Congress is currently drafting the 3rd COVID-19 relief package, and it is vital that they hear about the needs of people with disabilities and the service system that supports them to live and work in their communities!


We need to educate Congress on critical needs
of people with disabilities so they are included
in the next COVID-19 relief package!


Background:

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has drafted considerations for the Senate around supplemental appropriations (grants to states) to expand access to Medicare/Medicaid and Nutritional Services for older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions. This includes addressing the critical health and economic needs pf front-line workers and family caregivers. We anticipate similar discussions to take place in the House of Representatives in the coming days.

Of specific interest to the APSE community, the proposal includes grants to states to enhance access to vital home and community-based services (HCBS), via any program providing HCBS that is operating under a State Medicaid program, whether or not the program is operating under waiver authority. Funds would be used to supplement (not supplant) existing State funds for HCBS.


Areas of identified need:

  • Increased rates for home health and direct service worker (DSP) agencies to provide HCBS
  • To provide paid sick leave, paid family leave, and paid medical leave to DSPs
  • To provide hazard pay, overtime pay, and shift differential pay
  • To provide HCBS to eligible individuals who are on waiting lists for HCBS programs
  • To purchase emergency supplies and equipment necessary to enhance access to services and to protect the health & well-being of DSPs
  • To pay for DSP travel to conduct HCBS
  • To recruit new DSPs
  • To support family care providers of eligible individuals with needed supplies, equipment and pay
  • To pay for training for DSPs specific to COVID-19 emergency
  • To pay for assistive technology, staffing and other costs incurred during the public health emergency in order to facility community integration and implementation of an individual’s person-centered service plan
  • To support DSPs going to nursing facilities, institutions and quarantine settings to provide services to individuals who usually receive HCBS but have chosen to temporarily move to a more restrictive setting
  • To prepare information and educational materials in accessible formats about prevention, treatment and recovery of COVID-19, including formats accessible to people with low literacy or intellectual disability
  • To pay for ASL interpreters to assist in providing HCBS and to inform the public about COVID-19
  • To allow for day service providers to shift to providing home-based services
  • To pay for COVID-19 testing in home settings
  • To pay for other expenses deemed appropriate and which meet the criteria of the HCBS settings rule


TAKE ACTION!

Contact your Members of Congress and ask them to ensure that
COVID-19 relief includes addressing the critical health and economic needs of older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions, front-line workers and family caregivers.

  1. Call your state legislators and/or members of Congress (U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or Google the phone number for your local office). Don't forget to provide your name and city/state where you live.
  2. Send a Tweet or a Facebook Message to your members.

Uncertain who your Members of Congress are? Find out here: