The 2018 Florida Legislative session opens in January next year and Florida Self-Advocates Network'D (FL SAND) has selected 3 priorities it will advance through its 13 grassroots groups and at Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in February.
Look for more detailed information here on FSACentral on each priority in the coming weeks. Here's a brief introduction on each priority.
Transportation: With the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) and other agencies, FL SAND is asking that the legislature act on the recommendations of a transportation task force launched last year as the result of FDDC and FL SAND advocacy for more and better transportation options for people with disabilities.
Pay Fair for Care: FL SAND will again support the FDDC, Arc of Florida, and Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, among other agencies, in advocating for increased funds to pay workers providing direct care to people with disabilities on the Medicaid waiver. Workers providing these vital services that allow self-advocates to live independently have not received a substantive increase in more than a decade. Low wages result in high turnover in the field and the inability to recruit skilled, reliable workers.
Support for Working People with Disabilities: Although millions of dollars in programming and support resources are invested in helping people with disabilities find employment, many of those who go to work lose their Medicaid Waiver services if they earn more than $25,000 annually -- services that private insurance offered by their employers typically do not cover. Federal law allows states to enact programs to address this dilemma but Florida is one of only 3 states that does not provide some relief. FL SAND joins the FDDC in broaching this topic with the legislature, asking that they begin exploring legislation that will allow individuals with disabilities to make more than $25,000 a year without losing costly services and therapies that allow them to contribute to the workforce.
The FDDC will be addressing these priorities and two others throughout the legislative session that begins January 9. FL SAND members will present these priorities to legislators on Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day February 14 at the Florida State Capitol. Other self-advocates in Florida can participate in this effort by sharing these priorities with their legislators this month via phone call or email. Use this link to find contact information for your legislators. Look for more detailed information here on FSACentral on each priority in the coming weeks.