photo courtesy Senator David Carlucci
New York State Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) stood with nonprofit BRIDGES, advocates and those with disabilities to stress the importance of fully funding the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), as its fate hangs in the balance of budget negotiations.
CDPAP allows people with disabilities who qualify for Medicaid to manage their own care and live independently. However, with Governor Cuomo proposing $75 million in state cuts to the program, people who utilize it are “fearful” they will lose critical services. Through the program, people can select their own aids, manage their aids’ schedules, and decide their hours and pay.
“As Chairman of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, it’s my responsibility to champion this cause,” said Senator David Carlucci. The advocates and I gathered to say in one collective voice to Governor Cuomo that the CDPAP needs to be fully funded in the budget. This is about people’s livelihood and giving seniors and people with disabilities the right to manage their own care and live independently. Governor Cuomo is taking that choice away.”
“CDPAP offers tens of thousands of New Yorkers and thousands here in Rockland choice, freedom and control over their life and their care,” said Carlos Martinez, CEO of BRIDGES. This is a program that keeps people in the community in the care of people they trust. We must invest more in this model of service than to rip it apart. We must do right by the people who use this program on a daily basis!”
“More than 70,000 consumers of the CDPAP program will have their services disrupted or discontinued and upwards of 100,000 of their personal assistants who provide care for them will lose their jobs due to a lack of understanding of the program by Governor Andrew Cuomo,” said Bryan O’Malley, executive director of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State. “These cuts are simply an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the disabled and senior citizens of our state, and it is a clear violation of their basic civil rights and our values as New Yorkers.”
Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal will also limit the number of agencies like Rockland’s BRIDGES who can help people in the program with managing payroll, tax paperwork and workers compensation for their aids.
With the program model in jeopardy, people in Rockland County who currently manage their own care are scared they may have to enter institutionalized care.
“Now I need CDPAP because it has worked miracles for me. Personally, I hire young ladies and young men who are able to support me,” said CDPAP recipient, Ella Hill. “I am not able to walk at this time so I need to be placed in the bed at night. I need to be taken up in the night. I need to have food prepared for me. My children are thousands of miles away. I need CDPAP. I don’t want to go to an institution, where are my civil rights?”
Paula Southern whose daughter is disabled and receives CDPAP said, “Being able to have a CDPAP, me as her parent and having my mother be her representative so I can be her caregiver is so much more helpful than trying to sustain a job with corporate. It is really a quality of care she could never get without myself.