Illinois’ shortchanging of disabled services risks judicial ire, advocate says

April 5, 2021

(The Center Square) – Even with record spending and federal aid, Illinois looks to be on track to spend a fraction of what a report says it should comply with a court order to better serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In his budget proposal, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office plans to devote another $77 million for community service providers, for a total of $1.43 billion. That funding level is closely watched by a court monitor responsible for ensuring Illinois is keeping up its end of a 2011 agreement that ensures disabled persons on a waiting list to get into community care are served at a reasonable pace. 

A state-funded report finished last November from Guidestar says Illinois has to spend $330 million more to be fully compliant with the Ligas decree. This, the report said, would go far in reducing the 17,000 people waiting list for community-based services. 

Josh Evans, the CEO of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitative Facilities, said he appreciates Pritzker’s want to better fund the providers but the amount is a fraction of what it would take to fully obey the court order. 

“There were many of us coming into the introduced budget with limited expectations about the ability of the administration to propose fully funding the rate study,” he said.