Home Services and Independence
Jason Carrington at the Thompson Center, speaking about the importance of independent living services.
Jason Carrington lives in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. He receives Medicaid and has been a part of the Home Services program for the past three years. The Home Services Program runs out of Illinois' Department of Human Services. Without the Home Services program, Jason would not be able to live independently. Before moving to his own apartment, he lived in a nursing home for approximately five years.
Carrington has multiple disabilities. The personal assistant services he receives through the Home Services Program serve as an accommodation that enables him to live in his own apartment. Speaking about the support, Carrington says, “My PAs help me exist on my own…I wouldn't be able to function by myself without my PAs.” His personal assistants help with day to day things around the house, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and driving to and from doctor's appointments.
Living on his own, Carrington can pursue his passion for poetry. He has two books already published and some of his inspiration comes from his disability. Carrington is grateful for his personal assistants. If he did not have them, he would be forced to go back to a nursing home.
In addition to the personal assistants, Carrington also receives prescription services through his Medicaid. There are questions about whether either program will remain intact with the 2013 Illinois Budget. The budget calls for $2.7 Billion in cuts to Medicaid.
Though Carrington is now living in his own apartment and is out of the nursing home, he doesn't take his independence for granted. He advocates for the Home Services program and other Medicaid Programs to ensure that he and others will continue to have access to the supports they need to live independently. On February 14th this year, Carrington, along with a group of other people with disabilities, delivered a valentine to Governor Quinn's office. The valentine was a message to the Governor, urging him to preserve and support Illinois' Home Services Program. At the event, Carrington spoke about the importance to home services. “PA's (personal assistants) help us get up, take a bath, lay down, and eat,” he said. “Those may seem like little things . . . but they mean everything to us.”
Jason and other disability advocates argue that it makes much more sense to maintain Medicaid services that support people living in their own homes instead of cutting the services. If community based services and prescription services are cut, people with disabilities and others will be forced to use emergency rooms, hospitals, and institutions are a form of supports. These supports are much more expensive than community based services. In the end, if community based services are cut, Illinois will end up spending more money, not saving any.
Jason and thousands of others urge you to support community based services for people with disabilities.
We urge you to support Senate Bill 3913 and House Bill 6141:
REAL funding for REAL change!
For more information about Access Living efforts to preserve the independence of people with disabilities, contact Amber Smock at Asmock@accessliving.org or 312–640–2191 (voice).