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Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of People with Disabilities

  • Published: 2013-10-19 : Author: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: The recent shutdown of the United States Government brings into question the perspectives of government in relation to People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans.

Quote: "It is vital to America that People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans are cared for despite the nonsense and irresponsibility of the politicians of this nation."

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The fact that the shutdown occurred over bitter partisan bickering without concern for these populations is cause for great concern. People with Disabilities represent a large population in America, as do Seniors. The Veterans who have served this nation honorably are supposed to have a social contract with America.

Standard and Poor's estimates this self-inflicted, "crisis," took $24 billion dollars out of our economy. While the politicians of America may have felt the need for such continued squabbling over the budget and their personal ideologies, the sad truth is that millions of People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans watched these politicians and wondered if they would be able to pay rent, utility bills, pay for medications or medical care, or even eat. Many of us wondered if we would end up homeless because of the outrageously uncaring actions of the politicians of this nation.

The shutdown was horrible for not only the populations mentioned, but the nation has a whole. The shutdown disrupted, delayed and suspended critical services and benefits due to men and women who have served America in the Armed Forces. If the bickering and ideological nonsense among the politicians in office had continued for another week or so, it would have had a devastating effect on millions upon millions of People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans. Benefit checks for disability, pension and DIC would have been cut off due to a lack of appropriations - something that must never happen. A nation that is unable to provide for People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans is nothing more than an anarchistic rabble.

Chart showing fears People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans experienced during the government shutdown
About This Image: Chart showing fears People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans experienced during the government shutdown
People with Disabilities and Seniors and Needed Action

The experience of America's leadership breaking down to the point of near default was something no one in this nation wanted. No one wanted to find themselves asking why the politicians of this nation were concentrating on their own ideological agendas instead of serving the People of America. It happened nonetheless.

Those who are least prepared to deal with such events include People with Disabilities and Seniors. The politicians of the United States of America have clearly demonstrated their inability to function responsibly on a financial basis. It is time to demand they do so in relation to the populations who are least prepared to deal with the irresponsibility of the politicians who are supposed to be leading this nation.

Bills must be presented to both the House and the Senate requiring the government to set aside a year's worth of funding for the SSDI and SSI programs, to be paid to recipients of these programs despite any government shutdown. The populations on these programs are not prepared to deal with more ideological bickering among politicians who choose to shut down the government to make political points, endangering the lives of People with Disabilities and Seniors.

The SSDI and SSI programs, as well as Medicare, must be funded a year in advance and paid to recipients despite a government shutdown or other, 'crisis,' the politicians of America may create or find themselves dealing with. It is vital to America that People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans are cared for despite the nonsense and irresponsibility of the politicians of this nation. Again - a nation that cannot provide for these populations is nothing more than an anarchistic rabble, something the People of America must not tolerate.

Veterans and Needed Action

Chart showing needed legislation in regards to Veterans
About This Image: Chart showing needed legislation in regards to Veterans
Four years ago Congress passed, and the President signed, legislation to provide advance appropriations for most Veterans Administration (VA) health care programs, legislation that provides the VA with funding a year in advance. Thanks to this law, even while portions of the government shut down VA hospitals and outpatient clinics retained the ability to provide health care to injured and ill veterans because they already had their budgets approved in advance. Sadly, the law did not protect additional veterans services and benefits, to include:

The recent government shutdown demonstrates how damaging budget stalemates and government shutdowns are for not only veterans themselves, but their family members and survivors. It is time for decisive action to be taken to prevent this from ever happening again. It is time for Congress to pass, and the President to sign, new legislation to extend advance appropriations to all VA programs, services and benefits.

The good news is there is already legislation pending in both the House (H.R. 813), and the Senate (S. 932), that could easily be amended, passed, and enacted into law if the politicians in office will do so. Called the, 'Putting Veterans Funding First Act,' it is commonsense legislation and would require Congress to pass a full year's appropriations bill for all VA discretionary programs in advance. The VA's mandatory disability compensation and other benefits were put in jeopardy by the irresponsibility of politicians in America and Congress should amend the legislation mentioned to include mandatory funding in the advance appropriation.

2013 Government Shutdown & People with Disabilities

People with disabilities rely on government services to live, learn and work in their communities. Federal services and supports for people with disabilities have already faced years of stagnant or decreasing funding while the demand for services is increasing. With each step in this ongoing budget debate, services to people with disabilities have suffered. The shutdown will mean that people with disabilities will face delays in applying for and receiving direct benefits; education programs like Head Start may start shutting down; federal funding for food programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and Meals on Wheels will stop coming; and more.

Reject Piecemeal End to the Government Shutdown and Protect People with Disabilities

"People with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on numerous federal government programs to live, learn, and work in their communities. We cannot allow Congress to cherry pick which federal programs continue operations based on arbitrary criteria. We are all in this together," said Marty Ford, Senior Executive Officer, Public Policy, The Arc. "Congress must adopt appropriations legislation now that does not lock in the harmful, low spending levels from the sequester or de-fund or delay the Affordable Care Act."

Veterans' benefits will be disrupted by extended shutdown

Veterans groups have reacted angrily to news that an extended government shutdown will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs unable to make disability compensation and pension payments to veterans. Losing the payments could have a devastating impact, particularly on severely wounded veterans who are unable to work and depend on VA checks, said Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Congress and the White House, they're playing chicken with people's lives," Tarantino said. "That's where this becomes scary."


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