Jamey Helgeson: COVID-related IDEA Funding Bill introduced

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 10, 2020

On Oct. 2, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced the Supporting Children With Disabilities During COVID Act (H.R. 8523). This bill provides an additional $12 billion in Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding, including $11 billion in state grants, $900 million for preschool and early intervention, and $300 million for personnel development. Furthermore, it provides $55 million for Assistive Technology Act programs.

Tell your senators to include the disability community in COVID-19 relief bills. People with disabilities and those who support them can’t be left behind!

The critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce must be included in the next coronavirus relief bill.

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The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that includes many of our top asks, but the bills that have been introduced and voted on in the Senate have NOT addressed most of the critical needs of people with disabilities!

Your senators need to hear from you so that these and other important provisions remain in the bill that ultimately passes:

• Dedicated funding for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). These funds are necessary to serve people with disabilities in their homes and communities and will provide better wages and support for the DSP workforce. Access to HCBS will limit the risk of people with disabilities being put in institutions.

• Personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals. This is urgently needed to protect the health and safety of this critical workforce. DSPs must be designated as essential workers so that they can get access to the PPE and medical supplies they need.

• Paid leave for all caregivers. As more people with disabilities lose their usual sources of care, family caregivers are scrambling and need access to paid leave and sick days to help their loved ones. Congress should include all family caregivers in the emergency paid leave provisions.

• Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities. Tell Congress to make sure that stimulus payments are available to everyone, including adults with disabilities who are claimed as dependents.

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Upcoming Events

• Tuesday: Virtual Program: Trivia, 6 p.m.

• Wednesday: In-Person Program: Bowling League, 4 p.m.

• Thursday: Virtual Program: Virtual Tours, 6 p.m.

• Friday: In-Person Program: Parking Lot Dance Party, 4 p.m.

• Oct. 20: Virtual Program: Crafts, 6 p.m.

• Oct. 21: In-Person Program: Bowling League, 4 p.m.

• Oct. 22: Virtual Program: Karaoke, 6 p.m.

• Oct. 23: In-Person Program: Roll and Stroll, 4 p.m.