Kansas Legislature Overrides Veto to Cap Disability Services Wait Times

Kansas Legislature overrides Governor Laura Kelly's veto, capping wait times for state-funded disability services at 6,800 people. The state allocates $45.8 million to fund services for 1,000 Kansans currently on waiting lists.

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Waqas Arain
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Kansas Legislature Overrides Veto to Cap Disability Services Wait Times

Kansas Legislature Overrides Veto to Cap Disability Services Wait Times

In a significant development, the Kansas Legislature has overridden Governor Laura Kelly's veto to implement a provision that caps wait times for Kansans seeking state-funded disability services. This move is expected to have a huge impact on the lives of disabled individuals in the state.

The provision, included in the state budget, sets a cap of 6,800 people on the waiting lists for disability services during the fiscal year starting in July. Currently, 7,698 Kansans are waiting for services, with 5,342 people on the intellectual and developmental disabilities waitlist and 2,356 people on the physical disability waitlist.

Why this matters: This development has far-reaching implications for the disability community, as it sets a precedent for prioritizing their needs and allocating resources to address waiting lists. By capping wait times, Kansas is taking a crucial step towards ensuringequal access to care and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

The Legislature has set aside $45.8 million for fiscal year 2025 to fund services for 1,000 Kansans currently on the waiting lists, divided evenly between people with intellectual and physical disabilities. The law requires the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) to provide an estimate of the costs of keeping the cap in place by January.

Rocky Nichols, Executive Director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, praised the Legislature's action, stating,"It tells me the Legislature takes a waiting list seriously... This is going to have a huge impact. Hats off and I really want to commend the Legislature for coming up with these provisos because it's a very innovative way to ensure that you're actually going to reduce the waiting list. You set a cap. "People with disabilitiesoften face significant challenges in accessing essential services.

Sen. Rick Billinger, a Goodland Republican, emphasized the importance of prioritizing funding for the disability community, saying, "Folks, we put $38 million into a soccer tournament. If we can't put dollars in here for the IDD and the PD, we better refocus. And I believe that this is a step to try to get us to do better because we must do better. We're failing this community."

Sara Hart Weir, Executive Director of the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities, highlighted the impact of the veto override, stating,"The veto override works to ensure 500 new Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are eliminated from our historic record high IDD waitlist and will start receiving essential HCBS waiver services."

The waitlists for disability services have been a long-standing issue in Kansas, with wait times often exceeding 10 years. The provision is seen as a crucial step towards addressing this problem and ensuring thatpeople with disabilitiesreceive the services they need.

The Kansas Legislature's override of Governor Kelly's veto sets a new cap on wait times for disability services, allocating significant funding to reduce the number of Kansans waiting for essential support. With over 7,600 individuals currently on the waitlists, this provision aims to make a substantial impact in improving access to care for thedisability communityin Kansas.

Key Takeaways

  • Kansas Legislature overrides Governor's veto to cap wait times for disability services.
  • New cap sets a limit of 6,800 people on waiting lists for fiscal year starting in July.
  • $45.8 million allocated to fund services for 1,000 Kansans currently on waiting lists.
  • Provision aims to reduce wait times, ensuring equal access to care for individuals with disabilities.
  • Legislature's action praised by disability advocates as a crucial step towards addressing waitlist issue.