Olmstead Plan: Ensuring Persons with Disabilities Have Employment Options

The Olmstead Plan gets its name from a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which Georgia was sued for unnecessarily institutionalizing persons with disabilities. The court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act require states to provide services to people with disabilities in the “most integrated settings” appropriate to their needs. In 2011, the settlement of a Minnesota case (Jensen) required DHS to develop a Minnesota Olmstead Plan.

In 2012, Minnesota’s Olmstead Planning Committee was formed, followed by the establishment of the Sub-Cabinet by an Executive Order issued by Gov. Dayton. The Sub-Cabinet was charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive plan supporting freedom of choice and opportunity for persons with disabilities. The Sub-Cabinet has been working on the final statewide plan for the Legislature’s consideration in 2015.

Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan is a comprehensive roadmap to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate to the individual. Essentially, it’s about providing choices to people, and is designed to have a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

The bill currently under consideration includes $12 million for the implementation of a portion of the Olmstead Plan in fiscal year 2016. The grants are to be used for current providers, for extended employment services for persons with disabilities. Current funding and staffing will not allow for the statewide expansion of services required under Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. According to a report released by DEED, 47 of Minnesota’s 87 counties have no grant funding, while 40 only have some access to extended employment services. New funding for fiscal years 2016-17 would provide for the creation of 10 new Individual Placement and Support projects serving 400 new customers. (S.F. 1114)

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