By Erin Vallely, ATI Advocacy Specialist

January 25, 2022



Each year, the New York State government works together to create a statewide spending plan that meets many different needs. The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) picks a few important disability issues that they want to see in the state’s spending budget. Independent Living Centers, like ATI, then meet with local government representatives to educate them on these issues. This year’s meetings will take place during February. We are looking for some self-advocates to join us and would like you to attend the meetings with us via Zoom!  

Disability Budget Priorities 

  1. Increase funding for Independent Living Centers: Independent living centers (ILCs) like Access to Independence help people navigate education, employment, housing, transportation, and other living needs. ILCs have been severely underfunded for about 20 years while the cost of providing services has increased dramatically. With increased funding, ILCs can offer more services. 

  2. Increase wages for home care workers: Many disabled and ill people who need aide services to help them live independently cannot find enough people to help them. The lack of home care staff is primarily due to low pay. By including The Fair Pay for Home Care Act in the state budget, home care aides wages would increase. Better pay will help people afford to stay in home care jobs.  

  3. Improve Medicaid eligibility requirements: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made it easier for some individuals to qualify for Medicaid. Currently, people under the age of 65 can earn up to $1,482 a month and qualify for Medicaid. However, seniors and disabled people only qualify if their income is at or below $884 a month. New York needs to adjust the requirements so they are the same for everyone. 

  4. Reverse Medicaid cuts for community-based long-term services and supports (LTSS): The Medicaid Redesign Team decreased access to services to save money. By making it harder for people to access the services they need to live in the community, people will be forced into nursing homes. New York must reverse these Medicaid cuts and improve eligibility requirements. 

  5. Increase the State’s funding for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program: The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) serves as an advocate and resource for people living in nursing facilities and other institutions. However, there are not enough ombudsmans to meet the needs of every patient. New York needs to spend more money on this program to hire more staff to meet needs. 

  6. Increase funding for Access to Home: Access to Home is a program that pays for home modifications for disabled and older New Yorkers so they can stay in their homes and out of costly institutions. However, funding is currently too low, and people cannot get the home modifications they need. By increasing funding for the program, more people will be able to keep living in the community.

Get Involved! 

If you would like to attend these meetings with government representatives, contact Erin Vallely at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up for training by February 9th! 

Space is limited and training is required prior to participation. Training will be held on February 11th.  You can also read the original budget priority request letter from NYAIL here.