Time To Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now Urges State Leaders to Dedicate Emergency Funds To Address Workforce Crisis Among IDD Service Providers by Raising Their Wage From $10.60 to $15 an Hour

March 25, 2024

AUSTIN, TX – Today, a new coalition of organizations from across the State of Texas launched a new campaign calling on the Texas Legislature to increase the average pay for direct support professionals (DSPs) caring for Texans with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). The coalition, Time To Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now is comprised of private sector and non-profit advocates working together to secure emergency funding and fight for competitive wages for DSPs. DSPs continue to be underfunded, resulting in a lack of quality of care for people with IDD and group home closures for individuals that need them most. 

The coalition is urging state leaders to authorize an emergency appropriations request through the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to raise the salary for community-based DSPs from $10.60 to $15/hour.

“The workforce crisis facing those who care for Texans with intellectual or developmental disabilities is undeniable and requires urgent action to ensure we do not leave the most vulnerable Texans behind,” said Sandy Batton, Executive Director of the coalition. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now in order to get the IDD service provider community through to next year. It is incumbent upon our state’s leadership to demonstrate that Texas has the capacity to support people who cannot support themselves.

Facts about Texans with IDD and the DSPs who care for them:

  • More than 500,000 Texas children and adults have IDD.
  • As of 2023, more than 40,000 Texans with IDD were receiving Medicaid services in a Medicaid waiver or Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), with around 15,000 living in a group home.
  • DSPs at community-based providers outside of state supported living centers (SSLC) have received a rate increase of less than 9% over the past 13 years.
  • In the 88th Legislative Session lawmakers increased the minimum wage from $8.11/hour to $10.60/hour for community-based DSPs.
  • Over the same 13-year period, legislators have increased payment rates for similar workers in SSLCs by over 100% – with the current starting salary at $17.50/hour.
  • Meanwhile, in the past 13 years, the U.S. dollar has inflated a cumulative 37.96%.

The allocation of $10.60/hour for community-based DSPs is nowhere near the allocation necessary to retain the workforce needed to sustain these critical services for Texans with IDD.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s updated Certification Revenue Estimate estimates an $18 billion surplus by the end of the FY24-25 budget cycle. This is encouraging news to the IDD community and the DSPs serving them, as it makes clear that Texas has the resources necessary to demonstrate its commitment to caring for the most vulnerable among us.

“The revelation of a surplus budget serves as a beacon of hope for the IDD community and the dedicated DSPs who serve them,” the coalition members wrote in a letter to state leadership. “It underscores Texas’s capacity to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable members of our society. Ultimately, our collective actions in safeguarding the well-being of the IDD community reflect our state’s values and moral compass.”

To read the full letter, please click here.

To read more about the Time To Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now coalition and access testimonials from advocates, family members, and care providers, please click here.