POTUS Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
On August 31st, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a plan to overhaul the enrollment process for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Basic Health Programs (BHPs) and eliminate arbitrary coverage caps for children in CHIP.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to “simplify application and verification processes to make it easier for children, older adults, and people with lower incomes with Medicaid and CHIP coverage to enroll in and retain vital health insurance.” The proposed rule follows President Biden’s executive orders in April 2022 and January 2021 directing federal agencies to take action to expand affordable, quality health coverage, including by strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid, CHIP, and BHPs provide healthcare to 88 million Americans, many of whom have disabilities. The rule, if finalized, will standardize “eligibility and enrollment policies, such as limiting renewals to once every 12 months, allowing applicants 30 days to respond to information requests, requiring prepopulated renewal forms, and establishing clear, consistent renewal processes.” The proposed rule is open for public comment until 5 p.m. on November 7, 2022.
The Biden-Harris administration has announced a plan to make getting healthcare easier for people across the country. The plan will make it easier for people eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to enroll in such programs.
Budget and Appropriations
The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations (LHHS) bill funds almost all disability programs. On July 28th, Chairman Leahy (D-VA) released the Chairman’s mark of the 12 senate appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2023. The House of Representative LHHS subcommittee has marked-up the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills and Revised Report on the Subcommittee Allocations. While the House and Senate have hit road bumps on passing a continuing resolution this week and there is the possibility of a government shutdown, it is still expected that the House and Senate will reach a deal and pass a continuing resolution before October 1st continuing Fiscal Year 2022 funding levels until most likely after the election.
The Senate Democrats have released their funding bills for Fiscal Year 2023. The House of Representatives has passed its bill through Committee. The House or Representatives and Senate will not finish work by October 1st. They will likely pass a bill to continue funding until after the election.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Extends Deadline for Public Comments on Advancing Equity
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued the 2022 determination letters on state implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Part B and Part C. The IDEA requires OSEP to issue an annual determination, based on the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR), which evaluates the State’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the IDEA and describes how the State will improve its implementation.
As noted in this year’s determination letters, and consistent with the Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, the Department of Education is looking at how the 2023 determinations process can promote equity. The Department of Education recognizes that this is a very complex issue and is welcoming suggestions from the public on innovative solutions. The deadline for public comments has been extended to October 31st. To share your feedback, email SPPAPR@ed.gov and include “Determinations Feedback” in the subject line.
OSEP reviews how schools are serving students with disabilities each year. This year, the Department of Education is asking for people’s comments on how they can make sure their reviews equally take into account people’s race, income, location, etc. You can provide comment if you have suggestions of how to make the process better for all students.
Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act
The Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (S. 3238 / H.R. 2373) was introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) and is cosponsored by Senator Daines (R-MT) in the Senate and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. McMorris-Rodgers in the House. The bill will phase-out the use of 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and assist employers in transforming their business models to support individuals with disabilities through competitive integrated employment. This bill also creates technical assistance centers to support businesses as they phase-out subminimum wage.
This is a bill that will phase-out paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage. Current law allows certain employers to pay workers with disabilities below the minimum wage, and this bill would stop this from happening, so people with disabilities can have jobs and careers that pay a living wage.
What It Means For You
If you or someone you know is currently being paid below the minimum wage because of their disability, this bill will phase-out the use of subminimum wage over the course of several years. The bill will also provide support to businesses as they phase-out the practice of subminimum wage.
ABLE Age Adjustment Act
The Able Age Adjustment Act (S.331/H.R. 1219) was introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) in the Senate and Rep. Cárdenas (D-CA) in the House. This bill will increase the age eligibility for ABLE accounts from 26 to 46, giving millions of people with disabilities the chance to save money without losing eligibility for federal benefits. On June 22, 2022, the Senate Finance Committee marked-up the Enhancing American Retirement Now Act (EARN Act), which is a part of the larger retirement reform bill (SECURE 2.0). The ABLE Age Adjustment Act was included in the EARN Act as part of the mark-up. ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities to save money, while not disqualifying them from federal benefits like Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. AUCD recently signed on to this letter from the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination.
The Senate Finance Committee met to discuss the EARN Act. The Committee included the ABLE Age Adjustment Act in the EARN Act. ABLE accounts are savings accounts for people who develop their disability before the age of 26, and they allow people to save money without risking losing federal benefits such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. The Able Age Adjustment Act would increase the age of eligibility to 46, giving more people access to these accounts.
What this means to you:
How could a federal shutdown affect people with disabilities?
The link below will take you to the Social Security Administration's contingency plan for a shutdown:
This link will show how Food Stamps could be affected in a shutdown:
This link will show how housing assistance could be affected by a shutdown:
This link will show how the mail could be affected by a shutdown:
Here is a link to the IRS contingency plan and an article explaining how a shutdown could affect your tax return:
Here are two links specific to how a government shutdown could affect Wyoming:
Casper Star Tribune Article:
Wyoming Public Media: