the advocacy monitor

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

Prioritizing HCBS: Updates and Call to Action

The Senate is still working to pass a budget reconciliation package, and they will be deliberating over the next few weeks on the key priorities to include. Funding for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) is still a top priority for the Independent Living network and one of the most important issues that NCIL is supporting this year. There is still time for you to take action. This week, Senator Bob Casey, Chair of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, shared a memo with the Senate Democratic Caucus stressing the urgent need to fund Long-Term Care/Medicaid Home-Based services. Read the memo (PDF).

Take Action!

Contact your Senators and urge them to include HCBS funding in any reconciliation package that may be worked on during the next few weeks! You can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators, or you can find your Senators’ contact forms at

Talking Points

Remind your Senators of these key points:

  • While disabled people have the right to receive services and supports in our communities, far too many are unable to access them.
  • Millions of people with disabilities are unable to get out of institutions because the services they need aren’t available to them in the community.
  • Hundreds of thousands of our people are on waiting lists for HCBS—many will wait years before receiving the services they need.
  • The HCBS workforce—primarily women of color—has been underpaid and undervalued for decades, despite the vital services they provide.
  • The average cost of care through home-based care is approximately $26,000 a year, compared to roughly $90,000 or more for nursing home or other institutional care (See Sen. Casey’s memo linked above).

A significant investment in HCBS is urgently needed to expand access to services and support the workforce that provides them. We are pleased that the Administration and Congress are continuing to prioritize this. While this investment was urgently needed even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic made it even more critical. Take action today!