Save I/DD Services!

The President’s Budget would make drastic changes to several disability programs. Read the Summary Related to Programs for People with Disabilities for a break down of supports and services effected in the budget proposal. The entire budget can be found on the White House Office of Management and Budget homepage. Cuts include the elimination of all Council’s on Developmental Disabilities, Independent Living State Grants or Traumatic Brain Injury Partnership Grants and in their place, a new “innovation” program that would combine ALL disabilities under a state system with NO autonomy (freedom from outside controls or influence). State Councils on Developmental Disabilities ensure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are around the table and make decisions that effect State and National issues that are important to them, because 60% of Developmental Disability Councils are individuals with I/DD or their family members. With the new “innovation program” there are no guarantees that self advocates or family members representing I/DD would be appointed, much less have a majority vote.


Contact: Donna Meltzer, Chief Executive Officer, NACDD; WASHINGTON, May 23, 2017 – The budget released by the White House for Fiscal Year 2018 titled, A New Foundation for American Greatness does not even come close to living up to its title for persons with developmental disabilities. Since 1990, with the bipartisan passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the United States has been committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for persons with disabilities. “This budget falls far short of the promise of equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. People with disabilities want to live in their communities and be taxpayers,” said Donna Meltzer, Chief Executive Officer of NACDD. “This budget decimates the safety net of programs that millions of Americans depend upon in order to live equally in the community.” One of the most significant cuts in this budget proposal is to the Medicaid program, which is a lifeline for people with disabilities. “All budgets tell a story and this one tells a story about an America that is willing to leave people with disabilities behind,” said Meltzer.

The President’s Budget also proposes to combine the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities with the State Grants component of the Independent Living programs, and the State Implementation Partnership Grants component of the Traumatic Brain Injury program. This proposal would significantly reduce funding for all three programs. NACDD does not support this proposal as each of these programs has a distinct mission and responsibilities. “The proposal fails to account for the unique role for the DD Councils. The DD Councils serve a much bigger role than simply acting in an advisory capacity to the Governor and state legislature,” said Meltzer. The DD Councils are charged with ensuring authentic stakeholder engagement of persons with developmental disabilities who live in the community and they bring together all entities within the state to change systems in order for people with developmental disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of community life. “No other program has that level of authentic community engagement,” stated Meltzer.

NACDD will work in a bipartisan manner to ensure the continuation of the Councils on Developmental Disabilities. This program has worked well for more than 40 years and is not in need of restructuring.

-NACDD serves as the national voice of the 56 state and territorial Councils on Developmental Disabilities. They support Councils in implementing the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and promote the interests and rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.-


ANDREW J. IMPARATO, JD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AIMPARATO@AUCD.ORG. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is greatly disappointed by the priorities reflected in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request recently transmitted to Congress.

Current federal investments do not come close to meeting the needs of a growing and aging population of Americans with disabilities. Instead of investing to address this gap, the proposed budget represents an aggressive retreat from a decades-long, bipartisan commitment to supporting the health and independence of people with disabilities.

“There is no budget crisis requiring this level of fiscal austerity,” said Andrew Imparato, executive director of AUCD. “Record numbers of people with disabilities are now employed and thriving in the community. By eliminating some programs and dramatically reducing others, this proposal puts the entire national support system for our community at risk.”

A core principle of disability policy is the importance of including people with disabilities and our families in the policymaking process. This has made laws like the Developmental Disabilities Act and Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act stronger. This budget — proposing radical changes to programs under both laws — was developed without our input.

People with disabilities, especially those with severe disabilities, often rely on a complex array of supports across many areas of public policy to lead successful and productive lives in the community. Significant cuts include:

  • More than $600 billion in cuts to Medicaid, the health and community living program millions of people with disabilities rely on for medical care and social supports.
  • Over $72 billion cut from Social Security disability programs.
  • A $47 million cut that would eliminate the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Today, in 52 programs across 44 states and 3 U.S. territories, thousands of students, parents, and clinical professionals are receiving interdisciplinary training to improve the health of children with disabilities. LEND graduates have provided 81,167 diagnostic evaluations to children across the country with autism or other developmental disabilities, up from 55,777 just two years prior.
  • $35 million cut from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention efforts in the surveillance and prevention of developmental disabilities.
  • Nearly 20 percent cut from National Institutes of Health funding for research on the causes of and successful interventions to address disabilities.
  • Funding to states for Councils on Developmental Disabilities, independent living services, and traumatic brain injury services would be eliminated, and replaced with a new grant program with less than half of the current funding levels for the three programs.

The Federal Budget is a statement of the nation’s priorities. Many other proposed cuts not highlighted here are also greatly concerning. AUCD will work with Congress, our partners within the disability community and others fighting for civil rights, to ensure that our nation’s historic and bipartisan commitment to the independence and inclusion of people with developmental and other disabilities is honored.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), located in Silver Spring, MD, promotes and supports a national network of interdisciplinary centers on disabilities. The members of AUCD represent every U.S. state and territory. AUCD and its members work to advance policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. For more information, visit AUCD’s website,


Despite significant advances in the last few decades in programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), there remain many barriers to the full inclusion of people with I/DD in society. Specific barriers vary considerably by state and local community. The state councils are a voice in state government to advocate for policies to promote self-determination and inclusion for people with I/DD and their families.

What Councils do:
Address the most pressing needs of people with developmental disabilities in their State or Territory. DD Councils address these needs through cost effective systems change and capacity building efforts that promote self-determination, integration and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. They promote the independence and productivity of people with developmental disabilities through systems change to eliminate inequities in areas such as education, access to healthcare, and employment. At least 60% of Council members must be people with developmental disabilities or family members.


Tell your representatives how you feel! Here’s how:

  1. Call the main Capitol line at: (202) 224-3121 (You’ll be directed to an operator at the Capitol switchboard. This switchboard can direct you to both Senators as well as Representatives.) If leaving a voicemail: please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied]
  2. Write letters to your Senators, Representatives and Governor

You can find direct contact information for your individual legislators below:

  • your U.S. Representative here
  • your two Senators here
  • your governor here

Talking Points – examples of what you could use to educate your representatives:

“This is [Name]. I’m a resident of [Town, State] and [I/my child/sister/friend/co-worker etc]. I am [writing/calling] to discuss the cuts in the White House proposed budget for disability programs and services. Specifically, the proposal to cut and restructure the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (DD Councils).

  • DD Councils address the needs of people with disabilities through cost effective systems change and capacity building efforts that promote self-determination, integration and inclusion in society, helping [Me/my child/sister/friend/co-worker, etc.] to be a valued and productive member of society, which leads to a return on investment, allowing lesser dependence on other Federal and State systems
  • DD Councils are part of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (The DD Act) whose purpose is to “assure that persons with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports…that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life.”
  • Sixty percent of the DD Council is mandated to be individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. This makes sure people like [Me/my child/sister/friend/co-worker etc] with developmental disabilities are the majority voice in creating the state’s plan for addressing challenges through creating and funding innovative programs. The budget would remove that voice from the DD Act.
  • DD Councils are a voice in state government to advocate for policies to promote self-determination and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
  • Pairing the DD Councils with other groups that represent different parts of the disability community will result in a significant loss of focus on those with developmental disabilities. Under this new structure, DD Councils will not be able to meet the goals of the DD Act that have worked well for close to 50 years.

Personal stories are the most effective form of advocacy. Talk about what DD Services and/or DD Councils have meant to you. It is always helpful to give specific examples.