The Illinois Budget and the disability community

Vincent Smith, second from right, testifying in April in front of House Human Services Committee
In February, Governor Rauner publicly announced his budget plans for the 2016 Fiscal Year. People with disabilities from almost every Center for Independent Living across Illinois were in the capitol building, watching the speech. Though there was power in the Centers for Independent Living rallying together, the speech was nothing to celebrate. Governor Rauner’s proposed budget included many cuts to programs across all disabilities, and to programs that support community living and the rights of people with disabilities.
Since the budget announcement, Access Living and scores of other organizations have been fighting hard to protect and to build existing programs and resources that support the independence of people with disabilities.
Led by the Advocacy Department, Access Living has done this through legislative visits, email and phone call campaigns, rallies, and protests. Through the Illinois Budget process, Access Living will continue to raise awareness around the critical need to fund programs that support the independence of people with disabilities. The following is information about specific issue areas and legislation connected to those issues.

Home Services

People with disabilities and seniors need home-based services in order to make independent living in the community possible. The Governor’s proposed budget threatens these services by increasing the minimum determination of needs (DON) score from 29 to 37.

Take action to protect home services for People with Disabilities and Seniors:

CO-SPONSOR HR 344 and SR 342, which opposes changing the DON score from 29 to 37

CO-SPONSOR SB 2129 and HB 4203, supporting full funding for the Home Services Program, Centers for Independent Living, and the Community Reintegration Program.


Access to transportation, both mainline and paratransit, is essential for people with disabilities and seniors. Without adequate funding for transportation, many people will be trapped in their homes and unable to get to work, doctor’s appointments, or become full members of their communities.

Take action to protect transportation for People with Disabilities and Seniors:

Support revenue solutions to ensure funding for mainline and paratransit for people with disabilities and seniors.


All of these programs, and many other important services, need a revenue solution. Illinois cannot afford to cut its way out of the budget deficit.

Take action to protect essential services across Illinois:

SUPPORT revenue solutions to Illinois’s FY 16 budget shortfall.
Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy