KEY ISSUES/TAKE ACTION
YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED
In New York State
Encouraging steps continue to be taken by Governor Kathy Hochul, who recently presented the 2022-23 New York State Executive Budget. With an April 1 deadline, discussion by legislators will last through March with potential changes on the horizon. Throughout this process, AHRC Nassau will keep you informed of crucial dates of when to share perspectives and personal stories.
Highlights of the 2022-23 New York State Budget Advancing the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities:
Advocacy to reduce the top-tier threshold for Direct Support Professional (DSP) bonuses from 40+ hours to 35 hours has been successful. This change can be found in the governor’s 30-day amendments and updated financial plan. While this is a great victory, there is still more to be done. Here are our adapted budget requests for legislators:
- Accept the 5.4% COLA for OPWDD voluntary providers.
- Accept frontline healthcare worker bonus program and modify the bottom-tier requirements to include part-time employees who work at least 15 hours per week on average.
- Make DSP bonuses permanent in future budgets to aid with recruitment and retention.
- Accept the 11% COLA for special education provider tuition rates
- Include a personal income tax credit of up to $5,000 for DSPs
- Share your support with state legislators.
At the Federal Level and New York State
Legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and New York State Legislature proposes to eliminate the special minimum wage for people with severe disabilities. These provisions allows employers to obtain a special certificate, enabling them to pay wages below New York’s minimum wage for some people with disabilities, which provides access and opportunities for workforce participation.
Work is a valued activity for people with disabilities as it promotes independence, builds self-confidence, allows for the development of lasting friendships, and enables people to participate in the work environment, thus earning a paycheck. Providing people with choice on how they want to spend their day is a central tenant of supports and services. If these provisions become law, people would be forced into programs and activities that they may not find fulfilling or it is not what they desire.
People would be denied the tangible and intangible benefits of work: independence, participation, dignity, self-esteem, and sense of accomplishment, and lasting
friendships in addition to a loss of personal choice.
Make your voice heard! Send a note through https://p2a.co/OiLK4wh and alert your senator, member of congress, state senator and assemblyperson.
*Highlights from the NYS Budget and Explanation of Employment Legislation provided by The Arc New York.
Other Key Issues
BJ Stasio, SANYS president an disability advocate, recently launched the RiseUp campaign. BJ seeks to personally hand the governor a 10,000 signature petition to raise awareness toward increased investment in the direct care workforce. Sign the petition here.
Overnight Visits and Reimbursements. People with disabilities who reside in group homes cannot be treated as hospital patients. But, that is what is happening. In May of 2021, providers are now only able to bill at half the established rate when a person with I/DD chooses to spend a night away from their home or if they are admitted into a hospital or rehabilitation center. After 96 days, the provider cannot receive ANY reimbursement if the person is not sleeping in their bed. This is different from a hospital. There is no way to fill this bed. This is their home. . . This new policy is creating a grave impact on residential services, particularly on an agency’s ability to ensure sufficient staffing at each location. Due to these billing changes, the agency is now asking families to limit overnight stays which can result in reduction of family and community inclusion opportunities.
- Send an email alerting Gov. Hochul and New York State’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities on the importance of change.
Workforce Advocacy. Federal and state advocacy is underway addressing the recruitment and retention crisis facing providers of IDD supports and services. The Arc New York seeks support for the Better Care Better Jobs Act, the establishment of a Direct Support Professional (DSP) Standard Occupational Classification, and grant opportunities for the recruitment, retention and advancement of DSPs.