On Tuesday May 12, 2020, U.S. Senator Bob Casey hosted a conference call with the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, its committees, and staff members. During the call, which lasted approximately 30 minutes, the Senator briefed participants on current pieces of legislation that are pending in the U.S. Congress to address the needs of citizens with and without disabilities as we move through this national crisis. He further acknowledged that he wants to see more done to eliminate the waiting list for individuals who seek Home and Community Based Services. Senator Casey also thanked the Council for the important work that is undertaken regularly, and specifically the additional work that is being completed during the pandemic.
Several participants were given the opportunity to share their concerns and ask questions. The issues raised included the lack of availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for individuals with disabilities who live in the community and their care givers (both paid and unpaid); the quality and accessibility of online school instruction and the pressure added to parents’ daily lives; the difficulty of receiving appropriate post-secondary transition services and a request to consider an age waiver for those coming to the end of their eligibility; and the need for protection from bill collectors while people are out of work.
Shirley Keith Knox, Co-chair of the Council said, “The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council is grateful for Senator Casey’s unwavering support of people with disabilities and we appreciate the time he took from his schedule to talk with us today.”
The Senator ended the call by inviting participants to share additional issues as they arise.