February 27, 2020
Last week, Governor Pritzker unveiled his proposed annual budget, which included a wage increase of $1.50 an hour for direct support professionals (DSPs) who care for people with disabilities. We commend the Governor for his leadership in helping to address the DSP staffing crisis. Even so, more must be done to make up for so many years of insufficient state funding.
Even with this proposed increase, DSPs would be paid only slightly more than the ever-increasing Chicago minimum wage and less than competing jobs in sectors like retail, warehousing, even Census counters! Additionally, the proposed budget does not include a badly needed cost-of-doing-business increase to support programs for people with disabilities. We must continue to advocate for a comprehensive solution to this crisis.
We ask that you continue to contact your state legislators and ask them to sign on as a sponsor to the two bills introduced in the General Assembly – SB 3269 and HB 5074 – that would raise DSP wages to a sustainable level and fund providers’ crucial operations. It is past time for the state to meet its funding obligation so that people with disabilities can lead lives with purpose and possibility.