Good day for disability advocates!

The Comptroller stated she would begin funding early intervention services. I know that legal
advocates were working on another court order but it is good to see this action. Advocates
are set to rally in the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 24th.

And a Federal Judge ordered the state to fund the Home Services Program as our friend
Stephanie Altman from the Shriver Center prevails in court.

See stories below.


Munger: State will pay to help young kids with disabilities

Illinois will start paying for a program to help care for young children with disabilities,
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Wednesday.

The early intervention service is one of many on the list of state programs not getting
money since July 1 as Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers battle over the
state budget.

But Munger said Wednesday that the services can be paid through a federal consent
decree, and she said she’ll start the process of arranging for the payments.

“I know the tremendous benefits that early intervention services can provide to our
delayed and disabled infants and toddlers,” Munger said in a statement. “And I was
extremely concerned when I learned many providers would likely be suspending their vital
therapeutic services at the end of this month.”

The services help infant and toddlers with disabilities, and the state helps pay for the care.
But when the state isn’t making payments to local organizations that provide the services,
they risk having to close their doors. The nonprofits often don’t operate with large cash
reserves to hold them over.

Algonquin therapist Nicole Molinaro, who was profiled with her young clients in Sunday’s
Daily Herald, said she hadn’t heard of Munger’s announcement yet and said it can be
hard for local providers to get good information from the state.

“Maybe it’s working, finally,” Molinaro said.

Still, it’s unclear how fast the money will come. Munger’s office said it’ll pay vouchers
from the state Department of Human Services when they arrive at her office and that she’s
setting up accounts so checks can go out.

State Rep. David McSweeney, a Barrington Hills Republican, said he called Molinaro and
others Sunday and Monday and deemed Munger’s announcement a rare bit of good
news during the ongoing budget impasse.

The state has been making payments despite not having a budget because a handful of
lawsuits and federal decrees are requiring Illinois to pay for a wide range of services,
from employee payroll to some programs that take care of people with disabilities.

Munger has warned that those court decisions are spending more money than the state
is set to take in and has projected Illinois to have a deficit of more than $8 billion at the end
of the year if Rauner and lawmakers don’t craft a spending plan soon.

The Illinois House is set to return to Springfield next week, but no serious proposal to end
the standoff is being considered. Molinaro is among the advocates planning to rally at the
Capitol next week.

U.S. judge rules Illinois must fund senior-aid program

By The Associated Press

Posted Sep. 16, 2015 at 5:18 PM 

A federal judge has ruled a program providing in-home services to seniors is covered
by Medicaid and should be funded even though there’s no Illinois budget because of a
political stalemate.

Stephanie Altman is with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. She
says U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow issued the ruling in Chicago on Wednesday.

Altman says the Community Care Program serves 89,000 seniors. It provides
homemaking assistance which allows them to avoid costly nursing home care.

Medicaid funds it so Lefkow found that it falls under an existing federal consent
decree requiring state payments for Medicaid-covered programs even during a
budget impasse.

But the state comptroller has had trouble keeping up with payments to all the
programs and services covered by consent decrees.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)