On Wednesday, March 30, several staff and Lexington Self-Advocates traveled to the Wildwood School in Schenectady for a press conference where United States Senator Charles Schumer, NY spoke about his new Bill, The Disability Integration Act of 2015.
According to a press release issued by his office, this new legislation will help individuals with disabilities live more independently by providing necessary at-home and community-based services and supports. Specifically, the legislation ensures that any individual who is found eligible for institutional care must also be given the option to receive the same necessary services and supports at home, or in a setting of their choosing, that would have otherwise been provided in an institutional setting. This legislation gives individuals with disabilities the option to live more independently, and in the comfort of their own home, rather than in an institutional facility away from their friends and family. This legislation will also help ease the financial burden of those who do not want to live in a facility and may be paying high out-of-pocket insurance costs for in-home services and supports. The bill will help alleviate the emotional burden that family members are often faced with when taking care of their loved ones with disabilities who are not receiving the necessary services and supports.
“Individuals with disabilities have the right to live independent, fulfilling lives amongst their families and friends – but right now, they are often denied the kind of at-home services and supports that then keep them in institutional settings, far from their loved ones and communities. We need to be doing everything in our power to make sure they have the resources needed to live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes,” said Schumer. “This legislation will finally give individuals with disabilities the option to receive these types of services at home, so that they can continue living life to the fullest in their own communities.”
The Disability Integration Act ensures that any individual with a disability who is found eligible for institutional care must be given the option to receive the necessary services that allow them to be more independent. If passed, this legislation would prohibit public entities and insurance providers that pay for long-term services and supports (LTSS) from using waiting lists, screening people out, capping services, under-paying workers for services or taking any other actions that would restrict the home- and community-based services provided to people with disabilities. The Disability Integration Act specifically defines LTSS as the assistance provided to individuals with disabilities in accomplishing, acquiring the means or ability to accomplish, maintaining, or enhancing activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, health-related tasks or other related functions, tasks or activities. For example, LTSS programs might include help with eating, bathing, dressing, preparing food, managing medication and housekeeping.