U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Senate colleagues to introduce the bipartisan End Diaper Need Act of 2021, which would provide resources to assist low- and middle-income families access diapers and help ensure the health and well-being of those who rely on diapers, including infants, toddlers, medically complex children, and adults with disabilities. Gillibrand is also a co-sponsor of the COVID-19 Diaper Assistance Act, which would provide $200 million in emergency funds through the Social Services Block Grant program for diaper assistance in FY 2022. Together, the two bills provide both immediate and long-term relief for families who struggle to meet their diaper needs throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The End Diaper Need Act of 2021 would build off the COVID-19 Diaper Assistance Act’s one-time emergency funds by providing $200 million in funding for fiscal years 2022 to 2025 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Social Services Block Grant program to assist families with their diaper needs. It would also provide at least 200 medically necessary diapers per month under the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program and make medically necessary diapers eligible for reimbursement through Health Savings Accounts.
“All across the country, families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, their families safe from COVID-19, and their infant children clean, dry, and healthy. In the best of times, this is already challenging for low- and middle-income families. That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the End Diaper Need Act, which will help ensure that families don’t have to choose between feeding their families and buying diapers,” said Senator Gillibrand.
Throughout the pandemic, many families have turned to local diaper banks to meet basic needs because of COVID-19 related job losses. In New York City, food pantries and non-profits have stepped into the void by also providing diapers during food distributions. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the cost of diapers for one baby is anywhere between $70-$80 a month. Despite the unsafe medical conditions that can occur from rationing diapers, such as skin infections, open sores, urinary tract infections and other conditions that may require medical attention, there is currently little to no federal assistance for purchasing diapers and diapering supplies.
The End Diaper Need Act of 2021 would help assist low-income families to address diaper need by providing targeted funding for States, territories and other eligible entities working to decrease diaper need. Specifically, this legislation would:
- Appropriate $200 million per year for fiscal years 2022 to 2025 for the Social Services Block Grant Program, to be used to provide diapers and diapering supplies;
- Allow for 200 medically necessary diapers to be provided per month for medically complex children through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program; and
- Make medically necessary diapers and diapering supplies qualified medical expenses so that families can purchase them using their HSAs or HRAs.
In addition to the National Diaper Bank Network, the following organizations have endorsed this legislation: The Center for Baby and Adult Hygiene Products; The Center for Law and Social Policy; First Focus Campaign for Children; Huggies(R); National WIC Association; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Pampers(R); Parents as Teachers; Proctor & Gamble and ZERO TO THREE.
Text of this bill can be found here.