Governor’s Budget Includes $240 Million in Wage Increases for Workers Who Care for Individuals with Disabilities, Older Residents, Medicaid Beneficiaries & Children

Plan Boosts Pay for Direct Support Professionals, Certified Nurse Aides, Personal Care Assistants, Medicaid Transportation Providers

and Child Care Workers

May 4, 2021

(TRENTON) –  Demonstrating continued support for the frontline workers who are vital to the health and safety of so many New Jerseyans, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy’s budget proposal includes wage increases for workers who provide critical care for individuals with disabilities, older residents, Medicaid beneficiaries and children.

The budget plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes about $240 million for wage increases for direct support professionals, certified nurse aides, personal care assistants, Medicaid transportation providers and child care workers.

“Governor Murphy’s budget continues to recognize the crucial work happening on the frontlines caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, older adults, Medicaid beneficiaries and children across the state,” Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “The committed workers showing up daily to care for some of our most vulnerable deserve to know they’re valued and supported.”

The Governor’s proposed budget includes:

  • $83.4 million to support direct support professionals who care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes and community-based programs. Funding includes $41.7 million in state resources and an equal amount in federal matching funds. 
  • $134.4 million to continue and enhance wage increases for nursing facility direct care staff.  Funding includes $67.2 million in state resources and an equal amount in federal matching funds. The budget proposal maintains the 10 percent Medicaid nursing facility rate increase that requires facilities to spend at least 60 percent of the new revenue on direct care wages and the remaining amount on compliance with Department of Health infection control requirements. Also, the budget proposal includes $30 million to support annual direct care minimum wage increases.
  • $157,000 to support wage increases in the Division of Aging Services’ community-based programs for older adults. This increase supplements existing wage funding for critical services that enable older adults to continue living in their homes and communities, such as congregate housing and self-directed services available through the Jersey Assistance for Community Caregiving program.
  • $9 million to support Medicaid transportation providers that drive patients to dialysis, primary care, and other medical appointments. Funding includes $4.5 million in state resources and an equal amount in federal matching funds. 
  • $12.8 million to support the child care workforce.  New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program provides full- and part-time child care assistance to families with low-incomes and working families with incomes less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This increase for licensed center-based child care providers that accept subsidy payments will help these providers meet new minimum wage increases.

“Quality, affordable child care is a must for working families,” Human Services Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “That means maintaining a strong and vibrant workforce, and we are so grateful for the commitment of our child care workers as they have supported families throughout the pandemic.”