For Immediate Release:
February 03, 2010
For information contact:
Bruce Darling 585-370-6690
Rahnee Patrick 312-320-5111
Marsha Katz 406-544-9504
Americans with Disabilities Bleeding from Budget Cuts:
Angry, ADAPT Fights Back
Denver, CO -- ADAPT today launched its ADA 20th Anniversary Campaign demanding that the Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice aggressively protect the civil rights of disabled Americans and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. The campaign, Defending Our Freedom:
ADAPT's Call to Action for Home and Community in America, also calls on people with disabilities and those who are older to file civil rights complaints if they have been forced into institutional settings, denied community services, or have had their community services reduced. And, finally, the campaign will collect personal and state stories about the effects of budget cuts, and the efforts to fight back against the cuts.
"People with disabilities are literally "bleeding to death" already because of state budget cuts, and there is no end in sight," said Rahnee Patrick , an organizer with Chicago ADAPT. "When states cut budgets, the first things on the chopping block are what are called "optional services," the services that states can choose to provide, but aren't mandated to provide...only they aren't so optional for us. Those are the services that pay aides to help us out of bed, get dressed, get ready for work, eat, and live in our own homes instead of being forced into nursing homes."
Nearly every state in the union is currently planning budget cuts that impact the ability of people with disabilities and older people to stay in their own homes. Federal law currently mandates states to provide nursing home services. Providing home and community-based services is considered "optional" under the law, which is why those services are usually cut when states are reducing their budgets. Because there is no provision in the law that tells states they must also provide the same services in a person's own home, countless thousands of people across the country are forced every day into nursing facilities and other institutions when they need help with the activities of daily living.
"For all these 20 years since the ADA was passed, Congress has refused to remove the "institutional bias from the law," said Mike Oxford, organizer from Kansas ADAPT. "That institutional bias has made older and disabled people America's political prisoners. We are deprived of our freedom, and deprived of our civil rights, and that is totally unacceptable, and most certainly illegal. Apparently, Congress is too politically scared to address the issue, but we aren't, and we won't stop until we have the first class citizenship and rights that our Constitution guarantees us!"
ADAPT is calling on individuals and groups of people who are aging or have disabilities to send in stories of cuts in services. ADAPT will collect these stories and post them on the ADAPT website in a "People's Forum to Fight Back." Stories and pictures can be viewed on the ADAPT Defending Our Freedom blog at http://www.defendingourfreedom2010.blogspot.com/ . The ADAPT website will also have a link to the forms that people can use to complain to the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights about a violation of their civil rights. Violations include being forced into a nursing home, not being allowed to move from a nursing home or other institution back into the community, or having home and community services decreased due to budget cuts so you don't have the hours you need.
ADAPT will also post on its website pictures of you visiting your state and federal senators and representatives, and your state Medicaid and other government officials. These pictures and descriptions will create a public record of the disability community's efforts to stop cuts, and will inspire others across the country to speak up and speak out, too. Send your personal "cut" stories, and your pictures, with a description of what occurred and what you were told by your public officials, to firstname.lastname@example.org then watch for them on the blog. Let's hold public officials accountable for what they tell us!
FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at http://www.adapt.org/
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