring, and dissemination on the systemic disparities and inequities related to race and disability across the lifespan.

a. Identify disparate health, education, employment, family, and financial outcomes and needs of individuals with disabilities across racial and ethnic groups to inform systemic interventions21.

3. Include disability-specific considerations in federal policies, programs, and trainings.

a. The rights and needs of individuals with disabilities must be addressed in, but not limited to, efforts in:

i. Voting;

ii. Criminal Justice System;

iii. Domestic and sexual violence, and abuse and neglect;

iv. Housing;

v. Transportation;

vi. Climate change policy and clean energy investments;

vii. Emergency preparedness;

viii. Nutrition;

ix. Gender, sexuality, sex, and reproductive health education;

19https://www.nasddds.org/uploads/documents/Moving_from_Crisis_to_Stabilization_Credentialing_Repo

rt.pdf

20 https://www.nationaldisabilityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/race-ethnicity-and-disability- financial-impact.pdf

21 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/materials/infographic-disabilities-ethnicity-race.html

x. Mental health wellness;

xi. Allied health and public health professional training.

Appropriations

All AUCD network centers and programs are affected by the annual federal Budget and Appropriations process.

Priority Action Steps:

1. Fund the University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities authorized under The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) (P.L.106-402) through Fiscal Year 202222.

2. Fund the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LENDs) authorized under the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act (P.L.116-136) through Fiscal Year 202223.

3. Fund Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs), which receive core funding through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

4. Fund the Projects of National Significance (PNS) authorized under Section 162 of the DD Act (P.L.106-402) through Fiscal Year 202224.

5. Fund the Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) and the TPSID National Coordinating Center through Fiscal Year .

Disability Policy News January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021 | Vol. MMXXI, Issue 1
Omnibus and COVID-19 Relief Package

After a delay that created a gap in access to unemployment support for many Americans, President Trump signed the end-of-year Budget and COVID Package on December 27, 2020. The package funds all parts of the government for Fiscal Year 2021, provides some additional resources and relief to respond to the impacts of the COVID epidemic ,and extends key programs.

Plain language:

  • At the end of last year a large bill was passed and signed into law that funds government programs, helps some people who are hurt by COVID, and continues some programs.

What it means to you:

  • Adults who are not dependents and who do not make more than $75,000 a year will get a stimulus payment of $600.
  • States will be able to provide additional weeks of unemployment benefits to people who are out of work.
  • Government funded grants and programs, including those that support UCEDDS, LENDs, and IDDRCs will continue to be funded.
  • States will be able to continue or start Money Follows the Person projects that will help people leave institutions and nursing homes to live in the community.

Action steps:

  • Read the full Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
  • Reach out to members of Congress to educate them on the value and impact of funded programs such as UCEDDs, LENDs, and IDDRCs.
  • Learn more about the appropriations process from AUCD.
  • Contact your Members of Congress to share what needs still exist and need to be addressed in the ongoing COVID emergency.
  • Share AUCD’s top priorities and your stories about the impact of COVID-19 on your life with your Members of Congress.

Disability Policy News December 14, 2020

December 14, 2020 | Vol. MMXX, Issue 48
Appropriations

Congress passed and the president signed a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) (H.R.8900) to fund the federal government through December 18th. The CR funds the government for an additional week past the previous CR deadline of December 11th, as lawmakers continue to negotiate a larger spending bill for Fiscal Year 2021. In addition to extending funding at Fiscal Year 2020 levels, the CR extends health programs such as Money Follows the Person and Spousal Impoverishment Protections.

The House previously passed a set of appropriations bills to fund the government through Fiscal Year 2021 totaling $1.3 trillion (H.R.7617). The Senate released their own proposed funding measures in early November, but have not formally introduced any legislation. Negotiations continue between the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate with the goal of a large, omnibus bill to fund the government through the full Fiscal Year 2021, which ends September 30, 2021.

Funding levels related to AUCD:

FY2020 Funding AUCD FY2021 Ask House-passed Appropriations, 7/31/2020 (H.R.7617) Senate-proposed funding, FY2021
LENDs $35,245,000 $36,245,000 $35,245,000 $52,344,00

Topline

language says LEND but no LEND number

UCEDDs $41,619,000 $43,500,000 $41,619,000 $41,619,000
TPSID $11,800,000 $12,300,000 $11,800,000 $13,800,000
PNS $12,250,000 $14,000,000 $12,250,000 $12,250,000
NICHD $1,556,879,000 $1,600,000,000 $1,556,879,000 $1,657,606,000

Plain language:

  • The federal government has funding until December 18th. A funding bill needs to be passed by Congress and signed by President Trump by December 18th, or else the federal government will shut down. Congress is trying to pass a bill that will fund the government until September 30th, 2021.
    • A ‘shut down’ is when the federal government has to close down because Congress has not passed a bill to pay for it.

What it means to you:

  • It is important that the federal government passes a funding bill and stays open so that people can continue to access government services. This money is spent on different programs that support education, healthcare, job training, housing, and more, including the AUCD network.

Action steps: