COLA for 2023-2024


The enacted 2023/2024 New York State Budget contained a provision for the establishment of a four percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to be effective April 1, 2023. The Budget further identified that the COLA was targeted for the effects of inflation upon rates of payments, contracts, or any other forms of reimbursement for designated programs including those designated programs under the jurisdiction of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Additionally, the Budget identified that “each local government unit or direct contract provider receiving funding for the cost-of-living adjustment established herein shall submit a written certification, in such form and at such time as each commissioner shall prescribe, attesting how such funding will be or was used to first promote the recruitment and retention of non-executive direct care staff, non-executive direct support professionals, non-executive clinical staff, or to respond to other critical non-personal service costs prior to supporting any salary increases or other compensation for executive level job titles.”

Certification Survey

To fulfill the requirement for the submittal of a written certification by all OPWDD providers that have received a four percent cost-of-living increase, OPWDD has developed a reporting instrument which is identified as the 4 percent COLA Certification Survey.  The certification is in the format of a survey and must be completed in its entirety.  The survey can be accessed at:  You will note that the survey contains an attestation to be completed by the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the agency and the President of the Board of Directors/Governing Body Chairperson, though no electronic signature is required.

Certification Survey Due Date

The Certification Survey must be completed and submitted no later than one hundred twenty (120) days from the receipt of any four percent COLA funding or April 1, 2024, whichever is later.  For the purposes of Medicaid transactions, the receipt date of the funding is the “send” date of the check as opposed to the check issuance date.  The survey will be automatically submitted to OPWDD when a provider clicks on the "submit survey" box, which is the last input field of the survey.  The provider should print a copy of the survey submission for their records.   

If a provider fails to submit a timely Certification Survey or utilizes COLA funds inconsistent with the enabling law, OPWDD and/or the New York State Department of Health (DOH) may take action necessary to retrieve up to 100 percent of the COLA funds paid to the provider. 

Staff Communication and Outreach

It is the expectation of OPWDD that each provider will clearly and comprehensively communicate to all employees how the four percent COLA will be expended in their organization. It can be anticipated that employees will want to know how the funds were specifically utilized to first promote the recruitment and retention of non-executive direct care staff, non-executive direct support professionals and non-executive clinical staff.  Furthermore, based on the inquiries OPWDD has received, each provider should clearly and comprehensively inform other stakeholders, including the people receiving supports and services as well as their parents/guardians, how the COLA funds were utilized.  In support of ensuring transparency and accountability to the public and State and federal officials, OPWDD may elect to publicly post the results of each provider’s certification survey on its website.

Certification Survey Instructions

The Certification Survey was created to be as easy as possible. Please take the time to read the survey instructions prior to completing the Certification Survey.

Read Instructions for COLA Survey

Record Retention

The provider must retain all records necessary to document, upon audit or request by OPWDD and/or other regulatory authorities, the distribution of the 2023/2024 COLA funds.  These records must be retained for a minimum of ten years.