OKLAHOMA CITY–The ACLU of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Oklahoma’s federally funded Protection and Advocacy system, filed today an action against public officials of the State of Oklahoma seeking to ensure Oklahomans with disabilities receive the critical services required by federal law.
On October 31, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services notified the over 20,000 recipients of Advantage and In-Home Supports Waivers for Adults that their benefits would be terminated on December 1, 2017. Regardless of potential action from the Governor’s office today, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Disability Law Center will continue to push for a reliable, long term solution to funding these critical services.
“Our office has been inundated with calls from families terrified about what will happen to their loved ones come December 1 and beyond, “ said Melissa Sublett, Executive Director for the Oklahoma Disability Law Center. “In addition to the families whose services will be cut on December 1, we have been contacted by countless families whose loved ones have waited decades on the waiting list for waiver services wondering what will happen because there are no services in sight. The state of Oklahoma has neglected its duty to people with disabilities for far too long.”
“These benefits are absolutely essential to the Oklahomans who receive them,” said Brady Henderson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Oklahoma. “Whether or not the Governor signs a budget with one time funding sources, these critical services remain under threat. Critical services of this nature require funding stability. Failing to adequately and reliably fund these services risks stripping thousands of Oklahomans of their ability to live in community-based settings, a basic right that the state has a legal and moral obligation to honor. A failure to maintain these services illegally forces Oklahomans with disabilities into institutions, creates greater ongoing costs to the state, and in some cases, can cause a completely preventable and senseless loss of life.”