Direct support professionals working for not-for-profit providers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities joined with state legislators this week to advocate for the inclusion of an 8.5 percent cost of living adjustment for direct service professionals and the establishment of a new direct support wage enhancement in the 2024 New York state budget.
The state draft budget currently includes a 2.5 percent COLA, which is estimated at roughly $74.8 million. Advocates have called for an 8.5 percent COLA – roughly $254.3 million – to raise direct support wages to competitive levels.
Additionally, organizations like CDS Monarch – an affiliate of CDS Life Transitions – are calling on the state to implement a permanent direct support wage enhancement that would be built into future budgets moving forward.
“Our direct support professionals are highly skilled, vital frontline employees who are dedicated to taking on critical responsibilities to ensure the safety, productivity and well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Andrew Sewnauth, CDS Life Transitions CEO. “Yet, in the eyes of those in the state who make budgetary decisions, the fundamental supports our direct care staff provide do not warrant continued investment at even the level that would simply maintain the status quo in service delivery. And that is detrimental – not only to the ability to recruit and retain qualified staff – but to the individuals who depend on them every day.”
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