ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program Offered through Medicaid (CDPAP) allows recipients to hire people to help them. It can be an alternative for disabled people who want to stay in their homes independently and comfortably.

There are some drawbacks. Individuals approved for the program must work directly with those they hire. In essence, they become employers, and with that comes responsibility for hiring and firing, determining and tracking hours worked, and complying with labor laws.

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Independence is critical to the happiness and well-being of disabled people. It increases self-esteem, confidence, productivity and economic security. Disabled people who can rely less on family members are noisy

“With selection comes greater control,” said Denise Dinoto. “Grooming is an intimate task. Imagine you need help getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, showering, and changing your underwear. Wouldn’t you like to have a say in who will provide this intimate care for you? “

Dinoto, a communications and outreach specialist for Consumer-oriented decisionswas awarded the Beacon Leadership Award in April 2017 by the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley for her lifelong advocacy work for people with disabilities.

Consumer Directed Choices assists individuals enrolled at CDPAP by taking care of payroll, completing required annual health checks and employment documents. They also take care of the organization of employee compensation, disability and unemployment for personal assistants. They also have an online database that people can search for personal assistants.

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The CDPAP “provides home care services to the chronically ill or physically challenged who are self-directed and have a medical need for assistance with daily living activities or qualified care providers,” said Jonah, director of public information for the New York Department of Health Bruno.

Individuals on a Medicaid Managed Care Plan, Long Term Care Plan, and Medicaid Service Fee are eligible for the CDPAP program. There are currently more than 139,000 New Yorkers using CDPAP.

“To qualify for CDPAP, the individual must: be eligible for Medicaid; have stable health; be able to guide yourself (or have a designated representative to make decisions); are classified as medically needy; and be able to live safely in the church, ”said Bruno. “The number of hours a person receives depends on their needs as set out in the Medicaid Managed Care plan or the local district.”

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The parents of children under the age of 21 enrolled in the CDPAP cannot be hired as personal assistant. However, this does not mean that not all family members living with the child can be hired.

“Living with the consumer in the same home does not disqualify a family member from being selected and hired as a personal assistant. Whether the consumer is self-directed or not doesn’t matter. The provisions for the CDPAP have always made it possible for otherwise eligible family members to provide care while living in the same home with the consumer, ”he said New York State Department of Health Website.

The CDPAP could also protect disabled people from exposure to COVID-19 in assisted living facilities.

People with disabilities make up 22% of New York’s population. They are more likely to engage in bad behaviors like inactivity and smoking. They are also more likely to have high blood pressure or to be obese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This can put you at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19.

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Dinoto said she had conversations with her assistants about COVID-19, including where they were, who they were with, and whether they adhered to other preventive measures like wearing a mask and frequent hand washing.

She appreciates the fact that she can decide who comes to her home at what time and what to help her with. She said she appreciated being able to call her if she needed urgent help or had an emergency.