Federal, State & Local Level Support

Youth & Education

Below is how Access Living prioritizes their efforts on the Federal, state and local levels, in addition to key accomplishments within youth and education:

Support passage of Protecting Medicaid Safety Net of 2008 (HR 5613). Hundreds of youth with disabilities in Illinois are trapped in nursing facilities and need targeted case management to assist them to live in the community. The moratorium would ensure that funding will be available for them.

Support passage of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (HR 4188) to ensure impoverished families of students with disabilities will be reimbursed for the cost to hire a professional who supports the student's need for a public education.

Support re-introduction of The DREAM Act to allow undocumented youth to earn lawful status if they continue their education.

Support passage of SB 1938 (Mental Health Services), which allows for young people with psychiatric disabilities to get much-needed services on an outpatient basis and the community-based service providers to be reimbursed for the services.

Support SB 1900 (Autism Insurance Bill) to provide insurance coverage for youth with autism for needed services such as speech, occupational, and physical therapy not covered by private insurance.

Support HB 5598 and HB 5600 (Hearing Aid Insurance Coverage) to give hard of hearing folks a tax deduction for purchases of hearing aids over $2000. Currently, insurance does not cover these devices. Under HB 5600, parents of children who are Deaf/hard of hearing will not have to pay out of pocket for audiological services and hearing aids for their children, if they have health insurance.

Access Living calls for an end to the school closings. Access Living wants the public schools to remain open, especially if educational services for students with disabilities are provided in that setting. A moratorium on school closings was proposed in 2006 and Access Living supports a proposal of this kind in the future.

Access Living’s Youth/Education Team issued a report on the Chicago Public Schools Fiscal Year 2007 budget which laid the ground work for a comprehensive effort to stop the Board of Education from cutting $26.5 million from the special education budget. The fight to stop the cuts resulted in the development of incredibly talented and astute young leaders with disabilities through AYLP (Advance Youth Leadership Power), and ultimately in the restoration of up to $9.5 million of the cuts.