Capitol Insider

Major Events Last Week

Family Support – Older Americans Act Reauthorization Introduced in Senate;
Expands Eligibility for Family Support Services

The Senate reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (S. 192) was introduced on
January 20 by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
(HELP) Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA),
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  Among many
other things, it includes a fix to the National Family Caregiver Support Program
(NFCSP)
 which provides information to caregivers about available services,
assistance in accessing services, individual counseling, support groups, and
caregiver training, respite care, and supplemental services.   The Arc supports this
legislation as it would extend NFCSP eligibility to older caregivers of their adult
children (age 19 to 59) with disabilities.

Employment – Home Care Final Rule

As anticipated, last week the Department of Labor (DOL) filed an appeal to the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the lawsuit brought by
associations of home care companies (Home Care Association of America v. Weil,
Civil Action No. 14-967), which challenged the Home Care Final Rule. In particular,
the suit challenged DOL’s authority t o 1) revise the definition of companionship
services and 2) discontinues the exemption of overtime compensation by third
party employers of home care workers who provide companionship services.

Employment – Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated
Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Meeting Held

Last week, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated
Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, which was mandated by Section 609
of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, held its first meeting. David Mank,
PhD,
was elected to chair the committee.  The Committee is an exc ellent
opportunity to bring together stakeholders to recommend programs and policies to
increase competitive integrated employment for people with I/DD.  To access the
Committee Charter, meeting agenda, testimony, meeting minutes, and other
updates, click here.
Major Events Ahead

Family Support – Senate Committee to Consider Older Americans Act
Reauthorization

The Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will mark up S. 192,
the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act on January 28, in executive session.
For more information, see: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=
8203cb2b-5056-a032-5272-463e29c38d78.

Announcements

Social Security – Agency to Expand Field Office Hours

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the agency will
expand its hours nationwide. Effective March 16, 2015, SSA field offices will be open
to the public for an additional hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
A field office that is usually open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. will remain open until
4:00 p.m.  Offices will continue to close to the public at noon every Wednesday. As
previously reported, over the last several years SSA has reduced the hours that its
field offices are open to the public as well as field office services, due to funding
constraints. The Arc strongly supports adequate administrative funding for SSA to
ensure that the service needs of the public, including people with disabilities, are met.

State of the Union Address

Last week President Obama addressed the nation through the State of the Union
Address
Sar a Wolff, member of The Arc of Pennsylvania’s board of directors and
ABLE advocate, was in attendance as an invited guest of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
and granted The Arc a phone interview about her experience.

Within the address, the President outlined proposals which stand to benefit people
with I/DD and their families including: supports to working families (e.g., child care,
paid leave, minimum wage), tools needed to increase workers’ wage earning potential
(quality pre-K, community college, student loans, apprenticeships), and what
businesses need to generate more jobs and higher wages (e.g., trade, tax reform,
and research and development).  Among his remarks, President Obama specifically
mentioned disability, stating “I want future generations to know that we are a people
who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and
worth of every citizen – man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and
Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness
or physical disability.”

Marchand Internship – Application for Summer 2015 Session Due Feb 15

The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer
session to assist interns interested in pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  See Application
information
 and Internship FAQs for more information.  For 38 years, Paul Marchand
was a dedicated disability policy advo cate and recognized leader working on behalf of
people I/DD and the larger disability community. Upon his retirement in 2011, The Arc,
with substantial contributions from United Cerebral Palsy, other organizations, and
individuals with whom Paul worked during his decades in Washington, established an
internship to honor Paul and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates.


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