Disability Policy News

June 28, 2021

Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Disability Policy News logo, every Monday, from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
                 June 28, 2021   |   Vol. MMXXI, Issue 24
outline of a road underneath a bridge, black and whiteBipartisan Infrastructure Framework

On Thursday, President Biden and a bipartisan group of Members of Congress announced agreement on a $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. This plan will now move to Congress for legislative language and vote. This process will follow regular procedure and the plan will require a majority vote in the House and 60 votes in the Senate for passage. Parts of President Biden's American Jobs and American Family Plan that are not included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework continue to move in a budget reconciliation process, a process that will require a majority in the house and a majority (but not 60 votes) in the Senate.

Plain language:

  • Congress is working on a big bill that could improve our country's infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure means the buildings, roads, bridges, power lines, and other things our country needs to work every day. It can also include other systems that make our country work, like schools, healthcare, and other government services.
What it means to you:

  • Congress will be working on two big packages. One package will go through the regular process and one through a process called budget reconciliation. It is very important that all members of Congress are hearing from their constituents about how these investments will impact people and systems in your community.
Action steps:

black and white image of capitol domeBetter Care Better Jobs Act

On Thursday, June 24th, the Better Care Better Jobs Act (S.2210, H.R. 4231) was introduced in Congress. This bill proposes a $400 billion investment in Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) to expand access to these vital services and create more and better direct care jobs. The Better Care Jobs Act is the legislative language to pass this historic investment in HCBS proposed by President Biden in his American Jobs Plan.

The Better Care Better Jobs Act will: 
  • Provide states with a permanent 10% FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, or how much the federal government pays) bump for HCBS if they take certain actions;
    • States could receive grants to create plans for expanding their home-based services and boosting worker pay;
    • States could apply for an additional 2% bump in federal Medicaid dollars if they establish an oversight entity to administer a program for "self-directed care;"
    • Registering qualified caregiver and connecting them to beneficiaries; recruiting and training workers; and ensuring that the program policies are cooperative with home-care worker labor unions;
  • Create permanent protection for recipients of home and community-based services against spousal impoverishment; and
  • Permanently extend Money Follows the Person.

Action steps:

  • Read more about the bill.
  • Read the legislative text.
  • Use social media to raise the importance of this legislation by using the hashtag #BetterCareBetterJobs.
  • Members of Congress and their staff from every state need to understand what HCBS means to people in their state. You can share your stories by:
    • Emailing or calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representatives to share what HCBS means to you.
    • Send your stories to AUCD; we are looking to have stories to share from every state. Please send your story about HCBS to [email protected].
      • Short is best (3-5 sentences)
      • A picture helps
      • Stories can come from people with disabilities, family members, allies, and professionals working in these systems.

black and white image of capitol domeWork Without Worry Act

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, (D-Ore), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La), and Congressmen John B. Larson (D-CT) and Tom Reed (R-NY) have introduced the Work Without Worry Act (S. 2108, H.R.4003), which is legislation to remove a Social Security work disincentive for Americans with disabilities. The Work Without Worry Act would allow Americans with disabilities to work to their full potential without causing them to lose out on higher Social Security benefits.

Plain language:

  • This bill will let people who qualify for Social Security Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits work without losing the chance to get DAC benefits in the future. 
What it means to you:

  • Adults who qualify for Social Security DAC benefits have life-long disabilities (such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or intellectual disability) and often wish to explore their ability to work, particularly as they transition to adult life. However, under current law some of these young adults fear that if they try to work they will lose future DAC benefits. This bill corrects this problem.
Action steps:

RX bottlePrescription Drug Pricing

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore) released a document this week outlining his priorities for lowering prescription drug prices as Congress continues its legislative work to address drug prices. While this is not yet a bill, it provides a look at what to expect.

Plain language:

  • Congress is working on a bill to lower the cost of medications. They need to hear from you about why people with disabilities are opposed to Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) used in other countries.
What it means to you:

  • Drug pricing legislation will have provisions that you support and that benefit people with disabilities. As it is currently being discussed, there is reason to be concerned that it could increase discrimination.
Action steps:

Seal of the President of the United States, eagle with blue backgroundExecutive Order 

On June 25th President Biden signed an Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. This Executive Order works to ensure that the federal government's public servants reflect the full diversity of America, including those with both visible and invisible disabilities. Highlights include:

  • Advancing equity in the workplace for individuals with disabilities;
  • Improving the collection of demographic data about the Federal workforce;
  • Advancing pay equity to ensure that all public servants are fairly compensated for their work and their talents;
  • Expanding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility training throughout the federal workforce; and
  • Reducing the federal government's reliance on unpaid internships.
Plain language:

  • President Biden is trying to make the federal workforce more diverse.
What it means to you:

  • These changes will bring more opportunities for employment by the federal government for diverse candidates.
Action steps:

black and white image of capitol dome
Child Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan provided an expansion of the Child Tax Credit. In 2021, for most families, the Child Tax Credit is increased to $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17 years old and to $3,600 for each child under age 6. For example, a married couple making less than $150,000 with two children under age 6 will be eligible for a Child Tax Credit of $7,200 in 2021. In July, families will begin to receive monthly payments of up to $250 for each child 6 to 17 years old and $300 for each child under age 6. Under the American Rescue Plan, the Child Tax Credit will be fully refundable, meaning that if a family's income tax bill is less than the amount of their Child Tax Credit, they will get a payment for the difference.

Most households will begin receiving monthly payments without any further action required. Other eligible families-those who have not yet filed taxes in 2019 or 2020 and who did not sign up for Economic Impact Payments like the $1,400 rescue payments included in the American Rescue Plan-can still sign up to receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments. On Monday, June 14, 2021, the IRS launched a new Non-filer Sign-up tool on its website. This non-filer portal is for non-filers claiming advance payments of the child tax credit.

When using the new Non-filer portal, individuals will need to provide:

  • Full name
  • Current mailing address
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Valid Social Security numbers (or other taxpayer IDs) for the person completing the form (and their dependents, if any)
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) if received from the IRS earlier this year
  • Bank account number, type, and routing number (optional)
The new Non-filer Sign-up tool is for people who did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2020, and who did not use the IRS Non-Filers tool last year to register for Economic Impact Payments.

Plain language:

  • Most families with children under 17 will start getting a monthly payment in July to help with the cost of having kids.
What it means to you:

  • If you or families you work with have not filed taxes in 2019 or 2020, you will need to use the new Non-filer Sign-up tool to get the  payment.
Action steps:

  • Read the Internal Revenue Service guidance to learn more. 

house and icon of person in wheelchairEviction Moratorium

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday announced a one-month extension to its nationwide pause on evictions that was put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The eviction moratorium, which was set to expire this month, will now last through July under the new order, which is expected to be the final extension, the CDC said. The CDC order was enacted in September under then-President Trump and subsequently extended by Congress and President Biden.

Plain language:

  • People are currently protected from being evicted, or sent out of their homes because they have not paid. That protection will last until the end of July.
What it means to you:

  • Protections from eviction continue currently.
Action steps:

  • The current CDC order is set to expire on July 31, 2021.
  • People who are behind in rent should be connected to the over $45 billion in emergency rental and utility assistance funds appropriated by Congress.
    • You can check this resource from NLIHC and the National League of Cities for state and local officials on Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Programs.
    • Congress may consider more rental assistance in recovery legislation. You can learn more about hte needs of people with disabilities in a new blog from CBPP

medical injection needle and calendar, black and whiteCOVID-19 Vaccine Distribution 

Because of the elevated risk of serious illness and death due to COVID-19, vaccination is critically important for people with disabilities. However, we know that many face significant barriers to getting vaccinated. Work at the federal, state, and local levels continues to reach the goal of everyone 12 years-old and over having access to vaccine and 70% of eligible adults receiving at least one dose of the evaccine by July 4th. 

Plain language:

  • Work is happening to make sure people with disabilities can get COVID-19 vaccines. If you have been vaccinated, there are now less restrictions.

What it means to you:

  • Work is happening to make sure everyone can get their COVID-19 vaccine and feels safe doing so.

Action steps:

logo of AUCD Policy TalkPolicy Talk

Have a personal or professional connection to disability policy? Submit a post to AUCD Policy Talk! Check out submission guidelines.

picture: promotional image for #AUCD sleeve up Tuesdays with Liz video contest featuring a picture of liz on a blue background#AUCDsleeveup Tuesdays with Liz Contest!

We are excited to announce the new #AUCDsleeveup Tuesdays with Liz Contest! We are looking for short videos from persons with disabilities, their family members, and other friends of the disability community sharing why you got the COVID-19 vaccine. Videos will be posted to AUCD social media and available for you and others to share with your own social media. Videos will be accepted until Friday July 16th and will be featured on the Tuesday with Liz YouTube Channel in this playlist.

Watch and share Eli's vaccine story:

Submit your #AUCDsleeveup vaccine story today!

#AUCDsleeveup TWL Contest Rules:
  1. Videos must be less than one minute long.
  2. Videos should show the face(s) of the person(s) speaking.
  3. Say your name, how you are a part of the disability community (person with a disability family members, support professional, friend), and why you got the COVID-19 vaccine. For example, "Hi, my name is Liz and I am a person with a disability. I got my COVID-19 vaccine because I want everyone to be healthy and to see our families and friends again."
  4. We ask that you communicate as clearly as possible so that we can add captions.
Did you know that Liz has a new YouTube Channel? You can help spread her message by: