This February 16, 2009, Presidents Day; the final version of the Stimulus Bill is expected to be complete and ready for President Obama’s signature. The Stimulus Bill is intended to give the economy a boost and increase job availability. In the latest draft, the stimulus bill includes several features that apply to people with disabilities.
Here is a list of some of the provisions as listed on the legislation page:
• Allocates $500 million to states for Vocational Rehabilitation grants to help people with disabilities prepare for gainful employment;
• Provides an immediate, temporary increase of $450 in individual Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits ($650 per couple) for 7.5 million seniors and people with disabilities;
• Allocates $7.5 billion for repairing public housing and making energy efficiency upgrades to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) -assisted housing, including a new program to improve emergency efficiency -- with new insulation, windows, and furnaces -- in low-income housing for disadvantaged groups, such as seniors and people with disabilities;
• Sets aside $13 billion in grants for schools for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, increasing the federal government's share of the costs of the special education law to 27 percent -- higher than at any time since the IDEA became law more than three decades ago;
• Provides $600 million to states to assist in making IDEA services available to children with disabilities who are two years of age or younger and their families; and
• Protects Medicaid health care coverage for millions of Americans, by providing an estimated $87 billion in additional federal matching funds over a two-year period to help states maintain their Medicaid programs in the face of massive state budget shortfalls. This could help offset cuts in 39 or more states that are facing budget shortfalls
Several changes are likely to happen before the bill finally becomes law.