Action Alert: Home Services and the DON

Here is an update on Illinois Budget Issues from Access Living’s Director of Advocacy. The update looks specifically and includes a call to action on two bills that will preserve the Determination of Need Score and will protect services for people with disabilities in the community.

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Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Tomorrow, the Illinois House will gather once again in Springfield to work on bills and resolving our state budget crisis. While there will be many bills to consider, we hope that the House will call either House Bill 2482 or House Bill 972 for a vote. Both of these bills aim to preserve the Determination of Need (DON) score at 29 in state law.

As those who have been following this issue well know, the Governor has proposed to change the DON from 29 to 37 for purely budgetary reasons. If this happens, 10,000 people with disabilities in the Home Services Program (HSP) would lose supports, and 24,000 seniors in the Community Care Program would lose homemaker services. The impact could be catastrophic. Advocates have done a great job educating policy makers about this problem.

Both HB 2482 and HB 972 have amendments that would preserve the DON score at 29. Last week you advocated on HB 972, but we need you to urge your legislators to support HB 2482 also. The difference is this: if the House passes HB 972, it has to go to the Senate for approval. If the House passes HB 2482, since it is already approved by the Senate, it would go straight to the Governor for signature or veto. It would be preferable to pass HB 2482, but HB 972 does help keep the issue alive too.

So today, we urge you to please take action at this easy link to ask your personal State Representative to support HB 2482 HFA 1 and HB 972 HFA 1. You can check this link to see if your State Rep supports HB 2482, and check this link to see if your State Rep supports HB 972.

In the meantime, human services providers and legal advocates are continuing to fight to get the State to make payments on time and ensure that services are not disrupted. It is clear that the State needs about $5 billion in revenue to be able to cover all its bills, but it is not clear when a final budget will happen, or whether new tax revenue will occur. Keep an eye on the news, and please help speak out for people with disabilities of all ages wherever you can.

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living