Policy Change Announced: Limit on PSW Hours on a Per-Customer Basis Beginning This Fall

The State of Oregon Department of Human Services has announced another change planned for disability services in our state.

Starting September 1st, 2015, Personal Support Workers may not be newly authorized to provide more than 50 hours per week of services to a single individual receiving brokerage services. For those currently working more than 50 hours per week, their allowable work hours will be reduced at the time of the customer’s annual ISP. (Note: PSWs may still work more than 50 hours across multiple customers, just not for the same customer. The cap is at the ISP level, not the provider level.)

In a Policy Transmittal released at the end of June, the Oregon Department of Human Services explained that the policy “is being implement to position Oregon for anticipated regulation changes associated with the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Historically, domestic workers have been exempt from overtime. The FLSA changes that.

INW will be contacting affected customers and providers quarterly, prior to the customer’s annual plan renewal.

If you are interested in reading about the changes in the meantime, please read the transmittals listed below.

*This post was updated   09.12.2015 to reflect the most recent information related to the change.



INW Celebrates 8 Years as an Oregon Support Services Brokerage!

eight yearsToday marks the eighth anniversary of Independence Northwest as a support services brokerage serving Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities! We couldn’t be more proud of the people we support, the services we provide, and the organization we have become.

In the summer of 2007, a small group of people with a vision to provide the best possible home and community based services to the Portland metro area I/DD community came together. We rented an old dilapidated firehouse on Alberta and MLK in NE Portland and spent weeks dusting out the cobwebs, painting the walls, and creating a grassroots space. We developed a mission, brought in fresh talent to the I/DD field, and enrolled 450 people into services in a very busy first year and a half.

A lot has changed in the eight years since, but what hasn’t changed is our values, our purpose, or our service to the community. We still very much believe in the principles of self-determination, in the right of self-direction, and in the power of customer and family-led services.

Entryway to Original INW Building

The historic 1920s firehouse on MLK and Alberta where INW started up. The building was demolished a couple of years back.

I’d like to acknowledge the folks responsible for eight years of INW. Huge gratitude and respect goes to my co-founders Erin and Spence, our inaugural team of board members and staff (Martha, Rita, Maggie, and Beri), our senior employees (Rob, Jess, and Carie), and our tremendous staff (Finch, Rachel, Brenda, Chris, Dana, Angie, Jenny, Jamie, Hans, Lindsay, and Melody.) Thanks for your dedication, passion, and resilience – particularly over the past couple of years.

Special thanks to our board of directors for their guidance and support – we couldn’t do it without you, Marsha, Diann, Corinne, Linda, and Kaaren. Additionally, great appreciation goes  to our partners in the field: Personal Support Workers, Independent Contractors, Behavioral Consultants, provider organizations (large and small!), our fellow brokerages statewide, local county and Region 1 staff, school and local VR colleagues, and our policymaking and legislative partners in Salem.

We make this happen together.

Thank you for allowing Independence Northwest to be part of Oregon’s intellectual and developmental disability history.

Best to you and yours,

– Larry Deal, Executive Director