Maryland is home of Sargent Shriver and the Special Olympics which is one of the most successful of War on Poverty programs for the disabled.
The high cost of War on Poverty programs came after Reagan/Clinton dismantled oversight and the corporate frauds started gutting a hundreds of billions of dollars each year from these programs causing the costs to climb ----as with Medicare and Medicaid.
LBJ's War on Poverty: It Worked!
President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in his State of the Union address 50 years ago this week. Prof. Michael Katz pushes back on the modern blather that the project failed:
President Reagan famously quipped that the nation fought a war on poverty and poverty won. This is an overly harsh blanket statement. Through the War on Poverty, the federal government helped millions of Americans find medical care, food, housing, legal aid, early childhood education, and income security at a level unprecedented in America’s past.
Poor Americans also helped themselves. The day-to-day War on Poverty took place at the grassroots in the complex interactions between activists on the ground, local officials, and the federal government. Many of the gains wrested with great difficulty remain in place today. The War on Poverty and Great Society did not eradicate poverty in America, but during the years when the programs flourished, poverty dropped to its lowest recorded point in US history.
Amen. Enough with the claims that the government can't do anything to help people get a leg up in their lives! Those braying blowhards who say can't really mean shouldn't, which is a much different thing.
The LBJ Library has a nice feature on the War on Poverty, including this old-timey video presentation from 1964:
"For the first time in our history, an America without hunger is a practical prospect. And it must, it just simply must become the urgent business of all men and women of every race and every religion and every region."
You don't have to look at too many photos from Appalachia in the 1960s to see just how bare the living could be in those days. The government helped change it:
Medicare and Medicaid expanded the availability of medical care for the elderly and indigent. Poverty among the elderly plummeted while their use of medical care soared: between 1964 and 1973, hospital discharges of the elderly rose by 350%. Poor people began visiting doctors at the same rates as everyone else.
Operation Head Start helped significant numbers of poor children prepare for school; Upward Bound prepared large numbers of adolescents for college; and financial assistance permitted thousands of young people from families with low or modest incomes to take advantage of higher education. Were there mistakes and missteps and abuses? Sure. Those huge city housing complexes didn't work out too well. Yes, people found ways to game the system and get their hands on money they didn't deserve. The same is true of the Defense Department and its game-playing contractors and occasional boondoggle fighter jets, and yet nobody ever suggests that the governent can or should get out of the business of the public defense. A lot of people are a lot better off 50 years ago because LBJ and Congress worked hard to make things better for all citizens. Good for them, and good for us, for trying everything we could to help Americans make a better life -- and shame on us if we listen to the naysayers and give up now.
I spoke earlier about the implosion of the Social Security Disability Trust and its soon to be demise and it is tied to the soon to be dismantled Americans With Disabilities Equal Protection structures. Both indicate that people with disabilities have no rights under Clinton neo-liberalism and Bush neo-conservatism. Obama has greatly reduced and privatized the Federal programs tied to the Disabilities agencies and with Race to the Top is dismantling all of the network of special needs education in all of our public K-12 and rebuilding the structures of warehousing -----sending special needs to underserved schools with the lowest per pupil funding and this inclusion policy sends these most vulnerable students into already overcrowded classrooms in schools already facing the discipline problems that come from poverty. Teachers are overwhelmed and untrained to handle this and these children are becoming lost or families are forced to remove their children with no good school replacement. What these privatizers do is create private corporate non-profit structures for special needs that places them in tracking for jobs that exploit. In Baltimore, the only strong public schools with the same special needs classroom funding and structure are in Roland Park and Mt Washington----affluent schools that get private donations. So, again-----if you are affluent you will have what all children had under Equal Protection and 90% and more of special needs will be tracked into these corporate non-profits. No more will the goal be to prepare these students for integration into the mainstream workplace----no more will corporations be required to accommodate special needs employees per the Disability Act----
WE DON'T RECOGNIZE EQUAL PROTECTION AND BROAD-BASED EQUAL ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY EDUCATION say Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons.
Keep in mind that any child creating a need to alter any classroom instruction have been categorized as special needs. Behavior, mental health, physical needs, and general low-achievers. So, the numbers are high!
Texas was one of the first to implement this end of Disabilities Act and today they are proud not to have many at all special needs children in their public schools. That is because those families were pushed out of the state. Maryland has modeled its economic and public policy on Texas! The education reform in Baltimore is the platform for this Texas-style end of all that is Equal Protection and public.
Below you see the beginning of the dismantlement---the discharge of the mental health institutions and sending most of these people to become homeless. Now, those institutions were not necessarily progressive, but the social structures built to handle this was purely profit-oriented......in comes BIG PHARMA and the mental health clinic as drug dispenser. Now, the mentally ill were on the street being dosed with drugs and left to have very shorten lives with little path for improving their lives. Federal money goes from providing these people a safe place to live and food to eat to sending it all to a network of homeless shelters and PHARMA dosing clinics.
Remember, the conditions in these mental health facilities had declined tremendously with defunding and as with public schools and education today---crumbling schools with no resources or funding----parents and care-takers wanted change----they did not want the change they got from privatizers like Reagan neo-liberals pretending to be progressive.
Ronald Reagan and the Commitment of the Mentally Ill:
Capital, Interest Groups, and the Eclipse of Social Policy
Alexandar R Thomas
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Conventional wisdom suggests that the reduction of funding for social welfare policies during the 1980s is the result of a conservative backlash against the welfare state. With such a backlash, it should be expected that changes in the policies toward involuntary commitment of the mentally ill reflect a generally conservative approach to social policy more generally. In this case, however, the complex of social forces that lead to less restrictive guidelines for involuntary commitment are not the result of conservative politics per se, but rather a coalition of fiscal conservatives, law and order Republicans, relatives of mentally ill patients, and the practitioners working with those patients. Combined with a sharp rise in homelessness during the 1980s, Ronald Reagan pursued a policy toward the treatment of mental illness that satisfied special interest groups and the demands of the business community, but failed to address the issue: the treatment of mental illness
Almost ten years after Ronald Reagan left office as president, the legacy of his administration continues to be studied. What is almost indisputable is that the changes in public policy that were implemented during the 1980s were sweeping and marked a turning point in American domestic policy. Faced with increasing competition from overseas, American business found it necessary to alter the social contract. This would require a realignment of the political economy so as to weaken labor unions and the social safety net. In Reagan, the Right found a spokesman capable of aligning conservatives, centrists, and working class whites. With this coalition, Reagan was able to bring about a number of reactionary changes in public policy (Alford, 1988).
This paper provides an illustration of this co-optation by examining the policies regarding involuntary commitment of the mentally ill. The shifts in such policies were not the result of overt attempts at change, but rather part of an overall effort to realign the political economy to be more profitable for business. The overall result was that political discourse shifted from a focus on social policy to a focus on fiscal policy. As such, social programs that necessitated financial outlays on the part of the federal government were overlooked in favour of policies that seemed less costly.
Still, the administration did not, and perhaps could not, act in isolation and without public support. But they didn't have to. By the middle of the 1970s, there was a consensus among interested groups that reform of the Mental Health Care System was necessary. Lobbying on the part of special interest groups and a commitment on the part of President Jimmy Carter led to passage of the Mental Health Systems Act.
With the planned transfer of responsibility for the mentally ill to the states, reformers needed to build coalitions of fiscal conservatives concerned with the cost of social programs; "law and order" Republicans concerned with crime; and those who dea lt with the mentally ill who, in the absence of more comprehensive reform, sought more limited alternatives (Becker, 1993). Within this context, statutes and procedures dealing with involuntary commitment of the mentally ill were attractive. Easing standards cost relatively little, allowed the Administration to claim action simultaneously on mental health care policy, crime, and homelessness, and appeased health care providers and families of the mentally ill.
THEN CAME CLINTON NEO-LIBERALISM TO CONTINUE THE REAGAN REPUBLICAN DISMANTLEMENT OF PUBLIC POLICY-----NOT THAT IT DIDN'T WORK---THEY SIMPLY WANTED TAXPAYER MONEY GOING TO CORPORATE SUBSIDY AND NOT PUBLIC SUBSIDY!
Below you see a great example of how neo-liberalism works-----this article written in 2006 during the Bush years makes the public programs look like they create the impoverishment of those supposed to be helped by New Deal and War on Poverty Programs but you won't read one word about the move with Reagan/Clinton neo-liberalism to dismantle all of the strong protective structures for educating, training, and placing the disabled in quality work positions and living conditions earning a supportive salary. So, before the 1990s------the ADA worked wonders mainstreaming the disabled with all kinds of Federal support. That is when the US had full employment. Note this article starts in the 1990s to talk about how the disabled were becoming trapped in poverty programs like Social Security Disability and not finding jobs and that is what they say is bad policy. See how the dismantling of the ADA parallels the rise in people being pushed and left in the SS Disability program that is now imploding. Many of these people were fully employed when the ADA was healthy and funded. Now, neo-liberals and neo-cons call the public services and programs failures because Clinton neo-liberalism moved all US corporations and jobs overseas and left high unemployment. THAT IS THE PROBLEM----NOT THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITY ACT. So, all of the funding that did go to improving the education and job placement of the disabled is now being sent to corporate private non-profits where they are tracked into poverty jobs at early ages.
21st realities-----third world employment structure has the poor doing what used to be well-paid public sector jobs in exchange for food and shelter.
In Baltimore ARC is the private non-profit corporation that has the disabled doing public sector jobs for food and shelter. Note all of the issues they claimed to be addressing were the issues the ADA addressed when it was funded. Now, it was about sending the disabled to boost corporate profits.
Please just glance through this technical writing to see the transition away from being all you can be to being useful on the cheap. It's a 21st century fact of life with the NEW ECONOMY says Clinton neo-liberals!
Dismantling the Poverty Trap
Originally published as Stapleton, D., O’Day, B., Livermore, G., & Imparato, A. (2006).
Dismantling the poverty trap: Disability policy for the twenty-first century. The Milbank Quarterly, 84(4), 701-732. © 2006, Milbank Memorial Fund. Published by Blackwell Publishing Dismantling the Poverty Trap: Disability Policy for the Twenty-First Century David C. Stapleton Bonnie L. O’Day Gina A. Livermore Cornell University Andrew J. Imparato
American Association of People with Disabilities Address correspondence to: Bonnie L. O’Day, Cornell University Institute for Policy Research, 1341 22nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Working-age people with disabilities are much more likely than people without disabilities to live in poverty and not be employed or have shared in the economic prosperity of the late 1990s. Today’s disability policies, which remain rooted in paternalism, create a “poverty trap” that recent reforms have not resolved. This discouraging situation will continue unless broad, systemic reforms promoting economic self-sufficiency are implemented, in line with more modern thinking about disability. Indeed, the implementation of such reforms may be the only way to protect people with disabilities from the probable loss of benefits if the federal government cuts funding for entitlement programs. This article suggests some principles to guide reforms and encourage debate and asks whether such comprehensive reforms can be successfully designed and implemented.
Working-age Americans with disabilities are much more likely to live in poverty than other Americans are, and most did not share in the economic prosperity of the late 1990s. At the same time, public expenditures to support working-age Americans with disabilities are growing at a rate that will be difficult to sustain when the baby boom generation retires and begins to draw Social Security Retirement and Medicare benefits. We suggest that better policies would both improve the lives of many people with disabilities and stimulate the labor supply of working-age people with disabilities at a time when labor is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Accordingly, the current policies that trap people with disabilities in poverty and encourage them to retire early even when they still may have some work capacity should be replaced with policies that reflect twenty-first-century realities. More specifically, we argue that some current policies are outdated and paternalistic and should be replaced by policies promoting economic self-sufficiency and bringing the relevant programs in line with more modern thinking about disability. Indeed, today’s paternalistic policies trap many people with disabilities in poverty by devaluing their often considerable ability to contribute to their own support through work. Although recent reforms are an improvement, they do not adequately promote true economic self-sufficiency. Rather, they should take advantage of the productive capacities of people with disabilities while at the same time providing sufficient support to ensure that those who are working will achieve a higher standard of living than they can under the current policies. Such policies would •
Take advantage of the advances in medicine, technology, training, and workplace modifications that enable many people with significant physical or mental impairments to work.
• Be consistent with changes in the social expectations for people with disabilities and for the workplace improvements embodied in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• Increase public support for disability programs and reduce the vulnerability of people with disabilities to future program cuts.
• Motivate and empower people with disabilities to participate more fully in the economic mainstream.
• Address unrealistically low societal expectations about the work capacity of people with disabilities. The transition to economic self-sufficiency policy has already begun, with several important pieces of legislation and other initiatives that reflect a more modern approach to disability policy. We argue, however, that these changes alone are inadequate to achieve the ambitious objectives of advocates and policymakers. More radical change is needed, and many difficult challenges remain to be addressed. Leaders in business and government must recognize that this is an urgent issue for the country’s entire economy, not just an issue of providing more appropriate support for people with disabilities.
Dismantling the Poverty Trap
Table 1. Employment and Poverty Rates by Disability Status,
2003 Disability Employment Rate/Poverty Rate
Sensory Disability 47.8% 20.5%
Physical Disability 32.2% 24.4%
Mental Disability 28.2% 30.1%
Self-Care Disability 17.6% 28.3%
Go-Outside-Home Disability 17.4% 29.1%
Employment Disability 18.1% 28.9%
Any Disability 37.9% 23.3%
No Disability 77.6% 8.9%
Source: R. Weathers, A User Guide to Disability Statistics from the American Community Survey (Ithaca, N.Y.: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Disability and Demographic Statistics, Cornell University, 2004).
Employment and Poverty of People with Disabilities:
A Discouraging Picture
The employment rate of working-age people with disabilities is well below that of their nondisabled cohort, regardless of what national survey is used or how disability is measured. The American Community Survey (ACS) is a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau designed to replace the decennial census long form. Starting in 2000, the ACS has contained six measures of disability: sensory, physical, mental, self care, ability to go outside the home, and employment. Based on these measures, 38 percent of working-age people with at least one of the ACS disabilities were employed in 2003, compared with 78 percent of people reporting none of the ACS disabilities (last row, second coumn of Table 1). The low employment rates of people with disabilities are reflected in their poverty rates, which for people with at least one disability are more than twice as high as for those with no disabilities (second to last row, last column of Table 1). Many others live in families with incomes just above the official federal poverty standard, which does not allow for the extraordinary disability-related expenses incurred by many people with disabilities. These poverty rates are high, even though almost 9 million working-age adults with disabilities receive income support from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Although the SSI and SSDI programs have provided cash assistance to millions of Americans since their inception, these benefits often are not enough to lift incomes above the poverty standard. Indeed, the maximum federal SSI benefit now is only about 75 percent of the federal poverty standard for an individual. In addition, many people with disabilities do not receive support from these programs. In 2002, 41.6 percent of working-age adults with any ACS disability who lived in a household with an income below the poverty line received income support from SSDI and/or SSI. Another 6.8 percent lived in a household whose income was from the federal/state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (Weathers 2004). In many areas, the basic SSI monthly benefit is not sufficient to pay for housing; for example, in 2002, the average national rent for a modest one-
Although the country’s recent economic growth has somewhat reduced the poverty rate of people without disabilities, it has not helped people with disabilities (Burkhauser, Daly, and Houtenville 2001; Burkhauser, Houtenville, and Wittenburg 2003; Burkhauser, Houtenville, and Rovba 2004; Burkhauser and Stapleton 2003, 2004a). For example, the poverty rates that Burkhauser, Houtenville, and Rovba (2004) report for working-age adults with “long-term” work limitations (i.e., work limitations reported in each of two surveys, twelve months apart) are comparable in magnitude to the ACS poverty rate estimates. When comparing the two surveys conducted during the business cycle peak in 1989 with the two surveys conducted during the business cycle peak of 2001, they found that the poverty rate had risen from 26.9 percent in 1989 to 27.6 percent in 2000, compared with a decline from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent for those without work limitations. Unprecedented Growth of Dependence on Public Programs The decline in the economic status of people with disabilities despite higher public expenditures has outpaced economic growth. In FY2002, the federal government spent $87.3 billion on SSI and SSDI benefits and another $82.1 billion on Medicare and Medicaid programs for working-age people with disabilities. Adding federal expenditures for housing, food assistance, rehabilitation, income assistance for families, assistance for veterans, and other programs for people with disabilities brings the total federal spending to approximately $226 billion: 11.3 percent of total federal outlays in FY2002 and 2.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). From FY1986 to FY2002, federal disability expenditures grew 85 percent more than total federal outlays and 57 percent more than the growth rate of the GDP. In FY2002 the state governments contributed an additional $44.6 billion under Medicaid and $2.9 billion for state supplements to SSI (Goodman and Stapleton 2005). In sum, expenditures are growing faster than federal outlays and GDP because of the rapid growth in the number of people with disabilities receiving income and health care support, along with the rising cost of health care. Although one reason for the growing number receiving benefits is the aging of the baby boom generation, another important reason is the higher participation rate for almost every age group. The single most important component in the growth of federal disability expenditures is the greater number of people on the SSDI rolls, all of whom also are enrolled in Medicare after a twenty-four-month waiting period. One recent study estimates that the fraction of the working-age population on the SSDI rolls rose by 76 percent from 1984 to 2003 (Duggan and Imberman 2006). Although the authors trace some of this to the aging of the baby boom generation and the long-term growth of female labor force participation, they attribute the bulk of the growth (82 percent for men and 72 percent for women) to program policies and how they interact with the economy. They note a 48 percent rise in the number of nonelderly adult DI recipients from December 1995 to December 2004 versus a 15 percent increase in the number of nonelderly adult SSI recipients.
I attended a public school special needs meeting at the ARC where parents of special needs brought their stories of the chaos and dysfunction being brought by the inclusion education policy that kills special needs programs in all public schools and creates the warehousing effect I described above. These parents and some teachers were clear that this education reform was not working in Baltimore----AS NONE OF IT IS. The program had all of the Obama education reform people there promoting the idea of this education reform to this group with ARC supplying the place for them to sell these reforms.
No doubt ARC had a progressive beginning as did all of our labor and justice organizations did---but as others it has been modified into this Clinton neo-liberal picture of operations around finding the cheapest mode that boosts corporate profits. If any group would be fighting this education reform and the dismantling of all public disability structures for the disabled----it would be ARC. I DON'T HEAR A WORD FROM ARC.
I am picking on ARC but there are now lots of corporate private non-profits all geared to sending people to work for less under the umbrella of disability.
A Leader in Disability Rights
We are the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We encompass all ages and all spectrums from autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X and various other developmental disabilities.
Strong National Presence With more than 140,000 members and nearly 700 state and local chapters nationwide, we are on the front lines to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the support they need to be members of the community.
Deeply Rooted History
The Arc was born more than 60 years ago from a grassroots movement of families working vigilantly to create services for children and adults who were being denied day care, educational opportunities and work programs.
Founded in 1950, The Arc was comprised of a small group of concerned and passionate parents and community members who would be catalyst for changing the public perception of children with disabilities. For the past 60+ years, The Arc has continued to grow and evolve along with the changing needs and issues people with disabilities and their families face.
Governed by a volunteer board of directors and managed by key staff of The Arc, we work passionately to uphold our vision that every individual and family living with an intellectual or developmental disability in the United States has access to the information, advocacy and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community.
Everyone knows the people who are really disabled really have no problems getting SSDI---the program was designed for just that. When you are teamed with a lawfirm that makes sure you can get those benefits then it seems to be working less for the disabled and more for the expanding base of people left long-term unemployed.
If you look at an organization like AARP---it started as a seniors advocate and now is basically a corporation promoting senior service corporations.
A progressive is not trying to keep the long-term unemployed from having an employment outlet----it is fighting the dismantling of the public sector with good paying jobs and benefits and replacing these workers with ARC.....which keeps these people impoverished. It is also why the SSDI is being drained of funding for people really disabled. So, in Baltimore I see ARC cleanup services all along public grounds. That is a public sector job paid by taxpayers now being paid by SSDI.
THAT IS NOT WHAT ARC STARTED AS A MISSION.
Champion Disability Advocates
Champion Disability Advocates, a solution from Human Arc, is a leader in Social Security disability claims services. Our mission is to help people access monthly cash disability benefits and qualify for Medicare and Medicaid insurance in the shortest possible time. We do this by helping people who cannot work because of medical conditions apply for these benefits. We also help people who have been denied benefits by guiding them through the appeals process, even representing them in court if needed. Our knowledgeable team includes former Disability Determination Service examiners, former Social Security Claims Representatives, and attorneys who specialize in Social Security Disability. We help more than 1,000 people each year get monthly Social Security cash benefits. We can help you, too! Contact us today at 1.877.444.1327.
When I see an ARC person I always talk with them. Most of these people are not disabled----they are not mentally challenged.....they are simply the working poor needing a job. ARC is huge in Baltimore because of this and it keeps these people from what the ADA meant for these programs---to fight for structures that educate and hire into good paying jobs.
Meanwhile, people with serious disabilities are seeing their pathways closing as SSDI implodes.
Arc Industries provides paid work opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities with a focus on encouraging a strong work ethic, developing good work habits and skills, and rewarding efficiency. Workers are trained in performing service contracts and assembling and packaging products efficiently.
Arc Industries offers local companies secure document destruction, product processing, packaging, and warehousing in a 65,000 square foot production facility equipped with 10 trailer-height dock doors. Arc Industries boasts a large experienced workforce ready to turn out a quality product in a timely fashion.
Sub-contract capabilities and services available through Arc Industries include:
The Arc Baltimore is the nation's largest - and most successful - community-based employment program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our workers are skilled, reliable and motivated. They don't just need a job; they want a job! The Arc has contract arrangements with companies who need supervised work crews.
The ADA was the last progressive program to come from Congress as the power in Congress grew more neo-liberal. So, this program was indeed designed to augment the LBJ Great Society and opened the door to people with disabilities with funding that sent them into the mainstream workforce. It sent them to college and made corporations meet hiring stats ----and made sure they could access all the places they needed to be independent and self-supporting.
Twenty years later after the dismantling of the structures that do most of the above-----we see less movement of the disabled into mainstream workforce and more of them doing the poverty level tasks that provide them food and shelter......often subsidized too.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
An act to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability
- Introduced in the Senate as S.933 by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) on May 9, 1988
- Passed the Senate on September 7, 1989 (76-8)
- Passed the House of Representatives on May 22, 1990 (unanimous voice vote)
- Reported by the joint conference committee on July 12, 1990; agreed to by the House of Representatives on July 12, 1990 (377–28) and by the Senate on July 13, 1990 (91-6)
- Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990
(ADA) is a law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) authored the bill and was its chief sponsor in the Senate. Harkin delivered part of his introduction speech in sign language, saying it was so his deaf brother could understand. It was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, and later amended with changes effective January 1, 2009.
The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. In addition, unlike the Civil Rights Act, the ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.
ADA disabilities include both mental and physical medical conditions. A condition does not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations provide a list of conditions that should easily be concluded to be disabilities: deafness, blindness, an intellectual disability (formerly termed mental retardation), partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. Other mental or physical health conditions also may be disabilities, depending on what the individual's symptoms would be in the absence of "mitigating measures" (medication, therapy, assistive devices, or other means of restoring function), during an "active episode" of the condition (if the condition is episodic). Certain specific conditions, such as kleptomania, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc. are excluded under the definition of "disability" in order to prevent abuse of the statute's purpose, however other specific conditions, such as gender identity disorders for instance, are also excluded under the definition of "disability".
Obama has spent his entire terms aligned with the Republicans and this budget shows the restructuring of funding for the disabled. Race to the Top included a massive restructuring of K-12 moving away from special needs in all public schools to the idea of inclusion which manifests in lower funding and combining of special needs with low income. It also came with a huge influx of education businesses designed to teach everyone how to do this. So, special needs inclusion funds supposedly educated teachers never handling special needs to handle them and as I said above-----most teachers say they are not getting the training or are too overwhelmed to put it into action. Then, there was the assessments and evaluations needed to be bought and installed----THIS WAS WHAT THE INCREASED FUNDING FOR SPECIAL NEEDS WAS ABOUT AND IT IS NOT PROGRESSIVE.
As you see Obama attacks the equal opportunity and access at HUD with housing for disabled just as public housing for the poor is being dismantled. Group homes that once worked well to keep the disabled independent are now being defunded -----staffing less trained-----and the entire process is threatened----independent working and living.
Obama Budget Brings Mixed Bag For People With Disabilities
By Michelle Diament February 14, 2011
Special education appears to be a bright spot for Americans with disabilities in the president’s $3.73 trillion budget proposal released Monday.
In a plan featuring flat or reduced spending for many programs, special education got a boost. President Barack Obama included $200 million in extra funds for state grants for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, and added $50 million to help young children with disabilities.
The increase is “modest” for an $11.5 billion program, says Deb Ziegler of the Council for Exceptional Children, which lobbies on behalf of special educators. But, she adds, “in this budget climate, we’re appreciative of anything we get.”
Other programs for Americans with disabilities are likely to fare worse. Under Obama’s proposal, funding to ensure voter access for people with disabilities will be eliminated. And there will be $104 million less in federal money available to build new housing for those with disabilities.
What’s more, a program that administers federal grants to promote the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in the community is slated to be cut nearly in half.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s very concerning,” says Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. “Everybody recognizes that these are difficult fiscal times but we need to make sure that we aren’t sacrificing the long-term rights and opportunities for people with disabilities.”
Entitlement programs like Social Security were left largely untouched. But Obama is proposing a $40 million pilot project designed to wean children from the Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, program by providing grants to help improve children’s outcomes.
Meanwhile, the budget maintains funding for ongoing research into autism spectrum disorders.
The proposal presented Monday represents the president’s funding request for fiscal year 2012, which begins in October. At present, Congress is still considering spending for the current fiscal year, a more pressing concern for many disability advocates.
Late last week, congressional Republicans proposed slashing special education by $557.7 million for 2011 alongside other cuts.
“I think the threat is very real,” says the Council for Exceptional Children’s Ziegler. “The quality of services for students is in jeopardy.”