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New Federal Resources Supporting the Disability Community

The developmental disability and special needs community has gained new ground with the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. This $1.7 trillion federal spending package provides resources across a variety of government programs, including those that assist individuals with special needs and developmental disabilities. At Direct Care Innovations, we are happy to celebrate with individuals living with disabilities, their caregivers, and caregiving agencies as this opens doors for people to receive or now be eligible for valuable services. Let’s take a look at how this bill impacts the developmental disability community.

New Federal Resources Supporting the Disability Community

Money Follows the Person Program

The new federal spending bill extends the Money Follows the Person program through 2027. This Medicaid program provides long-term services for individuals with developmental disabilities so they can choose where to live and receive services. Not only does this give individuals with disabilities the option to receive home and community-based services over institutionally-based services, but it also allows Medicaid funds to be used for long-term services in the residential setting of their choice.

ABLE Accounts

Currently, ABLE accounts are only available for individuals living with developmental disabilities with the onset of symptoms before the age of 26. With the new federal spending package, ABLE accounts can be used by individuals who presented with a disability by age 46 beginning in 2026. 

People living with disabilities and their families often depend on public assistance for food, housing, and healthcare. In order to be eligible for these necessary benefits, an individual cannot have more than $2000 in cash, savings accounts, retirement funds, or other liquid resources. An ABLE account, which is a savings account for the extraordinary costs associated with living with a developmental disability, cannot be used when determining an individual’s eligibility for these public benefits. Essentially, the federal government has recognized that living with a developmental disability incurs significant costs, and has created a solution that allows them to receive benefits while also receiving the extra resources they need such as transportation, personal assistance, assistive technology, and more. 

Electrical Stimulation Device Ban

This bill also assists individuals with developmental disabilities through an FDA ban on electrical stimulation devices. These devices have been used in facilities across the U.S. to condition people with disabilities or emotional problems not to engage in self-harm or aggressive behavior. The practice has ended in all but one facility, and advocates have long discouraged this application as it can pose a risk of injury to individuals. Now that Congress has given the FDA authority to legally ban this practice, it will no longer be used in treating individuals with developmental disabilities.  

Effective & Efficient Healthcare Management Software 

Direct Care Innovations is here to support you as your agency or organization serves individuals with developmental disabilities. To learn more about our business management software and to request a sales demo, contact us by calling (480) 295-3307. Our software solutions assist agencies with several of their day-to-day operations, including Electronic Visit Verification, training and compliance, and custom automated workflows

Source: Diament, Michelle. “Congress Approves Boost To Special Ed, Disability Programs.” Web article. Disability Scoop. Disability Scoop, LLC, 05 Jan. 2023. Web. 31 Jan. 2023.

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