Thiele Working To Restore Funding To State Office For People With Developmental Disabilities

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A bill that seeks to restore up to $90 million to the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) was recently approved by both the State Assembly and Senate. The bill, which was cosponsored by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., must now be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“OPWDD-funded not-for-profits provide life-changing services for those with developmental disabilities, helping them get the care and compassion they need to live a quality life,” Mr. Thiele said in a prepared statement. “Restoring the funding for these OPWDD services is vital and it’s something I won’t stop fighting for.”

Due to a dispute with the federal government earlier this year, Albany was ordered to pay back $1.1 billion in overpayments for services to individuals with developmental disabilities. The state, through negotiations, was able to reduce that figure by more than half, to $500 million.

The state budget only restored $30 million of $120 million in proposed cuts to the OPWDD this year, according to Mr. Thiele. He added that Albany still needs to do more to restore services for those with disabilities, citing the legislation to restore the additional funding.

“We’re approaching this problem head-on, because no one wants to see cuts in services,” he said. “Individuals with developmental disabilities and their families need these services—their quality of life literally depends on it.”

George Wambold

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