The Policy Center
The Policy Center provides links to current bills and legislation that affects individuals with Down syndrome. You can make a difference by taking any action steps requested within each current issue.
Want to find your Elected Officials? Click here.
ABLE ACT: MAJOR VICTORY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND THEIR FAMILIES
For first time in
nation's history, federal government recognizes added costs associated to
living with a disability
(Washington, D.C. - Dec. 17, 2014) - Last night, the
U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)
Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent
sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will
allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and
their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can
be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.
"Today marks a new day in our country's understanding
and support of people with disabilities and their families," Michael
Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director,
said. "A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very
first time in our country's policy on disability, recognizes that there are
added costs to living with a disability." He continued. "For far too
long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public
benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for
the millions of individuals living with a disability."
ABLE Accounts: 10 Things You Must Know
Effective July 1, 2013
Occupational Diplomas for High School Students with Disabilities in the State of Tennessee
TN HB 620 - As enacted, requires state board to create an occupational diploma for students with disabilities. - Amends TCA Title 49.
In addition to a full diploma, a certificate of attendance, or a special education diploma, the board shall adopt an occupational diploma for students with disabilities. The board shall set appropriate standards and benchmarks of attendance, academic achievement, and job readiness skills for the occupational diploma. A student is not required to comply with the testing requirements of subdivision (a)(1) in order to receive an occupational diploma.
Governor Haslam included $4.5 million in recurring funds for the Family Support Program in his initial budget. While this is great news, this amount does not fully fund the program. It is critical that legislators understand the importance of fully funding the balance by supporting the budget amendment to fully fund the Family Support Program with recurring funds.
Please contact your legislators today and ask them to support the budget amendment to restore full funding to the DIDD Family Support Program.
Please remind your legislators that...
• Nearly 4500 Tennesseans with disabilities received services through the Family Support Program in 2011-2012
• The Family Support Program is a cost-effective home and community based program that delays the need for more costly services
• 85% of Family Support funding goes directly to the individuals served by the program
• Many individuals served through the Family Support Program are not eligible for other home and community based options
There are many worthy social services programs competing for limited funds. It is important that legislators know how important the DIDD Family Support Program is to Tennesseans with disabilities.
If you do not know your legislator, please click here to find that information: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/. If you would like county specific information on the DIDD Family Support Program, please click here to access those documents: www.tnfamilysupport.org/wp/category/state-and-county-service-data.