Sunday, January 22, 2017

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT

I am one of the 56 million disabled Americans in this country. I am scared.

I began to be afraid when at the start of your campaign, you mocked a reporter with a physical disability. I wondered how anyone could be so insensitive. I wondered if you thought about the message you were sending. The message I got was that people with disabilities are not worth respect, but instead, it's okay to laugh and make fun of our physical differences and limitations. 

I am scared that the Disability Integration Act is dead. The act that would have given hope to people like me, who have been forced to live in nursing homes. Hope that we may someday get our lives back. Hope that we will be part of our communities again. No one should be penalized and placed in a nursing home because states won't pay for the services necessary to keep them in their homes. Nursing homes are for the sick. They should not be used to warehouse people with disabilities. Nursing homes are understaffed and the staff that is working is extremely overworked. These two factors affect resident care, not in a positive way.

I am scared that cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will limit my freedom. I use a  power chair. Medicare doesn't think residents of nursing homes need power chairs. It can take up to six months or longer to get chairs or parts for chairs using Medicaid. My chair is very old. I have not gotten a new one because I don't want to have to depend on other people to push me around. That is just another way of limiting my independence.

I will never be able to support myself.  My family helps tremendously. They see that I have what I want as well as what I need. I want to be able to pay for some of my expenses myself.  That's why getting a job. is so important to me. I am labeled severely disabled. The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation has deemed me unemployable. Insurance won't allow me to earn much. I won't let that stop me. I know that I will get a job. The question is not if, but when. 

I hope that you will create jobs as well as bring jobs back to the United. States. The revenue from those jobs can be used to help fund Medicare and Medicaid. Disabled people cannot afford to lose funding to support services we need to live full lives.

I hope that you will remember that we are people. Please don't forget about us. 

I am praying for you and our country as you begin.your term in office.