The JJs List Blog

Advocating for a Raise for Direct Support Professionals

Posted by on April 25, 2024 - 0 Comments

On April 3, 2024, the Illinois Senate held a hearing on SB 3764. Sponsored by Senator Karina Villa (D-25), the bill has garnered bipartisan support and would increase the Direct Support Professional wage rate by $3.00/hour, effective January 1, 2025.

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the backbone of non-profits, such as Search, that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). DSPs are the staff that directly implement Search’s mission by empowering people to be a part of their communities. They assist with daily living tasks and are a significant element in each individual’s support network.

Despite the incredible work being done by DSPs, Illinois ranks 49th in the country in terms of fiscal effort on community services for people with I/DD. The lack of funding means that the state’s reimbursement rate for the work done by DSPs and other frontline staff is often insufficient. In 2020, a study conducted by Guidehouse for the Illinois Department of Human Services – Developmental Disabilities Division (DHS-DDD) recommended that DSP wages should be 150% of the statewide minimum wage. In January 2024, Governor Pritzker presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2025, with nothing in the budget for a wage increase for DSPs.

The pressure from thousands of advocates throughout the state following the FY25 budget has created an opportunity for DSPs to receive a much-needed wage increase through SB 3764. This wage increase could mean the difference between a DSP’s ability to afford a high quality of life and best provide for themselves and their families. It will also improve staff retention and overall job satisfaction. For people with I/DD, it could mean having a more consistent support system that understands their needs and helps them thrive in their communities. With this wage increase, people with I/DD throughout the state will get the support they need and deserve. In addition to the impacts on DSPs and people with I/DD, the community benefits from having jobs that pay above the minimum wage, boosting the local economy, and providing growth opportunities.

We cannot afford to stand idly by while people with IDD continue to face barriers to the support they deserve. Reach out to your local representative, whether your state senator, state representative, or city council member. Express your concerns about individuals with IDD in Illinois and urge them to take action by increasing the DSP wage rate. Click here to find your representative. Thank you to everyone who has taken action over the last few months to help us pass this important initiative!

No Comments

No comments yet.

Post A Comment


All fields required, unless otherwise noted.