Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

SSA Administrative Funding FY 2016 Conferee Letter

October 21, 2015

The Honorable Roy Blunt
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Cole
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Blunt, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

As organizations representing stakeholders of the Social Security Administration (SSA), we respectfully ask that as you work to finalize the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill that the final bill includes the President’s Budget Request of $12.513 billion for SSA’s Limitation on Administrative Expenses (LAE) account. We believe this level of funding is critical to ensure that SSA can continue service level improvements while addressing stewardship responsibilities. In order to balance those stewardship responsibilities and provide appropriate service to the American public, SSA must have adequate funding.

The Olmstead Decision Has Been Misinterpreted

The Olmstead decision, which interprets the Americans with Disabilities Act, is so clear that persistent misinterpretation by federal agencies can only be described as purposeful.


VOR is a national nonprofit advocacy organization that has for 32 years supported the right of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to receive services and supports according to their individual choice and need, regardless of setting.

We take this opportunity – the 25th Anniversary of the ADA - to set the record straight about what the landmark Olmstead decision actually says about the ADA’s “integration regulation.”  

July 26, 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999)  is the landmark Supreme Court decision interpreting the ADA’s “integration regulation,” which states:

“a public entity must administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated, least restrictive setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.” [28 C.F.R. § 35.130(d)].

The Olmstead Court considered whether the ADA’s prohibition of discrimination by a public entity required “placement of persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions.” (Olmstead at 587)

The Court’s answer: A “qualified yes.” (Id., emphasis added

VOR Submits Testimony in California, Opposes Closure of Sonoma and Fairview Developmental Centers

April 21, 2015

SB 639 Update:

SB 639, which proposed the closure of Fairview and Sonoma Developmental Centers has been changed to a “2 year bill,” meaning there will be no further action on this bill this year. Here is an article from the Sonoma Press-Democrat, “Breathing room for Developmental Center advocates.”

Summary of VOR’s Testimony:

SB 639 is motivated by the typical fallacies associated with the demand and cost for specialized, licensed care facilities, such as Sonoma and Fairview Developmental Centers. To force fragile Californians from their chosen homes based on shortsighted myths associated with the cost of care places affected individuals at enormous risk of harm and potentially higher costs to California taxpayers.

Instead taking such a draconian approach – total closure – California lawmakers are instead encouraged to consider solutions which will better utilize Sonoma and Fairview for residents and nonresidents – disabled and non-disabled neighbors – while also increasing the Centers’ ability to serve as a safety net for individuals in community settings who are facing a temporary crisis or whose needs, due to aging or illness, have intensified beyond the ability of the community provider to safely accommodate them.

Positioning the Centers as one option of care a true continuum of care to accommodate the diverse and ever changing needs and demands among the disabled population, while expanding shared use opportunities for these beautiful campuses, is far more visionary, holistic, and reasonable than simply closing these necessary resources forever.

VOR Supports Texas Legislation For Tracking Pilot Program

March 30, 2015

House Human Services Committee

Texas House of Representatives

Dear Chairman Raymond, Vice Chair Rose, and Members of the House Human Services Committee,

Please accept this written testimony in SUPPORT of HB 967, a bill for a pilot project to evaluate the use of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to transmit information regarding residents of certain group homes.

Of keen interest to our organization are best practices and strategies to ensure high quality care in all service settings. HB 967, which will provide for a pilot program for the use of RFID in Home and Community Settings (HCS) upon individual or guardian consent, will serve to ensure that individuals who willingly participate enjoy greater independence and protection.

HB 967, if passed, will help ensure medications are dispensed accurately and, with the potential of tracking which individuals have entered private bedrooms, either deter abuse or ensure justice when abuse has occurred.

Some individuals with I/DD and autism, who by vast majority are served in small community settings, have a tendency of wandering from their homes (“elopement”), placing themselves at risk of traffic, exposure to the elements, personal injury, law enforcement encounters, drownings, and more.

Read full letter testimony

VOR Supports New Jersey Bill to Protect Individuals with Disabilities Served Out-of-State

VOR Statement in SUPPORT of A3975 and S2600: Prohibiting the Transfer of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities from Out-of-State to In-State Placements if Written Objection Provided and One or More Conditions Exist

January 14, 2015

VOR supports A3975 and S2600 which protect against the transfers of individuals now receiving out-of-state care when the individual or his/her legal guardian objects in writing and when certain conditions relating to the length of placement, proximity to family, cost to the state or level of care needs exist. 

A3975 and S2600’s consideration of individual choice, need and state resources is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead v. L.C. decision.

Read full statement