An argument for change: Balancing the state budget on people with disabilities

Over the past decade, disability services bore a significant burden when balancing the budget; hundreds of millions of dollars were […]

Over the past decade, disability services bore a significant burden when balancing the budget; hundreds of millions of dollars were cut from these services or fees for those services were increased. Here are a few examples from the past five years:

 

Cuts in 2011

• Funding for disability services was cut by 1.5% in 2012 and another 1.5% in 2013. An additional 1.67% cut is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2013 and will last until the end of this year.

• Wages were cut by 20% for personal care attendants (PCAs) who support their family members with disabilities. This cut was later overturned in a legal challenge by PCAs, their family members and providers.

 

Higher Fees in 2011

• The fees that some Minnesota families pay for the services to keep their children at home or in the communitywere raised, when Minnesotans as a whole were not asked to contribute more in taxes.

 

Cuts in 2009

• Funding was cut by 2.58% for services that help people with disabilities live in the community and become more independent.

• More than 900 homes for people with disabilities received an additional cut. These homes previously received extra funding to meet the higher needs of their residents.

• The number of PCA hours that a person with disabilities could receive each month was reduced.

• Cuts were made to dental care and to occupational, speech, and physical therapies. Disability advocates have

only been able to restore a portion of these cuts.

• Funding for new community services for people with disabilities was scaled back, resulting in longer waits by individuals and families for those services.

• The amount of spending money for people with disabilities to cover clothing, hygiene items, transportation and other needs (called the Personal Needs Allowance) was cut by 26% for 10,000 people with disabilities and by 10% for 6,000 others.

• The Renter’s Credit saw $51 million less funding. This provides tax relief to low- and moderate- income Minnesotans, including people with disabilities.

 

Cuts in 2008

• Programs that help people with disabilities learn independent living skills and that help families with special expenses incurred when raising their child with disabilities were cut 1.8%

• Funding for new community services for people with disabilities was scaled back, meaning $68 million less for those programs and longer waits for those needing those services.

 

Double your impact - support quality journalism - give nonprofit, give now