Miller stands with direct support providers at Capitol rally
‘You have a job … that is life-changing’
HARRISBURG, April 18 – State Rep. Dan Miller, whose annual Disability Summit features the largest amalgamation of disability resources in western Pennsylvania, yesterday spoke on behalf of workers who provide vital services for the disabled.
At a packed Capitol rally hosted by the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association, the state’s largest and most diverse health and human services trade association, Miller received a round of applause before noting that the disabled and those who provide support services to them are parts of the same coin.
“You have a job that is incredibly important, that is life changing, that we cannot do without,” said Miller, D-Allegheny. “But you are more likely to get better pay working a cash register. There’s nothing wrong with doing that; I once worked a cash register.
“But our priorities are out of whack. Our DSPs (direct support providers) need help. They’re getting ridiculous (low) pay to do the job. We need to make sure our DSP workers are paid a living wage. Not a minimum wage – a living wage.”
Miller also told the RCPA gathering that as budget debates evolve in Harrisburg, it’s important for decision-makers to know that you can’t say you support the disabled without also realizing that you must also support the workers who provide them with the services they desperately need.
Miller said that in some cases, DPS workers are going about their jobs while hoping their car has enough gas to get them there, because of low pay.
The RCPA represents more than 300 members that provide services that address issues ranging from drug and alcohol to mental health to disabilities and rehabilitation.