The Coalition for a DSP Living Wage is pleased to report that the State recently released the funds appropriated in the FY18 Budget for Direct Support Professionals. Given the complicated nature of this process, we wanted to take this opportunity to clarify some information regarding these funds.
Last year, the Coalition fought for $72 million in the FY18 Budget but ultimately, the final budget only included $20 million. These funds are a one-time appropriation and so instead of a wage increase, we anticipate DSPs will receive a one-time sum of money or bonus. DSPs will need to speak directly with their employer for more information.
We realize that the $20 million is significantly less than we advocated for, but it was also the first investment in the DSP workforce in the last 11 years! And it wouldn’t have happened without the Coalition members who participated in action alerts, came down to the State House and helped spread the word about the need to increase wages for DSPs.
The Coalition for a DSP Living Wage is committed to increasing salaries for the hard-working staff who assist and support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living the community. That is this Coalition’s only goal. Because the service delivery system is shifting from contracts to fee-for-service, the appropriation in the FY18 Budget could not be built into the rates. For the FY19 Budget, we are focusing on a rate increase in order to avoid the complications we encountered this year. While the funds in FY18 were a great start, we will keep fighting to increase wages. We thank you for all of your help and support during the past 18 months, and we hope we can count on you as our work continues.
Chair of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage
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