When Crisis Hits the Disabled
We, the undersigned students at the University of Akron/Cleveland State University Joint Master's Degree in Social Work Program, and other undersigned concerned persons, propose the following changes in our nation's policies affecting people with disabilities. These issues arise due to the Wall St. Journal Article, "When Crisis Hits the Disabled," published on April 29, 2008. Congress needs to make sure that people with developmental disabilities are cared for appropriately. We urge you to read our petition and carefully consider our proposals. We realize they represent fundamental change in our nation's policies. But halfway measures have clearly not worked. We call for you to hold hearings and consider legislation which will achieve the following goals for people with developmental disabilities. 1. More employment opportunities including supported employment. 2. More opportunities to learn independent living skills. 3. Improved access to health care by providing Medicare cards (not Medicaid cards) to developmentally disabled persons on SSI. 4. Family members caring for recipients of SSI or SS Disability be given S.S. earnings credits for the proportion of previous earned income lost due to their caregiving work. 5. Improved subsidies to family caregivers for family members who would otherwise need group home or institutional care. 6. More widespread and effective and humane congregate care facilities for those unable to living independently and not having family caregivers. 7. Increased SSI levels for people with developmental disabilities and other disabilities. SSI levels should permit an individual to live with dignity and prevent homelessness. 8. Expanded funding for case management provided in community-based social services agencies. 9. Availability of advocacy services for people with disabilities facing employment discrimination. 10. Enhanced implementation of provisions that provide SS Disability to children of parents who were insured for SS purposes. 11. Increased levels of SS Survivor's Benefits for survivor's with disabilities.