WASHINGTON, DC – Following the U.S. Senate’s vote today on the Inflation Reduction Act, people with disabilities, their support staff, and families will continue to fight for desperately needed resources for the home and community-based services system that has been strained to the breaking point throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the budget reconciliation process, The Arc and our allies in the disability, labor, and direct care worker communities has been advocating for a historic investment in home and community-based services. But the legislation that just passed the Senate completely left out the needs of the disability services system, and the workforce that is disproportionately women of color, who are long overdue for the recognition and benefits of a raise for their important work. It also fails to address other longstanding needs of people with disabilities, family caregivers, and workers, such as paid leave. The bill does help our community in other ways – it will directly impact people with disabilities and their families by lowering drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, continuing health insurance subsidies, and taking steps to address climate change.
“We are deeply disappointed that Congress is not taking this historic opportunity to provide people with disabilities and their families the services and supports they need to live as independently as possible.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the disability services system has been teetering on the brink of collapse. The entire care infrastructure already had huge gaps and cracks, and the unprecedented pressure of this crisis galvanized people with disabilities, their support staff, and their families to advocate for the investment needed to help people now and into the future.
“For the first time, many people who don’t have a personal connection to disability became aware of the needs of our community, thanks to advocates willing to share their deeply personal struggles with legislators, the media, and their neighbors. The uprising generated hundreds of thousands of pleas to Congress to enact a care package that would provide more access to services in the community, and pay the people doing the work a fair, living wage.
“We will not stop pushing for what we need because home and community-based services for people with disabilities make all the difference in the quality of life for a person with a disability and their family,” said Bethany Lilly, Senior Director of Public Policy, The Arc.