You wouldn’t let strangers watch you use the toilet…

but the Obama Department of Labor says I don’t have a choice!

I like my privacy, but under proposed rules by the US Department of Labor, people with disabilities - like me - will be forced to bring strangers into our homes and even our bathrooms. So I have to ask you:

How many strangers would you like to have wiping your butt after using the toilet?


Right now, I manage my own Medicaid-funded personal assistance services and am able to choose who assists me. Kathy is my attendant. Although she is not legally my family, virtually in every other way, that’s what we are. This situation works for me, and for her. I am worried that proposed rules by the Obama administration will destroy this.

If the Obama administration moves forward with these rules, I will be forced to cut her hours and bring a stranger into my home. I’ve lived like that before, and never liked it.  Being able to choose who comes into my home and who touches my body makes a huge difference in my life. I don’t feel comfortable or safe with strangers touching me. I never feel that way with Kathy!

It’s MY body and MY life! It is NOT the government’s place to intrude into MY life just because I need assistance in the bathroom. But that’s exactly what they’re doing! The Obama administration – by making these changes to the companionship exemption – is taking control away from me and putting it in the hands of the Department of Labor. 

My body isn't an assembly line!  The government shouldn't regulate me like that's what I am!


But these rule changes don’t just hurt me, they hurt my attendant too! I’m going to be forced to cut Kathy’s hours – and that means cutting her pay. It’ll be a pretty big cut too, and I feel terrible about that. I know she will have trouble making ends meet.  It will be a real struggle for her.  She deserves better!

I am particularly angry because the Department of Labor won’t enforce these rules on rich people who can afford to pay for their own services, but they will still enforce them on me because I don’t make enough money to pay for my services myself.  This kind of double standard is really unacceptable.  Most people who need attendant services are like me.  We shouldn't be disregarded because we don't have money!

Although I don’t feel that the Obama administration has been listening to the disability community, I know that the National Council on Disability is listening!  I really appreciate the work that they’ve done to support me and other attendant service users. They just published a letter to the Office of Management and Budget urging OMB to listen to people like me who will be hurt by these proposed rules and work with us to find a solution.

Although they haven’t listened to the disability community so far, the Obama administration can change that.  I will be in Washington, DC with ADAPT and we will be meeting with someone from OMB to make our case that these rules will have a devastating impact on people with disabilities - like me - and the attendants who assist us. We will urge the OMB and the Obama administration to work with the disability community on this issue - either through a negotiated rule-making process or using the ADAPT-NCIL compromise. I think we deserve a seat at the table when making such big decisions about our lives.

YOU can make your voice heard too! We’ve set up an online action alert so that you can tell the Office of Management and Budget and key advisors to President Obama that they should do the right thing and work WITH the disability community.


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