300 West Virginians with disabilities to lose jobs‏

Updated 4 years ago Edited from a Press Release

Recently, West Virginia Bureau of Medical Services officials announced a policy change that will hurt people with disabilities.  BMS announced that it will no longer support staff for severely disabled waiver members working at community rehabilitation programs.  The West Virginia Association for Disability Employment is alarmed that this policy will result in nearly 300 workers with disabilities becoming unemployed.

The West Virginia Association for Disability Employment conducted an analysis of the damage that will be done by this directive, and it appears nearly 300 people with severe disabilities will be displaced from paying jobs.  Leaders from CRPs have expressed alarm that this policy will cause a financial hardship resulting in lay-offs for workers with severe disabilities. 

West Virginia leads the nation in unemployed adults with disabilities and this policy error will move us in the wrong direction.  Workers who rely on Medicaid IDD Waiver need extensive supports, and many will require lifetime behavioral supports.  Working gives them the dignity of a paycheck and the opportunity to have their own money. 

This decision will not save any money for the State.  The beneficiaries will still need caregivers; all that is taken away is their opportunity to earn money.

“This is an administrative interpretation and is not supported by any law or regulation.” said Craig Greening, President of WVADE.  He continued, “BMS administrators may not have fully understood the magnitude of this decision and the number of people affected.”

WVADE conducted a survey of nearby states to see if any of them restrict the ability of people with disabilities to work while being helped by Medicaid and none do anything similar.   The initiative of BMS appears to be a misguided approach to save money, but it will do nothing to reduce the reliance of beneficiaries; it only takes away employment at a community-based rehabilitation program as an option.

 

On behalf of workers with disabilities and their families, it is WVADE’s profound hope that the impact of the BMS decision will be re-considered and the policy withdrawn.

 

About West Virginia Association for Disability Employment:    WVADE is an association of community based organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities find and hold on to good jobs in the Mountain State.  Through its programs, WVADE provides education, training, and resources to promote the employment of people with disabilities.  Through advocacy, WVADE speaks with one voice on behalf of workers with disabilities and community rehabilitation programs to policy makers and state agencies in Charleston.    www.wvade.org