People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) want to live, learn, work, pay taxes, and be productive and fully included in their communities. Federal public policy is critical to achieving this vision.
The Arc partners with AAIDD, ANCOR, ASA, ASAN, Easterseals, NACDD, TASH, and UCP to create this public policy agenda. We work together to shape, expand, and protect a strong federal role that provides vital benefits, services, and supports and assures civil rights for our constituency.
All branches of the federal government play critical roles in affirming, securing, and achieving the vision of inclusion and ensuring that the civil rights of persons with disabilities are realized. Featured goals are below. A complete list of topics can be found in our full Public Policy Agenda.
Civil rights must be preserved through vigilant enforcement of laws and regulations as well as strong opposition to efforts that limit the rights of people with IDD.
Community-Based Long Term Supports & Services
These must be widely accessible, consumer controlled, and provided in the community without the requirement that people with IDD impoverish themselves in order to obtain assistance with activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, taking medication, and preparing meals.
Direct Support Professionals
These professionals must be well trained and fairly and adequately compensated to provide the necessary supports and services for people with IDD where they work and live.
The education system must help people with IDD to achieve their full potential and independence by having high expectations, integrated instruction by certified and effective teachers, inclusive classrooms, appropriate assessments, and only using positive behavioral supports.
The needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support workforce must be considered as a priority in planning for and responding to natural, public health, and human-made disasters and emergencies.
Employment, Training, and Wages
Employment programs must be expanded to provide more job development, placement, and coaching, skills training, and other services necessary to help find and maintain competitive, integrated employment for people with IDD.
Counseling, support groups, respite, training, cash assistance, and information and referral must be made widely available to family caregivers, especially those who are aging, and who provide supports in the community. This will help avoid costly and unwanted institutional placements of individuals with IDD.
People with IDD must have timely access to high quality, comprehensive, accessible, affordable, and individualized health care services to improve and maintain health and functioning.
An adequate supply of safe, accessible, integrated, and affordable supportive housing in the community for people with IDD must be available.
This program is the single largest funding source of both acute health care and long term supports and services for people with IDD. It must be preserved and rebalanced to make home and community based services the norm and institutional services the exception.
Research & Training
There is a need for more comprehensive federal research, surveillance, analysis, education, and training concerning people with IDD across the lifespan.
Social Security & SSI
This system provides the primary income sources for many people with significant disabilities to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. Benefits and eligibility must be maintained and the long-term financial future of these programs must be considered outside of deficit reduction efforts.
Sufficient tax revenue must be raised in order to appropriately fund social insurance (Social Security, Medicare), safety net (Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)), and discretionary programs (such as housing, education, employment, and transportation) that people with IDD rely on for their health, safety, and wellbeing.
Technology must be accessible and made widely available to make communication, education, independent living, and employment opportunities available for people with IDD.
Accessible transportation programs must be expanded and anti-discrimination policies must be enforced to help people with IDD access employment, health care, recreational activities, and other aspects of community living.
The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.