As a disabled person with multiple sclerosis, I have learned many lessons. One lesson is “sometimes you don’t know the value of what you have until you lose it.”

Many disabled people have physical limitations that restrict full mobility. Many elderly use wheelchairs that cannot be easily steered through existing doorways. Many are housebound because they lack a ramp to the garden they once tilled. Many fall in bathrooms for lack of standing and holding bars and are rushed to emergency rooms.

At some point, independent living is compromised and assisted living becomes the only option for them. This needn’t be.

Mobility for the disabled has been vastly improved through public policies that have promoted accommodations in public spaces. At the same time, many disabled people cannot afford to make the modifications to their domiciles that would help them continue life independently at home and expand their range of mobility

The disabled come in all sizes and ages: our veterans; our elderly; our injured from serious accidents; our neighbors – young and old – who suffer quietly from chronic illness.

Coming before the Appropriations Committee in February is L.D. 365. It is a means by which the disabled can be assisted in living a fuller life. It provides an income tax credit to eligible Mainers for money spent rehabilitating their homes to accommodate their disability.

It has bipartisan support and shows how to give people a “hand up” rather than a “handout” while saving costly institutionalization and infusing dollars into local economies.

Sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter in Maine and introduced by Rep. Archie Verow, D-Brewer, this bill needs your support.

Please contact your state representatives, state senators and Gov. LePage and ask that L.D. 365 be a funding priority for the Appropriations Committee this session.

Michael T. Bucci


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