Thankful for the parachute, but aware there’s still work to do

Easter Seals is pleased the president and Congress have come to an agreement to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff,” averting devastating across-the-board cuts to federal programs and many of the scheduled tax increases. This agreement begins the path to addressing our nation’s fiscal issues without negatively affecting people with disabilities and their families.

Additionally, it’s important the bill minimizes the impact people who take itemized deductions for charitable contributions and continues the critical Medicare therapy cap exceptions process.

While disappointed the bill repeals the Community-Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, the new long-term services and supports commission appears to be a serious attempt to address the issue of access to long-term services and supports for people with disabilities and older adults.

As the across-the-board cuts are only postponed until March, there is still much work to do. These automatic budget cuts will affect almost all federal programs serving people with disabilities. The consequences to children and adults with disabilities and their families are significant if the sequester is allowed to go forward:

  • Fewer infants with cerebral palsy will have access to speech or physical therapy.
  • Fewer teachers will be trained to meet the special needs of students with autism.
  • Fewer high school students with disabilities will get the resources to get a job or go to college.
  • Fewer people with disabilities will get employment supports.
  • Fewer children with autism will get essential health services.
  • Fewer veterans will get needed supports like job training and employment services.

These programs provide vital — even life-saving — services to millions of kids, adults and families living with disabilities. Moreover, they are wise investments — leading people from lives of dependence to lives of independence.

Easter Seals is committed to working with our nation’s leaders to avoid devastating cuts to such important programs while still being fiscally responsible.


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