BOSTON (WWLP) – Two bills that were passed in the Senate Thursday during an informal session will help those in the Commonwealth with disabilities live more independently.
The Senate has been busy this week, first passing the economic development bill, and then passing these two bills to help those of varying abilities live a more full life. For those who depend on wheelchairs, an Act Expanding Wheelchair Warranty Protections for Consumers with Disabilities will protect against long wait times when a wheelchair needs repairs.
When a wheelchair breaks down, it is not uncommon for the wheelchair user to feel stranded as their chair takes weeks to repair. This legislation increases the time for a warranty to two years, and if an in-warranty wheelchair stops working, the bill requires manufacturers to quickly assess the damage, provide a loaner wheelchair and cover associated costs.
Senator Adam Gomez said in a statement, “the wheelchair legislation passed will allow residents who use a wheelchair to breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to their wheelchair warranties and financial stressors related to their wheelchair. It is unacceptable that anyone in Massachusetts had to worry about what would happen if their wheelchair broke.”
The second piece of legislation deals with decision-making agreements for those living with intellectual or developmental disabilities, dementia, or mental health issues. This would be an alternative to guardianship and provide independence for those in need.
Individuals with a disability would be able to make their own decision, whether it’s about their care, financial well-being or other types of life decisions with the support of a designated person or team, but cannot have their own choices overridden.
With these two bills passing the Senate, they now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.