March 21, 2020

Senators Hassan, Shaheen Introduce Bill to Help Mitigate COVID-19 Risk to Seniors and People with Disabilities

Senators Also Send Letter to Department of Education Relaying Concerns for Children Who Experience Disabilities Amid School Closures

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen joined with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, to introduce a bill to mitigate the risks that COVID-19 poses to seniors and people who experience disabilities. The Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act would address critical health and financial needs of older adults, people with disabilities, home health workers and family caregivers.

 

“While we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors, people who experience disabilities, and those with underlying health continues remain the most at risk if they get infected, therefore it is essential that we provide more resources to support these populations,” said Senator Hassan. “This legislation would take a number of steps to keep seniors and those with disabilities healthy in their homes, support home health workers, and cover the costs of treatment for low-income seniors if they do get infected with this virus.” 

 

“Combating the full scope of this public health emergency demands a multi-faceted approach. This new legislation would help address one of the most serious concerns of the coronavirus pandemic: protecting and supporting those most at risk,” said Shaheen. “Our bill increases funding for resources to mitigate the spread of the disease, protects health care workers and boosts aid for seniors and those with underlying health conditions. This effort will play an important part in our response to this crisis by providing help to those who need it most.”

 

The Senate bill would:

 

  • Increase funding for nursing home surveys and promote infection control;
  • Help low-income seniors afford the cost of treatment if diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Protect home health workers and promote home and community-based services; and
  • Ensure seniors and people with disabilities maintain access to home-based meals and services.

 

Senators Hassan and Shaheen also joined with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Education expressing their concern for children who experience disabilities amid the school closures due to COVID-19. The senators pressed the agency on what it is doing to ensure that children with disabilities are provided a free and appropriate public education and educators, administers, and lead agencies are provided with the guidance necessary to carry out their legal obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

Earlier this week, Senators Hassan and Shaheen urged the Department of Labor to better support workers who experience disabilities and who may be at particular risk as a result of COVID-19. Senator Shaheen also introduced legislation with Senator Hassan and colleagues to assist health care workers with child and elder care so that they can continue to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

###