With Congress gearing up for more “fiscal cliff” battles this year, The Arc is concerned about threats to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These lifelines provide essential financial security for millions of Americans, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Arc believes that Social Security and SSI should not be part of deficit reduction, and that any changes to these systems must be carefully evaluated in terms of their effects on beneficiaries. This issue of National Policy Matters looks at one major threat to Social Security and SSI, the chained Consumer Price Index (“chained CPI”).
- The chained CPI cuts Social Security and SSI benefits by reducing annual cost of living increases. Cuts add up significantly over time and would disproportionately harm people with disabilities.
- The chained CPI also cuts veterans pensions and certain military and civilian retirement benefits, and would limit eligibility for over 30 vital programs such as Head Start and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
- The chained CPI has been considered as part of most major deficit reduction proposals over the last several years, and has at different times been supported by Members of Congress from both political parties and by the White House.
- The public strongly opposes cutting Social Security, including through the chained CPI.
National Policy Matters – The Chained CPI Cuts Social Security and SSI: What Disability Advocates Need To Know
The Arc succeeded in helping to protect Medicaid in last year’s deficit reduction law, the Budget Control Act. Now there is mounting pressure to find an alternative to cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act or to find additional cuts in the federal budget to reduce the deficit further. We must renew our efforts to protect the four major programs that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) – Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – in addition to the many discretionary programs that people with disabilities rely on to be a part of their community.
Disability advocates must remain engaged throughout the coming months to minimize cuts to these programs and protect eligibility and services that are vital to the lives of people with disabilities. Advocates must urge Congress to provide sufficient revenues to fund critical services and supports needed by individuals with I/DD to live and work in the community.
The bottom line is that our work is far from over, and Medicaid continues to be at risk. This analysis aims to educate advocates about the current fiscal situation and its potential impact on people with I/DD.
National Policy Matters – Deficit Reduction: What Disability Advocates Need To Know
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the disability community must work to better understand the law and the many benefits it can provide to people with disabilities. This will be critical to the community’s role in helping to move states forward with implementation.
Numerous ACA provisions related to both acute care and long term services and supports hold great promise for improving the health and well-being of people with disabilities. This issue of National Policy Matters provides information about the major provisions and the status of their implementation.
National Policy Matters – The Affordable Care Act: What Disability Advocates Need To Know
This self-assessment is designed to help you discover how much self-determination you have in your life. You are the person in charge of this assessment. To complete it, you’ll read a series of statements and think about whether they describe your life. This will help you identify life areas (such as money or relationships) where you’d like to increase your level of self- determination and other areas where you’re already satisfied. The simple act of thinking about these things will increase your awareness of the presence of self-determination in your life.
The purpose of this booklet is to provide an overview of activities to date of the Gateway to Self-Determination project and describe highlighted activities and products currently available.
The overall goal of the Gateway to Self-Determination is “to establish a sustainable, evidence-based training system that enhances self-determination training programs that lead to quality of life outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the lifespan.” There are a number of important beliefs upon which the National Gateway to Self- Determination project is founded. They include:
Scaling-up efforts to promote self-determination are most effective when they are conducted in an enabling context focused on the people it is intended to benefit. In the case of this project, this context is established by a social-ecological framework that acknowledges the importance of the interactions occurring between people and their environments through- out their lifespan.
Children and adults with autism (AU) have difficulties in communication and social understanding affecting their life-planning and self-determination abilities. Self-determination strategies are designed to develop self-directed decision-making ability for people with autism.
There exists an already substantive and still growing literature base pertaining to self- determination and people with disabilities. The intent of this slide show is to provide a synthesis of major findings in the area of self- determination pertaining to youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
SparkAction is an online journalism and advocacy center by and for the child and youth field. Through our site and e-newsletters, we work to:
- Connect concerned adults and young people—whether they’re new to the issues or already activists—to compelling stories, context and accurate information on children’s issues, as well as tools to take action, from volunteering to advocating for better policies and programs.
- Help child- and youth-focused organizations effectively reach a broad audience (the public, professional peers, and policymakers) with their content and materials.
- Elevate the voices and perspectives of young people themselves.
- Break down silos in the broad child and youth field and strengthen connections among organizations and agencies to create a stronger, unified voice for children and youth.
SparkAction gives visitors stories, information and tools to learn about a range of issues and to take action to improve policies and programs, and, ultimately, the fabric of our nation as a whole.
Advocating Change Together (ACT) is a grassroots disability rights organization run by and for people with developmental and other disabilities. ACT’s mission is to help people across disabilities to see themselves as part of a larger disability rights movement and make connections to other civil and human rights struggles. ACT distributes tools and materials that help individuals and groups promote self-advocacy in their lives and work.
Below are over 60 tipsheets and guides written for youth, by youth! The reports in each of these sections are written by youth with disabilities on our Advisory Board and youth writers from our network. They are written to share real life experiences and helpful information with other youth. They have been reviewed by our Task Force (also made up of disabled youth) to make sure they are youth-friendly and accessible.