Minnesota Organization for
Habilitation & Rehabilitation
2022 Legislative Agenda
MOHR’s legislative efforts at the MN State Capitol are based on the core belief that Minnesotans with disabilities living in every part of the state should have access to high-quality employment supports and other day enrichment services.
As the MN 2022 Legislative Session unfolds, Minnesota is in the midst of an extreme shortage of workers available to provide the hands-on support necessary to support Minnesotans with disabilities to live full lives. Organizations that provide employment and day services supports to Minnesotans with disabilities are, like so many other service providers, struggling greatly to attract and retain staff to provide these supports.
In a recent survey of MOHR members, service providers reported more than 3,500 people on our waiting lists to access services. These are Minnesotans with disabilities wishing to access services for the first time or return post-COVID to employment or day supports, and these services will not be available until we make progress addressing the workforce crisis. The most alarming impact of this current lack of access to employment and other day time supports for Minnesotans with disabilities is the negative impact on the wellbeing and mental health of the individuals seeking these services. As we know from our own lives, having purpose and meaning in our day, with the ability to interact with others who we don’t live with, is an essential component of quality of life.
If we as a state value Minnesotans with disabilities living full and meaningful lives, our state set reimbursement rates have to allow for the level of wages and benefits needed to recruit and retain the staff supports necessary to make this possible.
This Best Life Alliance legislation is aimed at long-term workforce sustainability. The bill proposes adjustments to the Disability Waiver Rate System, a key driver of disability waiver services wages and benefits. The proposed adjustments focus on using more current economic data for updates to reimbursement rates. Currently these updates are based on data that is outdated by multiple years.
This legislation is aimed at short-term immediate steps the state can take to help stabilize the disability waiver services workforce. The bill proposes various time-limited benefits to be offered to staff, including employee scholarship grants, childcare relief grants, and one time retention payments for staff.
This legislation is aimed at increasing access to a specific and important service named Employment Exploration. This service is the first step for Minnesotans with disabilities interested in exploring competitive community-based work. The bill proposes aligning the wage data used to formulate the rate for this service with the wage data for services using similar staff types.