“Build Back Better” Bill to Impact Disability Spending
The Biden administration’s Build Back Better bill could soon be passed, albeit with several cuts and other changes that affect Social Security disability advocates.
On November 19th, the House passed the bill and sent it to the Senate for passage. A bill hopefully will be passed before Christmas. The massive plan, which will invest heavily in social spending for Americans, means that a lot of investment on social spending, including disability benefits. The bad news is that the amount of funds that are allocated towards these programs has been reduced significantly. The original bill had allocated for more than $3 trillion to be spent on programs that benefit financially weaker Americans, people with disabilities, older citizens and more The new bill, however, allocates only about $1.8 trillion for these programs.
However, disability advocates are hailing the allocation of a proposed $400 billion that will be spent on expanding the Home and Community Based Services program that delivers personal care to a disabled person’s home and community as well as other services that directly impact disabled Americans. Home-based services reduce the need for congregant care. Persons who have major physical and mental disabilities that make it challenging for them to receive congregant care can avail of support services that are delivered to them in their own homes. People with physical and mental disabilities, developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities who are also Medicaid beneficiaries who avail of these services would benefit from an expansion of the program.
The bill also plans to lessen pressure on eligibility criteria, as well as increase payouts that beneficiaries receive every month to enable persons with disabilities to avoid poverty. The bill also allows for updates to Supplemental Security including expansion of Supplemental Security to residents of Puerto Rico and other territories, and to make permanent the Money Follows the Person program that is aimed at helping persons receiving congregant care transition to home living.