Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Leo’s Letter: The Arc’s Policy Update – State and Federal: There’s Still Time to Act Skip to main content
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We have a full plate of advocacy for our constituents and their essential services. Two key changes are increasing the pay of our workforce and allowing flexibilities for person-centered services! But there is more from Boston to Washington D.C. as December winds down.

Boston:

  • Workforce and addressing those who are unserved or significantly underserved.
    • The Arc, the Disability Law Center, and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) have been working together to address those who are underserved. Stay tuned for ways you can engage on the state level and locally.
    • The Arc and ADDP have a planned meeting with DDS and MassHealth to review a “scope of work” to increase efforts to assist persons in their communities.
    • DDS and EOHHS announced two new efforts to address the crisis that exists:
      • Respite innovation grants totaling $20 million – innovative and other strategies to assist the unserved (organizations can apply before 5PM on January 13, 2023.) Here is a link.
      • For those who are Priority 1 and still awaiting residential services (Turning 22 and others), $100,000 incentive grants for each individual person successfully served in an existing home or new housing, and the policy allow caps up to $100,000 for start-up and capital costs (caps previously set at $50K).
  • The Arc, along with other statewide organizations and individuals in MA21, testified regarding new regulations for Self-Directed Services (self-determination). Increased efforts will be reviewed in January to advance transparency and flexibility. Funding flexibility is critical NOT only for self-determination but for individuals and families who are isolated and those who have 24/7 caregiving responsibilities. These family members or other caregivers cannot work while access to day services is impeded.
  • Massachusetts EOHHS and DDS announced a hearing to review the updated Massachusetts Transition Plan for Compliance with the Federal Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Community Rule. You can see it here.
  • Advocates are nervous in every state: what will happen to individuals with disabilities when the wind-down begins? (No idea when.) Will persons accidentally lose services? Here is a recent update link at Mass Legal Services site (from Health Law).
  • Last but not least: some hope remains for passage of bills during the informal session of the General Court. Today, the “Records Access” bill is on our action center. Other bills which we hoped would move included “Supported Decision Making” and “Katie’s Law” which addresses archaic language in statute. We are working with our Steering Committee on Policy and Advocacy for priorities in the coming session starting in January!
Washington:

Today’s Reuters headline states that the U.S. Senate is expected to hold an initial procedural vote Thursday on a week-long stopgap funding bill to avoid a partial government shutdown ahead of a Friday midnight deadline. Such an action will give lawmakers more time to pass a sweeping $1.7 trillion measure to keep federal agencies operating through the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023.

This sweeping bill could include one or more of The Arc’s national priorities. A few hours are left to get your letters or emails in. Check out the national action center.

  • Home and Community Services package.
  • SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act
  • Stop Electric Shock as “therapy”

You can also share your story of how SSI asset limits affect your life.

The Arc also joined with 11 other national organizations as amici to weigh in on a case in the Supreme Court: Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools. It is scheduled to be heard on January 18, 2023. The case will decide if Miguel Perez and students like him who were denied significant accommodations in public schools will be able to use the ADA to address civil rights claims.

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