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Update on the Build Back Better Act

This bill would make a significant impact on the disability field, but what's latest with it? Read on to learn more! 

The Arc, a national advocate for disability rights, recently gave us an update on where the Build Back Better Act is in Congress and how it would affect our community. See below for their updates. The Home and Community-Based Services section will have the most impact on The Phoenix Residence and other providers like us.

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Democrats Introduce House Version of the Build Back Better Act

Democrats from the House Rules Committee released legislative text of the Build Back Better Act.

The bill still needs to be voted on in the House. If passed, it will then go to the Senate where more changes may be made.

How the Build Back Better Act Impacts People With Disabilities and Their Families

The Build Back Better Act includes historic policy initiatives focused on the care infrastructure, combatting climate change, income supports and taxes, early childhood education, housing, and many more. Here is what the proposal would mean for people with disabilities and their families:

Home and Community-Based Services

  • $150 billion over 10 years for home and community-based services (HCBS) to eliminate waiting lists for services and bolster pay for direct care workers
  • Making the Money Follows the Person program permanent to help people with disabilities who want to leave congregate care and transition to live in their own home and community with supportive services

Education and Child Care

  • $390 billion investment in universal pre-school for all 3- and 4-year-olds
  • $160 million investment in IDEA Part D (legislation that ensures students with disabilities are provided with free, appropriate, tailored education) to help develop personnel working with students with disabilities
  • $25 million investment for behavioral health needs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Families earning up to 250% of the state median income will not have to pay more than 7% of their income on childcare
  • States will need to create plans that prioritize increasing access to inclusive childcare and pre-school programs for children with disabilities


  • $150 billion investment in affordable housing supports, including funding for vouchers, rental assistance, and other public housing improvements
  • The proposed funding for new vouchers is estimated to help 138,000 people with disabilities receive affordable, accessible housing
  • The proposal also includes a $100 million investment in the Section 811 and 202 programs for people with disabilities and seniors to provide rental assistance to create more supportive housing

Paid Leave

  • 4 weeks of guaranteed paid and medical leave for all workers, which will help people with disabilities take time off for medical reasons and will help family members to provide care for a loved one without risk of losing their job

Child Tax Credit

  • Extending the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which provides more than 35 million households up to $3,600 per year in tax cuts per child; the proposed legislation will extend this program for the year of 2022, providing payments to nearly 90% of American children
  • The legislation includes permanent refundability for the CTC, meaning that the neediest families will continue to receive the full CTC over the long run

Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for around 17 million low-wage workers, which will help low-wage childless workers, many with disabilities, who have previously been taxed into deeper poverty

SSI Reforms

  • The proposed text would extend SSI to residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, which would finally eliminate a critical gap in SSI coverage and provide access to hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities who live in U.S. territories

Health Care

  • Permanently expanding Medicaid eligibility to millions of Americans who previously fell within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage gap; closing this coverage gap will allow up to 4 million uninsured Americans to gain access to coverage
  • Expanding hearing benefits to the traditional Medicaid program

Other Disability Policy Proposals

  • Disability employment supports, including funding for pre-apprenticeship programs and funding to businesses and organizations that are working to phase out programs that pay people with disabilities sub-minimum wage
  • Administration for Community Living grants to help expand community mental and behavioral health programs
  • Funding for projects to upgrade the accessibility of public transportation services

The proposals explained above could fundamentally change the lives of millions of people with disabilities and their families. For that to happen, Congress must pass the Build Back Better Act with these key disability policy priorities.

Act Now: Tell Congress to Pass a Historic Investment in Disability Services