Advocacy Alert: May 19, 2023


May 19, 2023 | by Amber Smock

FRIDAY UPDATE: Let’s PUSH for Disability Subminimum Wage Phaseout in Illinois!

It’s an important day for Dignity in Pay: Thanks to YOUR advocacy and the hard work of our sponsors, staff, and partners in Springfield, the Illinois Dignity in Pay Act got through two important House hearings yesterday. The Illinois Legislature will likely be working into the night tonight, in the final stretch to pass non-budget bills. They are expected to reconvene next week to pass the state budget.

Today more than ever, we need your help!

Even if you made calls or sent emails already, we ask that you do it AGAIN today. People power makes history! Ask your Illinois legislators to say YES to the Dignity in Pay Act, also known as HB 793 HA 1 (House version) and SB 2123 HFA 3 (Senate version).

Here is the quick action linkYes, we need to contact BOTH the House and the Senate.

If you can make calls, look up your Illinois State Senator and State Representative at this link, then call their Springfield offices. It’s okay to leave a voicemail.

Phone Script:

You can use the following sample phone script:  “Hello, my name is ___ and I’m calling to ask ___ to support the Dignity in Pay Act. The Dignity in Pay Act is an opportunity to grow employment and fair pay for people with disabilities who make less than minimum wage. The House bill number is HB 793 HA 1. The Senate bill number is SB 2123 HFA 3. Will you let them know to please vote yes? Thank you.”

Why does the subminimum wage need to be phased out? For decades, many people with disabilities were not considered to be “real workers” like non-disabled people. But the reality is that people with disabilities want the opportunity to be paid real wages for the real work they do. It should not matter if you need extra supports to do your job—you’re still doing your job. The film “Bottom Dollars” does a great job at explaining the history of the disability subminimum wage, and why disabled people want change. 

Is Illinois ready to phase out the subminimum wage? Yes! The City of Chicago is already phasing it out, and Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order that phases it out for state-use contracts. People with disabilities and providers are already working to shift the employment/pay models as necessary. This has been a long and hard process for all stakeholders involved, but the fact that we could get this bill passed is a testimony to everyone’s dedication to the idea that we all deserve “dignity in pay.”

What groups support the Dignity in Pay Act? In alphabetical order: Access Living, Arc of Illinois, Equip for Equality, IARF, Illinois Association of the Deaf, Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD), Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL), National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind-Illinois, SEIU HCIIMK, and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. Organizations interested in supporting the Dignity in Pay Act can contact our Economic Justice Policy Analyst, Nick Boyle, at 

Don’t wait to send your advocacy email TODAY! Again, use this quick link to let your state legislators know we need to pass this bill ASAP! The time is now. Please share this call to action with your Illinois networks. Thank you for your advocacy!