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Website Home December 15, 2011
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Wrapping up 2011, New Budget Threats for New Year

Despite the failure of the Congressional Super Committee to reach agreement on a plan to cut the deficit, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are not out of the woods yet. The Committee’s failure means that deeper, across the board spending cuts take effect starting in January 2013 that exclude these entitlement programs. But because many Members of Congress are balking at including defense programs in this round of cuts, they could pass legislation to change the formula, putting Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security back on the table. Stay connected by signing up for our action alerts and our weekly policy e-newsletter, Capitol Insider, and help us fight to protect these vital services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

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Sibling Leadership Network Donate Now! Becky Wilkinson with Jon Stewart
Are You a Sibling? Get Involved with Our New Council! Give the Gift of Achievement Dreams Fulfilled with Help from Hammer, The Arc
The Arc recently announced two major initiatives for siblings of people with I/DD– a partnership with the national Sibling Leadership Network (SLN), and the formation of The Arc’s National Sibling Council. Under this new partnership, The Arc and SLN will develop and offer dedicated programming for siblings at The Arc’s National Convention and other events. Born out of this partnership is the creation of The Arc’s National Sibling Council, which is a great opportunity for siblings of people with I/DD to connect and help shape the future of the disability movement. Get involved on the ground floor of this new council now! As we come to the end of 2011, we hope that you have enjoyed reading our e-newsletter. With six free editions a year, our goal is to inform you about what The Arc is doing to help people with I/DD achieve their dreams. Give the gift of achievement with a year-end tax-deductible contribution to The Arc today! Your generosity ensures that The Arc, through our network of more than 700 chapters, can provide the resources, tools, education, training, support, and services so the 7 million Americans with I/DD have the same opportunity we all have to achieve! Susan Wilkinson thought that her daughter Becky’s dream of visiting New York was just that - a dream. Becky, 27, lives with Cerebral Palsy and Anthrogryposis, making travel a challenge for many reasons, from mobility to financial concerns.

Then, Susan received an email from The Arc about an individual with an electric wheelchair who took a trip with Hammer. With Hammer’s help, some celebrity assistance, and Susan’s hard work, Becky’s dream vacation became a reality. Read more about her trip on our blog.

The White House Hosts “Champions of Change”
On December 1st, eleven Native American youth were honored at the White House as Champions of Change, including Morgan Fawcett of California.

Morgan was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) when he was 15 years old. He decided that he wanted to raise awareness about FASD, and so he got involved with the “Self-Advocates with FASD in Action” network, run by The Arc and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration FASD Center for Excellence. Morgan organized concerts and benefits allowing him to speak about FASD at schools, colleges, hospitals, churches and other places. Learn more about Morgan and his White House trip.

New Resource for Parents with Children Transitioning to Life in the Community
The Arc of Massachusetts has created a comprehensive guide for parents of individuals with I/DD to reference as their child transitions from school to adult life, which can be difficult for both parents and children.

This valuable resource also provides a timeline that shows where a child should be from age 13-22 and explains how the transition process works. And, it offers important suggestions as to what parents can do to prepare for this turbulent time. Check out the brochure [PDF].

Social Security Checks to Grow in 2012
The Social Security Administration recently announced that beneficiaries will get a 3.6 percent increase next year, their first raise since 2009. For the millions of Americans that rely on Social Security to get by, this increase is long overdue. The Arc is particularly pleased to see that Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, including 6 million non-elderly people with disabilities, will also see an increase in their checks to help meet their day-to-day needs. Learn more about Social Security, including the estimated average monthly benefit payable in January 2012.
New Life in Congress for the ABLE Act
In November, The Arc joined Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to announce the introduction of the “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2011” (ABLE Act) at the U.S. Capitol. The ABLE Act gives individuals with disabilities new opportunities to save and plan for their futures through tax advantaged savings accounts. These “ABLE accounts” will allow individuals and their families to save for expenses that will help them lead independent lives. Learn more about the ABLE Act on our blog.
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