WID: Recommendations for Immediate COVID-19 Action

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ngd- Everyone in Our Community (PWD) needs to read this:

This document provides recommendations for rapid response solutions for federal and state governments to close the real and anticipated gaps in the COVID-19 outbreak and public health emergency-related continuity of operation for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with access and functional needs. Our recommendations include contingency plans for disability and aging services, supports, and programs funded directly with federal or state funds or through federal assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial governments and non-government providers.

These recommendations are provided by the nation’s leading experts on the rights and needs of people with disabilities before, during and after disasters, including public health emergencies. Their expertise includes addressing and closing the gaps in sustaining services for a much broader demographic who will also be impacted by disruptions in short and long-term services and supports at home and in community-based, and intermediate and long-term facilities. This includes people with access and functional needs, disabilities, older adults, children, people experiencing homelessness, living in poverty, and people with health and medical needs related and unrelated to COVID-19.

Currently, there is no indication that there is an effort underway to anticipate and meet the personal assistance services (aka personal attendants, direct support professionals, personal care services, formal and informal caregivers) of millions of people who depend on the continuity of their services without disruption. Failing to address these needs will likely result in a need for massive emergency response.

Immediately suspend or waive lengthy and restrictive processes and procedures, and implement rapid response solutions to fill real or anticipated gaps in health, safety, dignity, and independent living services and supports by;

Allowing people receiving services and supports to hire on the spot without background checks, processing documents or verifying citizenship to eliminate any unnecessary delay;

Waiving restrictions on hiring their spouse, partner, and family members;

Respecting the rights of people with disabilities to make their own choices in all aspects of their COVID-19 contingency plan when their services and supports may be interrupted. This includes choosing who provides assistance when related to their bodily functions, daily life, and individual needs, by eliminating administrative barriers;

Suspending or waiving overtime limiting regulations for personal assistance services so that people with limited staff and/or support network, staff and/or support network who are ill, quarantined or otherwise unavailable, and for individuals in rural areas with limited resources to continue to receive long-term services and supports;

Allowing overtime for family members and live-in support providers who are also paid employees;

Guaranteeing personal assistance service providers paid sick time to encourage providers to stay home and decrease spreading infection; and

Providing funding to community organizations such as Independent Living Centers and developmental disability service providers to establish or expand expedited recruitment processes for emergency back up assistance for all formal and informal, government and non-government supports and services to close COVID-19 gaps and keep people independent.

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