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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

American Rescue Plan Brings Welcome Relief to the Disability Community

This week Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan. You can view the full package online and additional links can be found below.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the disability community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. After a year of tireless advocacy – a year of repeatedly calling attention to the needs of our community – Congress has finally heeded our calls to increase funding for the home and community based services (HCBS) that are more critical than ever right now. The final package includes a 10% FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) bump for HCBS, which amounts to $12.67 billion in dedicated funding from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. While we know this funding is only some of what our community needs right now, it is an incredible victory that will help more of our people survive this pandemic. Thank you for your relentless advocacy – that is what led to this success.

In addition to the additional HCBS funding, this package includes funding for housing and homelessness assistance, education, public transportation, vaccinations and testing, food assistance, another round of stimulus payments (at $1400), small business support, and more. It also expands and extends unemployment benefits, provides incentives for states that did not expand Medicaid, expands access to health coverage, and extends and expands the paid sick and FMLA leave from the Families First Act. The final package does not include the $15 minimum wage bump or the phase-out of 14(c) certificates that was included in the House version.

We will make more information about the bill available soon at our COVID-19 page. You can also see more information about the bill at the following links: