Policy Issues Affecting People with Disabilities

Historically, people with disabilities have been denied fundamental human and civil rights. It is a history marked by institutionalization, abuse and neglect. The twentieth century signaled a turning point with the passage of hard-won landmark federal legislation that altered the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Despite the great strides toward expanding the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, many obstacles still stand in the way of their living fully inclusive lives.

Budget and Appropriations

People with disabilities frequently rely on a number of federally funded programs in order to live in the community. These include health care, education, employment, housing, long term services and supports, and transportation programs.

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Civil Rights

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have faced decades of hardship when it comes to exercising their civil rights. Issues range from being denied appropriate education, housing, transportation and more.

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Education

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities face many challenges in obtaining a quality education. While there have been some significant legislative victories, there are still many barriers to receiving a proper education such as segregated settings and a lack of qualified special education teachers.

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Employment

Employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities remains a critical issue, as they face hardships over wages, training and support. People with disabilities deserve to be active participants in the workforce.

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Family Support

As our society continues to depend on the active engagement of family caregivers for the support of individuals with I/DD, it is essential to meet the needs of those caregivers to continue providing care in the community instead of more costly and unwanted institutions.

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Health Care

Health care issues greatly impact the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, as they battle with discrimination, poor quality of care and affordability.

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Housing

People with disabilities encounter various barriers when it comes to the availability of community-based housing. With a shortage in funding for Section 811 Housing, people with disabilities struggle to find safe, accessible and affordable households.

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Long Term Supports & Services

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities often need long term care to address their health conditions. Several issues prevent people with disabilities from getting the appropriate care they need, forcing them to be placed on waiting lists or the possibility of institutional care.

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Medicaid

Medicaid presents several issues for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially because it has a strong institutional bias drawing funding away from home and community-based services. Waiting lists, provider reimbursement rates, health care provider training and accessible medical are other Medicaid issues people with disabilities must face.

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Social Security

Millions of individuals with disabilities depend on Social Security programs to live, yet they face difficulty when the programs fail to meet the needs of the people who are intended to be served.

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