March 8, 2013

Assembly Budget Proposal Restores $120 Million to Help
Protect New Yorkers with Developmental Disabilities

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Mental Health Committee Chair Aileen Gunther today announced that the Assembly's budget proposal would restore $120 million in critical funding to the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) for services provided by nonprofit organizations that serve individuals with developmental disabilities.

"As a society we must ensure that we protect the most vulnerable among us," said Silver. "These proposed cuts to programs that help individuals with disabilities would result in severe hardship and diminished services that would make it even more difficult for families and caregivers to obtain quality care for their loved ones. Through the restorations we are proposing today, we will ensure that New Yorkers with disabilities continue to receive the essential services they need."

The programs and services provided through non-profits under the auspices of OPWDD help improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities. These programs help to develop home, personal, behavioral, recreational and social skills to ensure greater independence in their day to day lives. In order to ensure these services are not compromised, the Assembly proposes to restore $120 million to mitigate the Governor's proposed six percent rate reduction to nonprofit providers.

"The nonprofit agencies providing services to the developmentally disabled and their families are an integral part of our communities and the state's economy," said Gunther. "These cuts would have a catastrophic effect, including the elimination of vital programs and thousands of lay-offs of direct-care workers. We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us, and I am proud that we are living up to that responsibility."