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Public Health New Mexico

Could Unspent Funds Shorten Wait List For Disability Services?

smgcee via CC

New Mexico’s auditor identified more than $4.5 billion in unspent state funds earlier this year. Now a national agency wants to see some of that money go to a program for people with disabilities.

It’s known as the DD Waiver, and it’s a program that helps folks with developmental disabilities get services. But the waiting list is up to 10 years long.

Art Terrazas is with the American Counseling Association, which sent a letter to the state Department of Health asking that $125 million unspent dollars be put towards shortening that waiting list.

"We’re talking a small sliver of those moneys and allocating it to a program that has been proven to help people out," he said. "I have family that have developmental disabilities that could be helped by this program. And the way I was raised in New Mexico, we do whatever we can to help each other out."

The Health Department responded that it would need more than a one-time infusion of money; lasting change would require an increase in funding every year. Gov. Susana Martinez’ administration has also said most of the funds the state auditor identified are allocated to projects that are already underway. 

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