Last month, Governor DeSantis signed Florida’s Freedom First Budget to continue his commitment to helping individuals with developmental disabilities. For the first time ever, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) will have a record high budget totaling over $2 billion for Fiscal Year 2022-23, providing record provider rate increases to give Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) the raises they have earned.
Included in the APD budget are provider rate increases for critically needed DSPs. The rate increases, which are to be effective July 1, are appropriated to increase wages to at least $15 an hour, beginning October 1.
Providers will see substantial rate increases including:
- 73 percent for Companion services;
- 45 percent for Respite services;
- 41 percent for Personal Supports services;
- 25 percent for Residential Habilitation services; and
- 23 percent for Adult Day Training services.
- Additionally, effective July 1, rates for Behavioral Services will closely align with Medicaid State Plan.
APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “APD is excited to announce these record high rates for our vital service providers. We appreciate Governor DeSantis’ commitment in supporting people with disabilities and their service providers. These rate increases for our valued Direct Support Professionals will help them with the recent increases in the cost of living and reward them for their excellent care to Floridians with disabilities.”
The Arc of Florida CEO Alan Abramowitz said, “This rate increase recognizes the selfless workforce dedicated to serving individuals with diverse disabilities. The Arc of Florida is honored to advocate for people with disabilities and thrilled to have the incredible support of Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature. Our focus now will be on ensuring people looking for work know that The Arc is a wonderful place to have a career where they can make a difference.”
Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities President and CEO Tyler Sununu said, “This historic investment could not have come at a more critical time in the lives of our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). When the Legislature went into session in January, the cost of gas and everyday goods were on the rise. We are grateful for the foresight of the Administration and Legislature to work towards staying ahead of inflation by bringing our (DSPs), who spend their days giving themselves as a blessing to others, up to at least $15 per hour.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 58,000 Floridians with severe forms of autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).