Ohio Olmstead Task Force Organizes Legislative Advocacy Day Around Higher Wages for Direct Care Workers
Disability advocates from around the state will converge at the Ohio Statehouse tomorrow, Thursday May 26th, to urge Ohio legislators and staff to increase wages for Direct Care Workers in Ohio. While Direct Care Workers assist thousands of Ohioans with Disabilities with activities like daily hygiene needs, meal prep and assistance, transportation to and from work, and skilled nursing care, the average wage for a Direct Care position in Ohio is $12.51 per hour with no benefits. Since 2010, this average wage has increased only $0.64.
The failure of the state of Ohio to invest in Direct Care Workers has resulted in a crisis for people with disabilities who struggle to find workers to fill these vital positions. Without a Direct Care Workforce, many people with disabilities will be forced to move to institutions, like nursing homes, rather than live independently in their homes. 54.43% of respondents to a recent survey of Ohioans stated that receiving consistent and dependable in-home care is extremely hard to find; 40.51% state that in-home providers are unreliable and don’t show up for their shifts; and 29.11% stated that they are sometimes left without in-home providers for weeks at a time . When care staff are not available or do not show up, many of these individuals are forced to call emergency services for help or be admitted into a hospital for days until in-home care is available again.
These issues can be resolved if the state of Ohio invests in Direct Care Worker wages. Tomorrow, self-advocates with disabilities, representatives from Centers for Independent Living, and representatives from the Ohio Olmstead Taskforce will travel from around the state to the Ohio Statehouse to meet with Ohio legislators and staff and urge them to offer Direct Care Workers a living wage.
 The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio Statewide Disability Needs, Survey Report (2022)
About the Ohio Olmstead Task Force:
The Ohio Olmstead Task Force (OOTF), a statewide grassroots coalition of Ohioans with disabilities, family members, advocates, and organizations advocating for the right to live, work, and participate in their communities, is asking the Ohio Departments of Medicaid, Developmental Disabilities, and Aging to work together to identify barriers and solutions to the in-home provider crisis and make those solutions a reality. Formed in 2002, OOTF supports and is guided by the principles formalized in Olmstead v. L.C., the 1999 Supreme Court decision that held that unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination against people with disabilities.