Today, the Center for Disability Rights (CDR) announced that it was distributing $925,000 in bonuses to attendants in the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). Every year, CDR distributes bonuses to the CDPAP attendants as part of the organization’s policy to maximize the funds that pass through to attendants in the program. Thanks to the hard work of the disabled people who manage their own services, in counties where unemployment, workers compensations and other variable costs were kept down, CDR is able to provide these bonuses.
“As someone who relies on my attendants to be able to live my life on my terms, I am so happy to be able to offer them bonuses to recognize the fantastic job they do for me,” said Mary Talbo of Marion, New York. “I know they could probably get the same pay for much easier work, so it’s nice to be able to show them my appreciation in this way.”
The attendants receiving these bonuses provide their employers with services ranging from bathing and toileting to assistance with ventilators and feeding tubes. It is hard work for what are almost always minimum wages. “Attendants are the vital component that makes it possible for many of us to live in the community,” said Debbie Bonomo, CDR’s Board chair and an attendant service user. “Being able to pay these bonuses will allow CDPAP users to keep dedicated attendants who support us in some of the most personal and intimate of tasks.”
Ms. Bonomo, of Rochester, NY, noted that due to retaliatory decisions by Monroe County, she – herself – is unable to utilize CDR as her fiscal intermediary. “I was forced out of CDR because Monroe County didn’t like CDR fighting to give people an alternative to institutionalization and access to public transportation as is their right under the law. It’s frustrating that Monroe County continues this retaliatory vendetta and limits my choices as a disabled resident of this county.”
The Center for Disability Rights serves as a fiscal intermediary providing services that support disabled consumers to be employers in 12 counties. The organization offers consumers with support and training to make the responsibility of being an employer more manageable.