State Policy and Advocacy
2017 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is September 10-16!
The Arc of Illinois would like to say thank you to all of the DSPs who makes community living possible! Here is Secretary Dimas’ statement on the week:
“Direct Support Professionals are a vital part of an inclusive society where individuals with disabilities can thrive. It takes a special individual to do the work that DSPs do every day to support our loved ones and I want to thank each and every one of you for it. I know it’s hard work, but your contributions allow individuals with disabilities to live full and meaningful lives. The governor has declared September 11 – 15, 2017 to be Direct Support Recognition Week in Illinois and I encourage all Illinoisans to celebrate and recognize the DSPs in our communities.”
Wages: DHS has released the bulletin on implementation of the wage increase. Although DHS will not be requiring affidavits or other proof of implementation, on a webinar this past week, Gary Kramer and others indicated that the wage should be applied to all individuals equally across the board (not merit or performance based) and that they expect organizations to implement the increase to meet the spirit and intent of the legislature. If you have further questions, it is suggested that you reach out to Gary Kramer at DHS.
Here are my notes from the webinar. I tried to type while the staff were talking but forgive me if they are rough.
Also, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has posted an updated Rates Table showing new rates for DDD funded services and supports pursuant to Public Act 100-0023. Please refer to this updated Rate Table for current rates effective August 1, 2017. The updated Rate Table can be found at the following link: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=38992
DD Grants: We have heard that the DD grants including the Autism Program, Life Span, Best Buddies and Epilepsy will be released in the next month so hopefully services will be back up and running soon!
PNA Increase: HFS put out a public notice on the implementation of the Personal Needs Allowance increase that was included in the budget. You can comment for up to 30 days on the increase to $60 starting July 6, 2017 here.
Currie to Retire: House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie has made several phone calls to colleagues today to tell them she will not seek reelection.
1 Raise for Illinois Caregivers Approved, Another on Hold
Advocates say a 75-cents-an-hour wage increase for people who care for the developmentally disabled in Illinois should help group homes hire and retain staff members. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration indicated last week that the increase included in the 2018 budget lawmakers approved in July should begin within 60 days.