During this year’s session, we had some wins with getting an additional 500 waivers added to the Georgia state budget and we also are dealing with specific “disregard language” around Georgia’s Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) rate study. Disregarding language means Georgia cannot continue the process of increasing the rate. This was a critical need for DSPs. Currently, some DSPs get paid as low as $9.00 an hour to help people who have disabilities be out in the community.
This rate study would have brought it up to $15.18 an hour. This year’s summer advocacy will be focused on educating legislators around why this is such a critical need in Georgia. Georgia’s state legislators are only in session January through April of each year, which gives us a great opportunity to advocate around this issue. When you are reaching out to your legislator, make sure you tell them that you are a constituent in their district. If you do not know who your representative is, you can always look up your legislator on openstates.org. On this site, you will be able to find out who your state and federal representatives are. This will be a good resource for any advocate looking to get to know their state and federal officials. Every time you reach out to your elected official it gives you the opportunity to advocate for your community and state.
Even though it is summer, GCDD and our advocates are not letting up on our advocacy. We are preparing to start our summer visits with key legislators’ visits and also preparing to host a few virtual advocacy training sessions. These trainings, which are to be determined, are going to be designed to get advocates prepared to meet with their legislators around the critical need to push the Direct Support Rate Increase forward.
Without this increase, people with developmental disabilities will not be able to be out in the community and be able to be as independent as possible. We are asking all of our community members to reach out to their state senators and representatives and impress and advocate the importance of the need for this rate study.
If you need help or just want some help preparing for this movement, our organization is here for you, and we are happy to help in any way we can. We are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you at our community trainings and eventually at the state capitol fighting for our rights.
For information about the community training dates, visit gcdd.org.