Kathy Cotman Cuyahoga County
Since childhood, I have had a neuromuscular condition which affects all of my muscles. With the support of my parents, family, and friends, and financial assistance from the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, I was able to attend Kent State University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology.
After college, I worked for The Cleveland Clinic for 25 years. Through the Ohio Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program, I received enough funding to hire attendants so that I could move from my parents’ home to my own home in the community. I paid taxes, volunteered for organizations advocating for the needs of persons with disabilities, volunteered on church committees, and have always been a contributing member of society.
Over the past several years I have become progressively weaker and am no longer able to work. I use a wheelchair, and I need 24 hour assistance with all activities of daily living. Since I am no longer eligible for the PCA program, I applied for and now receive financial support through an IO Waiver, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability. Even though I need 24 hour attendant care, I still do volunteer advocacy work and enjoy church activities, and I still live in my own home. As you can see, I benefited from several government programs. Each helped me to live independently and participate in the activities of my community. Without these programs, I would be isolated in a nursing home, and cut off from involvement in society which all of us are entitled to.