Dear Gov. Cuomo,
I hope you remember me, my name is Nick Astor and I’m a 19-year-old with cerebral palsy. Last summer, you made it possible for me to attend Purchase college, living in the dorms with my peers and for that I am tremendously thankful. However, it has come to my attention that in your new State of the State and Budget Address you said you plan to do certain things that will be harmful to the disabled community. I’m writing this open letter to express my concern with these policy changes in hopes that you will reconsider your new proposal for consumer directed personal assistance, once you see how harmful it could be to the disabled community.
In your address, vowed to drastically overhaul the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, possibly leading to its termination. The program plays a significant role in allowing people with disabilities to live independently and lead fulfilling lives. It is a program that enables a person with disabilities to hire someone they trust, like a parent or a friend, to help with their daily needs. This service is crucial because often disabled people are usually required to use aides hired by outside agencies who pay poorly and have an incentive to cut costs at the price of quality. This can often lead to aides being unreliable which can be dangerous to people with disabilities, Consumer direction curbs this danger by allowing people with disabilities to hire people they know.
On a more personal note, the program also allows me to dorm at Purchase College, by helping to pay for my live-in aide, because without him I can’t live on my own. When I’m at home on breaks, my relatives can earn money to help me, which helps compensate for the inevitable lost work hours due to the amount of time required for my care, not to mention the time spent dealing with all the Medicaid paperwork.
When you urged Purchase to accommodate me this summer, you said that New York is committed to creating “equal opportunities for all” and your progressive agenda seems to want to even the playing field for minorities that struggle in the United States. I hope that you recognize the disabled are a minority group that is struggling, but that with the right resources can flourish and become productive tax paying members of society. At Purchase College, I have been able to hire student aides, who pay taxes and contribute to the economy. With their help, I can pursue a degree in political science, which will make me a productive member of society and someone who tries to make the world a better place.
If you want to help fix the issue discussed below call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390. Tell him: Consumer directed personal assistance lets disabled people live on the terms in their community more Independently and with dignity.