Budget cuts could force disabled Missourians from homes

Some of Missouri’s most vulnerable people may be forced to leave their homes due to roughly $13 million in budget cuts for disabled stay at home programs.

Meanwhile, advocates for the disabled may file a federal lawsuit to challenge those cuts under the Olmstead Act. The act requires states to integrate disabled people into the community as much as possible.

In a statement on the budget, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said he chose cutting services over raising taxes. His budget cuts an estimated $12.8 million from disabled stay at home programs.

“We don’t believe it will save the state money”, said Julie DeJean. DeJean is the CEO for a group called “The Whole Person” which administers Missouri’s disabled assistance programs for part of the metro area.

The savings in the state budget plan reduces disabled stay at home services from 100 percent of the average nursing home stay in Missouri to 60 percent. But DeJean says more than half of her 1,250 clients may be forced into nursing homes due to the budget cuts. So instead of a 40 percent savings for those people, she says the state is right back to square one paying for nursing home costs with no savings. Additionally, she says many of those people work and pay payroll taxes, sales taxes and in some instances property taxes. She notes the helpers who could lose their jobs also pay taxes.

So DeJean believes when everything is considered, the budget cuts don’t provide real savings and mean a loss of independence for many people.

(Excerpted from KSHB 7/12/17<a/)