GT IndependenceResourcesDisability Garrison – Episode 01: Personal Assistant Services With Judy Heumann

Disability Garrison – Episode 01: Personal Assistant Services With Judy Heumann

August 31, 2021

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The Problem

Many people don’t know that there are options other than nursing homes or group homes for long-term care. But these options (such as Home and Community-Based Services) need more funding to be available to everyone. As of March 2021, more than 850,000 people nationwide are on waiting lists to enroll in these HCBS programs.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Waiting lists can be greatly reduced or eliminated with increased funding.

Join Michael and Holly as they talk with Judy Heumann, mother of the disability rights movement. We’ll discuss why it’s critical for people to have access to home and community-based services. And how having choice and control is important in the lives of everyone.

What We Can Do About It

It’s easy to get paralyzed by the feeling that we can’t make a difference. But helping out can be a lot simpler than we think.

Step 1: Talk to people you know about the facts behind personal assistance and self-direction

Most people end up in congregate settings because they didn’t know they had a choice. Help people understand their options.

Step 2: Contact your representative about ending the waiting list (2 minutes)

The Better Care Better Jobs Act will amend title 19 of the Social Security Act. The act will increase federal funding for HCBS by 10%. It will also add funding for other improvements, like increasing caregiver pay and protecting married couples so they can more easily qualify for Medicaid.

Use the Easter Seals link to send your representative a prewritten email. This email tells your representative how important it is to get HCBS more funding. Easter Seals has everything ready for you. You just need to hit send.

Step 3: Support Applied Self-Direction (3 minutes)

Supporting Applied Self-Direction will help make HCBS and personal assistance services accessible for more people. Applied Self-Direction is an advocacy organization made of experts on creating an authentically self-directed, person-centered environment.

Boom. You’ve made a difference in less than five minutes.

Judy sits in her wheelchair, smiling as she holds two of her books. She wears a blue shirt with purple flowers.

Judy’s Story

After contracting polio when she was 18 months old, Judy has since become an activist, best-selling author, and is one of the stars of the Oscar-nominated film Crip Camp. She has been a vital part of passing various legislation over the years, including the 2017 revision of Section 501. This revision means that all federal agencies must provide personal assistance services for their employees with certain disabilities.

Get More Information on Personal Assistance Services and HCBS

Advocacy and Learning Opportunties

What Are Personal Assistance Services?

Studies and Stories About How HCBS Makes a Difference

Learn More About Disability Garrison Podcast