Capitol Correspondence - 03.26.24

Senate Passes Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act

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In a significant success for the disability service community, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act (S. 1332) on Wednesday. This legislation represents crucial progress toward establishing a standard occupational classification (SOC) for direct support professionals (DSPs).

The bill urges the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a unique SOC code specifically for DSPs. This classification is vital for strengthening and professionalizing the DSP workforce, enabling comprehensive and accurate data collection. By providing policymakers with better insights into the direct support workforce, the SOC for DSPs will facilitate more effective policy responses to address critical issues in the field.

SOCs are used to collect data and help all levels of government (local, state, federal) identify employment trends. Currently, “Direct Support Professional” is not recognized at the federal level because it does not have a unique SOC code DSPs. For this reason, DSPs are often inaccurately and inconsistently incorporated into a variety of SOCs which do not capture their full spectrum of work activities. A SOC for DSPs will enable state and federal agencies to collect data on the high turnover rate of DSPs and inform policies to address the workforce crisis. ANCOR has long supported this legislation, recognizing its importance in addressing workforce challenges and improving the quality of care for individuals with disabilities. The Senate’s unanimous passage of the bill marks a significant milestone in ANCOR’s advocacy efforts, reflecting the dedication and tireless work of its members and advocates who have sent over 15,000 messages to Congress in the past year regarding a SOC for DSPs.

ANCOR encourages its members and supporters to take action by utilizing the ANCOR’s action alert to reach out to their respective Members of Congress. By highlighting the importance of federal recognition for DSPs, advocates can contribute to advancing this vital legislation and improving the lives of individuals with disabilities across the nation.