Helping Americans with Disabilities Live Independently
Henry Claypool, Director of the Office on Disability
If you, or a loved one, are living with a disability, you know that it isn’t always as easy as it should be to get the care and support you, or your loved one, needs to live independently in the community.
Luckily, that’s about to change for many Americans.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states that operate “Money Follows the Person,” programs, which make it easier for many Americans with a disability to live independently, are eligible for grants to expand those efforts and the 20 states that do not currently operate a program will now have a chance to do so.
The concept of Money Follows the Person is simple. A person who qualifies for the program is able to move out of a nursing home into a setting such as their own home or apartment and gain more control over their life. The Medicaid funds that supported the nursing home services “follow” the person and support the long term services in their home, so they can choose when and what they eat, when to go to bed, and when they visit with their family and friends.
Many people can get such long term services at the same cost – or less – than they would in a nursing home while allowing them the comfort and independence of living independently. The program allows Americans with disabilities to be a part of their local community.
This round of Money Follows the Person funding is released as part of the HHS Community Living Initiative, broader effort to give people with disabilities and chronic care needs greater opportunities to live in their communities and achieve their goals. This Initiative includes a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to improve access and affordability of housing for people with disabilities and older Americans with long-term services and supports to live in the community. The funding itself will be administered through the joint federal-state program Medicaid and is subject to state-specific requirements.
Henry Claypool is the Director of the Office on Disability, HHS.