Agency for Persons with Disabilities

House Shies Away From Overhauling Disabilities Program

Feb 13, 2020

The chance that Florida legislators this year will redesign the Medicaid program for people with developmental disabilities is dwindling.

While the House has pushed in the past for an overhaul of the program, the Republican who oversees health-care spending said she thinks, for now, the agency running the program can continue operating as is.

Disability rights advocates say a plan to revamp administration of a key program  is now moving in the right direction. Florida Republican Sen. Aaron Bean has taken the lead on changes to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in an attempt to stop decades of budget deficits.  Advocates say changes to Bean’s proposal aren’t perfect, but they’re better than where he started.

The program supporting thousands of Floridians with developmental and intellectual disabilities is likely in for an overhaul this year. Advocates had been relying on the Senate to save the ibudget program from being taken over by private companies. But some say Republican Senator Aaron Bean’s proposal might be worse.

In the upcoming months state lawmakers will grapple with a decision: how to stabilize the budget of one of its healthcare agencies. The agency for persons with disabilities has run deficits in most years since it was created in the early 2000’s. Lawmakers have become increasingly frustrated about constantly having to backfill those deficits. Yet advocates are concerned over which chamber will get final say over how the agency moves forward.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Barbara Palmer speaking to award recipient and self-advocate Amanda Baker Thursday.
Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Barbara Palmer will remain on as head of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis said Friday. He also named Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel as Secretary of State, replacing Ken Detzner.

Governor Rick Scott's twitter

The Florida Cabinet commemorated Disability Employment Awareness Month at its Tuesday meeting.

Florida APD Twitter

Two local businesses received an award Wednesday for employing people with disabilities.


A new Florida task force met for the first time this week to start looking into transportation issues people with developmental and intellectual disabilities face on a daily basis. The Task Force on Transportation Disadvantaged Services was created as part of a new law that just took effect.

Ray Rodrigues for Florida State House's Facebook page

During Tuesday’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, Florida’s House Majority Leader made a personal case as to why he believes the state’s business recruitment agency should be eliminated.

The Humane Society of Bay County's facebook page

It’s Disability Employment Awareness Month, and a Bay County business is one of ten recognized across the state for hiring people with disabilities.

Florida Channel

The head of Florida’s child welfare system gained unanimous approval during his initial Senate confirmation hearing Thursday.

Governor Rick Scott's office

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and state officials commemorated the month during a recent Cabinet meeting.

City Celebration Marks 25th Anniversary of ADA

Jul 24, 2015
people gathered at one of may exhibition tables
Caitie Switalski / WFSU News

Twenty five years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. Floridians are honoring the anniversary with a celebration in Tallahassee’s City Hall on Friday.


The Americans with Disabilities Act is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Disability advocates say there’s still a long way to go in boosting access to jobs, technology, and buildings.

parking space
Benny Lin Via Flickr

The legislature’s unscheduled Sine Die killed plenty of bills, but some say the loss of many anticipated disability bills hit the hardest.

After a flurry of court hearings taking aim at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the agency must now rewrite some of their rules on how disability funding is allocated. A workshop held today on the iBudget is just one small step in a much longer narrative.