BUFFALO, N.Y. — Geneese White works 56 hours a week as a home care worker to make ends meet. She said was excited to get the $2 an hour raise that was passed in New York state in April, but instead she said she is now on track to lose her housing.
“I just got a letter telling me that I make too much money,” she said while cleaning up her client’s apartment at 10 p.m. on a Thursday. “You’re telling me that I need to make more money, and then they already added the raise that we just got.”
After putting it off during the pandemic, she said she is bracing for her property manager to raise the rent soon.
Of the $2 an hour bump she says he was supposed to get, White said she sees less than a dollar of it. Instead of taking home an extra $300, she says she takes home about $100 more, which she says pushes her off the benefits cliff.
“It’s like the harder I work I’m still not getting any further. I feel like I’m stuck,” she said.
According to New York State Association of Healthcare Providers president and CEO Kathy Febraio, the language in the budget does not specify exactly how workers get their raise. The funds go through insurance first, then through staffing agencies, then to workers.
Febraio said insurance companies are taking more than half of it, leaving agencies to cover the difference. In the meaintime, agencies like Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL) said they are emailing and calling all the MCOs and MLTCs they work with to get the funds. WNYIL CEO Doug Usiak said some are passing on the full raise, some are passing on a portion of it, and some are radio silent. The future of the agency depends on settling the discrepency in order to avoid layoffs and the cancelation of other programs.
Spectrum News 1 has reached out to state offices and is awaiting comment.