The Most Vulnerable Targets of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is targeting those most vulnerable – people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Advisors need to understand the challenges they face.

Clients who care for the most vulnerable face extraordinary challenges as a result of stay-at-home orders and cutbacks in services brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Arc, which advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, made that point in a strongly worded press release March 27, criticizing the $2 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. “This is an unprecedented crisis for everyone, and everyone includes people with disabilities and their families. While this bill does provide some important support in this pandemic, there are huge risks facing people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce that were largely ignored in this response,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.

Berns said the stimulus bill should have provided new money for care at home to minimize the risk of disabled people being forced into institutions. It did not address the shortage of protective gear needed by professionals who must work in close proximity to help disabled individuals with very personal care, and offered no paid time off for workers who now must stay home to care for family members with disabilities. It should have eliminated the needless hoops that disabled people receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) must jump through.

Shana Siegel, an attorney in New Jersey with Norris McLaughlin, noted in a recent blog that individuals needing daily care are at high risk. Her colleagues across the country are finding most long-term care facilities are not accepting new admissions and most home health care agencies are not taking on new patients. “This is only likely to get worse as more home health care workers come down ill or must remain at home with their own families. This is likely to mean that many elderly individuals will end up stuck in hospitals at a time when that is an increasingly unsafe place to be,” she said.