Developmental Disability Day in Annapolis: Advocates Vital Update

by Jay and Melissa Silverman

 Self-Advocate Melissa Silverman and Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D, district 11)

Self-Advocate Melissa Silverman and Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D, district 11)

Eight hundred attended the Developmental Disability Day in Annapolis on February 22, 2018.  This was the largest group to attend DD Day and the largest coalition of any group to ascend Annapolis this year.  Included in the group were CDSPG’s Jay and Melissa Silverman.

Governor Hogan’s proposed FY19 budget includes a 1% rate increase for developmental disability services, rather than the 3.5% mandated by the Minimum Wage act of 2014.  That means that while the State minimum wage rate will increase by $0.85 on July 1, 2018, the reimbursement rate for direct support staff will actually decrease by $0.02.  Melissa explained to her senator and delegates that, “It is hard to find and keep good job coaches.”  Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D, district 11) spoke at the opening meeting before the 800 participants headed to meet their legislators.         

 Del. Hettleman along with Sen. Rich Madaleno (D, district 18 Montgomery Co) are the lead sponsors of HB664/SB543, the only minimum wage bill to address the critical need for funding for DD services.                   

Another issue we asked our representatives to support was the SB550/HB782 Death of a Designated Beneficiary for the ABLE ACT.  As of now, the remaining funds of an ABLE account will be given to the State on the death of the individual.  This bill will allow the beneficiary of the account to designate where the remaining funds should be distributed.

The governor’s budget does include funds for the 165 people on the State’s Waiting List in the Crisis Resolution category and for the 613 youth who are graduating this year for employment and day services.  We encouraged our representatives to support these budget issues.