Just before the end of the year, Congress approved a wide range of appropriations bills, including minor adjustments to several programs for people with disabilities. (think stock)
Newly approved $1.7 trillion federal spending bill increases funding for special education while expanding access to ABLE accounts and addressing the use of electric shocks for people with disabilities .
The law, which provides government funding until September, was signed into law by President Joe Biden just before the new year began.
This includes more than $15 billion for special education, $904 million more than last year, and Medicaid to help people with disabilities transition from institutions to community-based living. We are extending our program, Money Follows The Person, through September 2027.
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Additionally, the measure raises the eligibility age for the ABLE account, a special savings vehicle that allows people with disabilities a way to save money without compromising the interests of the government. Since the account was created under the 2014 law, it has been limited to individuals with disabilities who developed before the age of 26. With this change, eligibility will be expanded from her 2026 to include anyone with a disability that develops by the age of 46.
A higher age limit, which an additional 6.2 million people are expected to qualify for, will encourage disability advocates to expand access and increase the number of ABLE accounts opened to ensure the program is sustainable. and others have long sought it.
Separately, the spending bill would make way for the Food and Drug Administration to ban what are known as electrical stimulators. Adjust so as not to hurt or aggressive behavior. They are known to be used only at his one facility in the United States. The Judge Lautenberg Education Center in Canton, Massachusetts serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and those with behavioral and emotional challenges.
For years, proponents lobbied to stop the practice, and in 2020, the FDA finalized a ban on electrostimulators, citing “an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness and injury.” But that rule was overturned when the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that the agency had trampled on its powers. Now, with new legislation, Congress has made clear that the FDA has the right to enact such a ban.
“This opens the door for the FDA to pass another ban without fear of it being revoked for the same reason,” said Zoe Gross, director of advocacy for the Autism Self-Advocacy Network. He called the development “a step forward.”
It is worth noting, however, that Congress, despite intense bipartisan pressure, has not elected to raise the asset limit for recipients of additional security revenues, within government funding measures. Currently, an individual her SSI beneficiary cannot have more than $2,000 in assets at any given time, under restrictions that have remained unchanged for decades.
The Arc CEO Peter Berns said: “We will continue to push this change into the new year.”
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