News From LIFE, Inc.
New COVID-19 Relieve Plan includes Payments for People with Disabilities
A fresh round of stimulus checks for people with disabilities are part of the new relief bill that faces an uncertain future.
The bill known as the Heroes Act, or H.R. 6800, pass the U.S. House of Representatives May 12th and now is in the Senate. Although unlikely to be taken up in its current form, it is a first step in negotiating another relief package to address the fallout from COVID-19.
This is the only major COVID-19 response so far to consider the needs of people with disabilities who have been deeply affected by the pandemic. The legislation includes $10 to $15 billion to states to pay for Medicaid home and community based services for a full year beginning in July. The money could be used to pay for recruitment and retention of direct support professionals, among other needs.
The fill also recognizes the in home care assistants that people with disabilities rely on for day to day needs as essential workers so they can access PPE, qualify for hazard pay and other extra benefits. This could be a game changer. This is recognition that these service providers are a must-have.
Meanwhile the measure also retroactively grants $500 cash payments to adults with disabilities who are claimed as dependents. These individuals were excluded from the stimulus checks in the last relief package in March. And it includes a new round of direct cash payment of $1200 per person – up to a maximum of $6000 per family – for Americans earning less than $75,000 annually. People with disabilities would qualify for the payments even if they are counted as dependent or if they receive Supplemental Security Income.
An additional $200 million is dedicated to funding for disability housing as well as siblings and grandparents to qualify for expanded paid leave if they need to take time off from work to care for an adult with a disability.
With this second stimulus bill now in the Senate, attention now turns to what aspects of the bill need some tweaking to get the Republican led Senate onboard. Their fear of long-term negative consequences on the U.S. economy, that unemployed people might be discouraged from going back to work, and the fact that noncitizen might receive a payout (even though these nonresidents are paying federal tax via a taxpayer identification number) they are not likely to approve it the way it is currently written.
Now is the time to contact your senator and explain your personal story and how the stimulus funds would help you as a person with a disability. You can contact James Risch (https://www.risch.senate.gov/public/) and Mike Crapo (https://www.crapo.senate.gov) via their emails on the website.
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