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Friday, October 6, 2017

Bipartisan House Working Group on Employing People with Disabilities

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Many posts have discussed programs to provide them with training and experience

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) announced a new bipartisan Congressional working group focused on employing people with disabilities. The announcement took place at a press conference hosted by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). The title of the working group is the “Bipartisan House Working Group on Employing People with Disabilities.” Its five members are: House GOP Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Democrat Caucus Chair Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), and Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).

Rep. Rodgers backed the ABLE Act.  Deborah Barfield Barry reports at USA Today:
Sara Weir, president of the National Down Syndrome Society, said the ABLE Act has generated 15,000 accounts with more than $30 million in assets in 28 programs.
“The next frontier is employment," she said.
Weir said her group is working with lawmakers to craft legislation that would eliminate or change outdated laws that have income limitations for people with disabilities. She said individuals can only earn about $16,000 a year before federal disability benefits are in jeopardy.
“There are income limitations on Medicaid and Social Security that prevent people with Down syndrome from having full-time careers," she said.

Some of the laws date back to the 1930s and 1960s when individuals with Down syndrome were often institutionalized and didn't live long, Weir said.

“We want all of our individuals with Down syndrome not to just have job opportunities, but have the right to pursue a meaningful career," she said.