CHICAGO (CBS) — Advocates for the disabled and their caregivers have asked state lawmakers to scrap proposed rules that would reduce home care given to people with disabilities.
Officials with Access Living said public pressure and the threat of a lawsuit have delayed the state from imposing rules banning overtime for workers who provide home care to the disabled.
Now, rule-making procedures are underway, and people with disabilities showed up outside an unrelated meeting of the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules just to make their voices heard. They said they’ll lose their independence if their personal assistants aren’t available when needed.
“It’s affecting our lives, and it’s going to cost the state more money if we have to go into a nursing home because our services got cut,” Susan Aarup said.
Nursing home care is more expensive than home care, and those affected said home care is better for them anyway.
Representatives of Access Living, Chicago ADAPT, the union representing caregivers, and several disabled people who rely on home care asked JCAR not to approve the Rauner administration’s plan to block overtime for workers under the state’s Home Services Program.
Michael Grice said he needs help from a personal assistant seven days a week, and for more than eight hours a day. Without it, his daily life is limited; he cannot leave his house or perform many day-to-day functions.
“That will affect me greatly, because I won’t have control over when my PAs are able to come in, and to do the day-to-day tasks that I need done,” he said.
SEIU Healthcare Illinois — the homecare workers’ union – has said the proposed overtime ban would violate federal law and would break court orders designed to prevent the disabled from having to go into nursing homes.