Michael is a 46 year-old Springfield resident who lives with arthritis and multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed with arthritis when he was a toddler, and M.S in his late twenties. M.S. is a disease that destroys the protective coating around nerves in the body. Together, these diagnoses make it hard to find work in the psychology field he studied at MSU. These conditions also have brought a lot of joint pain, leading to reconstructive surgeries to his arm, hip, right leg, and both knees. He counts on the CDS program (Consumer Directed Services) to provide assistance that helps him live independently. Michael’s aid helped him with cooking meals since he can’t stand over stovetops for too long, as well as getting groceries and errands done for about 5 hours a day.
In 2017, the Missouri legislature made major cuts to the CDS program. Michael now only has 3.5 hours a day. In April, he had surgery taking a part of his hip bone to replace a metal plate that
was causing pain. “I called to ask for more hours to help after my surgery and they said that I was at my max.” He has 27 medications he takes throughout the week and is always sure to have two days’ worth on him at all times. Michael desires to work with people with disabilities and/or those in the LGBTQ+ community, but would lose a lot the services and care depends on if he became employed and made too much. “They (DHSS) do their best to keep you at the lowest level.” He also would face cuts to his care if he marries in the future. Michael deserves to have the care he needs and to not fear losing health care as a result of employment or marriage.