Budget and Government Spending


Position of the Disability Community:

The nation’s budget priorities must include funding for programs that promote the independence and self-determination of people with disabilities. Federal and state revenue must be sufficient to fund the programs that people with disabilities rely on to be healthy participants in work, school, and their community.


If public officials want the disability vote:

Oppose cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI currently serves 9 million people with disabilities between ages 18-64, and 2 million dependents. There should be no cuts to this program, which is essential to people with disabilities and qualifying dependents.

SSI benefits provide critical income support to families with children with disabilities. This money helps families keep children at home rather than in institutions. The current payout maximum for an individual receiving SSI is $750 per month. Even at these current levels, the majority of low-income families caring for more than one child with a disability struggles to pay for basic needs.


Oppose federal and state cuts to Medicaid.

More than ten million people with disabilities receive health coverage, acute care, and long-term services and supports (LTSS) through Medicaid. The White House has proposed a shift in how Medicaid is structured. Rather than the current system of state matching grants, states would instead receive a set amount of money from the federal government in the form of block grants or per capita caps. As the need for Medicaid continues to grow, state Medicaid programs would have to limit the amount of services they provide per individual, limit the number of people who receive services, or some combination of the two. Either way, this means less services for less people.


Oppose cuts to Medicare.

Medicare covers over nine million people with disabilities under age 65. These members of the disability community rely on Medicare for health insurance and prescription drug coverage. Significant numbers of program recipients with disabilities under age 65 report barriers to accessing health care and cost related issues under current Medicare funding levels. Funding levels for Medicare need to be maintained and, preferably, expanded.


Support safeguarding the ongoing federal funding for independent living programs and centers.

People with disabilities have the right to live independently in the community of their choice. The federal government supports this right by funding centers for independent living – local, community-based organizations run by and for people with disabilities that provide services and supports to help people with disabilities live independently. Level or increased funding for independent living programs is a priority.


Support safeguarding the ongoing federal funding of our nation’s protection and advocacy systems.

Federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems work to improve the lives of people with disabilities by guarding against abuse; advocating for basic rights; and ensuring accountability in health care, education, employment, housing, transportation, and within the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The disability community must be vigilant in protecting the funding for these vital organizations that help people with disabilities in communities across the nation.


Oppose funding cuts for State Councils on Developmental Disabilities and for Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

The proposed cuts for State Councils on Developmental Disabilities and for Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities are unacceptable, as the work they do is vital to the disability community.


Support a National Paid Family Medical Leave Plan that promotes the health and economic well-being of people with disabilities and their families.

The United States is the only industrialized nation with no national paid family and medical leave plan. This hurts people with disabilities disproportionately more than non-disabled individuals because workers with disabilities tend to work in part time and low wage jobs that do not offer paid leave. While some states have enacted leave plans, part-time and low-wage workers are typically exempt. The Family Leave plan proposed by the White House does not include provisions for individuals caring for family members with disabilities or those who have personal medical issues.


Oppose funding cuts for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The recent White House budget proposed deep cuts to SNAP over the next decade, which would greatly impact people with disabilities. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities data analysis of the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, over 1 in 4 SNAP participants, equivalent to over 11 million individuals have a functional or work limitation or receives federal government disability benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service reports food insecurity impacts one third of households with a working age adult who is out of the labor force due to disability, and one quarter of households with a working age adult with disability who has stayed in the workforce.


Support level or increased funding for special education and related services, Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Part B of the IDEA includes provisions related to formula grants that assist states in providing a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities ages three through 21.


Oppose cuts to the State Supported Employment Services Grants.

The latest budget released by President Trump proposes an 18% cut to the State Supported Employment Services Grants. According to the US Department of Education, these grants “assist states in developing and implementing collaborative programs with appropriate entities to provide supported employment (SE) services for individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with disabilities, who require supported employment services to achieve an outcome of supported employment in competitive integrated employment.”


Additional Information and Resources:


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The Budget and Government Spending section of the 2018 REV UP Issues Guide was published on June 25, 2018 and last updated on June 25, 2018. AAPD will do it’s best to keep this guide up-to-date as Executive and Legislative changes happen; however, we recommend double-checking Congress.gov, WhiteHouse.gov, or Google for the latest updates.

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