Staff and Providers for People with Disabilities Are Absolutely Essential in Pandemic

Tell elected officials, #WeAreEssential

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Photos from The ARC of the United States

All Oklahomans are feeling the impact of this global crisis, including people with disabilities and the incredible staff and organizations that support them. However this important community is being overlooked when it comes to determining who is “essential.”

Direct service providers (DSPs) are on the front line of this pandemic, supporting people with disabilities with very personal tasks that can’t be done from six feet away. Sadly, some have already seen those with disabilities they serve pass away from COVID-19. Others don’t have supplies for staff to continue safely serving or quarantining individuals with disabilities.

As a precaution to protect this vulnerable population from the potentially deadly impact of COVID-19, Tulsa Advocates for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (TARC), like so many other disability service programs, has been forced to close during the outbreak. People with disabilities and their families in Oklahoma and across the nation are forced to make the impossible choice between earning a paycheck and being available to take care of their loved ones. Family caregivers are stepping up, but often without paid leave, putting their own financial stability on the line.

This is an unprecedented crisis for the 1 in 5 Americans with a disability, their family members, and the important network that supports independence and life in the community. We need action – at the local, state and federal level – that recognizes that the disability community is essential. People with disabilities deserve better, and so do the people who support them and the organizations that make life in the community possible. Tell all elected officials, #WeAreEssential.


Participate in The Arc of the United States‘ #WeAreEssential social campaign:

Post your own video to tell Congress what else MUST be included in in the next Coronavirus relief bills, and use the hashtag #WeAreEssential. (Don’t forget to tag your Member of Congress: You can answer things like:

  • If I don’t have healthy staff to support me …
  • Medicaid/Social Security make it possible for me to….
  • If my mom/dad/sister/brother can’t take time off work during this pandemic to support me….

About TARC

 TARC is committed to ensuring a high quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through education, empowerment, support, and advocacy. For more information, visit

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Categories: Guest Blog