Disability Policy News In Brief

December 16, 2019

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
December 16, 2019   |   Vol. MMXIX, Issue 49

Universal AccessMedicaid

The Senate included permanent renewal of Money Follows the Person (MFP) and Spousal Impoverishment in a bipartisan drug pricing proposal announced last week by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). While initial negotiations for the Grassley Wyden bill are beginning, it is likely negotiations for it will continue through the spring. Agreements between the House and Senate will be needed on some of the larger pharmacy provisions. House and Senate leaders are working on several health care extenders that are expected to be included in the December 20th appropriations package. We will be hosting a National Call-In Day for permanent MFP and Spousal TODAY!

Plain Language:

  • This bill would make Money Follows the Person and Protections against Spousal Impoverishment permanent.

What this means to you:

  • The spousal impoverishment protections allow couples to stay together in their home while one person receives Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). The Money Follows the Person Program (MFP) helps people with disabilities and older adults move from institutions and nursing homes back to their homes and communities. Both are set to expire at the end of the year.

Action Steps:

  • Sample call/email: My name is [your full name], and I am from [city]. I'm [calling/writing] to ask the [Senator/Representative] to permanently authorize the Medicaid HCBS spousal impoverishment protections and the Money Follows the Person Program. It is time for Congress to act before these provisions expire on December 31, 2019! United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121
  • Sample posts:
  • The protections that allow couples to stay together in their home while one person receives home and community-based services through #Medicaid are set to expire December 31. Tell Congress to make these protections permanent. #HCBS. https://bit.ly/35eo8Fr
  • There's no place like home. Lend your voice to support older adults & people with disabilities! Urge Congress to permanently reauthorize the Money Follows the Person Program. Then there will be no end date to helping people transition to their homes from facilities. #FundMFP 

logo of SSASocial Security

The Social Security Administration wants to change its rules for people who get disability benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Most people would have to prove their disability every two years. They are accepting public comments.

Plain Language:

  • New rules could change how often people with disabilities have to prove they need benefits. Social Security needs to hear from you.

What this means to you:

  • If Social Security moves forward with this proposal more than two million people often with significant disabilities impacting the ability to work full-time will be at risk of losing benefits over the next ten years.

Action Step:

  • Dear Social Security Commissioner Saul: I am writing about the proposed Social Security rule that would make most people getting disability benefits prove that they have disabilities every two years.  I am very worried about the rule.  It can be very hard to get disability benefits.  For some people it takes years, and it is a stressful and time consuming process.  More frequent disability reviews will create additional burdens for people with disabilities who cannot work and are struggling with income insecurity. This rule would hurt people with disabilities.  Please do not go forward with the rule. Sincerely,
  • Contact your members of Congress.  Social Security has to follow the law when it issues the new rules.  Congress can investigate whether the new rules fit with the law.  Ask your members to look into the new rules. 

moneyBudget and Appropriations

Lead congressional appropriators announced last week that they've reached a "deal in principle" to fund the federal government and boost defense and domestic budgets by $49 billion in fiscal 2020, with plans for a House vote this week. This bipartisan agreement would save from a government shutdown that would happen after the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on December 20th or save from another CR.

Plain Language:

  • Congress is working on a deal to fund the government so there would not be a shutdown.

What this means to you:

  • If an agreement is not reached and another CR continues to fund the government, is would have impacts on some federal departments and their ability to begin new contracts and place holds on travel.

checklistCampaign 2020

The next Democratic debate is set for December 19th in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University and is the 6th in a series of 12 planned debates. Currently the following candidates have made the debate: Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Action Step:

  • Use our recent InBrief to get you ready for the debate.

DPSDisability Policy Seminar

Registration is now open for the Disability Policy Seminar and the AUCD Emerging Leaders Policy Forum.  Learn more information about the events.

You do need to register for both events if you plan to attend the Sunday AUCD Policy Forum before DPS.


JPK fellowshipKennedy Policy Fellowship

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship, a 1yr intensive immersion experience in Washington DC for emerging leaders in the area of inclusive community supports for people with intellectual & developmental disabilities is accepting application Read the guidelines and application.

AUCD Policy Talklogo of AUCD Policy Talk

AUCD's conference had a focus on transportation. Did you read our new blog post on it? How can the AUCD network make an impact on accessible, affordable, reliable transportation?  

Action Steps:

Tuesdays With Liz: Liz shares her top three favorite videos of 2019!

Watch the complete videos here:

Stephanie Meredith on Prenatal Testing and Disability - https://youtu.be/XeGumgOdOIU
Disability, Human, and Civil Rights with Vanita Gupta - https://youtu.be/3LLbNWJ0hlQ
Mondays with Martha Crossover Episode - https://youtu.be/OCcg9HO9uSc

Winter Holiday Break

Both InBrief and Tuesdays With Liz will be taking a break for the next two weeks. We'll be back in 2020 on January 6th!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


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

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