Sanders Calls for Improved Services for People with Disabilities

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(Bloomberg) -- Bernie Sanders Friday promised to expand his progressive agenda to include generous services for the disabled but offered few details on how to pay for them nor what they would cost.

“Every person with a disability deserves the right to live in their community and have the support they need to thrive,” Sanders said in a statement. “This right must be available to all, free of waiting lists and means tests. It is our moral responsibility to make it happen.”

The Democratic presidential candidate called for increasing social services like Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income by eliminating the backlog of applications and other barriers to coverage like the asset test and marriage penalty.

Sanders slammed moves to privatize social services and vowed to stop them. He called Iowa’s for-profit Medicaid privatization a “disastrous experiment.”

The Vermont senator said he would create a National Office of Disability Coordination which would be led by someone with a disability. The office would be assigned to oversee expansions of rights and services for disabled Americans. He called for passing the Disability Integration Act which would set national standards for services.

Under his proposal, the federal government would be required to pay for at least half of the cost of servicing students with disabilities. Finally, Sanders seeks to end sub-minimum wages for workers with disabilities “while guaranteeing jobs and living wages in the community for all.”

The plan does not specify how much it will cost, but is almost entirely funded through existing plans such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, according to the campaign.

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