Update on Senate Ways and Means budget

Some bright spots in the Senate Ways and Means budget thanks to Chairperson Karen Spilka and the Committee:

  1. $500,000 increase in Turning 22 which is at $7 Million,
  2. Increase the kids autism waiver by $500,000.
  3. It also matches the governor on the employment blueprint, ensuring maintenance at $5 million
  4. We also want to thank Chairperson Spilka and her committee for recognizing the AFC (adult family or foster care) caregivers and placing language requiring respite payment benefit for AFC caregivers beginning on July 1, 2015 (this language needs to be accepted by the House and signed by the Governor). It doesn’t have any effect right now through July 1.
  5. Also in MassHealth-
    1. $137 Million projected for applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy) for children with autism
    2. PCA earned sick time at $21 Million
    3. Dentures included

However the Committee budget has some shortfalls in high priority line items. Our top priorities are:

  • DDS Employment and Day, 5920-2025 – total is the same as governor’s budget which means $9.7 Million shortfall with 3,000 people potentially impacted (as many as 1300 could lose service outright during the day) -the total needed ($183,209,830) includes money for those who turned 22 in FY’15 and need full-year services
  • Adult Autism Services, 5920-3020- this represents funding for those who are recently eligible due to Chapter 226 of the Laws of 2014. The House budget ($12.367 Mil) funds nearly 500 people. The Senate ways and Means level at $6 Million means there will be adequate funding for only 240 people.
  • Family Support, 5920-3000, program could serve 20,000 families, but only serving 11,000 with funding; Senate W/M is $4.045 Million lower than the House, maintaining a 2015 9C cut and then some, eliminating services to 800 families or significantly diluting them for 2,000 more. The House restores that cut and adds $1 Million- most cost effective DDS program.
  • Transportation, 5911-2000, Senate Ways/Means uses the administration #, which means a shortfall for those Turning 22 in past year and others who are trying to get to employment sites. It is $3 Million below the House figure of $21,996,018 ($18,996,018).
  • Employment Blueprint, 5920-2026 is adequate to ensure funding for present level of implementation and higher than the House but we need more $$ to continue transition.

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