Disability Community Expectations of Our Next Governor
CCDC asked both campaigns if they wanted to send a message directly to our members. We got the attached repsonse from Walker Stapleton. “With 57.3% of Coloradoans with Disabilities Out of Work, Polis Discusses Job Prospects”
We thank both campaigns for considering disability issues and urge our members to research positions of both campaigns and vote for the candidate you think will best.
- Commitment to have representatives from the disability community throughout the transition team.
- Commitment to quarterly meetings with disability community leaders.
- Commit to a process to have ear of Governor when agency staff are obstructive. This requires understanding that we do understand the laws that govern our programs.
- Civil Rights Division will become disability friendly and be trained on disability rights law.
- Boards and Commissions will actively work with our community. This includes
- allow us to choose our representatives where we have statutory right to a seat (absent a legitimate reason to decline),
- prioritize people with lived experience,
- quarterly meetings to discuss what positions are coming due so we can find appropriate candidates
- Make Colorado a model employer of people with disabilities
- Specific outreach
- Establish a preference for qualified individuals
- Establish disability affinity group among state employees and allow them to ally with advocates.
- Review of job descriptions and accommodation needs and how that happens
- Extend SSDI Trial Work Period concept to state programs (Section 8, Medicaid, etc)
- Extend Medicaid buy-in programs beyond age 65 and allow for breaks in employment. Currently people with disabilities that require daily care have to stop working and impoverish themselves if they live to age 65 in order to continue receiving supports such as daily home care to get out of bed, shower, etc. This gives no incentive or ability to save for retirement and will leave most people in a position of losing their homes.
- Continue to fix The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) which receives significant federal funds to help people with disabilities obtain meaningful careers and jobs.
- Assure equal funding for transit in all transportation funding.
Access to Community Based Services and Supports
- Active functioning Olmstead plan that touches all of state government
- Community First Choice will be priority in Colorado
- Increase participant direction options and allow for all Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) services in all waivers and explore for certain state plan benefits.
- Equalize wages with agency based care
- No direct care staff ever is paid less than $15 an hour at bare minimum. Redefine what is skilled and unskilled and reform rates accordingly.
- Commitment to improve the health facilities unit of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to act as true consumer advocate.
Asset and Earning increases
- Increase Medicaid LTSS asset limit from $2,000 (set in 1982) to at least $10,000
- Allow people who acquire disabilities at young age to save unlimited amount for children’s college and to leave a home up to a certain value to them, even if they live past age 55. (Difference between helping young people with disabilities escape poverty and making Medicaid an inheritance protection program)
- Allow Medicaid buy-in clients to continue working as long as they want (currently they have to stop at age 65 despite retirement not occurring until age 67) and to keep assets accumulated while working when they retire. (see below for fixing the age 65 cut off)
- Use all federally allowable options to liberalize food stamps.
- Continue reforms to make Aid to the Needy Disabled less draconian.
- Require new housing be at least visitable
- State based vouchers
- Stronger fair housing protections and enforcement (see Civil Rights Division)
- Keep homestead exemption for low-income seniors and consider expanding to people on fixed income affected by gentrification.