Fix the Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Wage Crisis


Direct Support Professionals like Joe and Keya support Pennsylvanians with autism or intellectual disability. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hasn’t funded a rate increase in 10 years, causing DSP wages to flatline. This is a workforce crisis.

Please consider contacting your local legislator about this crisis! You can find your legislators contact information here for Pennsylvania.

UPDATE (5.5.17):

On April 4th, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 218 – the House Budget Bill. This bill includes all of the funding for ID/A services that Governor Wolf proposed in his budget – including the first rate increases that ID/A services have seen in 10 years!

Legislators and policymakers have reported that our advocacy and stories have made a huge impact on their voting. Just prior to the vote, Representative Saylor, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, read PAR’s letter in support of HB 218 on the floor.

The budget process is not over yet as the bill now goes to the Senate for a vote before eventually traveling to Governor Wolf’s desk for his signature. For now, we know that our voices made the difference!

Please make sure you sign the petition at “Click here to help” at to Fix The DSP Crisis and encourage others to do so as well!


Update (1.10.18):

  We are asking you, and your family members and friends to call Governor Tom Wolf’s office next Thursday, January 18th, 2018, urging him to include $60 million in the state budget for 2018-2019 to increase the wages of Direct Support Professionals, who provide care to your family members in programs like BARC Developmental Services. Direct Support Professionals are the backbone of the services we provide, yet they are critically underpaid, and must often work two jobs!

Please read the attached instructions for calling the Governor and what to say. Your call can make a difference. Thank you for your help with this urgent matter. 

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Update (8.14.19)

Disability organizations from around the nation are responding to a campaign begun by ANCOR, PARs national association, to professionalize how the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics views Direct Support Professionals as a category in its labor statistics.

Joined by The National Association of Direct Support Professionals, ANCOR, PAR and 17 associations are supporting an effort to convince the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor to upgrade the DSPs in the DOL’s reports.

Currently the DOL regards DSPs who support people with intellectual disability and autism in the same manner that it does personal care assistants and home health aides. Continuing to analyze DSP wages in this category is problematic for a variety of reasons including:

  • Personal Care Attendants and Home Health Aides do not have the same level of responsibility as DSPs
  • These occupations may have different funding streams and thus not accurately reflect employment factors in the IDD sector.
  • Not tracking DSPs separately contributes to the lack of public awareness and recognition of this workforce.

PAR, ANCOR and NADSP are supporting a petition drive through CHANGE.ORG to support this cause.

The petition goal echoes an earlier recommendation from the President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disability (PCPID) that called upon The U.S. Department of Labor through the Bureau of Labor Statistics should investigate ways to recognize “Direct Support Professional” as a distinct occupation title and provide routine labor statistical reporting on this occupation.”

If you agree, please consider adding your name to the list of supporters!