Tell Colorado lawmakers: Restore supports for Coloradans with Disabilities

Vote Yes on Budget Amendment to restore funding to HB19-1223

Applying for federal disability income (SSI/SSDI) involves mountains of paperwork and specialized knowledge. People must collect years of medical and vocational documents, keep multiple appointments, and respond regularly to the Social Security Administration (SSA) through the months-long process. The requirements can be insurmountable for many with the greatest need – people with severe mental or physical disabilities who are living in poverty or homelessness.

A 2019 bipartisan bill funded navigators to assist participants of Colorado’s Aid to the Needy Disabled (AND) program in developing and submitting applications for federal disability income. This bill passed 50-14 in the House and 24-11 in the Senate. For FY2020-21, the program was to receive $3.8 million in General Funds, including $3.4 million to hire county-based navigators to provide application assistance.

But in 2020, the funding was cut.

We believe funding for disability benefit application assistance should be restored before spending money on new programs. And a budget amendment has been proposed to do just that.

We need your help.

You can show your support for restoring this crucial program by contacting Colorado lawmakers, urging them to vote yes on the budget amendment to restore funding to HB19-1223.

Learn more about HB19-1223 with this one-page Factsheet (PDF).

Call on Colorado lawmakers to support disability benefit application assistance

Having passed through the Senate, the budget amendment will likely be voted on in the House this week. Call your representatives today!

Step One: Find your Representative!

Use this service from the Colorado General Assembly to find the contact information for your State Rep.

Step Two: Make the calls!

  • Be sure to share your real name, and the city or town in which you live.
  • If sent to voicemail, leave a concise message explaining the reason for your call.
  • Be polite! Thank the lawmaker (or their staff member) for their time.

Sample script

Dear Representative [REP’S LAST NAME],

My name is [NAME] and I live in [CITY], Colorado. Applying for federal disability income involves mountains of paperwork and specialized knowledge. For people with severe mental or physical disabilities who are living in poverty or homelessness, the difficulties are insurmountable. That’s why I urge you to vote yes on the budget amendment to restore funding to HB19-1223 – providing crucial assistance to Coloradans with disabilities.

HB19-1223 passed with bipartisan support in 2019, but the budget was cut for it last year before it had a chance to get off the ground. Restoring that small budget investment will pay dividends back to the state:

  • Many Coloradans living on just $217/month will gain access to critical federal disability income, more than tripling the monthly amount available to support their basic needs.
  • Coloradans spending their federal disability income on housing, food, transportation, and other necessities will stimulate their local economies.
  • Restoring funding for this program will yield a significant return on investment for taxpayers. Colorado will get reimbursed by the federal government for payments made to program participants who are later determined eligible for SSI.

Restoring that funding is not only the right thing to do for our fellow Coloradans, it’s a smart investment in our state.

Please vote yes for this important budget amendment. Thank you for your time!