MRCI WorkSource officials are concerned that the state is putting even more stress on an already-complex and underfunded disability service system in Minnesota, with service providers facing at funding cut this summer if legislation isn’t passed to reverse it.
The organization provides employment services for people with disabilities, and MRCI Chief Operations Officer Melinda Wedzina said the cut would not only affect them but many others that help the disabled. “It also affects residential providers, so all of the providers who help individuals live in apartments and in homes, it does affect them and some home care based services as well,” she said. “Anybody who receives reimbursement through the disability waiver rate system would be affected by this.”
Wedzina said a House bill led by Rep. Joe Schomacker and Senate bill authored by Sen. Paul Utke would alleviate the problem, “And what this bill is doing is restoring a seven percent cut in dollars for individual service rates for the disabled across the state.”
Best Life Alliance is a statewide coalition of people with disabilities, their families and providers of home and community-based services and Wedzina said they’ve launched a grass-roots effort the spread the word about the importance of passing the legislation, “And they are the ones who put forward the legislation and who have been helping organizations like us provide the voice across the state.”
A funding cut like this, Wedzina said, “Just isn’t setting the state in the right direction for helping people with disabilities achieve what they want to achieve individually and independently in their communities.”
A group of more than 1,000 rallied at the Capitol in March to draw attention to this situation, and officials say it was an excellent opportunity to help state leaders meet and hear stories from the people who will be affected by these cuts.