While each legislative session has a variety of bills to watch that may effect people with I/DD, these core issues require ongoing and continuous advocacy in the fight for civil rights for people with disabilities.
To stay connected during legislative sessions, register for our Online Community and then join the Public Policy Group.
Direct Support Professionals
Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide vital supports to people with I/DD and directly effect the health and safety of thousands of Oregonians on a daily basis. These professionals must be well trained and fairly compensated to provide the necessary supports and services for people with I/DD where they work and live. This is not only true here in Oregon, but all across the country. The fight for living wages and a formal career/credentialing path for DSPs will:
- Stabilize the workforce by reducing turnover
- Improve the lives of people with I/DD who rely on DSPs
- Reduce amount paid to DSPs by government for public aid
Supported Decision Making
Supported Decision Making (SDM) offers a viable alternative to guardianship for many people with disabilities and those who are aging. It involves receiving assistance from one or more trusted friends, family members, professionals or advocates to help a person understand the situations they face and choices and options they have so they can make their own decisions. We are working to expand the use of SDM throughout Oregon through training, education, and possibly legislation. Working with our community partners, we are exploring how SDM can be implemented as an alternative to more restrictive legal actions like guardianship and conservatorship.
Social Security Income Reform
Social Security and SSI play a vital role in helping people with disabilities to live independently in the community and meet their basic needs. Many people with disabilities rely on benefits for much of their income. While these benefits are vital, they come with many restrictions on people who receive them. These include a reduction of benefits when two people receiving SSI get married (the "marriage penalty"), a $20/month limit on other income, and a maximum asset limit of $2,000. Some of these restrictions also apply to critical Medicaid benefits, forcing people to live in poverty and preventing them from achieving their vision of a full and productive life. We are fighting for significant changes to strengthen the Social Security system and afford people who receive these benefits the opportunity to build a life of their choosing.