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New State Bill Promises Californians with Disabilities Unconditional Healthcare

Sacramento, CA, March 18 – The new California state budget contains a major piece of good news for Californians with disabilities. By 2024, the asset limit for older adults and people with disabilities to access Medi-Cal programs will be removed, achieving a long-standing policy goal for advocates and agencies based in California. 

In 1965, the Social Services created Medi-Cal as a welfare program along with Head Start, Jobs Corps, and the Food Stamp Act. Fifty years later, Medi-Cal has grown more substantial and more powerful in securing affordable medical care for disabled and older Californians. Older and disabled Californians rely on Medi-Cal to cover pricey medication, nursing home expenses, in-home healthcare, and other costs not fully covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Almost one in three Californians are Medi-Cal beneficiaries. But as it stands today, the program only covers a small segment of low-income individuals and families. This is because eligible individuals must not have a monthly income of more than $1200 or $2000 in savings. This is an exceptionally low rate, well below California’s definition of a low-income person. According to Covered California income guidelines and salary restrictions, if an individual makes less than $47,520 per year, they are considered low-income. This disadvantages many seniors and individuals with disabilities, jeopardizing their financial stability and preventing them from having any extra income, any savings, a house, or even a car.

The Future Economy – Will California’s Workforce Plans Help People with Disabilities?

Sacramento, CA, February 14 – How will the great state of California invest millions of federal and state dollars in support of jobseekers across the state? This is the central question at stake as the California Workforce Development Board publicly discusses further changes to the state’s California’s Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan (State Plan) 2020-2023 Modification. In response, and in collaboration with partner organizations across the state, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities. We are glad to see the California board’s efforts to solicit public feedback and we are eager to collaborate on effective solutions for jobseekers with significant barriers to employment.”

There are more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 38.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that California’s state workforce board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

$500 Million Dollars for an Inclusive Recovery in California – Will It Help People with Disabilities?

Sacramento, CA, January 20 – This week, the government of California completed a request for information (RFI) for public feedback, ideas, and innovations on how to spend more than $600 million dollars that are part of the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF). In response to this request, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“The CERF and other financial investments under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represent unprecedented new resources for efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s new Chairman. “Now, as the pandemic continues to reshape our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.” 

There are more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, only 38.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that new federal investments to drive post-pandemic recovery reflect the perspectives of individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises California on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Sacremento, CA, December 1 – This week, the California Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Golden State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, non-partisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 38.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that California’s state workforce board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Furin Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, September 7 – Republican candidate and nonprofit President Rhonda Furin has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Furin’s responses follows:

Wildstar Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 30 – Republican candidate, musician, entrepreneur, and father Nickolas Wildstar has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Wildstar’s responses follows:

Gallucci Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 27 – Republican candidate, pastor, CEO, and consultant Sam Gallucci has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Gallucci’s responses follows:

Baade Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 26 – Democratic candidate, mother, teacher, and small business owner Holly Baade has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Baade’s responses follows:

Collins Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 25 – Green Party candidate and small business owner Heather Collins has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Collins’ responses follows:

Kilpatrick Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 24 – Democratic candidate, actor, screenwriter, and producer Patrick Kilpatrick has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Kilpatrick’s responses follows:

Newman Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 19 – Republican candidate, farmer and psychologist Robert C. Newman II has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Newman’s responses follows:

California Disability Voter Guide

As Recall Election Arrives, 4,131,700 Californians have Disabilities

Candidates weigh in on the most important issues that impact the disability community

Sacramento, CA, August 17 – Ballots are already being mailed to voters and on September 14, 2021, Californians with and without disabilities will go to the polls to vote in the California Gubernatorial Recall Election. The eyes of the nation are on the Golden State as voters ultimately decide whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom and appoint a new leader in his place. According to the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 4,131,700 Californians living with some form of disability and they make up 10.6 percent of the state’s population.

Voters with disabilities want access in democracy, just like anyone else. At the same time, they have specific issues of interest. For example, in the economic expansion prior to COVID, only 38.2 percent of more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians with disabilities, had jobs.

RespectAbility Advocates for California to Close Labor Force Gaps for People with Disabilities

Sacramento, CA, August 11 – This week, the California Workforce Development Board’s Executive Committee met to discuss the status of workforce practices of the Golden State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, non-partisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s new Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

Symmon Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 10 – Republican candidate, community volunteer and author Joe Symmon has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Symmon’s responses follows:

Dr. Ross Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 9 – Democratic candidate, attorney and physician Dr. Brandon Ross has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Ross’ responses follows:

Dr. Hanink Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 9 – American Solidarity Party of California candidate and former professor Dr. James G. Hanink has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Hanink’s responses follows:

Ventresca Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 5 – Democratic candidate and retired airport analyst Joel Ventresca has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Ventresca’s responses follows:

RespectAbility Releases 2021 Disability Voter Questionnaire for California Governor Recall Election

Sacramento, CA, July 15 – RespectAbility, a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community, is releasing its nonpartisan voter questionnaire to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The outreach is being done in conjunction with RespectAbility’s online publication, The RespectAbilityReport.org. The RespectAbility Report is dedicated to the tracking the intersection of disability and electoral politics. The answers to the questionnaire will be turned into a nonpartisan voter guide ahead of the recall election on September 14, 2021. This questionnaire builds on candidate outreach work done in 20202018 and 2016

Voter Guide for 4,066,171 Californians with Disabilities

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

by Adam Fishbein

Sacramento, CA, Oct. 5 – In the run up to the 2020 election in California, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest California State Voter Guide. According to the recently released 2019 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, the total number of Californians with disabilities is 4,066,171 and they make up 10.4 percent of the total state population.

2018 employment data show that there are 1,896,634 working-age people with disabilities in California. In the economic expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 700,456 (or 36.9 percent) of those Californians had jobs. 

The nonpartisan disability group RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates for President, Governor and the U.S. Senate the same seven key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, criminal justice and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire. Below you can read responses from candidates on the ballot in California who have already taken the time to address the concerns of voters with disabilities.

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