It was a welcome surprise back in the spring when DDS announced an increase in the personal needs allowance (PNA) - the amount people getting DDS residential supports keep to spend as they want (https://www.ddinwdc.com/2023/03/budget-surprise-and-your-opportunity-to.html). At the time, DDS director Andy Reese specified that the PNA would increase to $150 on October 1 and then get a cost-of-living increase every January starting with January 1, 2024 (listen here at minute 47:00: https://dds.dc.gov/node/1654616). I have to admit though, that over recent weeks, with no new announcement and October around the corner, I’ve been getting apprehensive that all was not quite right.
Well, I was sort of wrong to worry…and sort of right. At the DD council’s meeting on September 21, Andy finally did announce the October 1 increase to $150, but the following day, on the DDS community call, he gave a little more detail, clarifying that the cost-of-living increases are not built into the budget and will require ongoing advocacy. In response to my direct question as to whether the January 1, 2024 cost-of-living increase would happen, he said no, no further increase until January 1, 2025 – and if I understood him correctly, even that will depend on advocacy to ensure the money is in the DDS budget for FY 2025. (Listen to the recording of last Friday’s forum, which will appear here - https://dds.dc.gov/node/1470236 - in a few days.) This means that advocates – INCLUDING YOU! – will need to turn out in force at next spring’s DC council hearings to make sure the mayor and councilmembers know that we want to see the personal needs allowance keep up with inflation from now on, going into the future!
On a couple of other topics:
- Earlier this year I blogged about issues with Medicaid renewal – if you continue to have questions about this, here is some up-to-date information from DC council chair Christina Henderson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyyr5g6wjKo (presentation by DHCF to ANC commissioners) and https://lims.dccouncil.gov/Hearings/hearings/93 (September 11 council hearing on Medicaid renewal).
- Also, remember the upcoming Latinx conference on September 30 (see my last blog post - https://www.DDinWDC.com/2023/09/fall-events.html - and https://dds.dc.gov/event/dc-latinx-conference-disabilities).
Carol Grigsby (she/her/hers) is a dedicated advocate, blogging since 2014 on issues affecting people with developmental disabilities in Washington, DC. I am the immediate past chair of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council and the parent of a young man receiving supports from DC’s Department on Disability Services. I strongly support statehood for DC, where I have lived since 1978, since without it no DC resident, disabled or non-disabled, will ever be fully empowered. Opinions in this blog are my own.