Now is the time for Congress to act to support and protect people with disabilities, who are particularly at risk as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, introduced in the House yesterday, addresses many, but not all, of the critical priorities identified by disability community groups in response to the crisis. However, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) introduced in the Senate last week still does not address any of those priorities.
We need to push to ensure the priorities addressed in the House bill are included in the Senate bill, particularly the additional grant funding for the home and community-based services (HCBS) on which many people with disabilities rely. We must make sure Congress understands the urgent need for legislation responding to COVID-19 that supports the disability community.
Please contact your members of Congress and Congressional leadership and tell them that any coronavirus relief package must address the needs of people with disabilities. This cannot wait. Negotiations are happening now. Because of the nature of the current crisis, many offices are not currently taking calls, so please use email, Facebook, and Twitter to contact your members of Congress and Congressional leadership and urge everyone you know to do the same.
We need to be loud, we need to be persistent, and we need to do it NOW!
CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TODAY! Negotiations are happening NOW in the Senate so outreach to your Senators and Senate leadership is critical. A script is provided below for emailing, along with suggested social media posts.
For updates and additional resources on COVID-19 and its impact on people with disabilities, visit our webpage.
Contact your Members of Congress:
- Email is the best way to contact your members right now. You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress. This tool also has links to each member’s Twitter and Facebook and a link to contact them via email.
- This tool can also be used to easily tweet your members of Congress or Congressional leadership
- You can also email your members directly through this portal put together by our friends at The Arc.
Easy Email Script:
Hello, this is [Name]. I’m a resident of [Town, State].
I am writing to [Senator’s or Representative’s Name] because I believe it is critical that any legislation passed in response to COVID-19 meets the needs of the millions of people in this country with disabilities, who are among those most affected by this crisis. While the Family First Act that was signed into law last week provided a starting point, more must be done to support people with disabilities throughout this pandemic.
The disability community has identified priorities that need to be addressed. The House’s Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act addresses many, but not all of those priorities. However, the CARES Act that was introduced in the Senate fails to address any of the disability community’s priorities.
I urge you to please support the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act now and to work to make sure the CARES Act includes the home and community-based services (HCBS) grant funding, paid leave coverage for caregivers, inclusive emergency income relief, and protections for the civil rights of people, and particularly students, with disabilities included in the House bill.
I ask that you please work with your colleagues to ensure that any response to the coronavirus pandemic include:
- Increased Medicaid funding to help states cope with increased need for home and community based services (HCBS) by people with disabilities and seniors. The HCBS grant funding in the House bill and in the Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act (S. 3544) must be included in the final bill.
- Paid leave coverage for when a person needs to fill in to provide care to an adult family member with a disability because their care worker is sick or their program closes. This is addressed for parent caregivers only in the House bill and not at all in the Senate version.
- Emergency income relief that includes people with disabilities. This means eliminating or raising asset limits in the means tested programs many people with disabilities rely on, including SSI, SNAP, and Medicaid, which the House bill does, but the Senate bill does not.
- Access to a 90-day supply of medication and medical supplies and ongoing access to long-term services and supports
- Protections for the civil rights of people with disabilities. No legislation should include any limitations on the civil rights protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, or the Affordable Care Act. The House bill, not the Senate, fully protects the rights of students with disabilities.
[Please include your full street address and zip code to ensure your email is tallied]
Sample Social Media:
[Tag your Senator/Representative/Congressional Leadership], people with disabilities are among those most at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. #WhatWeNeed is support for people with disabilities and inclusion of the disability community’s priorities in any new #COVID19 bill: https://buff.ly/2QOqWEn
[Tag your Senator/Representative/Congressional Leadership], any #COVID19 legislation must meet the needs of people w/ disabilities. #WhatWeNeed is to support PwDs & include disability priorities in the new #COVID19 bill: https://buff.ly/2QOqWEn.
Please also consider contacting Congressional leadership as well. Those members are:
House of Representatives: