2015 - 2016 Legislative Agenda Summary
Federal public policy is critical to ensuring that people with I/DD can live fully inclusive and productive lives in the community. These policies include:
Budget and Tax
Sufficient tax revenue must be raised in order to appropriately fund social insurance (Social Security, Medicare), safety net (Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)), and discretionary programs (such as housing, education, employment, and transportation) that people with I/DD rely on for their health, safety, and wellbeing.
Civil rights must be preserved through vigilant enforcement of laws and regulations as well as strong opposition to efforts that limit the rights of people with I/DD.
Community-Based Long Term Supports & Services
These must be widely accessible, consumer controlled, and provided in the community without the requirement that people impoverish themselves in order to obtain assistance with activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, taking medication, and preparing meals.
Direct Support Professionals
These professionals must be well trained and fairly compensated to provide the necessary supports and services for people with I/DD where they work and live.
The education system must help people with I/DD to achieve their full potential and independence by having high expectations, integrated instruction by highly qualified teachers, inclusive classrooms, appropriate assessments, and only using positive behavioral supports to address problem behaviors.
Supported employment programs must be expanded to provide more job development, placement, and coaching, skills training, and other services necessary to help find and maintain integrated employment for people with I/DD.
Counseling, support groups, respite, training, cash assistance, and information and referral must be made widely available to family caregivers, especially those who are aging, and who provide supports in the community. This will help avoid costly and unwanted institutional placements of individuals with I/DD.
People with I/DD must have timely access to high quality, comprehensive, accessible, affordable, and individualized health care services to improve and maintain health and functioning.
An adequate supply of safe, accessible, integrated, and affordable supportive housing in the community for people with I/DD must be available.
This program is the single largest funding source of both acute health care and long term supports and services for people with I/DD. It must be preserved and rebalanced to make home and community based services the norm and institutional services the exception.
Social Security & SSI
This system provides the primary income sources for many people with significant disabilities to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. Benefits and eligibility must be maintained and the long-term financial future of these programs must be considered outside of deficit reduction efforts.
Technology must be accessible and made widely available to persons who may benefit from it to make communication, education, independent living, and employment opportunities available for people with I/DD.
Accessible transportation programs must be expanded and anti-discrimination policies must be enforced to help people with I/DD access employment, health care, recreational activities, and other aspects of community living.
Many additional federal policy issues greatly affect people with I/DD. They include quality of services, Developmental Disabilities Act programs, research, prevention, and emergency management.
The Arc, AAIDD, ANCOR, NACDD, and UCP 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.