Washington, D.C. — In a new video released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Marisa Harding of Austin, Texas, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago, says that the Trump administration has failed to properly address issues faced by the disability community that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Center for American Progress, there are more than 61 million Americans with disabilities, constituting approximately 12 percent of the U.S. working-age population and representing about one-third of American households. Advocates for the disability community are raising alarms that by forcing Americans back to work during the height of a pandemic, the Trump administration is failing to grasp the health and economic consequences for people with disabilities, who already represent more than half of Americans living in long-term poverty. Harding, whose household relies heavily on her husband’s veteran retirement benefits, says that she has yet to receive the first federal stimulus check and that their financial constraints have become dire.
“I haven’t even received the first stimulus. My husband is a veteran. When you are on those type of benefits, your paycheck is literally month to month. It is stretched so thin,” she says. “We have $18 left till the end of the month and I have no groceries. I have about a fourth of a tank of gas. I’ve maxed out our credit cards just so we can eat.”
She also says Trump will worsen the economy because of his failure to protect public health. “Trying to reopen the economy against all the data provided by scientists is going to ruin our economy even greater in the fall. He’s gonna kill us all. I mean, that’s just—I’m scared. People that are disabled, they don’t matter to him. Cruelty is the point,” she says.
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