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Federal Update: Things are Happening in Washington DC

Friday, May 14, 2021

It took a pandemic to dislodge the gridlock in Washington DC, but it happened and there are a lot of bills that we'll be tracking for you over the summer.  We have a couple that we wanted to let you know about.

SENIOR CARE (TICKET TO WORK).  US Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the bipartisan Supporting And Empowering the Nation to Improve Outcomes that Reaffirm Careers, Activities, and Recreation for the Elderly (SENIOR CARE) Act (S.1476). This bill would get rid of the Ticket To Work Program's Medicaid age restriction to allow individuals with disabilities who are over the age of 65 to continue to work and keep their Medicaid coverage. Senators Portman and Casey first introduced the SENIOR CARE Act in 2019. 

   Plain language:

  • This bill would help older adults with disabilities to have Medicaid while still working.

   What it means to you:

  • Under current law, when individuals with disabilities reach 65, they are often forced to make a choice between their job and their Medicaid benefits. Unfortunately, the advantages of meaningful employment are not enough to offset the increased healthcare costs that would result from a loss of Medicaid benefits. While many individuals find meaning in their work well into their later years, the current system discourages workers with disabilities from staying on the job they enjoy.

   Action steps:

  • Contact Senators Charles Grassley & Joni Ernst to urge support by email here, or by calling the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

CARE OPPORTUNITY ACT. Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03), Susan Wild (PA-07), and Susie Lee (NV-03) introduced the Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act (H.R. 2999). This bill would invest more than $1 billion over five years in training for direct care workers. 

   Plain language:

  • This bill would help direct care workers get training.

   What this means to you:

  • This bill can be a part of the conversation about the $400 billion investment in HCBS as proposed in the American Jobs Plan.

   Action steps:

  • Learn more:

o   Fact sheet on the Direct CARE Opportunity Act.

o   Bill text of the Direct CARE Opportunity Act.

  • Email or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 (voice) or (202)224-3091 (tty) and ask to be connected to your Senators and Representative. 

o   You can find your Members of Congress on

o   Leave a brief message sharing the Home and Community Based Services and Competitive Integrated Employment are important to you. Ask to be updated on how the Member plans to vote on the Direct CARE Opportunity Act.


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