You wouldn't let strangers come into your house?  Would you?

The Obama Department of Labor is trying to give my keys to almost anyone!


To keep people you don't know or trust out of your house, you can lock your doors and windows, or install an alarm.  If the Department of Labor gets its way, I will have to let strangers into my house, if I want to continue to live in the community. Why? Because I have a disability.

By forcing agencies to pay my attendants time-and-a-half for over 40 hours a week without increased Medicaid funding to pay for it, agencies will have no choice but to cut and cap the amount of hours my attendants can work.  This means, I will need to find new people to come into my home and assist me with my daily needs.  People I do not know or trust.

Finding attendants you trust is not easy.  Turnover of attendants is neither safe nor financially responsible. A few of my friends in similar situations have been victims of crime when they had to allow someone unfamiliar in their home. Checks were swiped, jewelry was “misplaced” – the same scenario can happen to anyone who allows a stranger inside their home, disabled or not! So why should the disability community be in such a vulnerable situation? 

The Department of Labor admitted that approving these rules will result in people being institutionalized against their will.  We refuse to be forced into a nursing institution simply because the Department of Labor chose to ignore its own warning!

Attendants in the community allow people with disabilities to live the life they want to.. The DOL has to understand that some of my attendants have been with me for years. They know my schedule, my needs, preferences, personality quirks, and when I’m having a good day or not. I have a relationship with my attendants, and I trust them in my home; a place where I feel safe and can let my guard down. Every attendant is different, and it is this uncertainty that makes me fearful and weary of allowing just anyone into my home. With any career you find people who are great at their job, others who do it for the paycheck, or some who are downright unfit for it. Over time, I have found good attendants who I’m compatible with and I intend to keep them!
I strongly support better pay for attendants, but the DOL proposal to end the companionship exemption does not accomplish this!  Instead the proposal hurts take-home pay and puts me in jeopardy.  

I expect and demand to live the same independent life as everyone else. Having a revolving door on my home, constantly letting in strangers to me is not acceptable. You wouldn't accept this situation for your life. Why should I?


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