To be effective in advocating for your rights or the the rights of a loved one requires that you have a handle on existing law, pending legislation, and the policies that affect us all.
The link below directs you to the national and state Arc websites where detailed links and information are compiled and updated regularly. We trust these resources will assist you in being educated in the issues in the news today.
Link to Federal Issues
State Budget 2016-17 Issues
Click link to review graphical view of funding
ID_A Funding relative to other services Graph
Some Key Facts:
- Human services funding was cut 10% across the board in 2012, and these cuts have not yet been restored. Governor Wolf’s budget 2016-2017 proposal includes restoring a portion of these cuts, which includes base funding for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Over 13,000 individuals with disabilities continue to languish on the intellectual disabilities waiting list, with over 4,000 in heightened crisis situations without access to the supports they have a right to use.
- Funding to support people with intellectual disabilities who are desperately waiting for services has dwindled in recent years while thousands wait for services. In 2012-2013, waiting list funding was $17.8 million; in 2013-14, $19.9 million; 2014-2015, $12.2 million. With the ongoing budget impasse funding numbers for 2015-2016 are unclear, and Governor Wolf has proposed only $11.5 million in waiting list funding for fiscal year 2016-2017.
- Consolidated Waiver funding has been markedly inconsistent and trending downward in recent years. Funding increased $94.9 million in fiscal year 2013-14; $48.1 million in fiscal year 2014-15; $127.8 million in fiscal year 2015-16; and $71.3 million is proposed for 16-17, with only $11.5 million dedicated to getting people off the waiting list and supporting recent graduates.
- Base funding continues to decrease each year, despite Governor Wolf’s proposed increases that would ameliorate the significant 10% cut that occurred in 2012. In 2013-2014 funding was cut by $305,000; in 2014-15, it was cut by $1.24 million; and in 2015-16 it was cut by $1.45 million.
- We know funding was used from intellectual and developmental disabilities to pay for other human services areas in counties using the human services block grant. A transparent report is still needed so that Pennsylvanians know the true impact of the human services block grant.
- There is still no accurate count of how many people in Pennsylvania need autism support services. There could be as many as 185,000 people with autism in PA; currently PA has waiver spots for 518 in the Adult Autism Waiver and 146 in the Adult Community Autism Program.
- Inadequate provider reimbursement rates hurt Pennsylvanians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism. Providers are responsible for providing residential, employment, transportation, and other vital services that support people with disabilities so they can live full lives in the community. Insufficient reimbursement rates decrease the ability of providers to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians with disabilities.
- Direct Support Professionals work with Pennsylvanians with disabilities each day while receiving minimal pay, leading to extremely high turnover in staff. For Pennsylvania to have a truly robust community support system, the state must address this workforce crisis and make investments to have a sustainable community-based workforce.
We are advocating for:
- Funds for at least 420 new openings in the Consolidated waiver and 700 new openings in the P/FDS waiver that would serve all 2016 school graduates. The Governor proposed an $11.5 million increase for offering waiver services, covering only an additional 250 individuals with intellectual disabilities (Consolidated waiver) from the emergency waiting list and 500 students with intellectual disabilities graduating from high school (P/FDS waiver). Waivers provide residential, transportation, and habilitation support. This is a significant step backwards from the last two years; in fiscal year 2013-14 there were 380 Consolidated waiver spots and 700 P/FDS slots. In fiscal year 2014-15, there were 400 Consolidated waiver spots and 700 P/FDS. The Office of Developmental Programs also holds back waiver spots each year for emergency situations that arise, particularly for individuals are referred to waiver services through Adult Protective Services. This means that there will be even fewer new spots to remove individuals from the emergency waiting list. Currently there are over 4,000 individuals on the emergency waiting list.
- An increase of $5.4 million, or 3.5%, in community base funds, which helps fund respite support and county programs that address the gap in ID support services.
- $1.2 million increase in Infant/Toddler Early Intervention.
- $2.5 million to offer waivers to 100 adults with autism.
- $3.2 million increase for State Centers.
- $955,000 to transition 75 individuals currently residing in state intellectual disabilities centers to the community.
- $2 million increase for OVR, which would leverage $8 million in federal funds. OVR provides supported employment services to adults with disabilities.
- $50 million increase to special education, which would be distributed according to the new Special Education Funding Formula.
- The Arc of Pennsylvania continues to advocate for a strategic plan to fully fund I/DD services so that there will be no waiting list.
- Creating an Autism Waiting List so Pennsylvania has an accurate count of how many people need Autism Waivers.
 Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign, http://www.pawaitinglistcampaign.org/, February 10 2016.
 Pennsylvania Autism Services Census Update, http://www.paautism.org/Portals/0/Docs/Census/Census%20Update%202014%20Final.pdf.