Advocates Urge Governor to Sign Disabled-Care Pay Legislation
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Advocates are hoping the new year will bring with it a signature on a bill they say protects and strengthens supports for people with disabilities.
Senate Bill 261 was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner early this month. The legislation was in response to Illinois' Department of Human Services' new overtime policies that cut overtime pay and may force families to have to hire caregivers from outside the family.
Ann Ford, executive director of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, said most families can't afford to do that, and they don't always trust that the care from others will be top quality.
"An individual living in their own home who is eligible for the Home Services Program has the right to hire whoever they choose to provide their services," she said.
This summer, Rauner vetoed legislation that would have meant a $15-an-hour wage for home health-care workers who serve people with disabilities, saying there isn't enough money in the budget to cover it.
Ford said some of the people with disabilities need care 24/7, 365 days a year, and feel their needs are private and don't feel comfortable having a stranger take care of them.
"Services such as helping somebody in and out of bed, helping somebody shower, helping somebody use the bathroom, very private, personal things that you don't want a stranger to come into your home and provide for you," she explained.
Ford said people with disabilities in the Home Services Program are placed at great risk when their personal attendants' hours are limited to 40 hours per week because many of them need care around the clock. She said SB 261 protects those who need care and lets them live in their own home with dignity.