[nfbwatlk] [Wcb-l] Not out of the woods yet

debby phillips semisweetdebby at gmail.com
Sun Jan 13 01:46:26 UTC 2013

: worry about some of the cuts that could be made, but especially 
how they will affect blind folks who have other disabilities as 
well.  They won't fare as well.    Peace,    Debby

 ---- Original Message ------
From: Gaylen Floy <floydom at comcast.net
Subject: [Wcb-l] Not out of the woods yet
Date sent: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 11:12:52 -0800

Disability Programs Still Vulnerable After ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal

By Michelle Diament
DisabilityScoop.com, January 8, 2013

Despite an agreement last week to avert the so-called “fiscal 
cliff,” experts say considerable uncertainty remains regarding 
the future of the nation’s disability programs.

The last-minute deal struck shortly after the new year rang in 
halted tax increases for many Americans but failed to address a 
series of sweeping federal budget cuts.  Instead, lawmakers opted 
to put off a process known as sequestration for two months, 
meaning that deep cuts that were expected to take effect at this 
beginning of this year for nearly all government programs will be 
delayed until March.

While offering a temporary reprieve, advocates say that the move 
leaves the fate of countless programs benefiting people with 
disabilities in the balance, with further budget negotiations in 
Washington virtually inevitable to deal with the impending cuts 
and the nation’s debt ceiling.
“Everything is on the table,” said Marty Ford, director of public 
policy for The Arc.  “The next three months will make a huge 
difference in the way our federal government addresses people 
with disabilities for years to come.”

Of utmost concern to Ford is the future of entitlement programs 
like Medicaid and Social Security.  Though not subject to 
sequestration, advocates say the programs are vulnerable in any 
big budget deal that lawmakers may try to reach.  Changes to 
these initiatives could be critical for people with disabilities, 
Ford said, with entitlement programs often making the difference 
between a person being able to live in the community or having no 
choice outside of institutional life.
Meanwhile, under sequestration, everything from special education 
to transportation, housing and health care programs serving 
people with disabilities are slated to be slashed in March in an 
effort to trim billions from the federal budget.

The two-month delay of sequestration means that less money will 
be chopped than was forecast last fall when more than $100 
billion was expected to be cut, but how much is not entirely 
clear.  Regardless, the effect of such significant spending 
reductions on people with disabilities would be severe, said 
Lindsay Jones, senior director for policy and advocacy at the 
Council for Exceptional Children.

“One of the major concerns is that these cuts are indiscriminate 
and across-the-board,” Jones said, noting that disability 
programs have already sustained significant cutbacks in recent 
years.  “I think we have these two months to re-energize our 
membership and get them focused on how they can best explain 
their concerns to Congress.”

More information about the NFBWATlk mailing list