2022-23 State Budget letter seeking funding for Direct Support Professionals

February 10, 2022

The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224

The Honorable Andrea Stewart-Cousins
President Pro Tempore and New York State Senate Majority Leader
Room 330, State Capitol Albany, NY 12247

Dear Governor Hochul and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins:

For years, the not-for-profit community organizations that provide services to citizens of New York with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) have been reporting that the funding New York State provides to them through the Medicaid rate is insufficient.

We believe it has become a crisis and that increasing the funding to these organizations that have dedicated their existence to providing a safe, wholesome, and nurturing environment to the people and families they serve must be a state budgetary priority.

Several factors are causing this crisis: 

  • Insufficient funding for salaries has resulted in vacancy rates for Direct Support  Professionals (DSPs) positions as high as 40%; 
  • Remaining staff are working tremendous amounts of overtime, management is filling in as caregivers, and living arrangements changes are being considered to increase the number of residents in any location to spread remaining staff as far as possible; 
  • Those receiving services are not as easily able to attend activities provided by the agencies, are less able to integrate into their communities, and are less likely to obtain and maintain employment because of the lack of staffing; and 
  • Many more people remain on waiting lists for services.


The salary of an entry-level DSP is $29,000 at the ARC of Rensselaer County. Yet, the responsibilities of this essential position are much greater than the salary reflects. DSPs help people with disabilities with all their daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal planning, and preparation, taking medication, and engaging in meaningful activities. Yet, DSPs can make a higher salary at McDonald’s or Amazon. They can also make $10,000 more per year working for OPWDD doing the exact same job!

We believe that New York State has a responsibility to help end this crisis by increasing the Medicaid rate such that DSPs working for community providers can be paid a higher salary and those with disabilities who depend on the services DSPs provide, can receive the services they deserve.

Thankfully, the 2022-23 Executive Budget includes a COLA for these agencies, which is a good start. However, we need to add funding so that the DSPs can see an increase in their wages of 20% on an ongoing basis. Additionally, we need to commit to an annual COLA that will provide for annual increases for this vital workforce. With the State Budget in the best shape it has been in years, NOW is the time to make up for the lack of investment in I/DD services that occurred over the last 11 years.

We respectfully request that these noted investments become a budgetary priority and that this funding be reflected in the final 2022-23 State Budget. Thank you for your consideration of our request advanced on behalf of our dedicated, hard-working Direct Support Professionals who deliver essential services.

Daphne Jordan
State Senator, 43rd District

Robert Ortt
Minority Leader, 62nd District

Andrew Lanza
State Senator, 24th District

George Borrello
State Senator, 57th District

Peter Oberacker
State Senator, 51st District

Michael Martucci
State Senator, 42nd District

Patrick Gallivan
State Senator, 59th District

Patty Ritchie
State Senator, 48th District

Thomas O’Mara
State Senate, 58th District

Pamela Helming
State Senator, 54th District

Sue Serino
State Senator, 41st District

Dan Stec
State Senator, 45th District

James Tedisco
Senate Senator, 49th District

Edward Rath
State Senator, 61st District

Anthony Palumbo
State Senator, 1st District

Fred Akshar
State Senator, 52nd District