Seclusion and Restraint – Voices Needed

This week the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released its proposed final rules on the use of seclusion and restraint in schools.  You can check it out here.  It is fairly similar to the amended emergency rules.  We need your help to make sure the rules are strong and clear in their statement of support for kids with disabilities in schools.  The Herald & Review did a summary at this link with a link to the text of the proposed rule (thanks Amber!).  The Arc will be submitting comments which I will share as well as comments from a number of other groups.  We continue to work with other advocates on a legislative strategy as well.  

Comments are due by February 4. Public comment may be made via email at, by phone at 217-782-4321 or by physical mail or to anyone in the agency. Its Springfield office is at 100 N. 1st St., zip code 62777.


Although it was a major victory to have bipartisan agreement on MFP, the legislation needs help to cross the finish line.  On Monday: 

Act Now:  Call your Members of Congress and ask them to permanently reauthorize MFP.

The Money Follows the Person Program (MFP) helps people with disabilities and older adults move from institutions and nursing homes back to their homes and communities. There’s a lot of things on Congress’s plate right now, but funds for MFP will run out at the END OF THIS MONTH

ACT NOW. Call your Members of Congress and urge them to pass a permanent reuthorization of MFP. The Capitol Switchboard can connect you with your Senators’ offices: 202-224-3121, or 202-224-3091 (TTY). #FundMFP

 It’s always nice when an independent evaluation proves a program successful. Since 2005, the Money Follows the Person Program (MFP) has effectively helped older adults and people with disabilities move back home from care facilities. Now, we need your help encouraging Congress to MAKE IT PERMANENT

Your voice matters, so spread the word and get your friends and family to tell their Members of Congress to make this program permanent  #FundMFP

Check out and share this Facebook Event:

Medicaid/LTSS: Senators Announce Bipartisan Agreement to Permanently Reauthorize MFP

On December 6, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced a bipartisan agreement to permanently reauthorize the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program and Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) spousal impoverishment protections as part of the larger Drug Pricing and Healthcare Extenders Package. MFP has helped more than 90,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions. Independent evaluations have shown that MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and has reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%. The spousal impoverishment protection allows the spouse of a person receiving Medicaid HCBS to maintain a modest amount of income and resources for food, rent, and medication. Read The Arc’s statement here.


Education: Advocates Encouraged to Take Pledge for Public Schools

Public Schools Week will take place February 24-28, 2020. In preparation for this week, advocates are encouraged to take the Pledge for Public Schools. Public schools educate 9 in 10 students across the country, including millions of students with disabilities. Public schools are required to provide for evaluation, free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, individualized education plans, parent participation, and procedural safeguards to challenge school decisions and ensure student rights (known as “due process”) for all eligible students with disabilities.

Education: GAO Report Finds Race, Income Disparities in Pursuing IDEA Remedies

On December 3, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the use of mediation, due process complaints, and state complaints in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Within those states, very high-income school districts were more likely than very low-income school districts to have dispute resolution activity. Additionally, districts that had very low black and Hispanic student populations (less than 10%) were more likely to have dispute resolution activity than districts that had very high black and Hispanic student populations (greater than 90%). However, districts with very high black and Hispanic populations had higher rates of dispute resolution. Stakeholders interviewed for the report cited high cost for attorneys and expert witnesses, among other challenges, as barriers to access to dispute resolution.

DD updates:


We are pleased to announce that our state plan amendment to increase ICF/DD rates by 3.5% has been approved, retroactive to 8/1/19. Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) is responsible for administering the increase. 

Health Risk Screening Tool

Please see the recently posted Information Bulletin at the link below, effective July 1, 2019.  (Please note, this Information Bulletin replaces DD.19.006)  Health Risk Screening Tool (DD.19.009)   ttp://

Community Providers of HBS

Dear Community Providers of HBS,  As stated in the communication on 11/15 service agreements need to be revised to accommodate the increase in rates for November. This is especially important if billing for day programs (CDS) is a service on the services agreement. All services purchased must fit within an HBS participant’s monthly maximum allocation. Failure to submit new service agreements in a timely fashion could have serious ramifications on payment for services (payment rejections), and possibly cause a disruption in services. Since we’re already in December and providers will begin billing for services provided in November, we encourage all HBS providers and participants to immediately update your services agreement.

As a reminder:

  • HBS participants have a Monthly Allocation established by 405 ILCS 80/2-6.  An increase in any Statewide Rate will result in a reduction in the amount of services the HBS participant can purchase against their monthly/yearly allocation.  This reduction of services will hold true until the next SSI rate increase on January 1, 2020.
  • It is not possible for an HBS service agreement to be revised retroactively if the budget has been expended, as services have already been delivered, billed, and paid.  Some HBS participants have completed service agreements currently in place in accordance with the approved FY19 rates and are utilizing services to the maximum extent allowable within their allotted monthly budget.  In this case, the provider of the service will NOT get reimbursed for the rate difference.
  • An HBS participant must revise their service agreement, prospectively, to adjust for a change in rates or services to be purchased.  A revised service agreement must fit all services to be purchased within an HBS participant’s monthly maximum allocation.
  • Providers should move forward with adjusting previous service agreements only if there is room in prior months budgets, otherwise, they should start with the November service agreements.

FY20 NOFO Awardees

Please be advised that the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has published a list of all awardees for the FY20 NOFO process to our website at the following link: This page has been recently updated to include the Division’s selection for the Epilepsy Program, Central Region. The agency contact for the NOFO process is Christina Miller, who can be reached via email at with any questions or concerns.