Governor Scott Announces $36 Million For APD Waiting List
Funding Would Provide Support Services to Additional 750 Individuals with Disabilities
ORLANDO – Today, Governor Rick Scott visited an Orlando Adult Day Training program to share his proposed 2013-2014 budget, Florida Families First, which provides $36 million in much needed funding to people on the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) waiver waiting list.
Governor Rick Scott said, “We’ve worked to grow jobs and opportunities for Florida Families and ‘It’s Working.’ For the Sunshine State to have a brighter future, we must provide job opportunities for everyone to succeed – and that’s why our budget puts Florida families first and invests $36 million to provide critical services to individuals with disabilities. With this investment, hundreds of families will receive services to improve their quality of life, and provide their loved ones with greater skills so they can find a job.”
Governor Scott was surrounded by advocates and stakeholders for people with disabilities as he spelled out how this additional funding will benefit individuals who have been waiting for community services.
More than 22,000 people are on the APD waiting list. The $36 million increase will allow individuals on the waiting list to enroll in the APD Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver so they will receive services in their local communities. Those with the most critical needs will benefit from this new funding. This new funding is part of the $1.1 billion budget being proposed for APD in the coming year.
Governor Scott’s budget proposal also includes $2.5 million to assist people on the waiver waiting list who have indicated that they want to go to work. The funding will pay for job internships and supported employment job coaches for about 1,000 people with developmental disabilities.
APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “We greatly appreciate Governor Scott’s support of our work to improve the agency. We have been meeting with families and stakeholders to determine the best approach to begin serving people on our waiting list. We hope the legislature will also see the importance of this critical funding for the agency. The additional money for employment opportunities will help individuals to become self-sufficient, enhance their quality of life, and benefit their families and Florida’s economy.”
DSI Management, LLC, President and Chief Executive officer Terry Bangs said, “We are thrilled that Governor Scott has recommended $36 million in additional funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities budget. This is the first time in eight years that additional funds will go to serve the waiting list, and it means that about 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities will receive the services they need to improve their quality of life. We are also pleased the Governor has recommended an additional $2.5 million to assist individuals on the waiting list to achieve their employment goals. Overall, this is a positive budget for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.”
Many families attended today’s announcement including those who have someone waiting to enroll in the waiver and those who are currently receiving community services. Leaders of organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities unanimously praised the Governor’s budget proposal.
Robert Halliburton, who at 55 years old landed his first job said, “I was so excited that through the Discovery Program with Vocational Rehabilitation and my job coach with Bishop Grady Villas they believed in me and helped me find a job. Now, with this money that the Governor is recommending for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities so many more people with disabilities will get off the waiting list and be given a chance to work and enjoy life just like me.”
Orlando Area Family Care Council Chairperson Donna Rauber cares for her sister, Amelia Rauber, who is almost 70 years old. Donna Rauber said, “The proposed governor’s budget would assist individuals currently waiting for services. The budget increase would allow individuals to obtain a better quality of living, learning, and working in their communities.”
Phil Pearson, past chairperson of the Family Care Council Florida said, “We all have worked very hard to raise the waiting list issue to the point where it is receiving the attention it deserves. APD’s Director Barbara Palmer took on the waiting list personally and made it her issue. Thank you, Governor Scott and Director Palmer. What a great day for Florida’s disability community.”
“We are truly thrilled to hear this great news and offer our heartfelt thanks to Governor Scott. The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities applauds Governor Scott’s decision to step forward and meet the needs of Floridians with developmental disabilities. The addition of funding to enroll individuals on the developmental disabilities Medicaid waiver will greatly enhance the lives of these people and those who provide for their daily needs. Additionally, providing supported employment services for another 1,000 individuals means these individuals have the opportunity to achieve their employment goals for the first time in their lives,” said Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Executive Director Suzanne Sewell.