Support Investments in Community Living
Please take a minute or two to fill out a witness slip in support of “Rate Increase Legislation,” which includes our bill – SB 1148 – that will raise wages for DSPs. The Senate Appropriations I Committee meets Wednesday, May 8 to conduct a “Subject Matter Hearing” to consider all legislation associated with rate increases for human services. Legislators pay attention to this show of public support, so please take a moment to demonstrate your commitment to people with disabilities in Illinois.  First, simply click on this link.  Then, simply follow the instructions below:

  • Under “I. IDENTIFICATION”, please fill in your name, address, city, state and zip. The form requires you to fill in a “Firm/Business or Agency” (e.g. UCP Seguin, Ray Graham Association, They Deserve More Coalition, etc.) and a “Title” (e.g., DSP, Advocate, Self-Advocate, Case Manager, Family Member, etc.). Then fill in your “Email” address in that box, as the state will send you an email to confirm you have filed your slip. Then fill in your “Phone” number.
  • Under “II. REPRESENTATION”, indicate the organization to which you are connected (e.g. UCP Seguin, Ray Graham Association, The Arc of Illinois, They Deserve More Coalition, etc.)
  • Under “III. POSITION”, click on “Proponent” (click on the circle just above that word – meaning you are FOR Rate Increase Legislation)
  • Under “IV. TESTIMONY”, click on the “Record of Appearance Only” box
  • Click on the box on the bottom left – “I Agree to the IGLA Terms of Agreement
  • Click on the box on the bottom right – “Create (Slip)

Capital Fax reports that Speaker Madigan has indicated that he thought the Senate moved too fast on income tax and that the House would look at spending, not just revenue.

Are Managed Care Providers Wrongly Denying Services To People With Disabilities?
Disability Scoop, 05.06.19
As more states turn to managed care to administer Medicaid, federal investigators are set to examine whether these companies are offering people with disabilities the care they’re entitled.

HUD released updated Guidance:

It states, in part:  “HUD will exclude amounts in the individual’s ABLE account pursuant to 24 CFR 5.609(c)(17). The entire value of the individual’s ABLE account will be excluded from the household’s assets. This means actual or imputed interest on the ABLE account balance will not be counted as income. Distributions from the ABLE account are also not considered income.”

Health/LTSS: Representatives Introduce Medicare for America Act

On May 1, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 14 other co-sponsors introduced the Medicare for America Act (H.R.2452). The bill expands Medicare to cover all persons not covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. Additionally, it expands Medicare’s benefit package to include long term services and supports (LTSS), among other things. The Arc supports including provisions to cover LTSS in any comprehensive health reform proposal.

Budget & Appropriations: House Subcommittee Approves FY 2020 L-HHS-Ed Funding Bill

On April 30, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) approved its funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The bill provides $189.8 billion in funding, a 7% increase over FY 2019. It includes several increases of interest to the disability community, such as an increase in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B funding of $1 billion (8%); $3 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grants, $178 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level; and $245 million for Family Caregivers Services, an increase of $26 million above the 2019 enacted level. However, detailed line item information for most programs will not be available until May 8 when the full committee mark-up is scheduled to take place. While the House is moving forward with its spending bills, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) said his committee will not markup any bills until a budget deal is reached to raise the spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. Absent a budget deal, NDD funding (which supports numerous disability programs) is facing a 9% cut in FY 2020.


Education: GAO Releases Report on Differences in IDEA Eligibility Between States

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report documenting the differences between states in rates of eligibility for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Eligibility for services for children ages 6 through 21 varied from 6.4% to 15.1%. The report attributed this variation to the flexibility provided to states by law. IDEA requires states to create their own policies and procedures for identifying children eligible for services. Additionally, the law allows states to adopt criteria for disability classification that are broader than the federal minimum. The report also notes that some school districts have difficulty identifying English language learners with disabilities due to a lack of staff who are fluent in the student’s native language.

Health: Bill Declaring People With Developmental Disabilities (DD) a Medically Underserved Population Introduced in the House

On May 1, Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs UP) Act of 2019. This bill would declare people with DD a medically underserved population (MUP). People with DD face a shortage of primary care providers, as well as higher infant mortality rates, higher poverty rates, and shorter life expectancy than the general population. The MUP designation comes with increased access to resources from 25 different government programs, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Community Health Centers, loan repayment and training programs under Health Resources and Services Administration Workforce Development and Training Programs, and preference in research within agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. The Arc supports this bill