5% Campaign is aiming to support caregivers

Published 2:22 pm Saturday, October 12, 2013

The 5 Percent Campaign is committed to making life in the community the first and best option for people with disabilities and older Minnesotans, as well as families, workers and our state. A decade of deep cuts and stagnation has produced significant challenges. A 5 percent increase to community-based services is critical to Minnesota.

Increase improves lives

•Community-based services provide people with disabilities and older adults an opportunity to be more independent in the community and build strong relationships.

•Services that support people with disabilities to develop strong job skills and gain professional experience provide greater opportunity to gain employment.

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•Services allow individuals with disabilities and their families to create the lives they choose.

•Community living is a priority for Minnesota. In 2000, 55 percent of individuals were served by community-based services and 45 percent in a facility. By 2014, 83 percent will be served by community-based services while 17 percent will be served in a facility.

Increase values caregivers’ work

•DSPs and caregivers are the backbone of the field; retaining consistent, trusted staff is crucial to quality care.

•Despite performing such valuable, demanding and crucial work, the average DSP and Caregiver wage is still near the Federal poverty line, receiving poverty pay for professional work.

•DSPs and Caregivers perform many critical roles: counselor, medical and mental health personnel, advocate, translator, chauffeur, and many more.

•In 2013, the average hourly wage is $11.55, and the yearly earnings exceed the Federal Poverty Guideline by only $500 for a family of four. The median wage for direct care decreased 5 percent from 2002-2012, while inflation increased 28 percent over the same period.

Stronger economy

•DSPs, Caregivers and their employers are significant economic engines in Minnesota. Pay increases will support local economies as they are able to purchase more goods in the community.

•Community-based services, as opposed to institutional care, result in long-term cost savings for the state. Further investments in reform and innovation will generate even greater savings.

•People staying in the community allows individuals to hold jobs, purchase goods and pay taxes.

•The most recent complete data shows roughly 112,620 jobs in Minnesota provide direct care services.

•By utilizing community-based services, the state saves significantly each month; an average of $1,000 per person on services for people with developmental disabilities; about $24,500 per person on services for those with high mental health needs; and $2,600 per person when serving older Minnesotans in their community.

Ensuring the future

•The growing number of people with disabilities and older Minnesotans fuels the demand for quality direct care professionals.

•Low wages lead to higher staff turnover, creating more stress, less stability and lower quality care.

•Stagnant funding limits providers’ ability to explore new and innovative ways to support individuals.

•The number of people receiving disability services is expected to increase to 82,851 in 2017 — up from just 24,433 in 2005. The number of older Minnesotans receiving services is expected to rise to 26,408 – up from 17,713 in 2005.

For more information, please contact: Steve Larson at stevel@arcmn.org or www.facebook.com/5PercentCampaign.