How Can I Get Involved in Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March
Nationwide, approximately 4.6 million Americans live with developmental disabilities. As the nation’s deficit must be brought under control, budget cuts could hamper essential services for individuals with special needs. March is a time to reflect and participate in Developmental Disabilities Awareness month. President Obama recently announced his revenue and spending plan that will begin on October 1 of this year. Some of the bright spots include increasing the funding for the Early Intervention Part C program for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But other programs such as the Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities were cut by 10 percent. The President’s budget is just a start for the yearly budget and we could see other budgets and bills from Congress.
It is important to remember that many people with special needs depend on public services to function to their highest potential. Government services provide access to necessary housing, medical, financial, and educational resources that they depend on. The Arc, a leading advocate for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, has a campaign to show our leaders to “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline”. Protecting Medicaid, in particular, is essential for people with special needs who do not have an employer or private health care coverage to meet their daily living needs. Medicaid provides critical services for acute care, therapy, long term care, and assistive supports. Part of the “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline” campaign is to show that home and community services can be a better option for people with special needs rather than more expensive institutional services. The health and safety of individuals with special needs should be carefully protected and creative solutions to raising revenue can help ensure drastic cuts do not harm their access to services and benefits.
What can you do to advocate for individuals with special needs:
- Get active in March to spread the word about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
- Contact local, state, and federal legislators to “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline”
- Get involved to protect Medicaid services for people with special needs
- Speak with an experienced special needs planning attorney to get access and maintain essential services for your loved one with special needs
Individuals with special needs and their families can work with a qualified special needs attorney to ensure their access to benefits and services are maintained. An experienced special needs attorney can also assist with special education advocacy, asset preservation, estate planning, and trusts. To learn more about New York special needs planning, visit http://www.littmankrooks.com or http://www.specialneedsnewyork.com.