The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) applauds the passage and enactment of the American Rescue Plan. The bill includes several critically important provisions that will better support and protect people with disabilities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and its impact is felt long after. We commend Congress for including dedicated funding for Home and Community Based Services and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, along with dedicated technical assistance for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Online Purchasing Pilot. Additionally, we are grateful to Congress for including adult dependents, many of whom are individuals with disabilities, as eligible for stimulus payments. The bill also includes funding for rental assistance and public transportation.
“The American Rescue Plan is a monumental achievement in the face of a continuing global health and economic crisis. We thank Congress and the Administration for their tireless efforts to finalize a package of this magnitude that meaningfully addresses the needs of people with disabilities,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “We look forward to the implementation of the package and continuing to work with our federal partners to protect the rights of people with disabilities.”
While this legislation is desperately needed, more must be done to support the important cross-disability work of the Protection and Advocacy (P&As) agencies. P&As around the country have been on the frontlines as they work with persons with disabilities in institutional settings and in the community to protect them from abuse and neglect and ensure access to needed services and supports. Any future legislation geared toward mitigating the negative impact of the pandemic must include dedicated funding for the P&As. It is long past time that the P&As receive the supports they need to address issues arising from the pandemic no matter what a person’s disability may be.
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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.