Special Education Programs May Face Billions in Cuts

Posted on Jun 30, 2013

In 2011, Congress passed a law that was supposed to encourage politicians to work together to reduce the Country’s debt. The law said that if Congress could not agree on a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion, then automatic, arbitrary budget cuts would be made in 2013. These budget cuts would affect almost all federal programs, with few exceptions. These cuts are known as the sequester.

Congress could not reach an agreement. The first round of cuts took place on March 1. More cuts are expected on October 1. Preliminary figures from the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations show that in October, education programs may be cut by as much as 20 percent. These cuts are likely to include a $2 billion reduction in the amount of funding available for special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Educators are concerned. Recent studies have found that up to ten percent of American students have a learning disability, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, and autism.  About four percent of children have behavioral disabilities that make it difficult to learn in a traditional classroom. These children need early intervention and special education services in order to succeed as adults.

Ten education groups, including the National Education Association and the National School Boards Association, have written a joint letter asking the House Appropriations Committee to reject the cuts.

While cuts are planned, the Obama Administration has recently announced an initiative known as Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income, or PROMISE. The PROMISE program will offer up to $10 million per year for five years to pilot programs that help disabled teens who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to transition to the workforce. While this is not enough to make up for sequestration cuts, the program will help some children in need.

For more information on this, or for help with your own disability claim, contact us today.

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