Action Alert: Support a More Flexible Overtime Policy for the Home Services Program

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Tomorrow morning at 8 am, the Illinois House Human Services Committee will consider a number of bills, one of which is HB 3376. HB 3376 is a bill that originally proposed last fall not having limits on the number of hours a worker in the Home Services Program (HSP) could work. Since that time, as regular readers know, the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) recently passed a rule for HSP overtime that capped these hours at 45 hours per week. The problem is that around 8,000 HPS workers will have issues making sure that the estimated 8,000 people with disabilities they serve will have enough workers to fill their needed hours, since one person with a disability's service plan can easily call for more than 45 hours a week.

Furthermore, the JCAR-approved rule for HSP still has some lack of clarity on exactly how it will work. The Illinois Department of Human Services has stated that they hope to implement the new rule starting August 1. However, we do not yet know how that will work exactly. What we do know is that an estimated 8,000 people with disabilities, and around 8,000 HSP workers, will be faced with hard choices.

Thus, an amendment was introduced to HB 3376 as a compromise---HB 3376 HAM 1. The amendment suggests:

• A cap of 55 hours per week for hours worked by workers, which would cover the majority of those workers who work over 45 hours per week

• Provide for some people with disabilities to hire a worker for up to 66 hours per week if they have a DON score of over 70, a court-order service plan, or an exceptional care rate. These people would be pre-approved for up to one year, renewable on reassessment

• Provide for overtime approval up to 66 hours per week in cases of emergency

• Affirms explicitly that HSP consumers have the right to choose and manage their HSP workers

To read the actual bill amendment language, go to this link . This language provides more flexibility on hours than the State's rule, and also is more specific about who qualifies for an exception (for example, a DON score of at least 70). The State's rule relies on some categories that are vague such as "medically complex."

Access Living will be in the Capitol tomorrow at 8 am to help support HB 3376 HAM 1. You can help by filing a witness slip as a supporter (or proponent) at this link . Tips for filling out the form:

• Be sure to enter your name, address, phone number

• If you have permission to represent an organization, enter that organization; if you are just representing yourself, put "self"

• For the bill, be sure to click on the dropdown list for HAM 1, and check the box for "Proponent" (this means you support the amendment)

• Check the box for "Record of Appearance Only" (this means you are supporting just online)

Please help by sharing this with your friends and community members.

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Acccess Living