Advocacy News

Advocate for Action

LIFEPlan members with intellectual and development disabilities and their families rely on Medicaid to receive the supports and services they need. LIFEPlan is actively working to improve and enhance how individuals with disabilities receive these services by advocating on their behalf. Here we will help members understand the key issues, share opportunities to engage with elected officials, and get involved in the committees we have available.  

Learn more about these new opportunities for members and families below.

Self-Advocacy Committee

Your Voice Matters

The MFA Council Self-Advocacy Committee will establish a supportive community for LIFEPlan members who have the motivation and passion for developing new skills that can lead to strong advocacy and leadership opportunities for themselves and their peers.

What to Expect:

  • Join quarterly virtual meetings with other LIFEPlan self-advocates 
  • Become a member of the SANYS Chapter in your Region 
  • Participate in a virtual self-advocacy training program 

Led by Member Relations Manager Tara Klein and Regional Liaison Kevin Carman
For more information, contact Tara at or 914-295-0415

Learn more here.

MFA Council Advocacy Activity

Advocacy Committee Mission

The purpose of the 2022 MFA Council Advocacy Committee is to identify, define, advocate for, and educate LIFEPlan members on the systemic challenges and opportunities within the LIFEPlan disabilities community. 

Advocacy Goals

  • Identify the key barriers to accessing services and improve quality of life for LIFEPlan members. 
  • Work collaboratively with legislators on bills that impact LIFEPlan members. 
  • Work collaboratively with OPWDD, LIFEPlan and Care Management to effect positive change. 
  • Educate members on the Art of Advocacy. 

Led by Regional Liaisons Shailene Fellows and Becky Mcdermott, and MFA Council Members from each region.

NYS Legislative Activity

Fair Pay for Home Care Act

Home care wages have been stagnant in New York for over a decade. Where aides could once expect to earn 150 percent of New York’s minimum wage in 2006, today they can count on minimum wage or just above it — less than what many fast food and retail workers now make. And the sector has been bleeding workers as a result.

Gov. Kathy Hochul committed in her first State of the State last week to combat historic staffing shortages across the health care industry by investing $4 billion in wages and bonuses. But home care recipients like Johnston say they were disappointed to learn the aides they rely on every day may not be included in the plan. Read More. 

Event Schedules

Join the upcoming Senate and Assembly hearings on budget and mental hygiene. For full schedules of both, click below.

Budget Hearing
Public Hearing: Mental Hygiene

OPWDD Activity

5.07 Plan in Plain Language

Section 5.07 of New York State Mental Hygiene Law requires OPWDD to make a five-year plan for providing services. This plan sets goals for improving supports and services.

OPWDD’s  5.07 Plan names the following goals-

1. Support people in the most person-centered ways
2. Strengthen the workforce and OPWDD
3. Improve the service system across the state

The specifics of these goals and how OPWDD will be reporting on the plan and progress are included below.

2022-2023 NYS Budget Summary

On Tuesday, January 18th, Governor Hochul announced her proposed NYS budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023. The proposed budget outlined several key initiatives relative to OPWDD. The final NYS budget will be based on negotiations with the Senate and the Assembly.  Overall, the proposed budget addresses a number of issues identified by system advocates and enhances funding for all programs.

According to LIFEPlan CEO, Nick Cappoletti,

That’s good news for all of us. While we wait for these important decisions. 

New Acting NYS Commissioner

OPWDD has appointed Kerri Neifeld as Acting Commissioner. In the Commissioners End of Year Message, she stated,

We have a great opportunity to turn things around as we enter the new year. A majority of OPWDD’s share of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding from the federal government has been earmarked to help stabilize the not-for-profit direct support workforce. Incentives and bonuses are expected to be paid in the early part of 2022. And OPWDD will continue to advocate for a more permanent wage increase for this essential workforce within the New York State Budget.”