The Crisis Now

Governor Pritzker’s budget proposal for FY24 earmarks $211M to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Only $63.1M of that is NEW money for community agencies that provide residential and day services to help thousands live safe, full and vibrant lives.

This doesn’t cover changes in the job market, yearly minimum wage increases, or inflation.

Direct support professionals (DSPs) dedicated to caring for people with disabilities are leaving for jobs that pay more to support their families.

The state-commissioned Guidehouse Rate Study recommends that DSP wages should be 150% of minimum wage. This equates to a $4 per hour increase in wages for DSPs. The Governor’s proposal supports only a $1.50 per hour increase.

What is the IDD community seeking in FY24?

SB2026 and HB3569 would authorize $141.6M needed to provide the $4 per hour DSP wage increase for six months. So, the ask is $88.5M to add to the $63.1 already in the budget.

Support SB2026 and HB3569

You didn’t create the problem, but you can help solve it for the nearly 300,000 people in Illinois with IDD, their families and the staff who support them. It’s time to get our priorities straight in Illinois.

What is the status of the community system of support for people with disabilities?

It’s very fragile.

More than 12,400 people with disabilities remain on the PUNS wait list, not receiving any services. 

The state is moving 123 residents from the Choate state institution to the community system – where will they go? Community agencies are forced to turn away new residents for lack of staff. The state is not complying with the Ligas Court decree, which mandates choice for care in community settings. Meanwhile, the state is seeking to cut DSP hours – nearly 3.8 million of them! That’s nearly 1,800 full-time staff who would be cut.

The crisis by the numbers: Fifty-three community agencies serving people with IDD responded to a June 2022 survey:

2,137 — Number of unfilled DSP positions at 53 Illinois provider agencies, averaging 40 unfilled positions per agency. 

25% — DSP vacancy rate

28% — Survey respondents not accepting new admissions for services due to staff shortages 

14% —Survey respondents who closed a residential setting in 2022 due to staff shortages

72%  Survey respondents are delayed in expanding services due to staffing shortages