Peter V. Berns
CEO, The Arc
There is a lot at stake for people with disabilities in the 2020 election. As we have seen millions infected with COVID-19, sickness and death have disproportionately impacted people with disabilities and have devastated families across the United States.
The pandemic has exposed many of the challenges people with disabilities and their families face on a daily basis, and they are looking for solutions this November. People with disabilities and their families vote.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) often need community-based, long-term supports and services to manage their needs and to live as independently as possible. This includes assistance with daily living like help bathing, getting dressed, taking medication, preparing meals, and job coaching.
But the nation lacks a comprehensive system of long-term services. Instead, people are struggling to navigate a confusing patchwork of programs, with the main source of funding coming from Medicaid.
We must have a nationwide system that provides people with IDD, and their families, with timely access to the quality supports and services they need and want to achieve a life of personal significance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also underscored that the United States is one of only a few countries in the world without paid family and medical leave. Caregivers for people with disabilities have been scrambling to arrange care as normal sources of support have closed and the lack of personal protective equipment complicates access to services.
Comprehensive paid family and medical leave not only means that people who have the virus can take time off, but that people who have caregiving responsibilities can, too. Paid leave ensures family caregivers can take time to be with their loved ones without losing a paycheck.
Without paid leave, workers often face a cruel choice: health and family, or making ends meet. We must have paid family and medical leave available for everyone when they need it.
Learn where the candidates stand on these and other important problems. People with disabilities matter. Voting matters.
The Arc is a 501(c)(3) organization and therefore cannot endorse a candidate or party. We are encouraging voters to understand the issues and exercise your right to vote.