Tag Archives: OKDHS

Have Emergency Measures Saved Oklahoma Disability Services?

For months, Oklahoma has been struggling with a budget crisis that has threatened to shake the very foundations of the disability community in our state. Only a few weeks ago, several Oklahomans with disabilities received letters warning them that their in-home services would be terminated on December 1st. However, a last-minute measure may have saved Oklahoma Disability Services, but we are still left wondering how long this new reprieve will last. Were Oklahoma Disability Services Saved by Governor Fallin? Just before the week of Thanksgiving, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that promised to close the $215 million shortfall in the state’s budget. At first, this would seem like a bad deal for Oklahoma, but the vetoed bill actually contained many cuts to agency budgets as well as raids on state savings accounts. Instead, Fallin only approved an $80 million section of the bill, which provided funding to the Department…
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Oklahomans with Disabilities Storm the Oklahoma State Capitol

Once again, our state is in a deep budget crisis that threatens health care for the most vulnerable Oklahomans. But the courageous spirit of the people who will be most affected by budget cuts refuses to be daunted. Thousands are turning up at the Capitol to try and convince lawmakers to come together and find a solution to this crisis, but more drains on the budget are shaking loose. Could Oklahomans with disabilities be on the brink of a health services nightmare? When Oklahomans with Disabilities Rise Up to Be Heard Tuesday, October 24th, the state Capitol was filled to capacity as 1,100 visitors—the maximum allowed according to fire code—came to save imperiled health services provided by the state. Outside the Capitol, hundreds stood in a line that circled the building. They too wanted their chance to convince lawmakers to balance the budget and save the health services so many…
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Are More Cuts Coming to Oklahoma DHS?

Last year, our state government was embroiled in a massive budget crisis that threatened to cut programs for people with disabilities. At the last minute, legislation was pushed through to make up for that shortfall in the 2016 budget. Now, those solutions seem to be falling apart, and they could be putting the services Oklahomans with disabilities need at risk. Could More Oklahoma DHS Cuts Be on the Horizon? A major part of the budget that was supposed to fix the $1.3 billion budget shortfall was a cigarette fee of $1.50 per-pack. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the fee was an unconstitutional revenue-generating tax. This poked a $215 million hole in the 2017 budget, and now it looks like state agencies supporting people with disabilities may have to endure further cuts because of it. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Health Care…
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Are Care Workers Paid Enough to Support Independent Living for People with Disabilities?

If you are a person with disabilities, then living independently is probably one of your goals in life. For many, this is only possible through the assistance of family, friends and professionals. And though it may be difficult to organize these elements, there are systems in place that should enable independent living. However, there is a major problem in this system, and Oklahomans with disabilities who wish to live on their own need to be aware of this obstacle. Will the State Pay Care Workers Enough to Make Independent Living Possible for Oklahomans? For nearly a decade, support for independent living has been decreasing all over the nation and here in Oklahoma. After passing on Medicaid expansion, the state legislature has slowly cut funding to disability services all over the state. This has limited the services to people who want to live independent and self-sustaining lives despite a disability. These…
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How Will $30 Million in DHS Cuts Affect Oklahomans with Disabilities?

Over the past few years, the residents of Oklahoma have had to endure a series of state budget shortfalls. This year is no different. As the 2017 fiscal year ends and the 2018 budget year starts, Oklahoma faces an $878 million shortfall. How will the Department of Human Services fair in this latest struggle for funding? $30 Million DHS Cut Could Make Life Harder for People with Disabilities It seems like DHS will actually fair better this year than it has in others. That’s because DHS will be getting a larger share of the 2018 fiscal budget than it did last year. However, the department still isn’t getting enough money to run its services at the level they were during the 2017 fiscal year. That means $30 million dollars of budget shortfall will be spread throughout the agency as cuts. A six-month freeze in child care subsidies is expected in…
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