Providing Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The survey was administered online between April 23-May 27, 2020 using Qualtrics. Information on the survey and how to access the link was posted on ICI’s website, across many social media channels, and sent to industry professionals across the United States. Of the 12,883 surveys opened in Qualtrics, 3,142 either opened the link and did not take the survey or were unable to answer the first question about the primary function of their job as spending at least 50% of their time providing supports and services tasks directly to people with disabilities. This left 9,741 surveys that were submitted by DSP participants. Of those, 786 were missing zip code or country code and were excluded from analysis. There were also 41 DSPs from Canada. This was not a big enough group to be representative of Canada, so they were also excluded from analysis. The final analysis sample was 8,914 DSPs from the United States.
The final analysis sample was 8,914 DSPs from the United States.
The initial results from the survey were analyzed and shared in a one-page document published in June 2020 (see Results – Short Version below). State-specific one-page reports were created for Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and North Carolina. The full report of this survey, including responses to open-ended questions, was completed in October 2020. A six-month follow-up survey will be disseminated in November and its results analyzed and published as an addition to this report in February 2021.
DSP Participation by State of Residence
Direct Support Professionals from all 50 United States and the District of Columbia participated in the survey. There were 8,914 DSPs who provided their zip code that was then converted to the respective state of residence. Table 1 details the number of respondents by state and the percentage of the sample from each state. Analysis was limited to a national level because the individual state sample sizes were not large enough in many states to permit state by state analyses nor to use state as a predictive variable. Figure 1 categorizes states by number of respondents who participated and lived in that state.
Essential Worker Status
States differed in their definition and benefits offered to Essential Workers (ANCOR, 2020). In some states, it was not clear if DSPs were designated as Essential Workers because state definitions were vague, did not speak about disability services, focused on healthcare, or clearly omitted this workforce. Ninety-seven percent of respondents to the survey self-identified as Essential Workers in this survey, irrespective of whether or not they were included in an official definition at the state or national levels for this designation.