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June 6, 2022

Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Governor Ron DeSantis’ Freedom First Budget Reaffirms Commitment to Floridians with Disabilities

TALLAHASSEE, FL— Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s Freedom First Budget continuing his commitment to helping vulnerable Floridians with developmental disabilities served by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). For the first time ever, APD will have a budget of more than $2 billion beginning July 1, 2022.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his tremendous leadership in supporting people with disabilities. This year critical investments are being made for our customers and those who serve them. APD is eager to have funds to distribute for pay raises for direct support professionals and contribute additional funds to enroll individuals onto the iBudget Florida waiver.”
Key investments include:

  • $403 million in recurring funds for increases in Provider Rates for Direct Care employees.
  • $59.6 million in recurring funds to provide services to APD clients, enrolling more than 1,000 people onto the iBudget Florida waiver.
  • $8.5 million to procure a contract for a statewide dental services program for the developmentally disabled.
  • $1 million in recurring funds to continue the Employment Enhancement Project to provide supported employment services to individuals on the waiver waiting list.

Community leaders and APD stakeholders are very excited to see Governor DeSantis’ financial commitment to APD customers and their caregivers included in the budget.

To see the complete Governor’s Budget, visit Freedom First Budget.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 58,000 Floridians with severe forms of autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).