The Trump Administration has proposed a change to the way poverty is measured. While it might sound benign, this change could have far-reaching – and devastating – impacts on thousands of low- and middle-income Kansans, particularly on their health care.
The Alliance's Senior Policy Adviser, Sheldon Weisgrau, has taken a look at this proposal and outlined the ways it may harm Kansans.
READ SHELDON'S BLOG POST
Eligibility for KanCare (and KanCare expansion) is based on a person or family's income. Redefining poverty could lead to thousands of children and adults losing their health care coverage. Our job is to make sure this never happens.
It’s incredibly important that we push back against this proposed change to the way the government defines poverty. Strong advocacy efforts have thwarted previous attempts to make similar changes. The Alliance is submitting comments in opposition to the change and will continue to advocate for policies that INCREASE access to health care--not take it away.
--Expand KanCare HQ
Kansans with disabilities using Medicaid in-home services celebrated the 2019 State Legislature’s decision to increase the amount of monthly income they can keep to live on to $1,177/month. This means some people may be able to keep as much as $430/month more for the next year.
Q: What would you do with the money if you didn’t pay it toward your services?
A: I would buy food.
Time and again, “food” or “enough food”, or “the right food” was the answer to this question.
Some additional answers included:
- I would buy a toy for my daughter.
- I would buy the over the counter lotion/medication my doctor recommended.
- I would pay down overdue utility bills.
- I would buy a pair of shoes.
While the Kansas Legislature gave folks this bit of clear blue sky, clouds have rolled in as the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment has informed advocates, folks will have to continue to pay down their monthly income to $747 for six months of the next year while they are re-programming their computer systems.
Another six months folks will have to wait to buy food, or a toy for their daughter, or over the counter medications. Another six months of minimum payments towards utility bills. Another six months in tattered shoes.
KDHE can do better.
Call your elected representatives to thank them and ask them to let folks keep their money permanently. Ask your elected officials to demand KDHE make the needed changes immediately.
The new PIL will be $1,177 and there is a new target date of implementation by KDHE of January 1, 2020.
KDHE has stated, they will need 6 months to make system upgrades and KDADS will need to work on if any amendments need to be added to the waiver and if so, must there be a public comment period for these changes.
Comment Today to Support Equal Pay for People with Disabilities!
This week the Department of Labor announced its new website, “the Section 14(c) National Online Dialogue.” The purpose of the website is to collect comments from the public about the impact of paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers with 14(c) certificates can legally pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage, often times pennies on the dollar. Section 14(c) certificates are typically used in “sheltered workshops,” where people with disabilities are segregated from the broader community. Disability advocates view Section 14(c), which was created in 1938, as outdated, discriminatory, and reinforcing a life of poverty, segregation, and dependency on public support for people with disabilities. It is critical that you make your voice heard!
Input from people with disabilities, families, employment providers and employers is important. Share your perspective online here before Friday, June 14th.
Ideas to include in your comments are:
- If you are a person with a disability or a family member, talk about why a community job at fair pay is important to you/your family. Think about relationships with co-workers, how you/your family member have grown in your job, and opportunities to go into the broader community. If you/your family member have ever been paid subminimum wages, talk about how that made you feel and about your transition from sheltered work to CIE.
- If you are an employment provider, talk about how you support people with disabilities in competitive integrated employment. If you are a provider who has transitioned away from using 14(c) certificates, talk about that experience.
- If you are an employer, talk about your experience with employees with disabilities. Think about their contributions to your workplace and how you have been able to ensure their success.
- If you are an advocate familiar with disability employment trends in your state, share information about that progress. Think about what policies have advanced CIE and how your state may be moving away from using sheltered workshops.
Disability advocates have made significant progress towards eliminating Section 14(c) and establishing the legal right of people with disabilities to be paid the same as everyone else. In 2014, Congress passed the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which made competitive integrated employment (CIE) a priority, limited the use of subminimum wages for youth with disabilities, and required people currently being paid subminimum wages to be given other employment options. In 2016, the Federal Advisory Committee for Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities recommended to Congress and the Labor Secretary that Section 14(c) be phased-out, together with capacity building for competitive integrated employment. In 2019, Congress introduced bipartisan legislation, the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, to phase-out 14(c) and help providers transform their models to CIE. Numerous states have already prohibited the use of subminimum wages, and other states are currently considering legislation. It is very important that we urge the Department of Labor to continue the progress towards ending this outdated and discriminatory practice.
Remember, you only have until June 14th to make your voice heard here!
PARSONS, Kan.—Despite recent heavy rains and flooding, anglers with disabilities will again head to Big Hill Lake for a day of fishing, food and fun at a popular event that has become an annual tradition.
Hosted by SKIL Resource Center, the Southeast Kansas Fishing Without Boundaries event is slated for June 1 at the Cherryvale side of Big Hill Lake. Signs will be posted. The lake is located west of Parsons in Labette County. Long-time SKIL President/CEO Shari Coatney will chair the event.
Each year, SKIL personnel transport anglers with disabilities and their assistive equipment to the lake and provide assistance throughout the day. The fishing event includes breakfast, lunch, a dinner cookout, catch-and-release fishing, prizes, boating on the lake with Coatney and SKIL staff and unsupervised overnight camping if desired.
“This wonderful event brings together disabled anglers and the community,” said Coatney. “Though fishing is an important part of many people’s lives, it can be difficult for anglers with disabilities to participate in the sport. SKIL’s employees and volunteers help facilitate anglers being able to enjoy a day at the lake.”
Pre-registration and volunteer applications for the event are available by contacting Donna Martin at Parsons SKIL. Participants can also register on June 1 at the lake starting at 8 a.m. Total cost for the day, including all meals and snacks, is $25.00. Full scholarships are available if this fee is unaffordable, Coatney said.
SKIL personnel weigh and measure the fish, serve the meals and snacks and otherwise assist anglers throughout the day. Boating and other volunteers are being sought to help with event activities.
“If people have a boat and are willing to donate their time, please contact Donna or Julie at the Parsons SKIL office,” said Coatney. “They will certainly have a wonderful, rewarding time helping the anglers. We strongly encourage and appreciate community involvement in this activity.”
Fishing baskets containing a variety of items have been made up by SKIL employees. Some are available for viewing in SKIL’s front window. Raffle tickets are available for public and participant purchase at SKIL’s front desk. Each participant will be given 10 tickets when they register for the fishing event.
Founded in 1992, SKIL serves over 4,500 customers with disability needs. More than 2,000 staff work through the agency, a major southeast Kansas employer.
Headquartered in Parsons, SKIL has branch offices in Chanute, Columbus, Fredonia, Independence, Pittsburg and Sedan.
In addition to operating the independent living center, SKIL also operates an alternative lending program called K-LOAN that enables people with disabilities to purchase assistive equipment; and Assistive Technology for Kansans sites in Parsons and Wichita that provide assistive technology assessments and training, as well as other programs related to technology.
For more information, call Parsons SKIL at 1-800-688-5616 or contact any SKIL office. On the web at: www.skilonline.com