Below is an excerpt from a call to action from our friends at The ARC of Oklahoma. Please be sure to click on the link at the bottom of the article and let your voice be heard.
For years, the service system that people with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) and their families rely on, Medicaid, has needed an update. People are stuck on waiting lists, the direct care workforce is underpaid, and too often, unpaid family caregivers are filling in the gaps in service. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified these problems and exposed the cracks and gaps in the care infrastructure when it comes to supporting people with disabilities.
Now, following the Administration’s proposals, Congress has introduced the Better Care Better Jobs Act. This bill includes a long-overdue investment in the disability service system as part of a COVID-19 economic recovery to support care for Medicaid recipients and create more and better jobs for the workforce that provides that care.
We must ask Members of Congress to enact legislation that lives up to this plan and do more for people with disabilities, their families, and the direct care workforce. We need:
Passage of the Better Care Better Jobs Act to fund expanded access to Medicaid HCBS for people with disabilities on waiting lists and to address the direct care workforce crisis, including raising wages. This effort will also allow unpaid family caregivers who have been filling in the gaps of service for far too long to re-enter the workforce.
A national paid leave program. The pandemic forced millions of people to choose between their own health, the health of their families, and their livelihood. We must invest in our care infrastructure and pass a national paid leave program that guarantees paid leave to family caregivers.
Improvements to the Supplemental Security Income program. The lowest income people with disabilities who rely on SSI receive extremely limited benefits and cannot have more than $2,000 in savings, an amount that has not been updated since 1984. SSI benefits, asset limits, and other program rules must be updated to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.
CLICK HERE and Act Now: Urge your Members of Congress to meet the needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct care workforce!