Lawmakers in Washington are considering a huge budget cut to the Social Services Block Grants — Title XX Funds. Such a cut would adversely impact care services for children, adults and the elderly, special services for people with disabilities, emergency response and programs such as home-delivered meals.
The following letter was signed by members of the MDA National Task Force Steering Committee and individually addressed and mailed on August 28, 2000, to those indicated at the top of the letter.
Individually addressed to:
Senator William Roth, Chairman, Finance Committee
Senator Daniel Moynihan, Ranking Minority Member, Finance Committee
Representative Bill Archer, Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee
Representative Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Member, House Ways and Means Committee
cc: President Bill Clinton
National Council on Disability
RE: Letter of Support for H.R. 4481 and S. 2585 Restoring Funding for the Social Services Block Grant, Title XX of the Social Security Act.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association's voluntary National Task Force on Public Awareness is very concerned about proposed funding cuts for the Social Services Block Grant ("SSBG"). As individuals with neuromuscular diseases, we advise MDA on issues of critical importance to the adults and children whom the Association serves.
The programs funded by the SSBG are vital to people with neuromuscular disease. These programs are designed to foster our independence, promoting our ability to remain part of the mainstream community. The Senate Appropriations Committee's recommendation to fund this grant at only $600 million for next fiscal year would cause devastating cutbacks in vital programs. For example, in Tucson, Arizona, where MDA's national headquarters is located, such cutbacks could considerably curtail case management services offered to persons with disabilities who do not qualify for Arizona's Medicaid long-term care service program, and who are too young to receive services under the Older Americans Act. These case management services include assistance with attendant care, housekeeping, and other services that help sustain the independence of persons with disabilities. Similar reductions in important services will occur all over the country if these cuts are made.
In a time of federal budget surpluses, it seems unconscionable to discriminate against the vulnerable populations served by programs funded by the SSBG by taking away the support they rely on for their independence. It has been our experience that maintaining independence results in better mental and physical health and in much lower health care costs. We urge you to support H.R. 4481 and S. 2585 restoring this much-needed funding.
The Members of the Steering Committee of the MDA National Task Force on Public Awareness
/s William W. Altaffer
/s Jan Blaustone
/s Shelley C. Obrand
/s Chris Rosa, Ph.D.