An open letter to Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo

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Dear County Executive Dinolfo,

As you may have seen recently, disabled New Yorkers are facing a crisis in our Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). In the last few months, the Disability Community of New York State has watched as the Department of Health (DOH) and Governor Cuomo threaten to go full steam ahead with a policy that would bankrupt every fiscal intermediary (FI) in the state within a year. DOH has continued to move forward with a proposal that cuts payment for overhead costs to as low as $0.34 an hour. This is not sustainable.

No consideration has been taken to the multiple times we, the Disability Community, have attended public hearings, meetings, sent out action alerts… all of these things have been completely ignored. In the last two months, advocates from all over the state traveled to Albany and New York City to advocate for our lives. This policy as it goes forward will force FIs to close and those who can hold on longer will have their limits stretched further as disabled people in the program scramble to find coverage. All of this will force disabled people into nursing facilities and other institutions. Is this the type of freedom you want for people with disabilities in Monroe County?

Instead of fighting so hard against giving driver’s licenses to immigrants, your time would be better spent using your power to fight for our community to ensure disabled people in Monroe County are allowed to stay in their homes and with their families. Your bid to keep driver’s licenses from immigrants is frankly racist and xenophobic. A majority of the attendants serving our population are immigrants and we value their work that keeps us in the community and independent. You’ve mentioned in the past that family is important and speak about being a mother and a grandmother, it seems as though you could use your compassion and empathy to ensure that other mothers and grandmothers get to stay at home.

We hope that you do the right thing and show public support for the Disability Community by opposing these cuts to fiscal intermediaries in relation to the CDPAP program. This is particularly important in this election season.

Ericka Jones
Systems Advocate and Consumer of CDPA Services
Center for Disability Rights for Ericka Jones’s email address and information. 

Published on September 12, 2019