Below is an Action Alert from Access Living’s Director of Advocacy, Amber Smock. The Alert calls for support of the Home Services Program, the Community Care Program, Centers for Independent Living, and the Community Reintegration Program
Amber Smock leading a rally in support of independence for people with disabilities at the State of Illinois Building
This week and next week are critical opportunities for disability advocates to let our state legislators know which state-funded programs are important to us. The Governor has made his budget proposal, and it is the job of our legislators to arrive at the budget they will approve by the end of May. The Governor defended many programs that empowered people with disabilities to live in the community by either not making cuts or making some increases. He has also made it clear that he values peer support programs and the self-determination of people with disabilities to live the lives we want. This is good news, so far.
The tricky part is, the Governor’s estimate for his proposed budget is $600 million more than the General Assembly estimates it can spend. So the question is, will our state legislators decide to cut away at the budgets of programs that people with disabilities need? If so, we face a tremendous risk that many people with disabilities may face institutionalization, which costs more than community services.
Access Living supports funding for a wide range of disability programs that affect people with all types of disabilities. Our main priority is to fight for funding that will allow people to live in their own homes and communities. Plus, programs that offer peer support by and for people with disabilities are irrepleaceable. Thus, we urge you to tell your legislators to support the Governor’s funding proposals for:
• The Home Services Program (HSP)
• The Community Care Program (CCP)
• Centers for Independent Living
• The Community Reintegration Program
Both HSP and CCP are in need of supplemental funding for the current year’s budget in order to avoid back bills. We also urge legislators to increase funding for mental health programs and permanent supportive housing to address our state’s community mental health services crisis.
In addition, we urge legislators to carefully consider what should be in the legislative package to make “adjustments” to the SMART Act, which was passed last year to try to deal with the funding crisis in Illinois Medicaid. Among many issues, we support the position that prescriptions for people with mental illness and chronic disabilities should be exempted from the four prescription Medicaid drug limit. We also support the inclusion of the language in SB 1733/HB 2502, which affects access to complex rehab technology and improves the process for Medicaid funded wheelchair repairs., a burning issue for thousands of wheelchair users.
We will continue to alert our community on hot issues so you can help let legislators know that disability issues can not be left off the table this spring.
Contact your legislators today by using our “Take Action” link.
FREE OUR PEOPLE!