Campaign Calls on New York Legislators to Approve Governor Hochul’s Proposed 5.4% COLA Increase and Make the Proposed One Time Bonuses a Permanent Wage Increase for Direct Support Professionals supporting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
One-Click Letter Advocacy Tool Can Be Accessed Here: Raise Their Wages Now
Albany, N.Y. – In response to the Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce crisis, the Statewide CCO Member & Family Advisory Collaborative, representing more than 110,000 individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), today launched a one-click letter sending campaign targeted at New York elected officials, calling for a wage funding increase for DSPs working for non-profit service providers funded through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in the FY 2022-23 Budget.
The campaign calls for the implementation of Governor Hochul’s FY 2022-23 Executive Budget proposed 5.4% Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment, alongside converting the Governor’s proposed $3,000 one-time bonus payment into a permanent wage increase of approximately 10% as the first step in a multi-year plan to bring the DSP workforce to a living wage. The one-click letter advocacy tool can be accessed here: Raise Their Wages Now.
“Being a DSP is not easy work comparatively, but it is critical and life-preserving for the people with IDD that they support,” said James Moran, CEO of Care Design New York. “While there is more to be done in future budgets, the current campaign is only the first step in financially recognizing DSPs as the essential workers they are. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature to ensure that DSPs are ultimately provided a living wage, one that they so rightfully deserve to support themselves and their families.”
“We all support giving our essential healthcare workers like DSPs and other professional caregivers more money, but a one-time bonus is not a long-term solution – we have to permanently raise wages,” said Senator John Mannion. “Families across New York are counting on these services for their loved ones - better pay will be critical to recruit and retain workers and help stave off facility and program closures.”
“Over the years I have reiterated many times how important DSPs are in the lives of individuals with I/DD, and I will not stop until they are valued and compensated for the work that they provide for members of my community,” said BJ Stasio, most recent President of the Self-Advocacy Association Board of Directors. “This workforce crisis has been growing for a decade, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reached a tipping point. Now is the time to act before it is too late. Governor Hochul and NY legislature must ‘Raise Their Wages Now’ and ensure the quality of life for over 110,000 New Yorkers with IDD.”
Direct Support Professionals, a majority of whom are women and people of color—provide personal hands-on care for vulnerable neighbors, friends and loved ones every day. DSP tasks include, but are not limited to, moving individuals, preparing meals, tasks overseen by nurses such as administering medication, and providing other critical services so that fellow community members can live fulfilling and healthy lives. These dedicated essential workers continued this care throughout the pandemic, putting their own health at risk to protect others.
“For over a decade my son Kevin has received support from DSPs. Through family support, group home placements, and Community Habilitation he has spent more than half of his life with a DSP at his side. As parents we clearly see, what Kevin already knows, the benefits and relationships DPSs provide are immeasurable and vital,” said Joe Ball, family advocate. “As we grow older, we want to ensure that Kevin continues to have the DSP support that he needs to live his best life. Unfortunately, with the historic underfunding for provider agencies and subsequently DSPs, we are still weary with constant worry. We look now towards the New York legislature and the Governor to take our proposed actions to raise the DSP wages now that so many families like ours needs in ensuring a fulfilling future for our children.”
However, for over a decade, New York State has not provided adequate funding to non-profit service providers to increase DSP pay rates and compensate them fairly for their work. Currently, most DSPs barely make more than minimum wage and service providers can’t compete with the food and retail sectors. A recent provider association survey found that on average 25% of DSP positions are vacant and 93% of providers saw a decrease in job applicants within the last year.
Implementing the 5.4% COLA increase and solidifying wage increases starting with converting the Governor’s proposed $3,000 one-time bonus payment into a permanent wage increase of approximately 10% as the first step in maintaining current workforce capabilities while augmenting recruitment efforts for provider agencies.
About the Statewide CCO Family and Member Advisory Collaborative
The Statewide CCO Family and Member Advisory Collaborative represents 110,000 individuals with IDD and their families across New York State. They are active and passionate advocates, many with loved ones with IDD. They speak in one unified voice for high-quality, inclusive and person-centered supports, and services for every person with IDD.