Wage increase on the horizon for DSPs

After months of working behind the scenes and advocating for the need for higher wages for Direct Support Professionals, Ohio has included an historic rate increase to assist with raising the average wage for that role in the 2024 state budget.

In case you’re not aware, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are people who work with individuals with disabilities, providing support in homes, in the community and even in the workplace. The majority of DSPs in Ohio’s developmentally disabilities service system are paid through Medicaid waivers. They may work as independent providers or work for one our agency partners. Not only does Shelby County Board of DD write the service plan, but we also pay for part of the cost of each of the waiver services.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, the average wage for DSPs across the state is required to be $18 per hour. That average wage will go up again in July 2024 to $19 per hour with the additional amount provided by local county boards of DD.

We believe that this historic increase in rates is a significant step in the right direction. We have all experienced the consequences of a labor shortage, but for the people we serve these consequences often mean so much more. It could mean that they have to go into a nursing home because there is no one to care for them at their apartment. It could mean that they might not have the support they need to attend the day program of their choice or keep their community job. Without quality DSPs, our support system just does not work.

I’d like to thank Gov. Dewine and Ohio’s legislators for recognizing the importance of this issue and helping to address it by including it in this budget.

If you or someone you know are interested in how to become a DSP, the Shelby County Board of DD can help with that! We offer support and free training and are here to help. Please call 937-497-8155 and ask for Amy Hubbard, Provider Support coordinator.

For more information about our lifetime of services, please visit our website at www.shelbydd.org and make sure to follow us on social media.

The writer is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.