Action Alert: Time to Show Some CLASS Spirit!!!

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Action Alert: Time to Show Some CLASS Spirit!!!

On July 10, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports
Act (CLASS Act) was introduced in the House and in the Senate
(H.R. 3001, S. 1758) as vital legislation that would help fund
long-term services and supports for people with disabilities. On
the same day as its introduction, the Senate Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on long-term
care, which highlighted the CLASS Act. Since then, no
Congressional actions have been taken and only a couple new co-
sponsors have joined the legislation.

It’s time show some CLASS spirit to gain additional co-sponsors
and get this bill moving!

Show your CLASS spirit, and call your Members today!!

WHO: Contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support the
CLASS Act. (Go to and to
and type in your zip code to find your Representatives, then
select your state from the drop-down menu to find your
Senator(s)). For the rest of the month, Members of Congress are
home for the August recess, so if you’re able to stop by their
local offices, all the better!

WHAT: Tell them that people with disabilities and their families
want a way to invest in and plan for their own long-term care
needs so they can maintain independence and live in the community,
and that the CLASS Act will help this happen.

WHEN: Showing grassroots support for the CLASS Act is ongoing.

BACKGROUND: Today, there are approximately 10 million Americans
who need long-term services and supports to maintain independence,
employment, and remain in their communities. And that number is
only going to rise as the population ages.

Most private-sector insurance plans are constrained in the
protection they can offer at an affordable price, and neither
Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) nor Old Age, Survivors, and
Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs take the extent and
character of disability into consideration when providing

As a result, most Americans who have or develop significant
functional limitations can only access coverage for the services
they need to maintain their independence through Medicaid. Relying
on Medicaid for critical supports means lots of people with
disabilities have to “spend down” their assets and remain poor and
unemployed to maintain their eligibility.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS
Act) will offer an alternative to Medicaid by creating a national
insurance program through a voluntary payroll deduction to help
adults who have or develop functional impairments to remain
independent, employed, and stay a part of their communities. Those
who are working and voluntarily contributing to the program will
have access to benefits, on the basis of their ability to perform
daily living activities or an equivalent cognitive impairment. The
benefits received may be spent however the individual feels is
most appropriate toward their long-term needs, be it a housing
modification, transportation modification, assistive technology,
or personal assistance services.

The large risk pool created by this program will make additional
coverage much more affordable than it is today, which will give
individuals a chance to invest in their own futures and gain
access to supports without requiring them to become impoverished
to qualify.

We hope that the CLASS Act will help generate a broad, national
discussion on how to promote independence and dignity and keep
people out of institutions.


For more news issues, see:

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John Kramer, M.A.
Supporting Siblings in Future Planning Project
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental
University of Illinois at Chicago
1640 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60608
O- (312)996-7988

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