ACT NOW: The Senate’s new COVID bill does not include disability priorities

July 31, 2020

Earlier this week, the Senate released a new COVID-19 relief package, the HEALS Act, that fails to adequately address the needs of the disability community, particularly much needed additional funding for home and community-based services (HCBS), which was included in the HEROES Act passed by the House in May.

HCBS funding is crucial to help individuals with disabilities and older adults stay in their own homes during the pandemic and beyond. Even if you have called or emailed before, we need you to contact your Senators again.

The Arc created a form where you can send an email to your officials with just one click:

Your Senators need to hear from you so that these and other important provisions remain in the bill that ultimately passes Congress:

  • Dedicated funding for Medicaid HCBS. These funds are necessary to serve people with disabilities in their homes and communities and will provide better wages and support for the Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce. Access to HCBS will limit the risk of people with disabilities being put in institutions where they are more likely to contract COVID-19.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for direct support professionals. This is urgently needed to protect the health and safety of this critical workforce. DSPs must be designated as essential workers so that they can get access to the PPE and medical supplies they need.
  • Paid leave for all caregivers. As more people with disabilities lose their usual sources of care, family caregivers are scrambling and need access to paid leave and sick days to help their loved ones. Congress should include all family caregivers in the emergency paid leave provisions.
  • Economic impact payments for all people with disabilities. Tell Congress to make sure that stimulus payments are available to everyone, including adults with disabilities who are claimed as dependents.