AUCD Legislative News In Brief

December 22, 2014

AUCD Legislative News In Brief
    December 22, 2014   |  Vol. XIV, Issue 51
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Congressional Schedule

The 113th Congress has adjourned and left town for the holidays.   The President's annual State of the Union address will be held during a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, January 20 at 9:00 pm ET. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to President Obama formally inviting him to report to Congress on the state of the union. 

AUCD is pleased to announce that, after passing the Senate (76-16) late on Tuesday, December 16 President Obama signed the ABLE Act into law on Friday, December 19.  The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act creates a tax- exempt saving account for people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families.  The final version of the ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. The total annual contributions by all participating individuals, including family and friends, is $14,000. Money saved in ABLE Accounts can be used on disability-related expenses. These include education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses which will be further described in regulations to be developed in 2015 by the Treasury Department.  For more information, see AUCD's press release.  Read also National Disability Institute's "10 things to know about the ABLE Act."


FY 2015 Appropriations

In case you missed it, last week's In Brief summarized final federal spending for AUCD network and other key programs that support people with disabilities and families that includes a table comparing final FY 2015 and 2014 spending for program within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Long-Term Services and Supports

Home and Community-Based Services Settings Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final guidance regarding the HCBS Settings rule, including guidance on non-residential settings. It includes a set of Exploratory Questions on Non-Residential Settings intended to help states determine which settings may be out of compliance. This is a corollary to the set of Exploratory Questions on Residential Settings that they released earlier this year. The Administration also released a new set of Questions and Answers about the HCBS rule that cover a number of issues that have arisen throughout 2014. Both documents, along with all other federal guidance, advocacy resources, and state updates, are available on

Fair Labor Standards Act and Home Care Workers

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Department Health and Human Services Office on Civil Rights issued a Dear Colleague letter regarding the application of Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage and overtime protection to home care workers. The letter reminds state of their obligation under the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision, particularly if they are considering caps on service hours in order to control costs while implementing the FLSA rule.


AUCD participated in a webinar to get information about state renewals for flexibility from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (or No Child Left Behind Act).  The deadline for SEAs' renewal requests is March 31, 2015.  An SEA that is eligible and chooses to participate in the expedited review process must submit its renewal request by January 30, 2015.  Up-to-date information, including an archive of the webinar other guidance documents, about flex renewal may be found on the Dept. of Education website.  Approximately 40 states now have waivers in place.  These waivers were necessary to provide flexibility for states while Congress considers the reauthorization of the ESEA.  It is hoped that the 114th Congress will take up the reauthorization early in the Congress.  AUCD members interested in providing input into bills to reauthorize the ESEA should email Kim Musheno.


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For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms

For copies of this and previous issues of Legislative News In Brief please visit the Public Policy Page of the AUCD website:

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