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Disability Spending Drops For First Time In Years

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For the first time in decades, a new report finds that total government spending on individuals with developmental disabilities has declined.

When adjusted for inflation, government funding fell 0.2 percent in 2011 as compared to the year prior, according to findings in the 2013 State of the States in Developmental Disabilities, a report produced by the University of Colorado.

That’s the slowest growth rate documented in at least 35 years, researchers said.

Overall government spending on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 2011 — the most recent year for which data is available — was $56.65 billion, the report found.

Of the funding distributed nationwide that year, about 20 percent went toward programs providing family supports, employment services, personal assistance and similar aid.

Almost 60 percent went toward residential settings for six or fewer people while 5 percent funded living environments with seven to 15 residents. State-run institutions with 16 or more residents received 11.5 percent of total spending and 3 percent went to institutions that were privately run.

Nearly 80 percent of government spending on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities was funneled through the Medicaid program in 2011, the report found. Other funding came from the states and federal programs like Social Security.

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Comments (6 Responses)

  1. vmgillen says:

    Interesting… I’ll have to look this one up for details. I’m not so sure it’s sustainable, though, when phenomenal increases in longevity are factored in.

  2. mom of disabled child says:

    We feel the funding cuts in almost every area effecting my child. So of course the government is spending less. It certainty won’t help latch key severly disabled kids to be at home.

  3. Terry says:

    Well of course it is down, now when a kid graduates high school and is not ready for community employment they sit at home. Sheltered employment is frowned upon so no training opportunities to support them in the long range goal of employment whether in community or sheltered.

  4. Judie Vermilyea says:

    The biggest reason for the drop is due to programs being eliminated not due to better care and better watch dog over cost. Care in some states has pretty much been eliminated. There is your cost savings!

  5. ddadvocate says:

    Funding is down because they are not allowed to spend more. I have clients, youth and adults, who are on wait-lists as long as 7 years to get services. Don’t let this article fool you. The spending is less because the services (money) is not available to people. Terry is right; sometimes when kids graduate or leave the school systems, if they did not apply for services at the age of 14 or 16 depending when they are allowed to, they have 7-9 years to wait to get certain services. So maybe, if they knew to apply early, they have ‘only’ 3-7 years to wait after high school.

  6. Whitney says:

    The problem with Sheltered Work Programs is the fact it looks better on paper than in practice. I find the human investment by the government is down as well not just the disabled community. It takes ten years for person in my state get the service they need when times were good. We want the perfect world when it is not.

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