State Budget Cuts... — The Bump
Special Needs

State Budget Cuts...

I live in Massachusetts, and I'm really getting sick of all the budget cuts to programs for people with Disabilities. There have been weeks where every day dozens (if not hundreds) of us are at the State House talking to legislators pushing for them to protect these programs- day programs, work programs, voc rehab, PCA programs, etc. Things many people in the community can't survive without.

If they cut programs like the PCA program or other day programs, many would end up institutionalized - which in the long run would cost the state more. When they start cutting work programs, people end up collecting state and federal disability without a means of working - when they could have (and should have) been able to continue working.

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I live in elderly/disabled housing, and one of my neighbors, who is Autistic and in his late 50s has been around more than usual of late. He wanders aimlessly all day, or just sits out side looking sad for hours. I finally said something the other day to another neighbor about him. was told that with the latest budget cuts, they decided to cut the older disabled people from the work program to allow funding for the younger ones. :[

I feel so bad for him, because his job was his identity. He was proud to go to work every day. He worked there for years! I think it was just tasks like unloading trucks or in a warehouse or something, but it gave him a paycheck and a routine. Now he just wanders unsure of what to do with himself. He's a good guy, and I'm sure he was a great worker. He probably would never have retired and just worked until he died because its what he loved. :[

When I see people affected by these budget cuts, it really makes me sad. Do these politicians not understand that peoples LIVES are affected or do they think they are merely playing with numbers on a budget? 

 
 

Re: State Budget Cuts...

  • My sister has Bipolar Disorder. Her's is quite severe and she is on a ton of medication several times a day just to keep her condition under 'control'. She is recently seperated from her husband, single mom to their 3 kids, working (for the first time in her LIFE keeping a job longer than a month or two), and dealing with everything she's ALWAYS dealt with....sleeping disorder...etc.... and just maintaining.

    Well, they went homeless for a period of time during the seperation (beleive me, if i could have helped in this situation...that would've never happened, but it lead to the best thing that has EVER happened in her life and for that I am grateful). She got in touch with a program that would take people just like herself and give her/them housing for 2 years...everything paid. Gradually, everything switches over for her to be responsible and they had coaches in place for EVERTHING from cooking, cleaning, working, kids, etc... which is something that HUGE AMOUNTS OF PEOPLE with Bipolar just need HELP with. How many times do you hear that someone with Bipolar had their kids taken away??????

    And all the sudden, she can stay in the housing program, but ALL the support people are CUT!!!  Not just for her, but OUT of jobs :(

    It was the single most important thing for our whole family. I mean, its awesome that things are PAID for, but all my life and all her life we've tried so hard to help her figure out the skills she was finally figuring out..... and it's gone. She doesn't listen to us, and we cannot be there in the middle of her day-to-day life. If we do support her that way, she ends up just depending on that. they were finally teaching her SELF-HELP!

    We just can't support her in that way. Its crucial. The change she's made in the past months has been amazing. I mean, keeping a JOB?? getting kids to SCHOOL??

    Yeah. Tell me about these budget cuts.

    They just don't understand the impact.  

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  • In Massachusetts, back in '02 right after Mitt Romney became governor, he started majorly cutting the mental health budgets (as though they are less important then physical disabilities?!?) which closed many group homes and similar programs. The result? Thousands of them ended up homeless and in the shelter system.

    I ended up homeless the next year (due to my disability, I couldn't hold a job without insurance, and couldn't get insurance without a job - I lost 9 jobs in 16 months) and came to MA because the healthcare system was different and there was public transit (my license was pulled for seizures). So I bounced through the shelter system for a year with many of these people affected by the budget cuts to mental health programs...

    That was almost 7 years ago. I now go back and volunteer at the shelters I was once in, or just go to say hello. And sadly, 7 years later I know over half the women in these shelters. I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of people. I got lucky and got housing by finding a building not on regular waitlists, but many of these waitlists are years long, and even then, they aren't ready to go live independently. They've lost skills they once had being in the shelter system. :[

    I've watched with the economy how all the programs like these and other non-profits are the first to get their budgets cut/staff cut or even have to shut down.  It hardly seems fair. :[

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