Cornell University

March 6 2013

Impact of Sequestration

People with disabilities hard hit by government cuts, Cebula says

Cebula_Ray_webGovernment cuts begun March 1 will impact many segments of life for people with disabilities, according to Ray Cebula, senior Extension faculty member of ILR's Employment & Disability Institute.

"For Americans with disabilities, sequestration impacts everything from education to transportation, housing and health care programs, due to the nature of these across-the-board cuts," he said in an interview.

An estimated one in 10 Americans in disabled. Millions of Americans with disabilities are served by federal programs impacted by the sequester.

"Approximately 15,000 special education teachers could lose their jobs, resulting in larger class sizes. Seventy-thousand children, many of them disabled, would be dropped from Head Start programs," Cebula said.

Federal program spending cuts called "the sequester" were made law in 2011 by the Budget Control Act and went into effect Friday. If the sequester continues to 2021, federal budget deficits would be reduced by more than $1 trillion, according to estimates.

Due to staffing changes related to sequester, Cebula said, Social Security Administration decisions on disability claims are expected to take two weeks longer. Decisions on disability hearings could take up to a month longer.

Cebula said $1.9 billion in cuts to assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program that serves an estimated 125,000 Americans, including people with disabilities, increases the possibility of homelessness.