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PA Pledges $20 Million to Help Intellectual Disabilities

The Pennsylvania state budget for 2013-14 will include nearly $20 million to help approximately 1,200 adults with intellectual disabilities.

The goal is to shrink the waiting list for home- and community-based services that are needed by these individuals. Among the covered conditions: Down syndrome, autism, and learning disabilities.

In announcing the budget set-aside, Governor Tom Corbett said, “We need to do a better job of looking after these citizens, who, through no failing of their own, cannot look after themselves.”

People in Pennsylvania with disabilities might be eligible for state or federal financial assistance.

Social Security Disability benefits are available to individuals who have earned wages and paid into the Social Security system in at least 20 of the last 40 quarters. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, a person must be totally disabled – meaning incapable of performing any job due to the disability.

Here is more from the governor’s press announcement:

Intellectual disabilities – such as Down syndrome, autism or Fragile X syndrome – originate before the age of 18 and provide significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, affecting many everyday social and practical skills.

The 2013-14 proposal aims to provide for people waiting for services, including adults from the emergency waiting list, those waiting to receive autism services, and special education graduates.

Many of the individuals with intellectual disabilities “age out” of receiving special education services when graduating high school or live at home with an elderly caregiver or single parent that must split time between full-time employment and caregiving duties….

“Caregivers should not have to choose between caring for a loved one and full-time employment, nor should individuals with special needs have to suffer setbacks in their everyday lives,” [Governor Corbett] added.

The state Department of Public Welfare has an emergency waiting list of more than 3,500 individuals who have been identified as needing services within the next six months.

In February, the state will provide more details on financial assistance for the intellectually disabled.

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