President Joe Biden is calling for increased funding for special education, home and community-based services, and other programs that benefit disabled people.
The requests are part of Biden’s budget proposal, which was released on Thursday. It will be up to Congress to negotiate a final plan. The $6.8 trillion dollar plan outlines President Biden’s wishes regarding how to spend government funds in the fiscal year 2024, which starts in October.
Biden is asking for an increase of $2.1 billion in funding for special education services for students with disabilities from pre-kindergarten to high school. He also wants an additional $150 million for hiring and retaining special education teachers. In addition to $392 million for early intervention for newborns and toddlers.
Biden also wants to create a national program providing up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers. Advocates say this would greatly benefit caregivers of people with disabilities.
The budget also allocates funds to improve other services which are vital for Americans with disabilities. Those include customer service at The Social Security Administration, accessible housing, and the accessibility of The National Parks.
The average wait period for an initial disability decision at the Social Security Administration reached an all-time high of more than six months, or 198 days, in August of 2022. Nearly three times longer than it was a decade earlier. Additionally, AARP noted wait times of 31 minutes when contracting The Social Security Administration last year.
Disabled Americans benefit from services throughout their lives. Increased funding for special education, home, and community-based services, and early intervention will help expand people’s access to the services they need. For many disabled people, these services play a critical role in their quality of life.
Diament, Michelle. “Biden Budget Seeks Added Spending on Special Ed, Disability Programs.” Disability Scoop, Disability Scoop, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2023/03/10/biden-budget-seeks-added-spending-on-special-ed-disability-programs/30281/.
Konish, Lorie. “As Social Security Disability Application Wait Times Hit Record High, Experts Say It’s a Sign the Agency Needs More Funding.” CNBC, CNBC, 16 Sept. 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/09/16/long-social-security-service-waits-signal-need-for-more-funds.html.