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.
- Inclusive economic stimulus and raising asset limits. Congress should ensure that any economic stimulus goes to people with disabilities, including those receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid who are subject to strict asset limits which should be raised to ensure that this stimulus does not put crucial benefits at risk.
- Paid leave for caregivers for people with disabilities. In the last bill, Congress covered sick days for many workers, but did not include caregivers for people with disabilities who have lost or will lose usual sources of care.
- No limitations on civil rights protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act can be included in the legislation.