(NEWS CENTER) -- People who work with adults with intellectual disabilities, such as autism, are hoping the Legislature will give them a pay raise. Those workers and their labor representatives were in Augusta earlier this week to make their case for immediate help.
The organizations that provide care to adults with intellectual disabilities say there are about 12-thousand people across Maine who do that work.
Some of the clients need 24/7 assistance, while others need help just several times per day.
They say the basic Medicaid reimbursement rate for the services has actually dropped over the past ten years, meaning starting pay has gone down.
Ron Moran, Exec. Director of the Community Living Association in Houlton, says the low pay rate is making it difficult to find enough people to provide care.
"In retail segments of employment, they are able to pay people $10.50 or $11 an hour and we're stuck paying a lot less than that -- barely able to be above the minimum wage," said Moran
There is a bill in the Legislature to restore the reimbursement rate to what it was in 2007, and then give a ten percent increase above that.