Capitol Correspondence - 07.25.23

New SOC Markup Date as Israeli Presidential Address Delays Hearing

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The anticipated Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee markup of the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act has been temporarily delayed due to a significant event on the nation’s legislative calendar—the joint address to Congress by Israeli President Herzog. The markup has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 26 at 9 am EST and will be livestreamed.

The Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act, a key legislative priority for ANCOR, aims to establish a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). This classification would formally recognize direct support as a profession and address the pressing workforce recruitment and retention crisis that has been impacting the availability of professionals supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in home and community-based settings.

ANCOR, in collaboration with its coalition partners, has been a steadfast advocate for the establishment of a SOC for DSPs, recognizing the significance of accurate data in addressing critical issues within the disability service sector. The establishment of a distinct SOC for DSPs would enable the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to accurately capture employment and wage data specific to this profession. This invaluable information can empower state and federal agencies to make more informed policy decisions concerning the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services program. Moreover, it would facilitate the development of precise payment rates, mitigating the ongoing effects of the DSP workforce retention and recruitment crisis.

Despite the temporary setback, disability advocates remain resolute in their pursuit of achieving recognition for the vital role DSPs play in the lives of individuals with I/DD. The joint address by President Herzog serves as a testament to the fluidity of the legislative process and the unforeseen events that can impact its course.

Shannon McCracken, ANCOR’s vice president for government relations, emphasized, “While we had anticipated the committee markup eagerly, we understand that important events can arise, leading to delays in the legislative calendar. Nevertheless, we remain unwavering in our pursuit of establishing a Standard Occupational Classification for DSPs, and we believe that the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act is vital in enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”