People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are facing threats to their health and wellbeing due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Congress has recently passed two important Coronavirus packages, which have been signed by President Trump, but this is just a start in addressing this crisis. More action must be taken to support people with disabilities and their families!
The recent legislation enacted includes the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes:
- Agencies are required to “pay back” money that was moved from programs like National Institute on Disability Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and emergency heat funding when the crisis began
- A 6.2% increase in federal reimbursement for state Medicaid programs (FMAP), which will help state governments in their efforts to combat the pandemic
- Emergency requirements for all health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing
- Expanded nutrition assistance and crucial waivers for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school meals
- Expanded unemployment insurance
- Limited paid sick day and paid leave provisions that do not explicitly include caregivers for people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, these bills did not include caretaking for adults with disabilities or seniors whose programs have closed or whose workers are sick, which we hope will get addressed in the next package.
The Senate now takes the lead on drafting this new package, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that Senate will stay in session until it passes, so now is the time to reach out to your Senators AND Representatives.
You can also call or email your Members of Congress directly in their offices. Here is a list of phone numbers and staff emails for MA House and Senate offices. Please note to share with the office’s Health Legislative Assistant (LA).
Senator Edward Markey
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Representative Ayanna Pressley
Representative William Keating
Representative Joseph Kennedy III
Representative Stephen Lynch
Representative James McGovern
Representative Katherine Clark
Representative Lori Trahan
Representative Richard Neal
Representative Seth Moulton