|Throughout the past year, we have been asking Congress to assist the autism community in addressing unique challenges brought on by the pandemic. Thanks to your support, our advocacy efforts have paid off!
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law yesterday, securing additional relief for individuals with autism and their families. This legislation addressed each of the pandemic-related policy priorities that we have been advocating for, including:
- Over $12.6 billion in emergency relief for home and community-based services which will help provide respite to family caregivers, supported employment services to autistic adults and other critical community supports that people with autism and other disabilities need to live and thrive in their communities.
- $3 billion in dedicated funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs to support students with autism and other disabilities who have been disproportionately impacted by disruptions caused by COVID-19.
- $1,400 stimulus payments for dependents over the age of 16. This marks the first time dependents 17 years old and up are eligible for stimulus payments since previous rounds were only provided for dependents under age 17.
Additionally, telehealth flexibilities that have been established during the pandemic were retained through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The funding in this bill will assist with ramping up telehealth capabilities, increasing broadband access across the country, addressing concerns of certain high cost-sharing insurance practices and permitting certain virtual home visits. To learn more about how this relief package benefits our community, visit our website.
While we know that there are ongoing challenges that still need to be addressed, the enactment of these provisions in the American Rescue Plan calls for a celebration of the achievement of autism advocates across the country who made this possible. Thank you for sharing your stories, contacting your legislators and fueling our mission!