Lawmakers Looking to Find More Dollars for Direct Caregivers

Senate President Steve Sweeney is determined to find at least $20 million more to pay healthcare workers who provide critical daily assistance to disabled individuals in New Jersey as part of the ongoing budget negotiations between the state Legislature and the Murphy administration.

Sweeney (D-Gloucester) told NJ Spotlight that increasing the Medicaid reimbursement for these nonclinical direct-support professionals, or DSPs, is a priority for him and other lawmakers, given the important work they do in homes, schools, and workplaces for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Pay for these jobs starts at $10.50 an hour; New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.60.

The Senate president led the fight during last year’s budget battle to include $20 million in the current state spending plan, which functioned as a one-time bonus. He said he would “fight to make sure” it is also included in the budget for the coming fiscal year, which must be adopted by the end of June.

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