Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) funds critical advocacy for people with disabilities to live independently, receive an education, find and maintain employment, have access to transportation and housing and be fully integrated into the community.
PAIR provides advocacy assistance to individuals with:
- Physical disabilities, such as spinal cord injury and amputations.
- Sensory disabilities, such as blindness and deafness.
- Neurological impairments, such as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.
More children and adults with disabilities are eligible for the PAIR program than any other Protection and Advocacy (P&A) program – yet PAIR is not adequately funded. In fact, PAIR receives the lowest funding support per person of P&A federal grants. From FY 2004 to 2008, PAIR was cut almost every year. After slight increases in FY 2009 and 2010, PAIR was cut again in FY 2013 due to sequestration. A slight increase in FY 2014 did not make up for the sequester and the slight increase in FY 22 is far from sufficient to keep funding up with inflation. PAIR program funding is administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).
The PAIR program needs increased funding. We urge Congress to build off the FY 22 increase so the P&As can carry out the PAIR program mission of helping children and adults with disabilities become independent, self-sufficient members of our communities.
NDRN recommends a funding level of $25 million for Fiscal Year 2023