legislative hall in dover delaware
Disability advocates call for pay raise for adult care providers

Gov. Carney’s recommended budget would add $2 million to the amount the state reimburses health care companies through Medicaid, but advocates are saying this is not enough to meaningfully increase direct support providers’ (DSP) wages. The McNesby Act, signed into law in 2018, calls for the state to spend more than $40 million more per year to ensure DSP wages are at full “market rate,” but the legislation includes the caveat “subject to available funding.”

A person's hand holds a can while the other takes the hand of a helper
For older people who stay in their homes, help is needed but is often inadequate

A Johns Hopkins University study indicates a substantial number of seniors who are “aging in place” – continuing to live at home rather than move to an assisted living facility – have difficulty performing essential daily activities, including dressing, getting into and out of bed and using the toilet. Advocates of aging in place say that encouraging families to create a plan for their elderly relatives to age in place is essential. They also suggests increasing Medicare spending on home- and community-based long-term supports and services, including personal attendants and home modifications.

Sonya Lawrence and her son Xavier
Parents of visually impaired kids voice frustration over recommended FY2020 budget

At least one Delaware parent whose son, a fifth grader with a visual impairment, testified before the Joint Finance Committee during budget hearings for the Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI), says the state budget significantly underfunds education for the almost 300 students receiving services through DVI. Citing the lack of support her son receives in school, she says she will be sending him to Philadelphia for middle school.

Michael McNesby addressing the public with a microphone
State must raise pay for adult caregivers, advocates say

Officials from the Delaware Department of Developmental Disabilities Services testified to the Joint Finance Committee that, while the state was providing slightly more money for direct support professionals’ (DSP) wages under last year’s Michael McNesby Act, the increase was not sufficient to hire and retain enough employees. Gov. Carney’s budget includes $2 million for DSP wages, while fully satisfying the McNesby Act would cost $40 million.

Female colleagues exchange a greeting, one is in a wheelchair
[OP-ED] Why no one talks about the high unemployment rate among women with disabilities

The author highlights statistics that indicate women with disabilities are at greater risk of unemployment than women without disabilities and men with disabilities, which she attributes to “double discrimination” – when an individual’s identity forces them to fight against two separate social stigmas. She calls for feminist activists to include women with disabilities in their advocacy for equal pay and other rights.