Massachusetts is facing a workforce shortage crisis for direct support workers, which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis affects staff support for families and individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism in home, day, employment and residential settings.
Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate completed its blueprint of the budget. Funding in both the House and Senate include The Arc’s priorities. Increases in Day, Employment, and Family Support are in both branches. Other line items such as Residential and Autism Omnibus appear to have adequate funding.
We heard this morning that states could request a 30-day extension to submit plans on the use of the additional Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) monies. This afternoon, The Arc had a meeting with state leaders and a CMS representative (Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to further review the billions states will receive (approximately $400 million for our state).
On May 11, the Senate Ways & Means Committee released its FY’22 budget. The proposed budget reflects the legislature’s efforts to alleviate the challenges and difficulties the Commonwealth, and particularly the disability community, has faced this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also puts forth a thoughtful plan on how we move forward in an equitable way. The Committee’s budget invests over $2.39 billion in a variety of services and programs that assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism. We’re pleased to see the Senate maintain the House FY’22 budget increases in the DDS line items, including Day and Employment ($15 million increase), Transportation ($7 million increase) and Family Support ($7 million increase), with a total increase of $29 million.