Congress has passed two bills to respond to the coronavirus pandemic – but more must still be done to support people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professionals (DSP) workforce.
The entire country is facing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, but people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. People with disabilities are more likely to have underlying health conditions and live in poverty – this means that they will be disproportionately impacted and need ongoing support.
The second Coronavirus Relief Bill was an important step in getting people the support they need. It included increased funding for state Medicaid programs, and it expanded sick leave for workers, including for some workers who support people with disabilities to live independently.
We must ask Members of Congress to pass a new bill to address the ongoing needs of people with disabilities during this crisis, including:
- Additional funding to create a Medicaid grant program to support access to home and community-based services (to combat institutionalization) and to support the DSP workforce.
- A permanent reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. MFP funds states to move people with disabilities and seniors back into the community, after time in a nursing home or hospital setting.
- Economic stimulus and raising asset limits. Congress is considering making direct payments to low-income Americans. People with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid are subject to strict asset limits, and those asset limits must be raised to ensure that this stimulus does not put crucial benefits at risk.
Without this legislation, people with disabilities continue to face possible institutionalization, which would violate their rights and risk their health.
Urge Congress to ensure that the rights and needs of people with disabilities continue to be center to coronavirus relief legislation!
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