Tell Colorado lawmakers: Restore supports for Coloradans with Disabilities

Vote Yes on Budget Amendment to restore funding to HB19-1223

Applying for federal disability income (SSI/SSDI) involves mountains of paperwork and specialized knowledge. People must collect years of medical and vocational documents, keep multiple appointments, and respond regularly to the Social Security Administration (SSA) through the months-long process. The requirements can be insurmountable for many with the greatest need – people with severe mental or physical disabilities who are living in poverty or homelessness.

A 2019 bipartisan bill funded navigators to assist participants of Colorado’s Aid to the Needy Disabled (AND) program in developing and submitting applications for federal disability income. This bill passed 50-14 in the House and 24-11 in the Senate. For FY2020-21, the program was to receive $3.8 million in General Funds, including $3.4 million to hire county-based navigators to provide application assistance.

But in 2020, the funding was cut.

We believe funding for disability benefit application assistance should be restored before spending money on new programs. And a budget amendment has been proposed to do just that.

We need your help.

You can show your support for restoring this crucial program by contacting Colorado lawmakers, urging them to vote yes on the budget amendment to restore funding to HB19-1223.

Learn more about HB19-1223 with this one-page Factsheet (PDF).

Call on Colorado lawmakers to support disability benefit application assistance

Having passed through the Senate, the budget amendment will likely be voted on in the House this week. Call your representatives today!

Step One: Find your Representative!

Use this service from the Colorado General Assembly to find the contact information for your State Rep.

Step Two: Make the calls!

  • Be sure to share your real name, and the city or town in which you live.
  • If sent to voicemail, leave a concise message explaining the reason for your call.
  • Be polite! Thank the lawmaker (or their staff member) for their time.

Sample script

Dear Representative [REP’S LAST NAME],

My name is [NAME] and I live in [CITY], Colorado. Applying for federal disability income involves mountains of paperwork and specialized knowledge. For people with severe mental or physical disabilities who are living in poverty or homelessness, the difficulties are insurmountable. That’s why I urge you to vote yes on the budget amendment to restore funding to HB19-1223 – providing crucial assistance to Coloradans with disabilities.

HB19-1223 passed with bipartisan support in 2019, but the budget was cut for it last year before it had a chance to get off the ground. Restoring that small budget investment will pay dividends back to the state:

  • Many Coloradans living on just $217/month will gain access to critical federal disability income, more than tripling the monthly amount available to support their basic needs.
  • Coloradans spending their federal disability income on housing, food, transportation, and other necessities will stimulate their local economies.
  • Restoring funding for this program will yield a significant return on investment for taxpayers. Colorado will get reimbursed by the federal government for payments made to program participants who are later determined eligible for SSI.

Restoring that funding is not only the right thing to do for our fellow Coloradans, it’s a smart investment in our state.

Please vote yes for this important budget amendment. Thank you for your time!


To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.