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Report: IL Overtime Rules Cutting into Home-Care Services

A new report from disability-rights advocates say Illinois new overtime cuts are limiting the independence and health-care options of those who rely on home-care services. (iStockphoto)
A new report from disability-rights advocates say Illinois new overtime cuts are limiting the independence and health-care options of those who rely on home-care services. (iStockphoto)
June 6, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - New research shows people with disabilities and the people hired to care for them are facing problems due to Gov. Bruce Rauner's new overtime policy for the Illinois' Home Services Program.

A group of disability advocates released a new report detailing how about 30,000 Illinois residents are at risk of losing some in-home care due to last month's overtime cuts.

Gary Arnold, public affairs manager with Access Living, says the move goes against new federal overtime protections for personal assistants who put in more than 40 hours a week.

"Some people who might have a 45-hour or a 50-hour service plan are going to be required to hire an additional PA to work just a couple of hours a week," he says. "Which is going to make it even harder than it is now to hire a personal assistant."

Governor Rauner's administration, however, maintains the state's overtime restrictions are needed to help close Illinois' budget gap.

The report also warns more people may end up being placed in nursing homes, which costs the state even more than in-home care.

Arnold says the overtime caps also limit the independence of the people who rely on personal assistants.

"It's cutting into the livelihood of personal assistants who are already really low-paid workers," says Arnold. "And it's also taking away what's often referred to as consumer control; people with disabilities making decisions about who takes care of them."

Disability advocates are asking Gov. Rauner's administration to suspend the current overtime policy.

They say Illinois should follow states such as California, Washington, and Oregon, which have set up higher weekly hour caps for personal assistants.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL