Freedom for People with Disabilities

What We're Up Against

The waiting list for people with disabilities to get an IDD (Intellectual/Developmental Disability) waiver from the state has more than a thousand people on it. In a state that can take upwards of 8-9 years for someone to be approved, it’s not uncommon for people to die waiting.

“Mountaineers Are Always Free” reads the West Virginia State Seal, yet for many in our state, the pursuit of life, liberty, financial security, happiness, and safety are limited by archaic policies and unfair and discriminatory practices. West Virginians with disabilities–all 39.2% of us– deserve fair employment, transportation, and housing. It’s time that West Virginians with disabilities and our families are granted the same rights and freedoms that all of us enjoy.

Our Plan

  • End sub-minimum wage policies for people with disabilities.
  • Employ people with disabilities in integrated employment environments at comparable wages in state government positions.
  • Fund short-term workforce programs, such as apprenticeships and internships, for people with disabilities.
  • Create 55 positions for county governments interested in creating a disability access coordinator, and commission, for their counties.
  • Improve transportation options.
  • Explore grant opportunities and other systems for improving infrastructure.
  • Develop transportation subsidy programs.
  • Support local efforts to institute non-emergency Medicaid transportation programs.
  • Shift funding over time to build and sustain enough Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to meet demand statewide. 
  • Revise housing policies for state agencies to remove obstacles to independent living.
  • End the practice of citizens being directed by the state to share their home with another person.
  • Increase voting options to include vote-by-mail, and other accommodations to make voting more accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Require live-streaming of public meetings.
  • Ensure that every public building is ADA compliant.
  • Establish a Statewide Disabilities Council that ensures that people with disabilities are represented throughout the executive branch of government.
  • Ensure the full implementation of the Olmstead Act and the State Olmstead Plan.
  • Provide direct oversight of government disability programs.
  • Investigate reports of discrimination, abuse, and harassment.
  • Encourage government representation by people with disabilities.
  • Ensure that children with disabilities, and their parents, are well-represented and served in the public education system.
  • Ensure recreational activities and opportunities for people with disabilities in each county.


  • Commit to clearing the IDD Waiver Wait List immediately.
  • End cuts to the Age and Disabled Waiver program.
  • Invest in improvements to the School for the Deaf and Blind in Hampshire County and other facilities that predominantly serve people with disabilities.
  • Eliminate drastic 2015 cuts and budget caps to Waiver budgets.
  • Advocate for the use of alternatives to guardianship, such as limited guardianship and supported decision-making.

No one politician or slate of candidates can win this plan alone. We need you.

If you have an idea for how to make this plan stronger, or if you would like to lend a hand to win it, contact our co-chair Stephen Smith at

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Join the Movement

It will take 1,000 leaders not 1 to win a West Virginia that works for all of us. That means we need you!