Abinanti Blasts OPWDD Proposal

Says new regulation aims to reduce service for most vulnerable

Tarrytown, NY – Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) has called on the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to withdraw a proposed regulation that will make it harder for individuals with developmental disabilities to receive vital services.

“It is disturbing that OPWDD is toughening eligibility requirements beyond statutory standards in the middle of the summer-when no one is watching- with bare minimum public notice and without directly communicating with families and groups affected,” said the Assemblyman.

The proposed regulation from OPWDD sets new requirements for those needing the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver. More specifically it would allow OPWDD to:

  • reassess if an individual is eligible for services at any time;
  • apply stricter definitions of “development disability,” as a requisite for eligibility;
  • modify their guidelines at any time without appropriate notice.

In a letter of opposition to OPWDD, Abinanti wrote that the OPWDD does not have the authority to “go beyond what the law provides in determining eligibility.” The Assemblyman is referring to Mental Hygiene Law Section 1.03(22) which already clearly defines what a “developmental disability” is and what the eligibility requirements are.

“It is bad public policy - it is bad government - to deny individuals the critical support they desperately need and for which they have already qualified,” said Assemblyman Abinanti.

Please click here to view the Assemblyman’s letter to OPWDD.