Stop Using Ashley Volion's Disability to Block Her From Achieving Her Dream

I have Cerebral Palsy, and require personal care attendant services in order to live and work independently. Now, the state of Louisiana's refusal to accommodate my needs may prevent me from achieving my dreams of achieving a PhD and giving back to the Louisiana community. No one should be forced to choose between education and continuity of healthcare, but that is exactly what Louisiana is forcing me to do.

When I was accepted into the University of Illinois Chicago at the only Disability Studies PhD program in the nation, I was ecstatic. It never occurred to me that the state would deny my request to study out of state, but I was wrong. Not only did the state deny my request, but I was forced to give up my research assistantship and my tuition waiver.

What makes this additionally disturbing is that as long as I forgo school, remain home and give up on my goals and dreams I will fully be allowed to keep and maintain the services I receive.

This is a decision made by the state, knowing they have the flexibility to support my goals but choose not to. What does this say to individuals with disabilities, that we support your educational goals as long as you aim low? This is the wrong message and wrong policy to support.

I started this petition to ask President Obama to grant me the ability to study out of state and to enact federal policies that will protect disabled people's rights in their pursuit of economic security. I want to return to Louisiana after I complete my PhD, and these prohibitive practices are keeping me from completing my dream. Please sign to ask President Obama to stop the discrimination!
I am writing to show my support for Ashley Volion, a student with Cerebral Palsy who was recently denied her request to study out of state, even though she planned to return to Louisiana upon graduation.

Throughout the pursuit of her career, Ashley has always worked closely with the state of Louisiana to ensure that her career goals met the state’s criteria for providing ongoing personal attendant services. These goals included studying disability studies at The University of Illinois, Chicago, the only program of its kind in the nation.

As Ashley writes, "It never occurred to me that the state would deny my request to study out of state because:

1. UIC was my #1 goal in my CPOC for over a year.
2. I did not plan on becoming an Illinois resident.
3. I would remain a Louisiana resident and be in state for more than a 1/3 of
the year.
4. I plan on returning to Louisiana to practice my profession.

Even if I were to get services through the state of Illinois, they do not provide the level of care that I require, and it would take a year to become an Illinois resident which is a requirement for eligibility for their personal care attendant program. Also, if I were to become an Illinois resident, I would lose Louisiana residency, access to services that require long waiting lists to receive with no
guarantees of becoming eligible upon return. I do not want to do this as I want to help out my Louisiana community upon completion, to grow, work and retire with all my friends and family reside in Louisiana."


In 2012, people with disabilities are still forced to live in poverty to
get the supports they need to live independently. Despite advances in technology and medicine, people with disabilities are still routinely denied access to the critical supports they need to pursue vocational goals. People with disabilities need federal policies to protect their rights in their pursuit of economic security. A patchwork of rules across states creates a barrier for people with disabilities to access the health supports they need to live independently. In Ashley's case, loose rules allow states to
make decisions whether to support or deny ongoing care as they choose. This inequality for people with disabilities is not addressed in the Affordable Care Act.I am writing to show my support for Ashley Volion, a student with Cerebral Palsy who was recently denied her request to study out of state, even though she planned to return to Louisiana upon graduation.

Throughout the pursuit of her career, Ashley has always worked closely with the state of Louisiana to ensure that her career goals met the state’s criteria for providing ongoing personal attendant services. These goals included studying disability studies at The University of Illinois, Chicago, the only program of its kind in the nation.

As Ashley writes, "It never occurred to me that the state would deny my request to study out of
state because:

1. UIC was my #1 goal in my Comprehensive Plan Of Care for over a year.
2. I did not plan on becoming an Illinois resident.
3. I would remain a Louisiana resident and be in state for more than a 1/3 of
the year.
4. I plan on returning to Louisiana to practice my profession.

Even if I were to get services through the state of Illinois, they do not provide the level of care that I require, and it would take a year to become an Illinois resident which is a requirement for eligibility for their personal care attendant program. Also, if I were to become an Illinois resident, I would lose Louisiana residency, access to services that require long waiting lists to receive with no guarantees of becoming eligible upon return. I do not want to do this as I want to
help out my Louisiana community upon completion, to grow, work and retire with all my friends and family reside in Louisiana."

In 2012, people with disabilities are still forced to live in poverty to
get the supports they need to live independently. Despite advances in technology and medicine, people with disabilities are still routinely denied access to the critical supports they need to pursue vocational goals. People with disabilities need federal policies to protect their rights in their pursuit of economic security. A patchwork of rules across states creates a barrier for people with disabilities to access the health supports they need to live independently.

In Ashley's case, loose rules allow states to make decisions whether to support or deny ongoing care as they choose. This inequality for people with disabilities is not addressed in the Affordable Care Act. I am writing to ask you to fix that oversight immediately and restore her rights so she can pursue her career goals.
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