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New Budget is ‘Luck of Draw’ for People with Disabilities

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

According to Disability Scoop, President Obama’s $3.73 trillion dollar budget proposal seems to highlight special education, but falls short in other areas.

The new budget proposes flat or reduced spending for several programs, though special education received a boost. President Obama added $50 million dollars to the budget to help children with disabilities. He also added an extra $200 million dollars in state grants for IDA, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The Council for Exceptional Children receives $11.5 billion dollars a year, so the increase is “modest,” according to Deb Ziegler. The organization works on behalf of special educations but are “appreciate of anything [they] get” in this economic downturn.

Unfortunately, what is good news for one program is not always good news for another. Obama’s new budget proposal eliminates funding to ensure voter access for disabled individuals. There will also be $104 million dollars less for building new housing for disabled persons.

Ironically, one program that promotes the inclusion of developmentally disabled people in the community is proposed to be cut practically in half.

Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network says that while “everyone recognizes that these are difficult fiscal times,” that “we need to make sure we aren’t sacrificing the long-term rights and opportunities for people with disabilities.”

Some programs, including Social Security, were left mainly untouched. However, the new budget does include a $40 million dollar pilot project which would remove children from Social Security Income but provide grants to help improve the child’s outcome.