Protesters: $75M in cuts to CDPAP will hurt people with disabilities

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Westchester residents gathered in Armonk Wednesday to protest cuts to a state program that helps people with disabilities hire help.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a $75 million cut to the state Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, or CDPAP.

The program helps people with disabilities hire aides. In some cases those aides are family members or a friend.

People who use the program told News 12 that the budget cuts would impact choice, freedom and control over their lives and their care.

The rally took place in front of the home of Geri Mariano, who has dwarfism. She worries she will lose her personal assistant, which basically allows her to live independently.

"I don't know why Gov. Cuomo hates people with disabilities so much," Mariano said.

Some lawmakers like state Sen. David Carlucci, who represents part of Westchester and Rockland counties, have called for the program to be fully funded.

News 12 received a statement from a spokesperson for the New York State Division of the Budget: "The more than 70,000 self-directing consumers who employ their own aide, including in some cases family members or friends, will continue to receive services as they do today without any reduction in care, with no change in cost, and the program will continue to be available as it is today to new consumers."

Mariano remains skeptical, however, saying that she blames her immobility on changes to Medicaid made by Cuomo.


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