Community Attendants

Community Attendant icon. Two simplified figures hover in front of a house.

Our Position

CTD believes recruitment and retention of this crucial workforce is at high risk due to an extremely low base wage, no benefits, increasing demand, and alternative employers paying much higher wages.

We recommend an increase in the base wage to $10.50 in 2018 and $13.00 in 2019. The cost is $1.25 billion in General Revenue (GR).

The Latest

The Governor released his budget proposal, which included $60 million to increase the current $8 hourly floor wage for community attendants. Without other details, we estimate this will equate to a 35-cent bump in the attendants' hourly pay. (Feb. 6, 2017)

Line item funding for a 50¢ raise for the lowest paid community attendants has been dropped from HHSC's budget entirely. (Jan. 30, 2017)

Pres. Trump signed an executive order Friday (Jan. 20) to weaken the Affordable Care ActThere is a lot of uncertainty about, among other things, what will happen to ACA programs like Community First Choice (which expands funding for attendant wages). We're watching this closely (Jan. 23, 2017).

CTD report is available now: Crushing the Workforce: Poverty Wages Undermine the Availability of Critical In-home Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities in Texas. (Jan. 12, 2017)

Inexplicably, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has requested an Exceptional Item funding less than the agency proposed in 2015. In 2015, HHSC proposed a base wage of $8.86, lowering the request to $8.50 this year. (Jan. 9, 2017)

Background

After decades of advocacy and changing attitudes, people with disabilities and seniors are better able than ever to be active in their communities and contribute to society. Part of this progress is due to community attendants, who assist their care-recipients with a wide variety of daily tasks in their own homes, allowing them to avoid unnecessary, expensive hospitalization or institutionalization.

Sisyphus graphic. A human figure (labeled $8.00/hr) pushes a boulder (labeled 178,000 Texans) up a hill. The top of the hill reads Cost-effective community services and the bottom reads institutions. Community attendants are the key to making cost-effective community services successful for approximately 178,000 individuals with disabilities and seniors in Texas, but our state is one of the worst in the country when it comes to supporting them. Thanks in part to advocacy efforts by CTD and our partners, the lowest paid attendants will make $8.00 per hour in 2016, up from $7.86 in 2015 and $7.25 in 2013. While this increase is a step in the right direction, it's not a livable wage. Plus, these workers receive no sick leave, no paid vacation, and no health insurance. This creates a shortage of attendants and makes it hard for individuals with disabilities and seniors to find the good and reliable help that they need.

A modest wage increase will improve reliability and care which correlates to better health, less acute care, fewer ER visits, and fewer unnecessary institutionalizations.


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Further Reading

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