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 help individuals with disabilities achieve a greater degree of independence than they could on their own. These workers assist their care-recipients with a wide variety of daily tasks in their own homes, allowing them to avoid unnecessary, expensive hospitalization or institutionalization.
Community attendants are the key to making cost-effective community services successful for approximately 150,000 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.
According to our calculations, raising the floor wage of the lowest paid community attendants to $10 per hour, still without benefits, would have required $480 million from General Revenue in the State Budget (2015).
- Join CTD's Community Attendants, Independent Living, and Community Services Action Groups to stay informed about ways to help raise attendant wages throughout the 84th Legislature.
- CTD's 1-pager: Crisis in Community Care
- CTD's Feb 2015 newsletter on Attendant Wages
- CTD's May/June 2014 newsletter on Community Attendants
- Guest Blog: Independent Living Rick Frame
- Guest Blog: Personal Attendant Advocacy Cathy Cranston (ADAPT, PACT)
- Opinion: Borel: Overlooked for years, public heath program faces collapse