ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Advocates for the developmentally disabled are urging lawmakers to restore funding cut from the state budget.

Hundreds gathered Thursday in Annapolis to encourage lawmakers to boost funding.

Advocates want lawmakers to restore cuts to wage increases for direct support staff who help the developmentally disabled live independently.

Laura Howell, executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Services, says if the money isn’t restored, pay for direct support staff will fall closer to that of minimum wage workers.

Advocates also want lawmakers to address a growing list of people who qualify for state services but are on a waiting list because of available funding. The waiting list is now more than 8,000 people, including 125 who are in on the state’s highest level of emergency need.

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