Fighting to Make New Yorkers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities a Priority

New York’s I/DD community needs investments to save the state’s care service system that supports thousands of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) is a statewide coalition of more than 300 non-profit organizations providing vital services and support to more than 130,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Across the state, these organizations provide comprehensive and individualized services and programs that support people with developmental disabilities in all areas of their lives—from physical and behavioral health services, to cooking and feeding, to creating meaningful employment opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis exposed the vulnerabilities of this essential system of care and had a devastating effect on individuals with I/DD, who are at increased risk of contracting and suffering serious complications from the coronavirus. Now, this system is on the verge of crumbling as a result of looming budget cuts, chronic underfunding, and the impacts of the pandemic.

90% of the sector’s funding comes from the state government. Therefore, to sustain the system long-term and allow organizations to continue to provide lifelong support and care, New York State must:



COLA – 3.2% for SFY 2025

Following a decade of provider agencies not receiving the statutory Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), critical investments are needed to support the non-profit care services sector. A 3.2% COLA increase in the upcoming Executive Budget is needed to combat the substantial inflationary growth over the past year, leaving non-profit providers lacking the resources necessary to meet demand.

Over the past year, the increasing costs associated with mandated fringe benefits, repairs and maintenance, utilities, food, supplies, transportation, and insurance have financially strained provider agencies. These cost increases are compounded by the fact that I/DD provider agencies rely solely on Medicaid funding, leaving them unable to increase reimbursement for services to compensate for increased costs of operations. Investment is needed to address these financial burdens and ensure sustained support for these essential care services.



Permanent investment in Direct Support Professionals’ (DSP) salaries is essential to recruit and retain staff for the future viability of the field. As highly skilled professionals dedicated to the essential care of individuals with I/DD, DSPs take on numerous critical responsibilities to uplift the safety, productivity, and well-being of the entire I/DD community.
DSPs are responsible for providing important practical & administrative support such as first aid & CPR, administering medication, meal preparation or transport facilitation, as well as, attending to the comprehensive social, emotional, & psychological needs of those they care for. Whether it’s teaching personal care skills and money management or directing crisis de-escalation, DSPs are required to be well trained, skilled, and constantly prepared for all the essential life-support services their profession demands.
Through their fundamental support & services, DSPs are integral pillars of support for New York’s I/DD community and are crucial in ensuring that over 130,000 New Yorkers with I/DD can live their highest quality of life.


NYDA is recommending the establishment of a new Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) in the SFY 2025 New York State budget. Through the proposed DSWE, provider agencies would receive an annual funding allocation of $4,000 per eligible employee. The financial provision is intended to augment the hourly rate of pay for all staff engaged in direct care and support responsibilities for individuals with I/DD. Under this proposed DSWE, provider agencies will be able to increase hourly pay by approximately $2.00/hour for full-time employees.

Over the past two years, OPWDD has provided significant increases to their own DSP workforce who provide the same supports and services to the same population. Currently, OPWDD employed DSPs make up to $10/per hour more than their non-profit counterparts despite doing the same job. The establishment of this DSWE is essential for addressing the pay disparity, and for the recruitment and retention of non-profit employed DSPs, which are responsible for the care and support of over 85% of individuals with I/DD.


Click the links below to tell your New York Lawmaker to invest in the I/DD Community


Take Action with CP State NY Take Action with The Arc NY

Take Action with NYAII

This investment is crucial to the viability of not-for-profit providers. Over 90% of provider organizations’ funds come from Medicaid. New York State determines the funding levels each year and, for the past decade, providers consistently have had to do more with less.


The impacts of underfunding are severe.

Program Reductions

Facility Closures

Staffing Crisis

The I/DD service system is a critical component of New York’s health care system and has an outsized positive impact on the lives of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and the communities it serves.


Provides High-Quality Care

Fosters independence, support families and prioritize inclusion

Creates Jobs

Employs more than 120,000 New Yorkers, mostly women and minorities

Stimulates Economies

The I/DD service sector is frequently one of the largest area employers, driving increased economic activity in communities

Prevents Future Costs

Addresses external health impacts and providing cost-effective delivery of care

New York State has a legal and ethical obligation to provide essential services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Tell state lawmakers to do the right thing and prioritize equitable access to care for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Tweet Your Support

Join the effort to make New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities a priority! Send a message to the State to save this system of care.

Tweet #IDDPriority