Consumer News

 Message from Acting Commissioner Delaney about the 2015-2016 NYS Budget


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

With the recent enactment of the 2015-2016 State budget, we have some very good news to share about what we will be able to do this year to further our system transformation. Governor Cuomo’s leadership has ensured that our system will receive a 3.2 percent increase in this year’s budget for services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and I’d like to tell you a little more about how our funding will be used.

The budget provides $124 million to develop needed supports and services. These opportunities range from employment and day services to residential opportunities for people who need 24-hour services. Four million dollars of this funding will be specifically targeted to helping individuals living at home with caregivers who can no longer support them and need residential supports. To assist in our ongoing efforts to help individuals move from developmental centers and intermediate care facilities to more integrated homes in the community, the budget commits another $42 million to developing needed community services for these individuals.

OPWDD has also received $177 million from the federal Balancing Incentive Program which will be used to expand the availability of services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. This funding will allow us to make system-wide improvements to enhance our services and supports in the community. With this money, we are working with providers to support innovative practices ensuring that people can live and work in the community, supporting our system’s transition to managed care, and enhancing the delivery system through the use of technology and data.

Recognizing that access to and availability of transportation is a significant obstacle to ensuring community living, the budget gives OPWDD the resources to examine and recommend improvements to transportation services so that individuals can live in the most integrated settings possible and have access to work and other activities in their communities.

To ensure that you are aware of our transformation progress, OPWDD will issue reports on future housing and service needs, recommendations of the Transformation Panel, Front Door process improvements, review of our residential registration list and efforts to assist individuals in their transition from sheltered workshops.

Finally, the budget also provides resources to support a salary increase for direct care, support, and clinical staff of non-profit agencies which follows on the heels of another increase provided in last year’s budget that went into effect in early 2015.

I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and his support of individuals with developmental disabilities, and I look forward to working with you as we continue to transform, restructure, and enhance our service delivery system.


Kerry A. Delaney

P.S. Communication is critical to our collective success, and OPWDD’s Facebook page is a great place for individuals, family members, employees, advocates, and other stakeholders to exchange thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to join the conversation.


News Release: Social Security Announces New Conditions for Compassionate Allowances Program

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 52 new Compassionate Allowances conditions, primarily involving neurological disorders, cancers and rare diseases.  The Compassionate Allowances program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years.  Commissioner Astrue made the announcement during his remarks at the World Orphan Drug Congress near Washington, D.C. Read more here