CCD Urges Support for National Family Caregiver Legislation

 father holding his son's chin, son is in a wheelchair, and there is a piece of adaptive equipment on the son's face

by Andy Jones
May 29, 2017

The nation’s largest coalition of disability rights groups is urging support for a new bill that aims to create a “national strategy” for supporting family caregivers.

“By supporting our family caregivers, we can help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live at home and avoid unwanted and more costly institutionalization,” the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities wrote in a news release [PDF]. “We look forward to working with you to help pass the (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregivers Act.”

Introduced May 3 in the Senate, the RAISE Family Caregivers Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the recommendations of the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care. The recommendations, released in 2013, provide a variety of ways to support family caregivers, referring to family members supporting people with disabilities who are not compensated by third-party employers.

The strategy would be overseen by an advisory council, consisting of advocates and industry representatives.

The Commission was required as part of a budget deal reached on the last day of 2012 to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.” It was intended as a replacement for the CLASS Act, a since repealed provision of the Affordable Care Act that would have created a federal insurance program for long-term caregiving services.

“Every day, family caregivers put their own health, livelihoods and financial security at risk to tend to the needs of their loved ones, many of whom require full-time assistance and care,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said in a news release. “If we are serious about ensuring that our older adults and loved ones with disabilities receive the highest quality care in their own homes, we must formally recognize and support family caregivers.”

The National Disability Rights Network and 12 other disability rights organizations signed onto the CCD letter.

Visit the Congress.gov website to read the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, and related information.

Disability Rights Washington is the designated protection and advocacy agency in Washington and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.