For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act.
The bill will help address many challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic by increasing aid for state, local, and tribal governments; extending unemployment insurance benefits; and providing critical support for people with disabilities. This legislation also includes additional funding for coronavirus testing and helps preserve healthcare coverage for Americans who have lost their employer-provided health insurance.
“We applaud the House for taking this crucial and much-needed step towards supporting people with disabilities, bringing fiscal relief to state and local governments, and ensuring that our nation continues to test, trace and treat the virus,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “We continue to face a national health crisis along with a quickly developing economic crisis. Congress must support individuals impacted by the virus, as well as states and communities as they work to overcome the serious challenges posed by the pandemic.”
The legislation provides several provisions that would benefit people with disabilities. These provisions include increases in the federal Medicaid matching rate and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program along with dedicated funds for housing and safe and accessible elections.
The bill also includes funding for activities carried out under the Developmental Disabilities and Assistive Technology Acts which would assist NDRN’s members, the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Agencies, in continuing their critical advocacy and monitoring activities. “In times of national emergency is when the chances of people’s rights being eroded are increased under the guise of extraordinary necessity,” said Decker. “This underscores the importance of the P&As who are working to ensure people’s rights are not shed during the pandemic.”
While these funds are a good start, more must be done to support the important cross-disability work of the P&As during this time. A final package should include dedicated funding for P&A programs to allow them to address issues arising from the pandemic no matter what a person’s disability may be.
“The House has done its job. The Senate must not delay in taking up this package so that relief flows quickly to strained communities all over the country,” continued Decker.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.