May 5, 2023
FY2024 Budget Highlights
As you are aware from previous messages, the final result of the New York State budget is deeply disappointing for New Yorkers with I/DD and the families and providers who support them. You can read our full budget statement here.

Our fight is not over. You can read more about our ongoing advocacy below, and participate in our newest one-click campaign advocating for the DSWE here.

Below is a brief highlight of items of interest for our field in the FY24 Budget:

  • 4% COLA
  • Flexibility in nursing tasks - Rejects Governor’s proposal to provide increased flexibility in delegating nursing tasks by allowing direct support staff in OPWDD non-certified community-based programs to perform certain tasks. The Legislature rejected this proposal because nurses objected to it.
  • I/DD Ombudsman Program - $2 million Includes language to create an independent intellectual and developmental disability ombudsman program.
  • New Opportunities - $2 million for new service opportunities for individuals living at home with caregivers who are unable to continue caring for them.

We did not receive the 10% growth factor requested and will need to work with state partners on rate methodology between Division of Budget and State Education Department

Minimum Wage Increase:
  • Upstate minimum wage will increase from $14.20 to $15 at the beginning of 2024 and will increase by 50 cents in 2025 & 2026 to reach $16/hr.
  • NYC & Downstate (including Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties) minimum wage will increase by $.50 per year beginning of 2024 to reach $17/hr.
  • After these increases are reached in 2027, minimum wage will be tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and automatically increase according to inflation %. It will then be tied to the CPI and automatically increase according inflation.
Advocacy Push for The Direct Support Wage Enhancement
Although we did not achieve all of our budget objectives during this fiscal year, we continue to advocate for The Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) as a stand-alone piece of legislation (S4127/A5268) sponsored by Senator Mannion and Assemblymember Seawright.

With the DSWE, provider agencies would receive a permanent annual funding allocation of $4,000 per eligible employee to be used for purposes of enhancing the hourly rate of pay for all staff that have direct care/support responsibilities for individuals with I/DD.

This proposed increase of $4,000 equates to approximately $2.19 an-hour for a full-time employee – a necessary amount that will allow DSPs and employees the ability to provide for their families and keep the I/DD sector competitive.

With only a month left until the end of session, we will push hard for both houses to recognize this need. We created a one-click campaign so you can quickly send a letter to the legislature in support of the DSWE. Please add your name, and share with family and friends in New York!
Comment on Draft OPWDD 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver
The Arc New York submitted comments on OPWDD’s 1915(c) HCBS waiver. Overall, The Arc New York is very pleased with the programmatic flexibilities and enhanced funding afforded by this proposed waiver, which includes the many of the provisions found in the Appendix K waiver we have been working under throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe these amendments will address many of the concerns expressed by families and providers alike over the past several years, and make important improvements based upon lessons learned during the pandemic.

We are particularly pleased to see the proposal to allow for the use of respite for individuals living in certified residential facilities over age 60, which will support more leisure and recreation focused retirement. This is a proposal The Arc New York put forth, and we believe it will be welcomed by individuals and be a more be a more appropriate and affordable alternative to support retirement options. You can read the entire letter here and review the HCBS waiver amendment, webinars and other information here.

Tell Congress: Protect Medicaid!
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that includes radical work rules for Medicaid enrollees ages 19 to 55 in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling. This bill could result in millions of people losing access to Medicaid! You can read the full press release from The Arc of the United States here.

We need to stop this in its tracks and tell Congress to keep Medicaid OUT of government funding negotiations. To take action you can send two separate letters from The Arc US and The Arc New York expressing the need to preserve Medicaid!

Registration Is Open for the Summer Leadership Institute!
Registration is open for The Arc US 2023 Summer Leadership Institute, taking place July 24 - 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada! Register today to take advantage of the early bird rate.

Join The Arc of the United States and Arc Chapters from around the country to engage in meaningful discussions and develop skills you can replicate, tailor, and apply directly back into your local communities. Whatever your position and however long you’ve been at The Arc, there is something for everyone! Learn from over 40 nationally recognized speakers and hear from The Arc’s staff around the country who are tackling the same challenges and situations in their own chapters.

The event also features a buddy system where first timers are paired with veteran attendees to guide them through the program and networking opportunities. The best teacher is experience, and whether it's your first SLI or your 20th, your peers have tons to share with you. Register today!
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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