US House Special Needs Working Group Created
We were pleased to learn of the announcement that five members of the U.S. House of Representatives have initiated a bipartisan effort to explore policies and regulations in need of review and change to better support special needs employment. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep-Washington is Chairwoman of the Bipartisan House Working Group on Employing People with Disabilities. Joining her is Gregg Harper, R-Miss and Chairman of the House Administrative Committee, James Clyburn, D-SC, Joe Crowley, D-NY and Tony Cardenas, D-CA.
The work group plans to review and identify regulations, some of which date back to the 1930s, that can be barriers to individuals with disabilities who wish to enter the workforce. This includes income limitations on Social Security and Medicaid that prevent full time employment before benefits are negatively impacted.
Modifying these laws is a positive step in the right direction and will help shine a spotlight on the obstacles that Americans with disabilities continually navigate. Legislation such as ABLE accounts (Achieving a Better Life Experience) which was enacted in 2014, now allows eligible participants to establish savings accounts with protection from impacts to Federal benefits including Medicaid. These changes are timely, but there is still more work to be done. This includes strengthened and continued support from private employers to create opportunities for our individuals so that they can connect with fulfilling work and careers of choice.