Coronavirus Proposals Leave the Disability Community Behind

There are 61 million people with disabilities in the United States. One-third of U.S. households have people with disabilities, and that number will likely increase over time, as the long-term effects of the coronavirus are still unknown. It is clear from past outbreaks such as the Spanish flu, scarlet fever, and polio that any governmental response should include people with disabilities—both those disabled individuals who acquire the coronavirus and those who may become disabled because of it. Considering the broader economic and health care impacts that the virus is having—as well as the significant poverty that people with disabilities and their families experience—it is unacceptable that the first three packages Congress has proposed thus far neglect people with disabilities. According to the National Council on Disability, “People with disabilities make up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. working-age population; however, they account for more than half of those living in long-term poverty.” Additionally, the disability community is more likely to work low-wage jobs, often at part-time rates, that do not come with sick leave or other benefits.

American Progress