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Friday, January 31, 2020

Sanders on Disability and Autism

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns.  Democratic candidates are addressing the issue in some detailrecognizing that many voters have a connection.

From the Bernie Sanders policy statement on disability:
  • Guaranteeing health care, including mental health care and home- and community-based services and supports without waitlists, asset or income restrictions, as a human right to everyone in America.
  • Protecting and expanding the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs by reversing the Trump Administration’s attack on SSDI/SSI, ending the massive disability application backlog, putting a stop to SSI’s draconian asset test and marriage penalty, and raising the SSI benefit level to 125 percent of the poverty level, lifting millions out of poverty.
  • Aggressively enforcing the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, including for people with mental illness. As President, Sanders will work to enforce the Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead decision protecting the rights of people with disabilities to get support in the community. The plan places particular priority on the humanitarian crisis in our country created by the incarceration of people with mental illness, leveraging Olmstead to ensure states fund the voluntary, community-based mental health services that can save lives and keep people in the community.
  • Providing mandatory funding to ensure that the federal government provides at least 50 percent of the funding for serving students with disabilities, exceeding the federal government’s original commitment of 40 percent when IDEA was passed. The plan also provides schools with 100 percent of the additional costs of serving students with disabilities in the general education classroom above the cost of average per pupil expenditures.
  • Using executive authority to reject both renewals of and new proposals from states to place disability and aging services under the control of for-profit managed care organizations, including reversing Iowa’s disastrous experiment with for-profit Medicaid privatization.
  • Create a National Office of Disability Coordination, run by a person with a disability, focused on coordinating and making disability policy to advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities, including ensuring every aspect of our public resources are ADA compliant and that the civil rights of people with disabilities are protected and expanded.
  • Ending subminimum wage for workers with disabilities while guaranteeing jobs and living wages in the community for all.
  • Passing the Disability Integration Act, to establish a clear standard for the delivery of high-quality services.
Autism-specific proposals:
  • Require condition-specific advisory committees, such as the Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee, to include individuals with the relevant disability as at least half of the public members of the committee.
  • Re-authorize the Autism CARES Act with provisions to increase the percentage of autism research funding allocated to the needs of autistic adults and services, grow the representation of autistic people and others with developmental disabilities in the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities programs, and center the voices of autistic people in autism policy.