Long Term Community Services and Supports Legislative Agenda for the 112th Congress (2011-2012)

The demand for long-term supports is a critical issue in the 21st century.  However, the nation has lacked a comprehensive, proactive national public-private system for delivering long term supports. The current system is a patchwork of inadequate funding—with the largest source of federal funds provided by the Medicaid program that requires most people to be impoverished to receive supports.  With the first of the “baby boomers” now retiring, the need for qualified support workers and family caregivers will exacerbate severe inequities in the ability of individuals with significant disabilities of all ages to live in homes of their own choice. 

In order to meet this national challenge, the federal government must take the lead in developing a coordinated, comprehensive approach to long-term supports and services.  Since Medicaid has become the core of federally supported long term services and supports, the philosophy of the Medicaid program must be changed to reflect the preference for community-based services over institutional services. Significant progress has been made with the enactment of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, as part of the Affordable Care Act, to establish a national long-term supports insurance program.  This insurance plan will assist people in meeting their needs and allow many to avoid impoverishing themselves to become eligible for the Medicaid program.

To meet this challenge, the 112th Congress must:

  • Expand, modernize, and, where appropriate, maintain national policies that provide individual supports.  Such supports should encourage individual control of services, self-sufficiency, and personal responsibility among our constituents.  Such services and supports must be:
    -  consumer controlled;
    -  inclusive of personal assistance services and assistive technology appropriate for each individual;
     -  designed and implemented to meet individual needs;
     -  widely accessible; and
    -  provided in the community. 

       Such a system should avoid the need for people to impoverish themselves to qualify for services;

  • Support the full implementation of, and oppose the repeal of, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) plan which is a  national, long term supports insurance program that is premium-based and non-means-tested, that will cover most workers, and that will provide cash benefits to assist beneficiaries while avoiding the need to impoverish themselves to qualify for Medicaid;

  • Ensure adequate funds for federal monitoring and implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision;

  • Provide incentives to community-based organizations  to utilize innovative technologies to enhance delivery of services and supports, such as home monitoring and communications technologies; and

  • Amend federal law to allow military and other federal employee pension and survivor benefits to be paid to a trust established for an individual with disabilities, to allow for the long-term support of the individual.

Legislative Agenda Partners

We are national organizations that serve and advocate for people with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities. We work together to shape, expand, and protect a strong federal role that provides vital benefits, services and supports and assures civil rights for our constituency.