Group Pushes for Bill to Pay Caretakers $20 an Hour

Although Illinois is on a path to a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage, some state lawmakers want to raise pay for publicly-funded home care providers for the disabled to more than $20 an hour.

Direct service providers are largely paid via Medicaid funds via a waiver attained by the state. Illinois will pay the providers the majority of their wages through an organization and half of those payments would be reimbursed by federal funds.

If Evanston Democratic Rep. Robyn Gabel’s bill becomes law, the 30,000 providers who care for the disabled would be paid at least $5.25 more than the minimum wage. Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, has similar legislation in the Senate. After 2021, they would receive $6.75 more than the minimum wage. That could be up to $45,000 a year for a full-time worker.