Action Alerts

Don’t Cut SSDI to Pay for Unemployment Insurance!

Action Alert – Oppose Language from CMS That Will Restrict Access to Important Medications for
People with Disabilities

Major Events Last Week

Social Security – House Holds Hearing on Preventing Fraud in SSDI

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing
on “ways to prevent conspiracy fraud in the Social Security Disability Insurance program.”  Visit the
committee web site for more information and to view archived video.

Criminal Justice – New Survey on Crimes Against Persons with Disabilities

The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey found that in 2012, people 12 or
older who had disabilities experienced 1.3 million violent crimes, including aggravated assault, sexual
assault, robbery, and rape.  In 2012, the age-adjusted rate of violent victimization for persons with
disabilities (60 per 1,000 persons with disabilities) was nearly three times the rate among persons
without disabilities (22 per 1,000 persons without disabilities). To view The Arc’s statement, visit our
blog.

Social Security – Social Security Fraud and Error Prevention Act of 2014 Introduced

Last week, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and six co-sponsors introduced the Social Security Fraud and
Error Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 4090). The legislation seeks to improve the Social Security
Administration’s ability to fight fraud, prevent errors, and protect the Social Security Trust Fund by
providing new targeted funding and increased penalties in cases of fraud. The Arc strongly supports
efforts to protect and expand the effectiveness of the Social Security system and to ensure adequate
funding of the Social Security Administration’s administrative work, includ ing efforts to ensure proper payments.

Housing – HUD Releases Notice of Funding for the Section 811 Supportive Housing for
Persons with Disabilities Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a Notice of Funding
Availability (NOFA) combining funds for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for the Section 811 Supportive
Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.  A total of $120 million will be awarded to states for
grants ranging from $2 million to $12 million per state.  States will use these grants to create affordable, integrated housing linked with voluntary supportive services to assist people with significant disabilities
to live in the community, in accordance with the innovative Section 811 model authorized under the
Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010.  Applications are due May 5, 2014.  More information is available at grants.gov (Docket No. FR-5700-N-28).  The Arc has strongly supported
funding and implementation for the modernized Section 811 program.   Local advocates should begin
working with their state housing, disability, and Medicaid agencies to encourage states to apply for this important new funding in support of state Olmstead initiatives and related community living efforts.
Non-Profits/Tax Policy – The Arc Submits Comments on Rule to Limit Political Activity

On February 26, The Arc and several chapters submitted comments in response to a notice of
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The IRS proposed a number of
troubling changes for social welfare organizations (known as 501(c)(4) non-profit organizations).  While
The Arc appreciates the need to create clearer rules for allowable political activity for the entire non-
profit sector, the proposed regulations would create more problems than they solve, having a chilling
effect on 501(c)(3) organizations that would stifle civic participation for and on behalf of vulnerable
populations.  To read The Arc’s comments, visit our website.

Major Events This Week

Budget & Appropriations – President Releases FY 2015 Budget Request

On March 4, The Obama Administration released its budget request for FY 2015.  The $3.9 trillion plan adheres to the spending levels set by Congress in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, but shows the President’s spending priorities under those levels.   Fortunately, the President’s budget request maintains investments in many important programs that support the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities, cancels the harmful across-the-board spending cuts (sequestration), preserves the structure of Medicaid,
and recognizes the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction while making important investments
in early childhood, employment for people with disabilities, and health care.  How ever, the budget does
include several cuts and structural changes to programs that support vulnerable populations, including
people with disabilities.  Below is a summary of changes to several key disability-related programs in the President’s Budget Request:

Employment:  The state vocational grant program would receive $3.35 billion, an increase of 8.8%.
The president’s budget request, however, would consolidate funding for supported employment states
grants.

Health: The Administration proposes to extend the increased Medicaid payments for primary care
services delivered by certain physicians for an additional year.  The Administration is also proposing a
series of cuts to the Medicaid program including limiting reimbursement for durable medical equipment, payments to hospitals that serve a large number of low income individuals, and making changes to the
drug rebate program.

Social Security:  The President has requested $12.272 billion for the Social Security Administration’s administrative expenses, a 1.7% increase over FY 2014.  Unfortunately, the President also proposed a
Social Security cut for workers with disabilities who concurrently receive Unemployment Insurance.

Developmental Disabilities Act Programs: The President proposes level funding for Developmental Disabilities Network programs, including $71 million for the DD state grant program, $39 million for the protection and advocacy (P&A) network, $37 million for University Centers for Excellence in
Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), and $9 million for the projects of national significance (PNS).

Special Education:  The Department of Education would receive a slight increase for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs.  Part C early intervention would receive $441.8 million, an
increase of 0.75%, and Part B state grants would receive $11.572 billion, an increase of 0.87%, while
other IDEA programs remain level funded.

Housing: The President’s budget requests a $34 million increase for the HUD Section 811 program
(boosting funding to $162 million), with $25 million in funding available in FY 2015 for development of
new integrated permanent supportive housing units.  This request will allow additional states to use the innovative 811 Project-based Rental Assistance (PRA) model to promote the community integration
goals of Medicaid Money Follows the Person, Olmstead and ending chronic homelessness experienced
by people with disabilities.

While the President is required by law to release a budget each year, this particular budget is expected
to have little legislative impact. The House and Senate already agreed to top-line spending levels in last
year’s Bipartisan Budget Act and Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has
announced that she will let that agreement stand instead of creating a new Senate budget resolution
this year.

We’ll have more details next week after President Obama releases additional information about his 2015 spending plan.  Read more about the President’s Budget request at 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.

Major Events Ahead

Autism – Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act Sought

The Arc and other colleagues from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) are beginning to
meet with key Hill staff regarding the reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act (CAA).  While a number
of federal autism spectrum disorder efforts were in existence prior to the Combating Autism Act, the law
has dramatically increased the number, scope, pace, and coordination of ASD research, surveillance,
public education, and professional training efforts.  If the law is not reauthorized by September 30, 2014
many of these expanded activities authorized under the law will expire.  A recent Congressionally
mandated report
describes the work being done through activities supported by feder al agencies and highlights the progress that has been made under the CAA.  Among its many notable achievements are
an increase in the number of infants screened for ASD (or to rule it out and get the appropriate diagnosis)
and improvements in the proportion of children diagnosed by age three.

Announcements

Book Hotel Rooms Now for the 2014 Disability Policy Seminar

Now is the time to book your hotel rooms for the 2014 Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C.,
April 7-9 before our room block at the Grand Hyatt closes on March 7.  And take advantage of special
early registration rates until March 14.  Back for a second year in a row, AAIDD will showcase its
catalogue of publications and tools for professionals, caregivers, and advocates.  And, if you’re new to
the Seminar , AUCD and AAIDD are offering an orientation to the policy issues and current legislation
on Tuesday, March 11 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.  Get more information, book your room, and register now at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org.

Hosted by: The Arc, Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
Promotional Support Provided by: Sibling Leadership Network

Preparedness – Online Course on Emergency Management and People with Disabilities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department for Homeland Security has
developed an on-line course designed to raise awareness among disaster staff of the need for full
inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster operations.  The interactive course, entitled “Including
People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs in Disaster Operations,” provides
an overview of disabilities and access and functional needs and explains how disaster staff can apply
inclusive practices in their disaster assignments.

Civil Rights – Webinar By Department of Labor On How to Meet Requirements Under The
Recently Released Section 503 Final Rule

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in the Department of Labor announced a
fifth and final webinar on March 6, 2014, at 2 p.m., that will focus on what contractors and subcontractors
must do to meet their obligations under the recently released Section 503 final rule .  OFCCP also has
posted new Section 503 resources for federal contractors on its website.  Section 503 prohibits
discrimination in employment on the basis of disability by federal contractors and subcontractors.  It sets
a utilization goal for federal contractors to ensure that 7% of employees be individuals with disabilities.

Civil Rights – Accessible Voting Workshop Seminars Available in March and April

The Election Assistance Commission, created by The Help America Vote Act ( HAVA), funded the
Research Alliance on Accessible Voting (RAAV).  RAAV includes the:

  • Election Center (National Association of Election Officials)
  • Clemson, Rutgers, and Carnegie Mellon Universities
  • Center for Accessible Information
  • Tennessee Disability Coalition
  • Paraquad
  • ATAP (Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs)

Election Data ServicesRAAV is conducting accessible voting workshop seminars in Seattle (March 7), Washington, DC at Dulles Airport (March 18), and Minneapolis (April 10) for election officials prepare for
the 2014 elections.  For details on how to participate, visit the Election Center website.

Civil Rights – New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Enter Agreement with
New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) entered into a settlement agreement with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) that will divert and significantly
limit the use of solitary confinement for youth with intellectual disabilities and others.  Under the
agreement, DOCCS must develop a Correctional Alternative Rehabilitation program that provides an alternative to isolation for youth with intellectual disabilities.  When youth are placed in solitary
confinement, they typically spend 23 hours of each day in a cell.  NYCLU produced a report about New
York 217;s use of solitary confinement in 2012 that indicated that 3,800 individuals were in isolation for breaking prison rules.  The report said that many individuals were placed in isolation due to nonviolent infractions such as failure to obey orders, lying, or destruction of state property.  The report said that
from 2007 to 2011, New York placed individuals in isolation for an average of five months.  The
settlement agreement requires New York to develop sentencing guidelines and maximum isolation
sentences for the first time.


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