Important Update: Largest funding increase in recent history to reduce iBudget Waiver waiting list.

Lawmakers have agreed to spend an additional $95 million a year to provide more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to services they need to live in their communities and out of institutions.

“We are very excited about (the $95 million). It will certainly help with getting a larger number of individuals off the waitlist than what we originally anticipated,” said Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Executive Director Valerie Breen.

Read more about this funding and its impacts here.

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Dignity for Florida’s most vulnerable citizens…

Senator Aaron Bean, District 4 begins speaking:

Living with dignity I think is a Floridian right and certainly the legislature has a commitment to take care of this population and hopefully we will continue to do so. We’re the third largest populated state right now with a large state comes large responsibilities and this is one that we’ve got to take care of.

Soft music continues to play with scenes of caregiver getting young woman out of bed and ready for the day.

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Not only this morning…

Every morning.

Every day.

Every night.

Self-advocate, Sarah Goldman begins speaking:

I was born with Cerebral Palsy which makes my muscles stiff. I use a wheelchair and a walker to get around and I also need help with activities of daily living such as getting dressed, getting in and out of bed and showering. I never believed that I could live away independently away from home. I thought that I would be 80 years old still living with my mom and dad.

When I decided to go away to college I was initially denied by Medicaid all of my caregiving hours. They said that going away to college was a convenience and not a necessity. 

Valerie Breen, Executive Director of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council begins speaking:

She literally has essential, critical needs that have to be delivered to her in order for her to do a simple thing that you and I do every day.

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75% of Floridians born with a disability require a family member to be their caregiver.

Self-advocate, Sarah Goldman begins speaking:

They pick me up from work, they’ll pack up my computer whatever I need packed up, I also at that point usually use the restroom because it’s been four or five hours since the last time I’ve gone, since I’ve had that last set of care, and then they come home, they help me make dinner, they give me a shower, put me in my pajamas, help me wash dishes, prepare meals for the next day, and then they put me into bed.

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Personal care services are essential for survival.

Valerie Breen, Executive Director of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council begins speaking:

The truth of it is it’s not just a job, it’s a relationship that someone’s counting on for their survival.

Self-advocate, Sarah Goldman begins speaking:

Because I need care in such a unique way I’m forced to use certain programs like Medicaid and unfortunately Medicaid is looped into a poverty loophole where if you make too much money or you have assets then you’re disqualified. So how do we view Medicaid and how do we view that system as not being a system of poverty, but that it actually can benefit people. 

Valerie Breen, Executive Director of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council begins speaking:

Think about someone in your life who you have had to help. Whether you help them financially, whether you help them personally, whether you had to take care of them. If you couldn’t do it for that person, who would you find to do it that you would trust and how much would you pay them to do it for you.

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Florida is ranked 49th in the nation in Medicaid spending for persons born with a disability.

Save the iBudget Waiver.

Because it’s the right thing to do.

Music fades

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council logo appears

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fddc.org

Sponsored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Disabilities and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc

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The iBudget Waiver is critical for the survival of thousands of Floridians.

In 2019, we worked to save the iBudget Waiver by creating and facilitating a legislative advocacy campaign. Due to our efforts, and with the help of various strategic partners, the Florida Legislature spared waiver services from any cuts. While we are thankful for the decisions made during the last legislative session, we know this year has been very uncertain for our state.

This year, we are asking Florida to preserve the iBudget Waiver, meaning no cuts or reductions to current services and funding.

How You Can Help Preserve The iBudget Waiver

The iBudget Waiver is a health insurance program that serves nearly 35,000 individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is funded by federal and state dollars through Medicaid – the only public health insurance program available to people with disabilities.

The iBudget Waiver provides critical long-term services that are not available through standard Medicaid managed care providers or private health insurance companies.

The iBudget Waiver helps people get the care and support needed to live and work in their own homes and communities. It is the only program that prevents a person from having to live in an institution to get the care they need.

Our Legislature must understand the iBudget Waiver’s critical importance in people’s lives.

Be informed. Be vocal. Be present. Use our resources. Share this campaign with others.

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Voices of Those Who Will Be Impacted by Changes to the iBudget Waiver

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All of the services my son is currently receiving are essential and any cuts would be detrimental and hinder him from developing independent living skills and devastating, with no hope for his future.

I was driving my wheelchair to work four miles each way every day. Down the sidewalk in the rain, in the heat, in the everything. So, I just want you guys to know there are people like me out there who are really trying, who need our services to be as independent as we can.

More time and money for services already receiving. Don’t cut my funding. My services are needed to keep me an active member of my community.

Our son is a verbal cp quad who needs providers who can lift him. As my husband and I age we need more personal care assistance to shower dress and transfer him.

I actually need a little bit more than what I have so the thought of cutting what I have now is really scary because I depend on that person.

I wish my caregivers made more money so they wouldn’t have to leave me just to pay their bills!

Create an environment where they are not just “managed” but nurtured, encouraged and developed.

I’m scared to death because I am on very few services. And I’m thankful for the ones that I do have. But I still need more.

If I wasn’t on the system, I wouldn’t be able to be a functioning member of society. I would be just a body.

We’re invisible to them because we don’t have money, we don’t have lobbyists, we don’t have the voice we should in Tallahassee.

Things that may not seem like such a big deal to us can make all the difference in terms of whether a family can stay together, and whether families can continue to provide the bulk of the care if you take that ability away.

Medicaid is a lifeline, but the Medicaid waiver is life.

The waiver, the way it is now, provides me the best opportunity to live a full life.

As a single dad of three care-dependent Sons, all with intellectual and physical disabilities, we could not function without the iBudget Waiver program.

As a single dad of three care-dependent Sons, all with intellectual and physical disabilities, we could not function without the iBudget Waiver program.

We as parents of adults with disabilities need to know before our last breath that our children can be as successful in the community with supports like iBudget Waiver. My daughter loves her independence and being able to work and live out in the community helps her self esteem and knowing she is part of society. Why take this away from them?

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