In a blog post earlier this month (https://www.ddinwdc.com/2022/03/todays-history-making-legislation-for.html), I celebrated the DC council’s final passage of B24-0268, the Developmental Disability Eligibility Reform Amendment Act. It’s now been transmitted to the mayor and is awaiting her signature (https://lims.dccouncil.us/Legislation/B24-0268).
But Mayor Bowser already has signaled her intent, by including $500,000 in funding for DDS in her proposed FY2023 budget, under “Health and Human Services” here: https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-presents-fiscal-year-2023-budget-proposal. This money is intended to support new intake staff and training so that DDS can be ready to implement eligibility reform effective October 1. (Some of the new staff will come on board before the end of this fiscal year, which ends on September 30.) That signature still is important though! After she signs, the Congress will have its opportunity to review the bill, as they always do (https://dccouncil.us/how-a-bill-becomes-a-law/), but it’s highly unlikely this bill would attract any negative attention from national legislators.
So SPREAD THE WORD! Advocates will be creating opportunities over the coming months to ensure people across the city are aware of this historic legislation and the change it will bring.
DDS director Reese has indicated on several occasions that DDS will be contacting anyone who was turned down for DDA supports over the past three years to encourage them to re-apply. In the Committee on Human Services hearing yesterday on the proposed DDS budget (beginning around the start of the second hour, 2:00:00, at https://brianneknadeau.com/live), he indicated that nearly 100 slots are going unused in the traditional I/DD waiver (1923 available, 1826 utilized), with another 55 slots available (5 used out of 60) in the IFS waiver. He also noted that 50 additional slots are normally added each year, with the distribution between the IFS and IDD waivers yet to be determined.
One serious budget issue that remains is that the administration is proposing a 3-year phase-in instead of an immediate increase in DSP salaries, which will continue to put pressure on DDS providers’ recruitment efforts – hear DC Coalition (http://dc-coalition.org/) director Ian Paregol starting around minute 1:25:00 of https://brianneknadeau.com/live, and stick around to hear other advocates on that panel. You’ll note that in my own testimony at around 1:40:00, in addition to noting passage and funding of the DDERAA, I called attention to the need for more robust efforts in favor of customized employment in this, the tenth year of DC’s participation as an Employment First state (see https://www.ddinwdc.com/2022/03/making-employment-first-reality.html).
A few other noteworthy events: