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Advocacy

ABLE Accounts now available in Illinois

Illinois has joined with thirteen other states to launch ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Accounts.  Individuals with disabilities and their families may set aside up to $14,000 annually in new accounts similar to a 529 college savings account.  These accounts can now grow to a maximum of $100,000 before jeopardizing federal benefits like Social Security or SSDI.  Funds can be used to pay for any "qualified disability expense."

Visit www.IllinoisABLE.com to sign up for an ABLE Account or for more information.

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What's Happening in Washington

Tell your U.S. Representative to oppose the American Health Care Act

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act. This bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), will cut essential home and community-based services that help individuals with disabilities live independently in their communities. Easterseals is especially concerned about the bill's cuts to Medicaid.

The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the AHCA would cut Medicaid funding by 25 percent. In response to these cuts, CBO predicted that states may have to eliminate services, establish long waiting lists, or restrict program eligibility making it harder for people with disabilities to access these supports.

We need your help to stop these cuts to health care and community supports for people with disabilities.

Easterseals statement on President's budget 

"The priorities advanced in the Administration’s budget blueprint, though limited in details, are cause for great concern," said Easterseals CEO Randall Rutta. "Despite the positive recommendations targeted to combat the opioid crisis and to increase mental health services and veteran’s services, historic cuts to the Departments of Health and Human Services (17%), Labor (21%) and Education (13%) will limit access for people with disabilities to critical services in the community. Vital programs that empower people with disabilities to live healthy, independent lives, such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Community Development Block Grant are slated for elimination. Congress should reject these cuts."

Tell Congress: Reject President’s Plans to End Specialized Job Training for Older Workers

As the first major step in the year-long legislative process, the President’s budget recommends eliminating the only federal employment and training program targeted specifically to older Americans. The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) helps low-income, unemployed older workers return to the workforce through job training and community work experiences. 

The President's proposal hurts older women, veterans, people with disabilities, and residents of rural America—all of whom benefit from SCSEP job training.

We need your help today to protect this vital training for older workers who struggle to return to the workforce.  

Easterseals analysis on CBO review of American Health Care Act

The analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reaffirms Easterseals’ strong opposition to the American Health Care Act’s (AHCA) Medicaid per capita cap provision. CBO estimated that the federal commitment to Medicaid would be cut by 25 percent (or $880 billion) by 2026, as a result of the Medicaid per capita cap change and Medicaid expansion phase-out. This dramatic decrease in federal Medicaid investments jeopardizes the ability of individuals with disabilities to access essential home and community-based services by, in the words of the CBO, "restricting eligibility" or "eliminating optional services" such as attendant care, home health, and other home and community-based services. Easterseals urges Congress to stop this AHCA proposal to cut Medicaid services for people with disabilities. Read the full analysis. (*PDF)

Read and share these stories from Medicaid enrollees

One of every seven Medicaid enrollees is a person with a disability, and now Congress is considering health care proposals that restrict access to critical Medicaid services. We urge Congress to oppose any proposal to reduce or eliminate Medicaid services currently available to people with disabilities.

Read more than 100 stories we've collected from parents of children with disabilities and from adults and seniors with disabilities in the Easterseals family who depend on Medicaid for their health, independence and well-being. And join more than 2000 people who have already voiced their concern by signing our petition.


Current Legislative Alerts: Take Action!

Each day, decisions are being made in Washington, D.C., that will affect people with disabilities and Easterseals' ability to provide services to them, as well as to meet Easterseals' mission today and for years to come. The unmet needs of people with disabilities will continue to go unaddressed if Easterseals is not engaged in educating public policy makers about people with disabilities' disproportionate reliance on government for health, education, employment, transportation and other needed services. Sign up to receive Easterseals advocacy alerts.

Public Policy Priorities for the 115th Congress (2017-2018)

People with disabilities and Easterseals have a significant stake in government programs. For many children and adults with disabilities, their ability to get an education, earn a living and live independently in the community is dictated by the availability of services and supports, many of which come only from the federal government.

Funding History of Federal Disability Programs, July 2016 (PDF*)

This chart, developed by Easterseals Office of Public Affairs, tracks the funding history of federal disability programs. The chart divides the information by agency, listing underneath each agency specific programs that matter to children and adults with disabilities.

Legislative Landmarks

Easterseals has been active in public policy advocacy since our founder, Edgar Allen, lobbied the Ohio Legislature to fund appropriate services for children with disabilities in the 1920s. We continue to actively support and promote federal legislation that helps people with disabilities achieve independence.

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