U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) met with members of New York’s intellectual and developmental disabilities advocacy community this week to hear from them and offer her support of the field. Senator Gillibrand stated that this type of outreach with elected officials is important and continued advocacy is key so that decision makers in Washington, D.C. and the State of New York know what’s happening in the disabilities community.
New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) organized the virtual meeting with the Senator so that providers, family members and self-advocates could learn more about the status of COVID-19 related legislation including the Heroes Act and other legislation that will address inequities in the disabilities field. Senator Gillibrand joined the meeting for over 30 minutes and informed the attendees that she is an ardent supporter of increased Medicaid funds to states and localities, allowing for Medicaid reimbursement for caregivers, increased Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP) for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) as well as new federal grant funding for HCBS and ensuring that there’s no subminimum wage to ensure equal pay for equal work.
Senator Gillibrand acknowledged that the I/DD community is one that stands together and continued to urge meeting attendees to inform elected officials on the needs of the sector so that we survive the pandemic and thrive afterward.