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Join ACLD in advocating for children and adults with autism, learning and developmental disabilities. Together we can fight harmful budget cuts and service transformations that may impact how we fulfill our mission.

Contacts for Advocacy on OPWDD Cuts:

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul:
(518) 474-8390

New York State Comptroller
Tom DiNapoli

NYS Senate Majority Leader:
Andrea Stewart-Cousins:

New York State Assembly Majority Leader:
Speaker: Carl E. Heastie

NYS Senate Finance Committee:
Liz Krueger, Chair


Majority Leader:
Crystal D. Peoples – Stokes

Ways & Means Committee:
Chair: Helen E. Weinstein

OPWDD Commissioner
Kerri E. Neifeld

Find Your New York State Senator:

Find Your New York Assembly Member:

Capitol Rally on February 13th, 2023

Preliminary Executive Budget 2023-24 highlights

Source: Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities, Inc.

The Governor presented her FY 2024 budget proposal on February 1, 2023 as required by law.  She outlined her administration’s vision of the “New York Dream”, a government that will uplift all New Yorkers.

She made no mention of the ongoing health care workforce crisis, in general, or of the I/DD sector’s workforce crisis, in particular, even after her pledge last year to “rebuild and regrow the Healthcare workforce by 20% over the next five years”. 

The $227 billion all funds ($125 billion state funds) proposal includes:

  • $1 billion for mental health care
  • investments in reducing gun violence
  • a $3.1 billion increase in public education funding including a $2.7 billion Foundation Aid increase (12.8%)

Outyear budget gaps are predicted, with $24 billion set aside in rainy day funds to cover:

  • $5.7 billion in FY 2025
  • $9 billion in FY 2026
  • $7.5 billion in FY 2027

Here are a few specifics that will be covered in more detail in our budget briefing on February 9, 2023……

OPWDD ($7.4 billion all funds)

  • $2 million to establish an Ombudsman Program to provide client advocate services for people with I/DD
  • $11.7 million to develop Intensive Treatment Opportunity (ITO) Capacity for 39 people at the former Finger lakes Developmental Center campus
  • IBR Study – a two-year independent study of IBR on how IBR’s functions align with OPWDD’s strategic boas and feasibility of revitalizing the facility
  • An additional $15 million to develop housing for people with I/DD, separate and distinct from the $25 billion multiyear plan for the development of affordable, supportive housing
  • Flexibilities for delegated nursing tasks – legislation to allow greater flexibility for the performance of certain nursing tasks by unlicensed employees in non-certified community-based settings
  • Continue to invest in new service opportunities for those entering the system for the first time and those already being supported but whose needs have increased
  • $38 million in State funds to support minimum wage increases for employees of programs under OPWDD, OMH & OASAS,and automatically indexing minimum wage with the Consumer Price Index
  • No Direct Support Wage Enhancement


  • $2.5 million for SED to study and design a new rate setting methodology to streamline and improve the timeliness of tuition rates for providers with recommendations to be presented to DOB by 7/1/25
  • $2.7 billion (12.8%) increase in Foundation Aid
  • $125 million for expansion of full day Pre-K


  • $60 million to expand the Medicaid Buy-in Program so more New Yorkers will qualify
  • Increased the overall Medicaid reimbursement rate for all primary care and specifically for nurse practitioners
  • A 5% rate increase for hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living providers
  • The elimination of “prescriber prevails”
  • $1 billion for the creation of a new Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation fund (Statewide V)
  • Replaces wage parity in the CDPAP program with subsidies so these works can purchase health insurance through the New York State of Health (NYSOH)
  • Legislation to allow New York to join the Interstate Licensure Comact and the Nurse Licensure compact, making it easier for physicians and nurses licensed in other states to practice in New York, physically and virtually
  • Nothing for Early Intervention


    • $250,000 to restore the Interagency Coordinating Council for Services to Persons who are Deaf, Deafblind, or Hard of Hearing, within the Office of the Chief disability Officer (CDO)
    • The CSEA agreement provides annual 3% salary increases from FY 24 to FY 26, a one time bonus payment of $3000 and changes in longevity. Also changes in the health insurance program to encourage in network utilization and control costs
    • Waive the income cap for retired teachers and school workers for an additional year to alleviate school district workforce challenges

Statement from the New York Disability Advocates on Executive Budget

Earlier this month, Governor Hochul outlined her administrations’ vision of the “New York Dream”, a government that will uplift all New Yorkers. Unfortunately, with the release of the Executive Budget today, the “New York dream” for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the individuals that provide life supporting services to them is not fully realized.

Governor Hochul’s inclusion of a 2.5 % Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) as part of the Executive Budget, simply does not provide the necessary resources to keep pace with the growing cost of providing services to people with developmental disabilities after a decade of cuts and lack of investment in these services.

OPWDD’s own Strategic Plan, published in November, articulates Goal #1 as, “Improve the recruitment, retention and quality of the direct support workforce,” by “investing in the workforce.”  The system faces “a 35.6% turnover rate in the voluntary DSP workforce, a vacancy rate of 17.2% for full time positions, and a vacancy rate of 21.3% for part-time positions.”

An adequate COLA increase is critical to address workforce turnover and increased operational costs. The Governor’s proposal to fund a COLA at 6% less than the system needs to sustain the status quo means that OPWDD will have some difficult decisions to make about where cuts to service delivery will happen for the 130,000 New Yorkers with I/DD and their families that rely upon them.

With today’s announcement, we once again face the stark reality that nonprofit provider agencies for the I/DD community are overlooked and underfunded especially, considering OPWDD increased starting wages for their own workforce by 13%, who provide the same supports and services.

Equity and support for all must make its way into the Governor’s and the Division of Budget’s dream for New York. Without that equity and support from our elected officials the New York Dream becomes a nightmare for the people with disabilities and their families, who are unable to get the resources they need to live their best lives.

There are currently hundreds of people with I/DD waiting in hospitals, nursing homes, and psychiatric centers due to insufficient capacity in the OPWDD system. There are thousands more living at home with their aging caregivers who want to live independently with supports from OPWDD. This cannot be part of the New York Dream that Governor Hochul envisioned.

New York lawmakers have a duty to serve all their residents, especially those who rely on them the most. We must work together to ensure that the I/DD community receives the proper recognition and resources it needs to build a sustainable future for the thousands of New Yorkers who need it.

We are urging both houses of the New York Legislature to include an 8.5% Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA), as well as the establishment of a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) to increase hourly pay for Direct Support workers in their respective one-house budgets. The fate of the I/DD community depends on it.

February 9, 2020

Join the New York Disabilities Advocates’ “Virtual Advocacy Rally” this Thursday February 11th at 1:15 pm! Click the Zoom link below. This Virtual Rally brings together provider agencies, those receiving services, families and advocates to urge State Legislators and the Governor to make people with disabilities a priority! #SaveIDDServices #SaveOurServices

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/95931054430?pwd=aFcvbisvd2lVTjNSS3g5MzdCUjV5UT09

Meeting ID: 959 3105 4430

Passcode: NYDA1

November 25, 2020


Virtual Statewide Rally via ZOOM
Wednesday, December 9th at 11 am

NYC Developmental Disabilities (DD) Councils [Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island], ENYDDA, & NYADD

The Governor & the Legislators need to hear from us about the effect of their cuts.

Click Here to Know the Facts on the Cuts

Tell your story:

Send pictures of your family members, of the messages on your cars, and of the posters for a montage that will be shown during the RALLY!
Send to info@nycfair.org. We will share with the Governor and Legislators.

Participating Legislators & Speakers TBA soon

Virtual Rally is Tuesday, December 9th at 11 am
Meeting ID: 819 8581 4195
Passcode: 477149
One tap mobile: +19292056099,,81985814195#,,,,,,0#,,477149# US (New York)

For more information, contact info@nycfair.org or visit www.nycfamilyadvocacyinformationresource.org

Click Here to Download and Share PDF


*NYC Family Advocacy Information Resource & LI Advocacy Network for the Developmentally Disabled



November 13, 2020

“SAVE OUR SERVICES” Rally Cancelled

Due to the rise in COVID incidence, the Drive-in Rally on November 17th has been cancelled.  A statewide virtual rally is being planned with legislators, self-advocates, and family members to address funding cuts to OPWDD and related issues. Details to follow.

Please check the NYC FAIR website for more information in the coming days at www.nycfamilyadvocacyinformationresource.org

Thanks for your support!


September 24, 2020

Phone Rally to fight OPWDD cuts – call your representative today!

Join ACLD and agencies across New York State today in a Phone Rally to fight OPWDD residential program cuts!

These cuts will jeopardize the stability of housing programs for agencies like ACLD, which are already dealing with significant financial losses from this pandemic. If these cuts go into effect:

  • Over $200 million will be taken from our loved ones with I/DD every year
  • Reimbursement will be reduced by as much as 7.5% for certain residential programs with significant vacancies, including vacancies due to deaths from COVID-19
  • The occupancy adjustment resulting from vacancies will be eliminated
  • Reimbursement will be slashed by 50% for retainer days when residents are in the hospital or are taking “Therapeutic Leave Days” for family visits
  • Finally, after cutting reimbursement by 50% for leave days, the cuts will also impose an annual “cap” of 96 “Therapeutic Leave Days”, after which reimbursement would be reduced to zero

The first cut to “Therapeutic Leave Days” is planned to go into effect next week on October 1st.

Please join in the Phone Rally today and share your story and how “Therapeutic Leave” cuts will personally affect you and your loved ones.


Phone numbers of top NYS officials

Andrew Cuomo, Governor
(518) 474-8390

Carle Heastie, Speaker of the Assembly
Albany: (518) 455-3791
District Office: (718) 654-6539

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Temporary President and Majority Leader
Albany: (518) 455-2585
District Office: (914) 423-4031

William Barclay, Assembly Minority Leader
Albany: (518) 455-3751
District Office: (315) 598-5185

Robert Ortt, Senate Minority Leader
Albany: (518) 455-2024
District Office: (716) 434-0680


June 6, 2020

Help fight DRASTIC cuts in OPWDD Funding before July 1st!

On May 27, 2020, the Department of Health published a public notice proposing cuts in reimbursement for IRA and ICF residential programs which would:

  • Take about $200 million every year from our loved ones with I/DD
  • Reduce reimbursement by as much as 7.5% for certain residential programs with significant vacancies, including vacancies due to deaths from COVID-19
  • Eliminate the occupancy adjustment resulting from vacancies
  • Slash reimbursement by 50% for retainer days when residents are in the hospital or are taking therapeutic leave days for family visits
  • Finally, after cutting reimbursement by 50% for leave days, the proposal also would impose an annual “cap” of 96 days of therapeutic leave days, after which reimbursement would be reduced to zero.

If you would like to write your own letter in opposition to the vacancy rate cuts, we have provided some context below for how the proposed cuts would affect service to people with I/DD.

Tips for writing your letter:

• Identify yourself
Say why you are writing and who you are. List your credentials, your relationship to the I/DD field, and state that you are a constituent. It also doesn’t hurt to mention if you voted for or donated to them.
• Personalize
Tell your elected official why this legislation matters to you and the people you know. If you have one, include a personal story that shows how this issue affects you and your family.
• Be emotional and factual
Provide detail without exaggeration about how the vacancy rate cuts would affect you and others.
• Close with a request
Close by requesting the action you want to be taken. Ask that the state do away with cuts to the vacancy rates and find savings elsewhere.

Talking Points

• The proposed vacancy rate cuts in reimbursement for IRA and ICF residential programs would:
• Take about $200 million every year from our loved ones with I/DD.
• The proposed cuts will severely limit funding for individuals simply because they require hospitalization due to medical or psychiatric illness or choose to take a therapeutic leave to spend time with family members.
• Reduce reimbursement by as much as 7.5% for certain residential programs with significant vacancies, including vacancies due to deaths from COVID-19.
• Disproportionately harm individuals with serious medical or psychiatric conditions, as they spend more time away from a residence and therefore create more “empty beds.”
• Drastically cut funding to providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, after providers were seemingly abandoned to the point of having to purchase their own personal protective equipment.
• Come at a time when voluntary providers are already owed funding from the state. The proposed cuts will directly offset rate enhancements previously provided by the NYS Legislature in 2019. The
• Legislature approved two 2% salary enhancements for direct care and clinical staff working in OPWDD residential programs – one increase to be implemented on January 1, 2020, and the second on April 1, 2020. Neither has been implemented as of this date but remain “under review” with the Division of the Budget.

Adapted from Cerebral Palsy Association of NYS and New York Disability Advocates (NYDA)


May 15, 2020

Act Today!

The House is expected to vote on the HEROES Act today, its latest COVID-19 legislative package which contains significant provisions to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the providers who support them.

Today contact  your member of Congress and tell them to vote YES on this legislation because it contains provisions essential to protecting people with I/DD during this pandemic. To find your member of Congress please visit: www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

On Tuesday, House Democrats released the HEROES Act, their proposal for the long-anticipated fourth COVID-19 relief package. This is the opening round in negotiations with the Senate and White House for the fourth package and we anticipate the final package will look different from this proposal. However, the HEROES Act contains provisions that will be enormously helpful to people with I/DD and the Medicaid-funded I/DD services that support them, and will serve as Democrats’ framework for deciding what to support in the final legislation that is taken up by the House and the Senate.

Now is the time to show support for the HEROES Act provisions. The disability support-related provisions in the HEROES Act include:

  1. A 10 percent increase in the Medicaid match rate (FMAP) specifically for the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program.
  2. Explicitly defining Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) as essential workers.
  3. An additional $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, and a specific provision to list HCBS providers among the entities eligible for the funding.
  4. A “Heroes Fund,” which would fund hazard pay for DSPs up to $13 per hour in addition to current wages.

The House is expected to vote on this bill on Friday, so time is of the essence. Thank you.

Adapted from ANCHOR (American Network of Community Options & Resources)