The ABLE National Resource Center Presents a FREE Webinar: Understanding ABLE

In collaboration with The Arc, National Disability Institute, Autism Speaks, National Down Syndrome Society, and the College Plan Savings Network, The ABLE National Resource Center will host a webinar titled “Understanding ABLE” on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 2 PM EDT. The event will cover ABLE Act core components, as well as the status of implementation at both the federal and state levels. Marty Ford, Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy, The Arc is one of the featured speakers. Registration for this important event is now open and will be taken on a first come, first serve basis, Should you wish to join us, please sign up online.

Please note: Real time captioning will be provided for this webinar. For other accommodation requests, questions about the webinar, or the registration process, please contact James Thayer.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Economic Self-Sufficiency for People with Disabilities

Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing on “Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Economic Self-Sufficiency for People with Disabilities.” In a statement, The Arc’s Marty Ford said: “Today a legend in the disability community held what is likely his final Senate Committee hearing on disability issues, advocating for individuals with disabilities until the very end of his final term in Congress. Senator Harkin has been a longtime advocate for individuals with disabilities, supporting or spearheading all major disability legislation in the last 40 years. His final hearing focused on poverty, a huge problem facing many individuals with disabilities. This hearing, like so many before, highlighted one of the key issues facing people with disabilities, and challenged legislators to look for solutions. Senator Harkin is a hero to The Arc and our advocates across the country, and his legacy will live on. We thank him for his years of service, and friendship to our community.” Read more on The Arc’s blog.

AAIDD Special Issue Journal on Classification and Naming of “Intellectual Disability”

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) has published a special issue of its journal Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The special issue focuses on perspectives from the AAIDD community on the current and proposed conventions for classification and naming of intellectual disability (ID). The Arc’s Marty Ford, Annie Acosta, and T.J. Sutcliffe contributed an article, “Beyond Terminology: The Policy Impact of a Grassroots Movement.” The special issue includes a summary of AAIDD’s proposed recommendations for the World Health Organization as it revises its International Classification of Diseases.

SSA Announces 35 New Compassionate Allowance Conditions; The Arc’s Marty Ford Honored

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the expansion of the list of conditions that qualify under SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program for expedited disability claims processing. SSA has added 35 new Compassionate Allowance conditions, bringing the total number of conditions to 200. At an event on Capitol Hill announcing this expansion, The Arc’s Marty Ford was also presented with an award recognizing her longstanding leadership and commitment to the Social Security disability programs.

SSI’s 40th Anniversary Highlights Importance for People with Disabilities

October 30th marked the 40th anniversary of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI provides vital monthly income support to low-income children and adults with significant disabilities, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Benefits help people with disabilities live in the community and pay for necessities such as housing, clothing, and medicine. Learn more about the importance of SSI on The Arc’s blog and in a Huffington Post column by the Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and about threats to the program in a New York Times letter to the editor by The Arc’s Marty Ford.

The Arc’s Marty Ford testifies at hearing on securing the future of SSDI

The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security held the fifth hearing in a series on securing the future of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The hearing looked at options to address the key structural and fiscal challenges facing the program. The Arc’s Marty Ford testified on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force. Her testimony emphasized the vital importance of SSDI for people with significant disabilities and recommended a variety of ways to strengthen SSDI to enhance opportunities and outcomes, and to secure its financial future. Visit the Committee web site for written testimony and video from the hearing.

The Arc’s Marty Ford Testifies at Hearing on Use of Technology and SSI

Last week the House Committee on Ways and Means, Human Resources Subcommittee held a hearing on the use of technology to improve the administration of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The Arc’s Marty Ford testified on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Social Security Task Force. Her testimony emphasized the importance of using technology in ways that simplify the SSI program and make it easier for people to apply for benefits, navigate the redetermination process, and report on income and assets. Her testimony notes that technology can pose challenges for some people with disabilities, making it important for the Social Security Administration to continue to provide information in writing and in other accessible ways. Finally, her testimony calls for other improvements to SSI including increasing the income and asset limits. Visit the Committee web site to read all the witnesses’ testimony and for archived video.

Hearing on Use of Technology and SSI Rescheduled; The Arc’s Marty Ford to Testify

The House Committee on Ways and Means, Human Resources Subcommittee has rescheduled its hearing on the use of technology to improve the administration of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program’s financial eligibility requirements for Wednesday, July 25th at 2:00 PM EDT. The Arc’s Marty Ford will testify on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Social Security Task Force. Visit the Committee web site for more information and for live video the day of the hearing.

Brookings event highlights children with disabilities

On May 8, the Brookings Institute and Princeton University hosted an event on “Children with Disabilities” and released the latest issue of The Future of Children—a journal focusing on research and practice on vital children’s issues—examining the increasing impact of childhood disability. The release event included an overview of the journal issue’s contents, findings from an accompanying policy brief, a keynote speech by Kenneth Apfel of the University of Maryland, and a panel discussion on the SSI program for children. The Arc’s Marty Ford participated in the panel and spoke about the importance of SSI benefits for low-income children with significant disabilities and their families. Audio and a transcript are available on the Brookings Institute web site.