DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS
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.
DIRECT SUPPORT WAGE ENHANCEMENT
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.