Transition to Independence Act Opens Doors for the Disabled

Senator Wyden meetingLike most special needs parents, I don’t have a lot of free time. Sometimes I can’t even keep up on the news or find time to vote (although I fixed that problem by voting by mail). But recently three senators put party lines aside to work together on the Transition to Independence Act and this time I put a few things on hold to read up on it.

This program would work through Medicaid to financially reward states that increase job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities over the course of five years. It would also allow individuals with disabilities to buy their way into Medicaid. The act may improve the financial situation of disabled individuals as well as improve their working conditions and expand their possibilities. It will finally allow people to work and pursue a career without losing Medicaid benefits. You can read a summary of the bill here.

As with any piece of legislation this bill may have a long road ahead of it, but kudos to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) for stepping up to bring these issues into focus and for at least trying to take some action. While most of the media attention tends to focus on autism, people with other conditions, such as muscular dystrophy, will also benefit from the bill.

Transition to Independence Act – Primary Purpose:

  • Improve opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain integrated employment and reduce their relegation to subminimum wages and segregated environments;
  • Modernize and coordinate systems to offer cost-effective supports and services to people with disabilities consistent with the rising expectations of and for people with disabilities; and
  • Ensure that people with disabilities and their families regularly receive accurate information about and have access to services and supports that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion.

Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management Oregon; CC license

About the Author

Rosie Reeves is a writer and mother of three; including one with special needs. She works side-by-side with her daughter’s therapists, teachers and doctors. Rosie has also served as the Los Angeles Special Needs Kids Examiner. She can be reached at Rosie is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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