House Bill 1199 concerning health care for workers with disabilities passed the House unanimously March 4. Joey Wilson’s moving and thoughtful testimony Jan. 30 in front of the Washington State House Healthcare and Wellness Committee helped propel the bill forward.
Wilson is currently in his third year of college in the Occupational and Life Skills (OLS) program at Bellevue College.
“Self-determination is a skill that we teach and model for our students from the moment they decide to join our program, and it is a skill they will use for life,” said Pilar Lopez, OLS associate dean. “What Joey did shows how self-determination works. We are so proud of his growth and his accomplishments.”
The bill, sponsored by 16 representatives including Healthcare and Wellness Committee Chair Rep. Eileen Cody of the 34th Legislative District and Rep. Noel Frame of the 36th District, now moves on to the Washington State Senate where it’s scheduled for a public hearing March 15. The bill would allow Wilson and others enrolled in the Apple Healthcare for Workers with Disabilities (AHWD) program to earn a higher income without losing their Social Security.
“It was an honor to be there, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to advocate for others,” said Wilson. “I was a little nervous, but I knew it could help thousands of people. Noel Frame, Eileen Cody and the other legislators have been very helpful and supportive throughout this process.”
In November 2017 Wilson attended the King County Board for Developmental Disabilities Legislative Forum, and his story was a part of the legislative packet presented that evening by the Arc of King County. A recording of the Jan. 30 testimonies, including Wilson’s, is available online. The Arc of King County also highlighted his efforts in a Facebook announcement.
“OLS has helped me gain confidence, and the faculty and staff are all supportive and want you to succeed and be independent,” said Wilson. “I didn’t know where my future was headed before coming to OLS. It has opened many doors for me, and I recommend it for anyone with a learning disability.”
Last Updated March 12, 2019