Disability Network – Advocacy

Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network - ADVOCACY

Our Areas of Focus

All people with disabilities should have the opportunity to be full participants in their communities with the right to determine where they live and work. We are committed to working with people with disabilities to advocate for policy that will expand access to services, improve quality of life and provide greater independence.

These vital services and supports are only as strong as the workforce that provides them. Without an equal investment in that workforce, our nation will lack the qualified workers needed to provide long-term services and supports (LTSS) to the people who need them.

Medicaid should be structured so that supports and services are completely self-directed in the setting of the person’s choice, providing equal funding for community-based settings. Funding must also allow providers to adequately compensate staff across the board so that real long-term investments can be made in the workforce.

Our Policy Priorities

Advance policies that improve our ability to provide services to people with disabilities and strengthen the direct care workforce. To achieve this goal, the Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network pursues the following legislative and regulatory policies on the federal level.

  • Strengthen the Direct Care Workforce with policies that provide competitive wages and improve recruitment and retention efforts of providers.
    • Address Reimbursement Rates on the Federal Level.
    • Expand Pipeline Programs for Direct Service Providers.
    • Create a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).
  • Improve long-term services and supports (LTSS) by expanding access to home and community-based services.
    • Pass a long-term increase in home and community-based services (HCBS) funding.
    • Make HCBS a mandatory Medicaid benefit.
    • Prioritize strong implementation of the HCBS Settings Rule.

Support policies that improve the broader lives of people with disabilities and direct care workers.

We recognize that a broad approach is needed to address the many challenges facing people with disabilities and direct care workers. The disability community and direct support professional (DSP) workforce are diverse groups represented throughout the country, and we cannot remain focused solely on the issues that impact our ability to provide services. We support broad policies that improve the lives of the disability community and direct care workforce on multiple levels:

  • Strengthen financial security and independence
  • Expand civil rights and protections
  • Increase supports for direct care workers and their families

Advocacy Actions


  • May 4, 2021

Direct CARE Opportunity Act

Invests over $1 billion in training strategies to recruit, retain and advance the direct care workforce pipeline. Introduced by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Susie Lee (D-NV), and Susan Wild (D-PA).


  • July 28, 2021

Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals

Revises the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ classification system to more accurately categorize Direct Support Professionals and ensure better data on the workforce. Introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. John Katko, (R-NY), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).


  • April 5, 2021

Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment

Phases out the use of 14(c) subminimum wage certificates for people with disabilities over a six-year period. Provides grants and resources to create competitive integrated employment service delivery models. Introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).


  • April 28, 2021

CONNECT for Health Act

Expands coverage of telehealth services, make COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities permanent and make it easier for patients to safely connect with their doctors Introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MI), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ).


  • July 14, 2021

Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act

Invests over $1 billion in supporting the direct care workforce and family caregivers for initiatives to build, retain, train, and promote the direct care workforce, and provides grants for states or other eligible entities for educational and training support for both paid and unpaid family caregivers. Introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).



  • March 22, 2022

Letter to President Biden commending his support for home and community-based services in the State of the Union Address.

Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network joined a coalition of disability and aging organizations to thank President Biden for highlighting the need to expand home and community-based services in the State..


  • March 17, 2022

Letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure

Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network joined a coalition of disability and aging organizations to urge the Administration to provide at least 120 days advance notice when it intends to lift..


  • February 4, 2022

Letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network joined a coalition of disability organizations to urge Congress to permanently adopt the changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax..



  • March 25, 2020

Statement on Senate’s Passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

Statement from Charlotte Haberaecker,President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America in response to today’s Senate passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748)


  • March 30, 2022

Statement for the Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing entitled “An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Care.”

Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network urged the Committee to provide long-term funding to help expand access to home and community-based services and address the direct care workforce crisis.


Get timely news on our Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network updates and advocacy work.