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Implementing the American Rescue Plan – What It Means for Marylanders with Disabilities

Annapolis, MD, March 15 – Using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and allocated via a bipartisan agreement, Governor Larry Hogan and the General Assembly of Maryland are prioritizing Marylanders severely impacted by the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maryland’s piece of a $1.9 trillion federal spending package is being directed to address existing inequities in the Old Line State. The goals of the spending are to support impacted businesses, struggling industries, and specifically Marylanders with disabilities.

The first and most direct form of support in the past year was the Temporary Cash Assistance program, which specifically included the payment of short term disabilities benefits to Marylanders in need. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have deeply felt the ravages of the past two years. As noted in an early report from the Arc of the US, people with I/DD “are more likely to have underlying health conditions that leave them more susceptible to the pandemic.” Further, because people with I/DD are often placed into customer facing job roles, many experienced COVID related furloughs or job losses during 2020. In total, there are 335,712 working-age Marylanders living with some form of disability. In 2020, prior to the pandemic, only 40.2 percent of them had jobs.

Maryland’s ARPA state plan focused on the impact of the Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) in getting people with disabilities economic support. The Temporary Cash Assistance started providing an additional $100 per month to Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDA) recipients in February 2021, which was valuable support at a much-needed time. These supports were funded by the State Fiscal Relief Funds and lasted through the end of 2021.

ARPA funding was also used to support Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) agency. The DDA serves many families among Maryland’s disability community, providing a wide range of supports for people with I/DD as well as their families. DDA supports the right and independence of individuals with developmental disabilities to direct their own lives, to be happy, to choose the right support services and to be included in mainstream life.  DDA has been active in delivering community services in response to needs created by the pandemic. To learn more about DDA and the support that they offer to Marylanders with disabilities, please visit their website.

“When it was passed in 2021, American Rescue Plan Act invested critical economic stimulus support for people with barriers to employment to stay safe, stay healthy, and get back to work,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Marylanders with disabilities deserve the opportunity to earn an income and achieve financial independence, just like anyone else. Maryland’s state recovery plan prioritizes key needs among the disability community and we hope that Gov. Hogan will continue to push supports that will get more people jobs.”

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