1. Ensure people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) receive vital services necessary to live and work in their communities by appropriating critical funding to the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Post-pandemic inflation, including rapidly increasing wages puts essential services for people with I/DD at risk. Without DSPs service providers can’t meet the needs of over 600 people on the wait list, many of whom are living in unsafe situations or the 16,000 that already receive Medicaid Waiver services.
Unlike the businesses experiencing workforce shortages in the private sector, I/DD service providers cannot raise their prices to offset the associated costs of recruiting and retaining employees because they are dependent on the rates set by the legislature.
Thankfully, the legislature has supported the provider rate system over the past two years after multiple decades of being neglected. Community service providers are extremely grateful for giving people with developmental disabilities the recent attention they deserve.
Now is the time to continue supporting the system so it does not revert to the previous crisis. Reimbursement rates for services for people with I/DD must be maintained at a rate high enough for providers to pay Direct Support Professionals an ongoing livable wage.
2. Strengthen employment services for individuals with disabilities by maximizing federal funding for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).
Funding the VR State Match with General Revenue is an investment that will draw down a 4-to-1 federal match, maximizing the effectiveness of our state resources. It will provide people with disabilities the opportunity to learn job skills and be integrated into the Missouri workforce.
3. Pass legislation to make Missouri an Employment First state.
Employment First is a movement to deliver competitive, integrated employment, fair wages, and career advancement for people with disabilities.
Making Missouri an Employment First state proves communities believe in the many abilities of people with disabilities.
4. Maintain Missouri’s property tax structure to ensure local tax levies may continue funding integrated community services for people with disabilities.