Fiscal Cliff: The Impact on People with Disabilities
What Does It Mean to You?
People with disabilities will be impacted in a variety of ways if Congress and the President do not reach agreement to change current law by the end of the year. A combination of federal spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect at the end of 2012 and beginning of January 2013 if no action is taken.
If President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner cannot reach agreement, some taxes will increase, tax credits will expire, and federal unemployment benefits will end. While these actions are concerning, advocates are focused on drastic cuts to discretionary programs like general and special education, employment supports, and housing programs that people with disabilities rely on. Each program would be cut about 8 percent.
Unlike entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, discretionary programs get a fixed sum of funding. If funds are cut, Wisconsin will receive less federal aid to support a wide range of programs, such as vocational rehabilitation.
Services that assist all citizens will also be cut. Public safety and law enforcement, medical and scientific research, public health; and environmental protection are only a few examples of the services that will be cut is current law is not changed.
The details about the bill to avoid the fiscal cliff are constantly changing. Some entitlement reforms are now under discussion. Congress and the President need to hear from constituents whether programs that serve people with disabilities, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and many of the discretionary programs need to remain strong without changes.
To have a voice, contact President Obama on his website. The Wisconsin House members can inform Speaker Boehner of their constituents’ opinions. Contact your Congressional Representative through this website.
Thank you for your efforts.