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Tulsa Elderly, Disabled Fear Losing Vital Assistance With DHS Cuts

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Tulsa Elderly, Disabled Fear Losing Vital Assistance With DHS Cuts Tulsa Elderly, Disabled Fear Losing Vital Assistance With DHS Cuts
TULSA, Oklahoma -

In the wake of the Oklahoma budget failing, many programs will be eliminated if lawmakers can’t find funding sources to fill the gap.

Thousands of people who are part of the Department of Human Services' ADvantage program are getting nervous as we get closer to Dec. 1.

The program helps connect seniors and people with disabilities with services so they can maintain their independence.

And not only are thousands of people at risk of losing services, but hundreds of jobs are on the line as well.

Clark Pearce has cerebral palsy and has been on the Advantage Program for the past four years.

“I just don't want to be a burden to people,” Pearce said. 

He relies on different services coming in to help him maintain his independence.

“Once I am in my chair I am good,” Pearce said. “It’s just from bed to chair that’s a problem.”

Sara Robinson is Clark's case manager. She schedules services to help Clark throughout the day.

“They get me in and out of bed, they cook me meals, do laundry, clean my house,” Pearce said.

And not only is Clark at risk of losing services, but Robinson could lose her job.

“I have 1-year-old twins and a family to take care of, and this was a shock to me as well,” Robinson said.

Robinson has been taking calls from ADvantage members like Clark who are at risk of losing services in December.

She said a lot of them want verification that there’s a possibility the program is really ending.

“’Does this mean I lose Sally my aide? Does this mean I lose my diapers? Does this mean I lose my meals?’ And I have to say unfortunately yes,” Robinson said.

Robinson said she wants to be a voice to advocate for her members, but it's difficult to reassure them that everything is going to be OK.

“I have to stay positive because this is a population I enjoy working with,” Robinson said. “It’s just sad that it’s come to this.”

Robinson is encouraging her members to call their legislators to see if something can be done to fix this problem.

To find your local legislator, visit www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislator.

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