Capitol Insider

For the week of June 23rd

Major Events Last Week

Social Security – Senate Finance Committee Approves Nominees to the
Social Security Advisory Board

Last week the Senate Committee on Finance approved three nominees to the Social
Security Advisory Board
(SSAB): Doctors Henry Aaron, Lanhee Chen, and Alan
Cohen. Dr. Aaron was approved by a 13-11 vote and Doctors Chen and Cohen were
approved unanimously.   The SSAB is an independent, bipartisan board created by
Congress and appointed by the President and the Congress to advise the President,
the Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on matters related to the
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs.  A vote by the full
Senate has not yet been scheduled.
Social Security – Senate Holds Hearing on Reduction in Face-to-Face
Services at the Social Security Administration

Last Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on
“Reduction in Face-to-Face Services at the Social Security Administration.”
Witnesses were Tammy DeLong, Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, Presque Isle,
ME; Nancy A. Berryhill, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security
Administration; Scott Hale, President, National Council of Social Security
Management Associations; Brenda Holt, Commissioner, Gadsden County, FL.
Visit the Committee website to view archived videos of the hearing, opening
statements b y Chairman Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ranking Member Susan Collins
(R-ME), and written testimony.  Additionally, a Committee staff memo summarizes
the Committee’s investigation into face-to-face service reductions in advance of
the hearing.

Social Security – President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate Carolyn
Colvin as Commissioner of Social Security

Last Friday, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Carolyn W. Colvin
as Commissioner of Social Security.  Ms. Colvin is currently Deputy Commissioner
of Social Security and has served as the Acting Commissioner of Social Security
since February 2013, after the term for former Commissioner Michael J. Astrue
expired on January 19, 2013.  The Commissioner of Social Security serves a six-
year term that begins immediately upon the expiration of the prior Commissioner’s
term.  By law, a Commissioner appoi nted after the 6 year term starts serves only
for the remainder of the term; if confirmed by Congress, Ms. Colvin’s term would
expire January 19, 2019.

Housing – Senate Confirms Gustavo Velasquez as HUD Assistant Secretary
for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Last Thursday, the Senate confirmed by a vote of 54 to 38 Gustavo Velasquez
Aguilar as the next Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
(FHEO) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
FHEO administers federal laws and establishes nationa l policies that make sure all
Americans, including people with disabilities, have equal access to the housing of
their choice.  Particular activities include implementing and enforcing the Fair Housing
Act and other civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section
109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the
Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972,
and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

Employment/Home and Community-Based Services – Department of Labor
Offers Additional Interpretation on the Application of Employment Law on
Consumer Directed Services

Last week the Department of Labor (DOL) provided additional interpretation on how
the home care rules apply to consumer directed services funded by Medicaid.  States
and provider organizations had raised concerns about how the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA) requirements about who is an employer apply to these services.  The
interpretation will require each public or private agency that administers or participates
in a consumer-directed, Medicaid-funded home care program to evaluate whether it is
an employer under the FLSA.  The interpretation provides several examples of how
FLSA requirements apply to different situations.  Guidance and additional information
about the rule can be found on the DOL website.

Announcements

Family Support/Employment – White House is Seeking Input on Supporting
Working Families

Workplace policies are critical to promoting employment and work-family balance for
both people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and for family
caregivers of children and adults with I/DD.  There are approximately 2.9 million family
caregivers of persons with I/DD in the U.S.  According to The Arc’s Family and
Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey
, most of these family
caregivers provide more than 40 hours of care per week which can create significant
employment barriers for caregivers.   Today the White House is hosting a summit to
learn about how the workplace can better support working families.  For example,
workplace policies that offer greater flexibility—such as the ability to adjust work hours,
work from home, or have a predictable shift schedule—can play an important role in
enabling workers to handle both their work and family responsibilities.  It is critical that
the disability community be heard in this national conversation.  Share how your family
would benefit from 21st-century workplace policies
.
The Arc’s “New and Improved” National Convention

Thank you to the hundreds of past attendees of The Arc’s National Convention who
shared their thoughts on how we could improve our annual event. We learned from all
of the survey responses what you really want from this important event, and this year
you can expect a fresh and exciting program in New Orleans from September 30 –
October 2.

We are thrilled to announce Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize- winning journalist and author
will be one of our keynote speakers. His latest work, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks,
Heroes and Autism
, chronicles his family’s twenty year struggle with their youngest son’s
autism. Ron will be attending convention with his son Owen and his wife Cornelia.  Plus,
Fred Maahs, Director of National Partnerships for Comcast Corporation and Vice
President of Comcast Foundation, will speak about his personal experience as a person
with a disability, his commitment to community service, and the benefits of corporate/
nonprofit partnerships.

Visit our newly redesigned Convention website and register today!


Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
 
Tony@www.thearcofil.org