Washtenaw Advocacy Group Secures $110 Million Settlement

This article was originally published in The Sun Times. Read it here.

The Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy (ACA), a steadfast pillar in the fight for the rights of individuals with disabilities since its inception in 1949, has recently heralded a monumental legal victory.

After an arduous eight-year battle, ACA, alongside the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and Disability Rights Michigan, has successfully secured a landmark settlement with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for more than $110 million in additional state expenditures to aid Michiganders with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This financial windfall is earmarked for those dependent on Medicaid Community Living Support (CLS) services, facilitating their ability to live at home and engage with their communities more robustly.

Ann Damon works with the ACA and is the mother of a child with ID/D. She notes, “The big issue is that the fastest-growing minority population is the disabled population. With that being the case, we have to keep our finger on the pulse of the financing. So, this landmark case is huge.”

Damon emphasizes the escalating need for sustainable support mechanisms for individuals with disabilities, a demographic experiencing rapid growth. The settlement will increase the CLS rate to $31/hour—a 35% rise from the current rate. It empowers I/DD individuals or their families to hire their own staff directly, promoting greater autonomy and quality of life. The settlement addresses both immediate financial needs and broader issues of discrimination and institutionalization.

The ACA will celebrate the court victory at a private function in March. It will also launch the group’s trek towards its 75th Diamond Jubilee anniversary celebration this fall, which will be open to the public.

To learn more about ACA and its work, visit https://washtenawaca.org/