Public Policy Priorities
APSE Policy Priorities for 2020
Calendar year 2020 is the second year of the 116th Congress and is also a Presidential election year. Typically, Congress tries to pass most of its big legislation in the first year of its two-year term. During a second year it places a greater focus on the upcoming election. With one-third of the Senate and all of the House members having to defend their seats come November, Congress is less likely to pass big bills this year. Despite this, APSE will continue to promote policy to advance competitive, integrated employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
Our priorities for the 116th Congress include:
Phase Out of 14(c) and Subminimum Wage
Since 2009, APSE has called for the complete phase out of the use of 14(c) certificates and sub-minimum wage for all individuals with disabilities. While the sub-minimum wage may have historically been a valid and effective strategy for enhancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, the evolution in disability rights law, modernization of the business marketplace, and advances in available community employment support, makes the 14(c) provision under the Fair Labor and Standards Act no longer necessary or acceptable. Read the full statement here.
APSE will continue to educate Members of Congress around this issue, in support of the Raise the Wage and Transformation to Competitive Employment Acts, which were introduced early in the 116th Congress.
Supporting Implementation of WIOA
Passed in 2014, the implementing regulations for WIOA were released in the last year of the Obama administration. There have been campaigns to either rescind the WIOA regulations altogether or to modify them to alter the definition of "competitive integrated employment.” APSE is opposed to changing WIOA regulations in any way on the basis that the law was passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, and that the regulations are not only aligned with Congressional intent but also with long-standing Department of Education and Rehabilitation Services Administration policy.
Compliance with the Medicaid HCBS Settings Rule
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final settings rule in 2014. There are vigorous campaigns by groups that want to modify and rescind the rule on the basis that it reduces choice for individuals who receive Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). CMS has already given states an additional three years to comply with the rule, and the administration has been sympathetic to groups that want to see these changes made. APSE's position has been — and continues to be — one of support for full implementation of the rule, on the basis that too many settings that are funded as community-based actually serve to segregate those with individuals from the broader community and instead create substitutes for community.
Opposing Medicaid Work Requirements
ASPE opposes Medicaid Work Requirements. These requirements would reduce access to Medicaid, and potentially employment, for people with disabilities and their caregivers. The majority of non-elderly, adult Medicaid recipients are already either working or are caregivers for family members. Medicaid work requirements are a thinly-veiled attempt to reduce the number Medicaid beneficiaries. In a joint statement with the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination, APSE stated that we are committed to advancing policies that have been shown to help people with disabilities find and retain employment using HCBS. This includes increasing access to HCBS supports and services, including supported employment services, funded through Medicaid. Threatening beneficiaries with the loss of their healthcare has never increased employment. In fact, people who have access to healthcare are healthy are more likely to be able to work. Read the full statement here.
Promoting ABLE Expansion
APSE supports the expansion of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This includes increasing the number of individuals eligible for ABLE accounts by expanding the age of onset of a qualifying disability, increasing asset limits and eliminating the marriage penalty.
Preventing Cuts to Medicaid and Social Security
It is APSE's position that Medicaid and SSI are the core programs that enable Americans to be employed and to live independently in their communities. If these cuts weave their way into serious policy discussions or if a bill is proposed that would make cuts to these programs, APSE will be involved in actively opposing any cuts, including an attempt to impose per capita caps or block grants on Medicaid funding.
Preserving Protections Under the ADA
In 2020, APSE will join the broader disability advocacy community in celebrating the passage of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). APSE will continue to advocate for the full enforcement of ADA protections, including and especially the "integration mandate" as it relates to community-based services, particularly employment.