Family Support: Senate Approves Reauthorization of Older Americans Act

On March 6, the Senate passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R.4334). This bill reauthorizes the Older Americans Act, including the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). The NFCSP provides information to caregivers about available services, assistance in accessing services, individual counseling, support groups, caregiver training, respite care, and supplemental services. This bill removes a 10% cap on funding for services for “older relative caregivers,” a term that includes family caregivers of adults with disabilities ages 18-59. The Arc supports this legislation.

Family Support/Employment: House Committee to Hold Hearing on Paid Sick Leave Legislation

On March 11, the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing on the Healthy Families Act (H.R.1784). This bill provides for paid and unpaid sick leave for employees to meet their own medical needs and those of their families. It requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide their employees with at least one hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours of paid sick leave a year.

Visit the Committee website for more information or to view live video of the hearing.

Family Support: Senate Approves Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act

On February 24, the Senate passed the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S.995) by unanimous consent. The Lifespan Respite Care Program, through grants to states, helps build coordinated state lifespan respite systems, helps family caregivers pay for respite or find funding sources, encourages development of new and innovative community and faith based respite opportunities, and trains respite workers and volunteers. The House passed its version (H.R.2035) last summer so the Senate measure now goes back to the House for final passage. The Arc supports this legislation.

Family Support/Employment: House Committee Holds Hearing on Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act

On February 11, the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing titled “Balancing Work, Health, and Family: The Case for Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act.” Witnesses were State Representative Sydney Batch (NC); Anthony Sandkamp, owner, Sandkamp Woodworks LLC, Jersey City, NJ; Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budgets, and Entitlements, the Heritage Foundation; and Elisabeth Jacobs, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Urban Institute. The Arc supports legislation (H.R. 5456) to expand eligibility of job protected leave to include siblings, domestic partners, and others that will be among the issues discussed in the hearing. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video the day of the hearing. View the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities statement here.

Family Support/Employment: House Committee to Hold Hearing on Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act

On February 11, the House Committee on Education and the Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing titled “Balancing Work, Health, and Family: The Case for Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act.” Witnesses will be State Representative Sydney Batch (NC); Anthony Sandkamp, owner, Sandkamp Woodworks LLC, Jersey City, NJ; Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budgets, and Entitlements, the Heritage Foundation; and Elisabeth Jacobs, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Urban Institute. The Arc supports legislation (H.R. 5456) to expand eligibility of job protected leave to include siblings, domestic partners, and others that will be among the issues discussed in the hearing. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.

Family Support: House Committee Holds Hearing on Exceptional Family Member Program

On February 5, the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing titled “Exceptional Family Member Program – Are the Military Services Really Taking Care of Family Members?” Witnesses included Kelly Hruska, Government Relations Director, National Military Family Association; Michelle Norman, Advocate for Special Needs Family members; and Jackie Nowicki, Director, K-12 Education, U.S. Government Accountability Office. Visit the Committee website for more information and to view archived video of the hearing.

Public Online Meeting of RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council to Take Place This Week

The RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council will hold its second meeting on February 11 and 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET. The virtual meeting is open to the public and can be accessed on the Council’s webpage. This council was established under the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act of 2018. Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburg at Achieva, and James Cheely, President of The Arc of Barren County, Kentucky were selected to be members of the Family Caregiver Advisory Council. The council is charged with assisting the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the development of a National Family Caregiving Strategy.

Employment/Family Support: House Committee Holds Hearing on Paid Leave

On January 28, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing titled “Legislative Proposals for Paid Family and Medical Leave.” Witnesses were Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY); Joan Lunden, former host of Good Morning America and women’s health and wellness advocate; Kemi Role, Director of Work Equity at the National Employment Law Project; Sharon Terman, Director of Work and Family Policy at Legal Aid at Work of California; Hadley Heath Manning, Director of Policy at Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice; Rebecca Hamilton, Co-CEO of W.S. Badger; and Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow for Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at New America. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing. For more on ensuring that paid leave works for people with disabilities, visit thearc.org/paidleave.

Input for National Family Caregiver Strategy Due February 7

The Administration on Community Living (ACL) is seeking public input for the development of a national strategy on family caregiving. Advocates are encouraged to comments on issues relating to caregiving, such as paid leave, tax credits, and respite options. Please see the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities’ sample comments. Submit your comments here by February 7.

Employment/Family Support: House Committee to Hold Hearing on Legislative Proposals for Paid Family and Medical Leave

On January 28, the House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing titled “Legislative Proposals for Paid Family and Medical Leave.” Witnesses will include Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY); Joan Lunden, former host of Good Morning America and women’s health and wellness advocate; Kemi Role, Director of Work Equity at the National Employment Law Project; Sharon Terman, Director of Work and Family Policy at Legal Aid at Work of California; Hadley Heath Manning, Director of Policy at Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice; Rebecca Hamilton, Co-CEO of W.S. Badger; and Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow for Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at New America. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access live video on the day of the hearing. For more on ensuring that paid leave works for people with disabilities, visit thearc.org/paidleave.