Congress needs to do more for the disabled community about: COVID-19
Congress voted on a third bill to deal with the impact of COVID-19. The $ 2 trillion bill includes some small pieces for people with disabilities, but fails to recognize the full needs of our community. People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19; not only from the virus itself, but also from the tensions in the healthcare system and disruption of routine services and infrastructure. Congress must ensure that future bills specifically and meaningfully address the consequences of COVID-19 for the disabled community. Our lives, our safety and our civil rights are all online.
The bill is taking some small but important steps to engage the disabled community. People with disabilities who rely on SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, and other income or asset limit programs will be able to receive incentive checks without being penalized. Medicaid providers who support people with disabilities will have access to small business loans and may apply for a limited pool of new Medicaid funding to respond to the pandemic. Direct support professionals who work for people with developmental disabilities will be able to come with us if we have to go to the hospital, forever fixing the longstanding problem of Medicaid withdrawal. Money follows the face was funded until November, providing another tool for the displacement of people with disabilities dangerous meeting settings during this crisis. The Community Life Administration received $ 995 million in pandemic response, including $ 85 million in support of Independent Living Centers. Important programs for people with disabilities such as SNAPs, education and housing have all received additional funding.
However, the bill largely fails to respond to the deep crisis facing the disabled community. In the days and weeks leading up to this vote, the disabled community communicated clearly and often with Congress about what we need. Congress has made the choice to ignore many of our most pressing issues. The bill does not include:
- Adequate funding for Medicaid to ensure that states are able to provide care for all who need it.
- Specific grants for home and community services to support people with disabilities in our homes and communities during the severe shortage of workers caused by COVID-19.
- permanent the reauthorization of money follows the personality necessary for states to make full use of the program and to deinstitutionalize as many people as possible. This is required from 2016.
- Recognizing direct care workers as essential personal ones so that they can have access to personal protective equipment and other important resources to protect themselves and the people they support.
- Clear prohibition on discrimination in COVID-19 healthcare – even though they are advocates for the rights of people with disabilities the whistle blows for countries around the country that consider us less worthy of life.
- Fixing the emergency COVID-19 paid leave program to include family care for adults with disabilities, not just children.
- Adequate funding to support all students with disabilities, especially those for whom distance learning is not available. In addition, the bill asks Secretary DeVos to recommend which parts of IDEA and Section 504, which she believes should be repealed, further jeopardizing the rights of students with disabilities.
- While people who rely on SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, and similar programs will be able to receive incentive checks without affecting the income or asset limit, people must file taxes to receive those checks. For the nearly 4 million SSI taxpayers because they have no other income, this is a significant barrier that needs to be fixed.
- The bill makes it easier for Medicare people to obtain an additional 90-day supply of their medicines in case of emergency, but does not include Medicaid people or private insurance. In addition, it does not include disabled people who rely on controlled substances.
These needs are serious and urgent. If not addressed immediately, people with disabilities will lose important services that support us in our homes, schools and communities. We will not get the healthcare we need and our civil rights will be violated. But Congress has already taken a break and has no plans to return until May. For many disabled people, it may be too late. Congress they should not stop working until it has completely dealt with what our entire country needs, including people with disabilities in this crisis. ASAN urges Congress to immediately assemble, if necessary, remotely, and begin work on a fourth bill, which is finally addressed by all of us.
The Autistic Self-Defense Network is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization run by and for people with autism. ASAN was created to serve as a national disability organization for the autism community, run by and for autistic Americans, advocating for change in systems and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and halls power. Our staff works to educate communities, support self-protection in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN members and supporters include adults and youth with autism, cross-disability advocates and non-autistic family members, professionals, caregivers and friends.