Capitol Correspondence - 01.12.21

More Legislative Gains for Disability Community: Medical Transportation, Lifespan Respite, Housing Assistance

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As we continue to review legislation passed in the last days of the 116th Congress, we identified three new gains for the disability community which ANCOR advocated for as part of its coalition efforts.

  • Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) has been codified into federal law as a mandatory Medicaid benefit, sheltering it from a proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make it an optional service. The CMS proposal triggered a feud with Congress which ANCOR has followed for over a year. We signed onto multiple coalition letters such as this one urging Congress to codify NEMT as a mandatory benefit.
  • The Lifespan Respite Care Program has been reauthorized for five years. The Lifespan Respite Care Program, though competitive grants to states to establish or enhance statewide Lifespan Respite systems, works to maximize existing resources and help ensure that quality respite is available and accessible to all family caregivers. Learn more about our coalition efforts for the program here.
  • Congress gave the Treasury Department more funding for rental assistance. Congress allocated $25 billion in emergency rental assistance as part of the December COVID-19 relief package, which will be administered through the Treasury Department’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. The Treasury Department published important information for states to access the funding. In order for a state or locality to get its share of rental assistance funds, it must submit completed payment information and a signed acceptance of award terms by 11:59 pm ET on January 12, 2021. National housing and disability organizations are encouraging advocates to work with their state and local governments—notably governors—to ensure they are aware of this short deadline and take the necessary actions to receive funds.