After nearly a decade of nothing additional from the state, agencies that care for people with disabilities achieved two small raises – $1.25 in total – for our DSPs. While we appreciated it, that increase was not sufficient to address the staffing crisis that is so harmful to people with disabilities and their families.

Now, approved minimum wage increases, which are important and necessary, will make the problem even more challenging – when you can make $15 an hour at Amazon, it’s sadly an easy choice. Caring, compassionate people who want to do this important work simply cannot afford to when the average starting wage for DSPs in Illinois is $10.49 per hour.

Funding is also critically needed to support administrative and operational expenses of homes and programs for people with disabilities. However, the state of Illinois has not taken into consideration the rise of inflation and cost of doing business for more than 15 years.

Children and adults with disabilities and their families now face constant change and uncertainty. And worse – it can be dangerous, even life-threatening, when there isn’t enough staff. More and more providers are forced to shut down programs and turn people away who need and deserve support.

Being a DSP is hard work and requires extensive training. HB 2148 and SB 1148 would increase rates and reimbursements so that DSPs earn a base wage of at least $5.25 per hour above the highest applicable minimum wage by July 2019, and at least $6.75 per hour above the highest applicable minimum wage by July 2021.

Sign up for updates and urge your legislators to protect people with disabilities by supporting SB 1148 and HB 2148 below.