* Patrick Yeagle…
A proposal to save the state money on independent living services could mean dire consequences for as many as 34,000 people.
Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to decrease the number of people in Illinois who receive in-home care, a move disability advocates say could put people on the street. The proposal appears unlikely to clear two major hurdles for approval, and its acceptance could even cause the state to run afoul of a longstanding court order.
Among Rauner’s many other proposed cuts to social services is a plan to raise the threshold for elderly people and people with disabilities to receive home services, a pair of state-funded programs which offer qualified people help with basic tasks like laundry and paying bills. Home services allow recipients to live independently, instead of living in nursing homes or other institutions. In order to qualify, an individual must undergo a “determination of need” assessment, which scores each person’s needs on a scale of 0 to 100. Currently, anyone who scores 29 or above qualifies for home services, and a higher score means more hours of service. Rauner, who campaigned for governor as a compassionate conservative, wants to increase the threshold from 29 to 37.
Amber Smock, director of advocacy for the Chicago-based disability group Access Living, estimates that the change would knock 10,000 people with disabilities out of the program, along with 24,000 senior citizens. […]
[Springfield disability advocate Tyler McHaley] says most people who receive home services are low-income, meaning they won’t be able to hire outside help if they lose their state assistance. That could result in more people being sent to nursing homes or other institutions, he said. McHaley says the tightened eligibility would have a ripple effect even outside of those directly affected. As clients lose services, the people who provide those services would be put out of work.