NDSS supports the following legislation that would help people with Down syndrome to live as full members of their communities.

Disability Integration Act

The Disability Integration Act (S.910/H.R.2472) would require that any disabled individual who is qualified for institutional care be offered the option of receiving services and care at home or any other location they want (e.g., their parents’ home or a group living facility). It would prohibit states, local governments and insurance providers from discriminating against individuals in the provision of community-based services and would mandate that community-based services and placements be offered to individuals with disabilities prior to institutionalization. NDSS believes that this bill would lead to more independence, empowerment and self-determination for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

The Marriage Access for Persons with Special Abilities (MAPSA) Act (H.R. 1529)

Bipartisan legislation was introduced on March 5, 2019 by Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and Bill Keating (D-MA) to address the unique challenges facing individuals with ID/DD who want to get married and who can reasonably be expected to remain on SSI for most of their adult life. The Marriage Access for People with Special Abilities (MAPSA) Act (H.R. 13clarifies that SSI benefits for an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability (ID/DD) will not be affected by marital status. When determining SSI benefits for an individual with ID/DD, only their income and resources will be reviewed, and will not include those of their spouse.

NDSS supports this legislation because living with an ID/DD is incredibly expensive, and there are few economies of scale that can come about when two individuals with ID/DD wish to join and create one household. Each has unique personal care needs, medical expenses, job supports and other supportive services that allow them to function independently in their communities. As a result, most adults with ID/DD cannot choose to be married without losing the necessities that allow them to function independently.

Members of the House can contact Jennifer Wood Rep. John Katko (R-NY) at wood@mail.house.gov or 202-225-3701; or Michael Wertheimer with Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) at michael.wertheimer@mail.house.gov or 202-225-3111 to cosponsor

Senators are urged to support the introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.