July 1, 2021
Call on your congressional representatives to support the Better Care Better Jobs Act and our DSP Workforce!

The Arc New York launched a new one-click advocacy campaign to support our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). We are advocating with our congressional representatives to call for their support of the Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA). This federal legislation is expected to include a major investment of $400 Billion for states to expand access to Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS) and addresses the decades-long workforce crisis and our current emergency.

The BCBJA operationalizes the proposed $400 billion care economy infrastructure plan proposed by President Biden. More information can be found in our June 24 Advocacy Update.

The Arc New York is engaged in ongoing dialogue with our US representatives, but they need to hear directly from you. Tell your representative to support the BCBJA, our dedicated DSPs and the people and families they serve!
Advocacy Letter to ACL
Further extending the reach of our workforce advocacy, The Arc New York CEO, Erik Geizer, sent a letter to Alison Barkoff, Acting Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Administration for Community Living (ACL). The ACL advocates across the federal government for older adults, people with disabilities, families and caregivers. 

The letter details the need for both immediate and long-term solutions to address the ongoing workforce crisis. We have requested a dialogue to explore models that have been effective for DSP recruitment and retention, as well as national or regional studies that look at the efficacy of innovative models with housing and immigrant workforce, regulatory reform, and other solutions.

The Arc New York Submits 5-year Plan Comments to OPWDD
Yesterday, The Arc New York submitted comments to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) on the forthcoming 5-year strategic plan. New York State is required under Mental Hygiene Law 5.07 to develop a comprehensive 5-year plan that defines and adequately resources supports and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). OPWDD’s last plan under this requirement was adopted in 2012 and expired in 2016. As part of our FY22 advocacy platform, The Arc New York championed the critical need for a new 5.07 plan after years without this important roadmap.

The Arc New York believes the State of New York’s 5.07 Plan for OPWDD should be guided by the following values and principles:

  • Funding must be available to support current and future needs
  • Services and supports should be planful, including needs-based forecasting using robust data-driven information, including but not limited to demographics of individuals supported and providers, waiting lists, system expenditures and costs, and quality and outcome-based measures
  • Individuals with I/DD must be supported in the least restrictive setting of their choosing
  • OPWDD must be fully transparent, proactive and inclusive in partnerships with self-advocates, individuals, families and providers
  • The dignity of risk must be acknowledged and rebalanced, particularly for individuals living in non-certified settings
  • The role of state-operated services must be clearly defined, particularly in light of funding model differences and the escalating workforce crisis

These guiding principles, and the submitted comments were informed by feedback from stakeholders across The Arc New York.

We expect a draft 5.07 plan to be released in September for public comment and then finalized later in the fall. We are engaged in ongoing discussion with OPWDD throughout the process, and will keep you updated on any developments.
The Arc US Call to Action: SSI Asset and Resource Limits
The Better Care Better Jobs Act crosses many areas that affect people with I/DD. One of those is the arbitrary limits placed on resource and asset limits for those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The low thresholds have not been updated for decades, forcing people with disabilities to live in poverty to maintain their needed benefits. Restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic exasperated this further by making it exceedingly difficult for individuals and families to use these funds and endangering their care through no fault of their own. These rules need to be changed so that people with disabilities don’t live in poverty and have the freedom to save money and marry who they love.

The Arc US launched a national one-click campaign to support the BCBJA and call on Congress to:

  • Increase SSI asset limits
  • Eliminate marriage penalties
  • Ensure SSI benefits lift people out of poverty
  • Allow people to receive help from family without being penalized

This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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