Biden Urges Equality For People With Disabilities
The presumptive Democratic nominee for president is calling for more access to community-based services, competitive employment and greater disability representation in government.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is pushing a slew of changes in an effort to bring about “full equality” for those with disabilities.
In his disability plan released late last week, Biden said he wants to boost Supplemental Security Income benefits, fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, phase out subminimum wage and increase support for direct care providers as well as family caregivers.
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He also promises to back the rights of parents with disabilities and to direct the U.S. Department of Justice to review guardianship laws to ensure that individuals are able to exercise self-determination in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Biden indicates that he would appoint a director of disability policy at the White House and said he would work to pass legislation guaranteeing the choice to receive services in the community that was affirmed by the Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. decision.
“As president, Biden will work with Congress to ensure that people with disabilities no longer have to wait for decades to access community-based services,” the plan states.
In addition to issuing a broad disability agenda, Biden also released a plan detailing how he would address the needs of this population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For me, it all comes down to a simple truth: everyone is entitled to a life of dignity and opportunity,” Biden said in a statement. “And in a time of pandemic, when people with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable to this virus, we must redouble our efforts to ensure they have the resources and the protections they need for their health, well-being and independence.”
Biden highlighted his role as a cosponsor of the ADA nearly 30 years ago and criticized President Donald Trump for his “disrespect for this community” and for his efforts to weaken Medicaid and SSI benefits.
During the Democratic primaries, Biden refrained from issuing a disability plan even as other leading candidates made such issues a central piece of their platforms.
Trump’s campaign has not issued a policy plan specific to people with disabilities.