December 2, 2022
Comments on NYS Court Modernization for Guardianship
This week The Arc New York CEO Erik Geizer submitted comments to The Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts pertaining to NYS court practices for Guardianship hearings. Through its Pandemic Practices Working Group (PPWG), the Commission is conducting a multi-dimensional review of responses and practices implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission is receiving comments through public hearings, testimonies, and listening sessions to inform recommendations to the Unified Court System. 

Specifically, Geizer spoke to the benefits and challenges of both in-person and virtual hearings, concluding with the recommendation, “…that the default position be in-person hearings, with the option to have them remotely upon the reasonable request of any of the parties and discretion of the Surrogate.” You can also ready the testimony submitted by The Surrogates Association of the State of New York here.

The Arc New York Chapters Awarded DSP Credentialing Grants
We are pleased to announce that seven Chapters and Chapter collectives of The Arc New York were awarded grants to expand professional credentialing opportunities for direct support professionals.

The grantees are:
  • AHRC Nassau
  • AHRC New York City
  • Coarc (The Arc of Columbia County)
  • The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc)
  • Mountain Lake Services (The Arc of Essex County)
  • The Arc Mid-Hudson
  • The Collaborative of NY

The grants were awarded through a $10 million partnership between the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). As noted in our August 19 update, through this grant opportunity, DSPs will be able to advance through the three levels of NADSP Certification. Upon completion, participants will qualify for up to $2,250 in bonuses through a tiered bonus structure. Frontline Supervisors that achieve FLS certification are eligible to receive a $1,000 bonus. NADSP will provide access to approximately 2,442 seats for DSPs and FLSs over the three-year duration of the project.

We are proud to support the career advancement of DSPs and will continue to look for any avenue to expand these opportunities.
Take Action on The Arc New York Budget Priorities
Our budget advocacy campaign continues to gain strength and participation from our grassroots network. If you haven't yet sent a letter to your representative or would like to send another, our one-click campaign gives you the chance to easily call on your elected officials to invest in supports and services and this one-page information sheet will support you in sharing our need and our asks. Don’t forget to share on social media so others may add their voice!

The Arc New York and our NYDA partners are calling for:
  • Establishment of a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE)
  • Inclusion of the statutory 8.5% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Under the DSWE provider agencies will receive $4,000 per eligible employee to be used for the purpose of enhancing the hourly pay for all staff that have direct care/support responsibilities for individuals with I/DD. This wage enhancement will enable provider agencies to raise wages by approximately $2.19 per hour.

The annual COLA is intended to increase budgets appropriately to adjust for inflation and rising costs. In the past decade, inflation rose 27%, yet providers of supports and services received only a 1.2% COLA. A 5.4% COLA was committed in the 2022-23 budget, but this promised increase does not compensate for a decade of underfunding. Upholding the COLA will support the increased cost of delivering quality services and sustain supports for the future.

We'll keep you apprised of more opportunities to voice your support for New Yorkers with I/DD throughout the budget season!

End of Year Federal Action Alert and Advocacy Tools
Congress is working on its end-of-the year package and The Arc is advocating for them to include key issues for people with disabilities and their families, specifically:

  • Increasing the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) asset limit so people with disabilities can save and not be forced to live in poverty.
  • Permanently funding the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program to support people with disabilities and seniors with moving back home after time in a congregate setting.
  • Stopping the torture of people with disabilities using shock devices at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts.

Please help to advocate for these critical issues by participating in and sharing this action alert with your networks. Because time is of the essence, phone calls are especially impactful!
The Arc has also put together sample social media, fact sheets, and other materials in this toolkit (under the End of Year priority folder).

Thank you for all of your efforts and please don’t hesitate to reach out to Philip Aydinian with any questions.

NYS Congressman Jeffries Elected House Democrat Leader
This week, the US House Democratic Caucus elected New York state Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) as minority leader. Congressman Jeffries will be the first black lawmaker to lead a political party's caucus in either chamber. He will follow Nancy Pelosi, who chose not to vie for the position.
Want to do More?
Visit The Arc New York Advocacy Center for more ways to take action, including campaigns to support federal funding, employment opportunities, and our dedicated workforce. You can also find tools and resources to help you be a stronger advocate for New Yorkers with disabilities.

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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