Getting ready for the first day of Speak UP & Speak OUT!
for the week of November 2nd, 2015
Action AlertParents of Children with Disabilities Should Have Paid Sick Leave
Major Events Ahead
Social Security – Joint Economic Committee to Hold Hearing on Social
Security Disability Insurance
On Wednesday, the Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing on
“Ensuring Success for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program and
its Beneficiaries.” Witnesses will include Patrick O’Carroll, Jr., Inspector
General of the Social Security Administration; Mark Duggan, the Trione
Director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the
Wayne and Jodi Cooperman Professor of Economics at Stanford University;
and Rebecca Vallas, Director of Policy for the Poverty to Prosperity Program
at the Center for American Progress. Visit the Joint Economic Committee web site for more information.
Major Event Last Week
Budget & Appropriations – Congress Passes Budget Deal
Late last week, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
(HR 1314) providing a measure of relative budgetary stability after months
of uncertainty. President Obama signed the measure today. The legislation
suspends the debt limit until March 15, 2017 and contains a number of
provisions that are relevant to the disability community:
Reallocating Social Security payroll taxes on a temporary basis, to allow
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to pay full promised benefits
until the third quarter of 2022. This action will prevent the 20% cut in SSDI
that had been projected at the end of 2016. The legislation also includes a
number of provisions that seek to enhance payment accuracy and program
administration, and authorizes a demonstration project that would test a new
SSDI benefit offset to test ways to end the SSDI “cash cliff” for beneficiaries
attempting to work.
Raising the spending caps on discretionary programs. The caps on defense
and non-defense discretionary (NDD) accounts will be raised by $80 billion
above the sequester level for fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017. Many
disability-related programs (such as housing, education, and employment)
fall under the NDD funding category which will increase by approximately
5% for both fiscal years.
Limiting the expected increase in 2016 Medicare Part B premiums for the
30% of beneficiaries not already protected from the increase.
Repealing a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required employers
with more than 200 employees to automatically enroll new employees in a
health insurance plan if one is offered. This provision had not yet been
New Members of Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
Last week, Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services,
announced the new public members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating
Committee (IACCC). IACC is a federal advisory committee, initiated by
Congress in an effort promote research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
The IACC is intended to improve coordination and communication regarding
autism research, services, and opportunities across four federal
departments (Health & Human Services, Education, Defense, and
Environmental Protection Agency) and seven federal agencies. Newly
appointed committee members include The Arc’s Amy Goodman, Samantha
Crane of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), and Shannon Haworth,
team member at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).
Other appointees are: Dr. David Amaral, Dr. James Ball, Dr. David Mandell,
Brian Parnell, Dr. Kevin Pelphrey, Dr. Edlyn Peña, Dr. Louis Reichardt, Dr.
Robert Ring, John Elder Robison, Alison Singer, and Dr. Julie Lounds Taylor.
Finally, Dr. Bruce Cuthbert, Acting Director of National Institute of Mental
Health (NIMH), has been appointed to serve as the IACC Chair over the
Health Care—Open Enrollment Begins November 1st.
Now is the time for individuals who are uninsured or looking for affordable
health insurance to investigate the private health insurance plans available
through state marketplaces (to find your state information visit the health
care website). During “open enrollment”, a person can purchase private
health insurance through the marketplace in each state. There may also
be financial assistance to help with health care costs available for low and
moderate income. It is also important for people who currently have
insurance through the marketplace, to look at the plan and determine if it
will continue to meet the needs of the person, or select a better plan.
Individuals who do not take action will be automatically re-enrolled in the
current plan. Re-enrollment is also an important opportunity for people to
report any changes in income.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423