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Young Man With Severe Disabilities Wins Right to Services From State Enabling Him to Live At Home
Date:6/30/2008

it at his son's bedside at night. Ultimately, he had to leave the work force entirely to care for David. This meant going without health insurance despite his own heart condition, as well as the depletion of his modest retirement savings to pay for basic necessities such as medicine for his seriously ill wife.

"By setting a cap on benefits for David's home care at a nursing home level, despite his medical needs, HFS placed David and his family on the edge of a precipice," said Karen Ward, Equip for Equality's Senior Counsel and attorney for David Grooms. "That decision, however, violated the ADA, so we sued. We hope this decision will convince HFS to change how it provides services for people aging out of the children's waiver."

The Supreme Court has held that the ADA requires that the State deliver services to persons with disabilities in the most integrated environment. The failure to do so, absent a fundamental alteration to the State's programs, violates federal law.

Judge Pallmeyer agreed that David's rights had been violated. She rejected the State's contentions that serving David's rare and complex medical needs would necessitate providing equivalent costly services to persons with far lesser needs. In so doing, she upheld David's right to live in the community. The State could, in fact, provide services to him at less than the cost of serving him in a comparable institutional setting which, for David, would be a hospital rather than a nursing home.

"This is a great day for people with disabilities who have complex medical needs and who want to be part of the world like everyone else," said Zena Naiditch, President and CEO of Equip for Equality. "The State's decision to strip this family of the resources they had relied upon to care for David, daring them to sacrifice everything or lose him to an institution or death, was not only unlawful, it was shameful."

"There is nothing we would not do for our son, including demanding
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SOURCE Equip for Equality, Inc.
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