Illinois Passes $1/hour DSP Wage Increase

The Illinois General Assembly approved the FY2025 budget in the early hours of May 29, 2024, after several days of difficult negotiations over a wide range of spending and revenue issues—including our push to raise DSP wages.

In the end, the budget includes a $1 per hour DSP wage increase to be implemented in January 2025.

Considering what we were up against, this result is a real accomplishment and it’s thanks to all our collective advocacy.

FY25’s “Maintenance Budget”

This was a very tough budget due to higher spending pressures and lower revenues than the state has experienced over the last few years. State leaders signaled months ago that this would be a “maintenance budget” with little if any room for funding increases.

Even so, we made the case throughout the spring session for a meaningful DSP raise, emphasizing two main points:

1) $3 per hour is needed for DSP wages to reach 150% of minimum wage—the first recommendation in the state-commissioned Guidehouse Rate Study.

2) Minimum wage will increase by $1 in January 2025. Without state action, we would backslide on the progress we’ve made.

Enough legislators heard our call that they were able to demand funding be set aside for DSP wages. And, they held strong throughout the final days of Statehouse jockeying. This group includes the 34 State Senators and 25 State Representatives who signed our Letter of Support, thanks in large part to the 3,000 emails you sent to your legislators.

One of our key legislative champions, Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, recorded a video from Springfield during the lead-up to the budget’s passage. Click here to hear from Rep. LaPointe about the final work to make sure a DSP wage increase was added and stayed in.

To sum it up

2024 began with an uphill battle. The state proposed cutting about $87 million in funding for nearly 2.5 million DSP service hours in the community. We rallied together and stopped this cut! Then, the February proposed budget included zero dollars for a DSP wage increase.

So -- we started with a huge proposed cut, then we were offered nothing for wages, but we crossed the finish line with a $1 per hour increase. Your voices made the difference every step of the way.

That’s $1 down, $2 more to go in our effort to reach 150% of minimum wage. Thank you for your support this spring! We look forward to regrouping with you next year to finish the job.

The They Deserve More Coalition