Testimony at the House Human Services Appropriations Committee

April 1, 2015- Testimony of Vincent Smith

Vincent Smith, second from right, testifying at the House Human Services Committee on April 1
On April 1, Vincent Smith about the need to fund the Home Services Program and the Back Up PA Program to support the independence of people with disabilities.

Testimony from Vincent Smith

Good morning. My name is Vincent Smith. I live in Chicago and I am a Board Member for the Illinois State Council on Developmental Disabilities, and I am on the Pace Advisory Board.

Thank you for having me testify today. I am going to talk about the Home Services Program and the Emergency Back Up Personal Assistant Program. For Home Services, a personal assistant comes to my home five hours a day, five days a week. She helps me get out of bed. She helps me bathe, and she helps me with my medication. She does a lot for me. Without her services, I would be put in an institution or a nursing home.

On the days my personal assistant is not able to come to my home, I get a PA through the Emergency Backup PA Program, through Access Living and Progress Center.

Under the proposed Illinois Budget, up to 10,000 people will be cut from the Home Services Program, and the Emergency Back Up PA Program will be cut completely. These cuts do no make fiscal sense. Thousands of people could be forced into nursing homes. For each one, the State will end up paying $17,500 more per person each year.

The cuts also do not make moral sense. If you had a family member with a disability, you would not want them to be in an institution. You would want them at home, living in a community.

Through these services, I am able to live at home with my mom. She also uses Home Services and the Emergency Back Up PA Program. Not only will these cuts end up costing Illinois more money, these cuts could tear apart families like mine.