The Biden Plan for People With Disabilities
What is President Biden’s plan for the disabled?
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach
President Biden has made more promises to people with disabilities than any other incoming president. During his campaign, Biden pledged to increase SSI benefits, fully fund the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and phase out the subminimum wage for disabled workers. His far-reaching plan for “full participation and equality for people with disabilities” includes many other proposals that will positively impact the lives of people in the disabled community. While covering a broad range of issues, the Biden-Harris Plan outlines the following main goals:
- Ensure that people with disabilities are fully included in developing policy and enforce civil rights of people with disabilities.
The Biden administration will make sure that the anti-discrimination protections inherent in the Americans With Disabilities and Affordable Care Act are fully enforced. Additionally, President Biden will appoint a director of disability policy within the Domestic Policy Council. This director will engage with disability community leaders as well as people with disabilities and their families to make sure that people in the disability community are included in the development of policies that affect them. Biden will also ensure that leaders of federal agencies are committed to breaking down any barriers that hold people with disabilities back and actively recruit qualified people with disabilities to fill leadership positions throughout his Administration.
- Expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Biden Administration is committed to helping workers with disabilities find jobs that secure their place in the middle class. He will enforce the ADA so that employers do not discriminate against people with disabilities and make sure that employers provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
- Guarantee access to high-quality, affordable health care.
This includes protecting the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid and providing expanded access to home and community-based services and mental health care. The Biden Administration will encourage states to allow people with disabilities and older Americans who receive long-term services through Medicaid to choose their own home and community-based services, including hiring family members as care givers.
- Ensure that students with disabilities have access to educational programs and support they need to succeed.
The Administration is committed to fully funding the Individuals With Disabilities Act, which promised to provide 40% of the additional cost of special education, but currently only provides 15%. This will guarantee schools and teachers the resources they need to educate students with disabilities.
- Protect and strengthen economic security for people with disabilities.
Among the changes to the Social Security System the Biden-Harris Administration plans to initiate are increasing the benefit level for people receiving SSI, eliminating the five-month waiting period for SSDI and the two-year waiting period for Medicare, and eliminating the “benefit cliff” for SSDI.
- Expand access to integrative, affordable housing, transportation, and assistive technologies and protect people with disabilities in emergencies.
This will allow people with disabilities to live independent lives wherever they choose and guarantee that emergency response systems will be able to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.
- Advance global disability rights.
President Biden will work with the Senate to ratify the Disabilities Treaty created by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. He will also appoint a Special Envoy for International Disability Rights to work with federal agencies to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance programs are inclusive of people with disabilities.
If you have been denied disability don’t give up! Contact a Disability lawyer at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
The above only briefly describes President Biden’s proposals on improving the lives of people with disabilities. For more detailed information, see: https://joebiden.com/disabilities.
President Biden did not waste time acting on his promises, demonstrating his commitment to people with disabilities at his inauguration and during his first week in office.
All inauguration events were regularly accompanied by captions and interpreters as well as live audio descriptions for blind and vision-impaired people. The White House has also renovated its website to allow users to adjust font and contrast and there will be an ASL interpreter available at every news briefing. On January 20, President Biden’s first day in office, he signed an Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, confirming his commitment to include people with disabilities in government policies.
“It is therefore the policy of my Administration that the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.
For purposes of this order: (a) The term “equity” means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality”
On January 26, 2021, President Biden issued a Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s Federal Government History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.
This Memorandum directs government to apply and enforce Federal civil rights and housing laws.
Its provisions aim to:
- end housing discrimination;
- eliminate racial bias and all other forms of discrimination at all stages of home buying and renting;
- lift barriers restricting housing and neighborhood choice;
- promote diverse and inclusive communities;
- ensure sufficient accessible housing; and
- secure equal access to housing opportunity for all.
President Biden also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to reopen Healthcare.gov from February 15 to May 15, allowing Americans who have lost their jobs and health insurance due to the Covid-19 pandemic an opportunity to obtain health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
He directed federal agencies to reexamine policies that make it more difficult to enroll in Medicaid, reduce the affordability of coverage, or reduce protection for people with pre-existing conditions.
No one can deny that there is a lot of work ahead for the new Administration, but these initial actions will have far-reaching benefits for all Americans, and the next four years look a lot brighter for people with disabilities.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach has been practicing law for 29 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Because of his extensive litigation experience Mr. Roach is board certified from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lonnie is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Roach is a member of the Texas trial lawyers association, has been active in the Austin Bar Association and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Roach and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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