Murt Testifies for Increased Funding to Reduce the Waiting List for Special Needs Services
Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) today testified before the House Appropriations Committee to urge the state to adopt a budget that improves funding for individuals with special needs.
Specifically, Murt wants to reduce the waiting list for services.
“Individuals on the emergency waiting list live in a heightened crisis situation on a daily basis without access to the support they need,” Murt said. “Many of these adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities live with their parents.”
As of December 2016, the total number of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities waiting on services was 13,420, with 4,594 in emergency need of services.
“In many of these families, the parents are well into their eighties and some are even into their nineties,” Murt said. “These parents, who are caregivers to an adult child with special-needs, are often struggling with their own health and age-related issues. The adult child, for whom they care, who has an intellectual or developmental disability, might be 60 or 65 years old. In addition to their disability or disabilities, the adult child is also, frequently struggling from age-related issues.”
Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed a $26.2 million increase for new Community Living waivers to service 1,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities on the waiting list and 820 Person/Family Directed Waivers for recent high school graduates.
The increased waiting list funding is part of the overall $195.9 million increase to provide home and community-based services to more than 55,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, including residential and transportation support.
“Unfortunately, the governor’s suggested allocation only has the potential to reduce the waiting list by 8 percent,” Murt said.
Murt continued, “Believe me, the disabled community appreciates the current effort, but as you can see, we have significant work still needing to be done for these most vulnerable citizens of our great Commonwealth. We also need assurances from the Department of Human Services that this funding will be utilized for new individuals coming off the waiting list in 2017-18, and not to fund prior year needs.”
Murt also testified in favor of increased funding to make expand vocational training for those with special needs, and to increase services and help to those suffering with Tourette Syndrome.
“The Pennsylvania Tourette Syndrome Association is out there fighting for these families and is deserving of our support,” Murt said. “A modest level-funding at $150,000 is deserved and warranted, and is an investment rather than an expenditure.”
Representative Thomas P. Murt
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster