Kentuckians with disabilities rally in hopes of getting more support from state government

02/02/2016 05:29 PM

FRANKFORT – More than 800 individuals with disabilities, their families, advocates and service providers rallied on Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda as part of the 874K Coalition to celebrate Disabilities Awareness Day in the commonwealth.

The United 874K Coalition is comprised of more than 75 organizations across the state and represents more than 23 percent of Kentucky’s population.

Sheila Schuster, executive director of the Advocacy Action Network, is concerned that Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal will hurt some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

“I would like to see the budget cuts not be at 9 percent, and actually for mental health centers, it’s probably more than 9 percent,” Schuster said. “We need to generate more revenue in the system.”

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who spoke at the rally, said taking care of the disabled is everyone’s responsibility, including state government.

“The important thing for us to do is for everybody in the community that is Kentucky to find ways to help each other,” Bevin said. “Sometimes it takes the government getting involved. There is more accessibility to provide more in-home care, because in-home care is best for everybody concerned.”

While Schuster feels that the community should work to help the disabled, she said that it’s up to the state government to lead the way to getting matching federal money.

“The problem is the state’s the only agency that can draw those federal dollars for the match,” Schuster said. “So, when we’re talking about leaving money on the table — if we’re going to leave money on the table for the Medicaid expansion. That makes no sense to me.”

Bevin said that even with the budget cuts, his administration is looking for ways to help Kentucky’s disabled citizens such as the waiver program which provides services and support to elderly people or children and adults with disabilities to help them to remain in or return to their homes.

“There is the ability to have hundreds of these backlog waivers to be freed up and more people have access to, not only those for in-home that we talked about, but even the variations on them like the Michelle P waivers as well,” Bevin said.


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