Ensuring Economic Independence for the Neuromuscular Community

Did you know that according to a recent MDA survey, only 21% of adults living with neuromuscular disease are working part or full-time? Many individuals with disabilities have a desire to work but face employment hurdles, including the lack of wraparound support services, inaccessible workplaces, discriminatory wages, and a potential loss of Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Fixing these obstacles and creating true economic independence is a top priority for MDA. This goal is part of a new advocacy initiative called Ensuring Economic Independence. MDA and its army of grassroots advocates are raising their voices to ensure that our elected officials prioritize the following policy initiatives:

Ensuring a Fair Wage

Far too often, people living with a disability are offered compensation rates that are significantly lower than federal minimum wage. This practice is both wrong and discriminatory. That is why MDA supports the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (S. 3238/HR. 2373), which is imperative to ending this practice. This legislation would create a competitive grant for states and employers, to assist them in transitioning away from paying a subminimum wage. It would also create a technical assistance center to assist employers with things like wraparound support services (e.g., a job skills coach or a personal aide) for employees with disabilities.

Incentivizing Employers to Hire People with Disabilities

Employers also need to be part of the solution by ensuring that more people with disabilities enter the work force. To aid employers, MDA supports the Disability Employment Incentive Act, (S. 630/HR. 3765), which would increase tax credits to encourage the recruitment and retainment of individuals with disabilities.  This legislation would increase tax credits for employers to make accessibility upgrades to accommodate employees with disabilities, as well as increase the tax credit for wages paid to an employee with a disability. 

Removing Financial Penalties for Working

The threat of losing vital Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits when getting a new job, a promotion, or a raise is a common reality for people with disabilities. The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2021 (S. 2065/HR. 3824), would address this problem by modernizing the SSI system.

Specifically, this Bill would increase the maximum SSI benefit to $1,000 per month and index to inflation, increase allowable asset levels for recipients, and eliminate punitive penalties for working, saving money, and getting married.

MDA is committed to ensuring that individuals with neuromuscular disease have the tools they need to live full, independent lives. We will continue to look for opportunities to advocate for economic independence for people with disabilities.  For more detailed information on these bills, please visit MDA’s Advocacy website. We also hope you will join our efforts by contacting your members of Congress and asking them to cosponsor and support these bills and ensure economic independence for people with disabilities.