It’s All Hugs, As NY State Disability Advocates From Harlem To The Hudson Applaud Budget Passage

April 14, 2021

Non-profit providers of supports to New Yorkers with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and advocates for individuals with I/DD applauded the passage of the FY 2021-2022 State Budget.

New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) commend the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo and his administration for including provisions in the enacted Budget that will preserve vital services for individuals with I/DD, including the restoration of funding from previous crippling cuts and provide a 1 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

FY 2021-2022 State Budget Details for the I/DD Sector:

  • Rejects the proposed one percent across the board rate reduction for voluntary providers of supports and services to individuals with I/DD.
  • Restores the human services cost of living adjustment (COLA) and authorize the COLA starting on April 1, 2021 for providers under the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), for State Office for the Aging (SOFA), and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
  • Restores $12 million to reject the 5 percent withholding to providers.
  • Restores $20.8 million for Care Coordination Organization rates.
  • Provides $740 million in appropriation authority to OPWDD to provide award grants to strengthen and enhance home and community-based services consistent with the American Rescue Plan Act

The seven non-profit provider associations that make up New York Disability Advocates (NYDA), along with families and self-advocates, have long fought for care, not cuts, from State leaders, as the system that serves the I/DD community has faced continued uncertainty due to a decade of chronic underfunding of programs as well as services and lack of investment in the workforce.

While the recent budget provisions are a significant victory for individuals with I/DD and the system that supports them, sustained additional funding will be imperative to ensure the long-term stability of the sector.

“We are pleased the State has taken steps to correct some funding shortages that have exacerbated the financial fragility of the I/DD sector since the onset of the pandemic.

As we seek to stabilize the service delivery system long-term, we look forward to continued collaboration with advocates and state government to implement lasting protections for essential services,” said Tom McAlvanah, Executive Director, InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities and President, New York Disability Advocates.

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“Today the state legislature showed New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities that they are indeed a priority. It’s critical that we build on this momentum and continue to identify resource solutions that prevent future cuts and give the I/DD community confidence that the services and supports they rely on will be there for the rest of their lives,” said Erik Geizer, Chief Executive Officer, The Arc New York.

“We applaud leaders and advocates within and outside of state government for restoring previously cut and withheld funding and implementing a Cost-of-Living Allowance for the first time in a decade. The work now begins to invest in the future of this critical component of the public health system by providing sustained funding to support essential care for New Yorkers with I/DD,” said Susan Constantino, President and CEO, Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State.

“This restoration of funding and COLA is an excellent first step in preserving the viability of the I/DD services sector and ensuring provider organizations are able to maintain the skilled workforce necessary to support the people in their care. Advocates, families and providers stand ready to help the State continue this positive trajectory and develop a plan for sustained investment to honor New York’s commitment to supporting this population,” said Michael Seereiter, President and CEO, New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation.

“This victory in the state budget for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities would not have been possible without the legislators, leaders, families, and providers who’ve fought tirelessly for the I/DD community. Rolling back harmful cuts will help undo some of the negative financial impacts absorbed by providers due to the added costs of the pandemic. However, there is still work to be done. Let’s use this momentum to continue to support I/DD services, programs, and the workforce in the future,” said Rhonda Frederick, President, Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York.

“We commend the state legislature for provisions in the budget that will reverse cuts to funding that put critical services for individuals with I/DD in jeopardy. While the budget is indeed a victory, the funding challenges for the I/DD sector are longstanding. So too, must be the solution. It’s crucial that we continue to advocate for resources to protect this vulnerable population,” said Yvette Watts, Executive Director, New York Association of Emerging & Multicultural Providers, Inc.

“We are grateful to the lawmakers and advocates who have never given up on individuals with I/DD for recognizing this sector as an essential part of our public health system. We must now prevent future threats to this support system by prioritizing funding for the I/DD community and ensuring they have access to the care they need and deserve. Our work is just beginning,” said Seth Stein, Executive Director, Alliance of Long Island Agencies.

New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) is a statewide coalition of seven non-profit provider associations encompassing more than 300 non-profit agencies providing vital services and support to more than 140,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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