PRESS RELEASE FROM ASSEMBLYMAN JAMES SKOUFIS
Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) is optimistic over the announcement that a deal has been reached on legislation he sponsored to restore funding that was cut to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) as part of the 2013-14 state budget (A.6692-C).
“Since March, I have been advocating to restore this vital funding for OPWDD. I am thrilled to learn that a deal has been reached,” Assemblyman Skoufis said. “I was incredibly disheartened to see this funding cut from the final budget because it is critical that we ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities – the very neediest – have access to the services they depend on.”
Due to a dispute with the federal government earlier this year, New York State was ordered to pay back $1.1 billion in “overpayments” for services to individuals with developmental disabilities. Fortunately, through negotiations with the federal government, the state was able to reduce that “claw back” by more than half to $500 million and was allowed to spread out the burden so that OPWDD providers didn’t carry that financial burden alone.
This year’s state budget restored $30 million of $120 million in proposed cuts to OPWDD funding. However, this restoration was still well short of what is needed to provide services to this vulnerable population.
“Individuals who rely on services provided by OPWDD are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Assemblyman Skoufis said. “Restoring this funding will bring peace of mind to these individuals and ensure that they receive the best quality of care possible.”