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Major Recent Events
Career and Technical Education Reauthorization Enacted
Last week, the House and Senate passed, and the President signed, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353
) which reauthorizes federal career and technical education (CTE) programs. The law includes several disability community priorities such as including individuals with disabilities among the stakeholders who must be consulted in the development of the state plan; creating a new set aside for the recruitment of individuals with disabilities to CTE programs that lead to high-wage in-demand careers; including provisions around public reporting on student subgroups and special population performance by program of study; and expanding access and requirements for teacher professional development in universal design for learning and other research-based teaching methods. See the statement from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Education Task Force here
Alternative Reauthorization of Higher Education Act Introduced in the House
On July 26, Representative Bobby Scott and sixteen co-sponsors introduced the Aim Higher Act (H.R. 6543
) to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Among many other things, the bill would require colleges to accept formal disability documentation from high school so the students no longer must re-prove their disability to receive accommodations in college. The bill would reauthorize the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities and teacher preparation programs that train teachers to educate diverse learners. The Aim Higher Act is the alternative to the PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508
) that passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in February. See the statement from the CCD Education Task Force here
Disability Employment Incentive Act Introduced
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced the Disability Employment Incentive Act
. This bill increases three tax credits for employers. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides incentives for businesses to that hire people referred by vocational rehabilitation, or who are on Supplemental Security Income of Social Security Disability Insurance, would be increased from $2,400 to $5,000. If you are asking “how much disability insurance do i need?
” then there are resources you can use online to find this out. The Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit will be increased from $5,000 to $10,000. The Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit will be increased from $15,000 to $30,000. The Arc supports this bill. If you are in need of social security disability help, you can look towards companies such as Crest SSD
and see how they can legally help you in this time.
Bill Declaring People with Developmental Disabilities (DD) a Medically Underserved Population Introduced in the House
On July 26, Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs UP) Act of 2018. This bill would declare people with DD a medically underserved population (MUP). People with DD face a shortage of primary care providers, as well as higher infant mortality rates, higher poverty rates, and shorter life expectancy than the general population. The MUP designation comes with increased access to resources from 25 different government programs including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Community Health Centers, loan repayment and training programs under Health Resources and Services Administration Workforce Development and Training Programs, and preference in research within agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. The Arc supports this bill.
House Committee Holds Hearing on Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process
Last week, the House Committee and Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on “Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process.” As stated in the Committee’s announcement, the hearing focused on “…recent and planned changes affecting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability appeals process, the metrics the SSA uses to evaluate process changes, and the progress the SSA has made to address the appeals backlog.” Visit the Committee web site
for testimony and archived video of the hearing.?
Following the hearing, Subcommittee Chair Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT) led all Subcommittee Members in a bipartisan letter
to Acting Commissioner of Social Security Nancy Berryhill stating that the agency should not proceed with plans to reinstate the reconsideration level of appeal in 10 states, until a Senate-confirmed Commissioner is sworn in. President Trump has nominated
Andrew Saul of New York to be Commissioner of Social Security.
Washington Opens Qualified ABLE Programs
On July 23, the State of Washington opened a new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 40. The program is currently only open to Washington residents. It has three investments options and a cash option. Accounts have a $35 annual fee with an additional $10 fee for those who receive paper statements, and asset-based fees ranging from 0.30% to 0.38% for investment options. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here
Report Shows Most States are Not Meeting IDEA Obligations
The U.S. Department of Education found that only twenty-one states deserved the “meets requirements” designation for the 2016-2017 school year. Twenty-eight states were placed into the “needs assistance” category. Michigan and the District of Columbia were placed in the “needs intervention” category. The findings
come from an annual mandatory assessment of state compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The ratings are based on how well states meet their obligations to serve students with disabilities ages 3 to 21.
President Trump Issues Proclamation Commemorating ADA Anniversary
On July 25, President Trump issued a proclamation commemorating the 28th Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is the primary civil rights law for people with disabilities. It passed Congress with bipartisan support and was signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Read the statement here