Budget & Choate

Governor JB Pritzker introduced his proposed FY24 budget on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. As outlined in The Arc of Illinois’s statement in response to his proposal, the $211M budget falls short of what was recommended in the pre-pandemic Guidehouse report which was $529M of new spending in FY24. Another issue of concern is the impact of the CILA rate calculator, which was a component of the Guidehouse study recommendations. On a webinar earlier in February, DDD shared that a decrease of 3.7 million DSP hours would result from implementation of the CILA rate calculator. Secretary Hou and Interim Director Myerscough-Mueller sent a communication that DHS/DDD would be temporarily pausing changes in DSP hours adjustments. See our statement for additional information on the proposed budget.

Last week, the Going Home Coalition and announced a Call to Action with regard to the ongoing and serious concerns about Choate Developmental Center, located in Anna, IL. We are collecting organizational sign-ons and encourage individuals who are in favor of transitioning people out of Choate and into community settings to sign on to the letter to Governor Pritzker here. The Arc of Illinois asserts that it is imperative that the community system be strengthened in order to appropriately support residents moving out of Choate.

Policy and Advocacy Update from Sabrina Wyman

Sen. Tammy Duckworth has introduced an aviation accessibility bill. The Prioritizing Accountability and Accessibility for Aviation Consumers Act of 2023 would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to publish annual reports about disability-related complaints from air travelers, as well as provide specifics on how to resolve the complaints. The bill’s one-pager can be found here.

The Department of Transportation has adopted a set of Disability Policy Priorities. The priorities spotlight the work that DOT is doing to improve access for people with disabilities to travel. The one-pager can be found here. They have also released the Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights to empower travelers with disabilities.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed National Coverage Determination (NCD) decision that would expand coverage for power seat elevation on certain power wheelchairs to Medicare individuals. You can view the proposal here and leave a comment until March 17, 2023 here.

The following is a brief list of Illinois-specific bills that we are tracking. This is not a complete list of bills pertaining to disability in Illinois. Please reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Get involved in our advocacy here!

HB 1346 (Rep. West) - MONITOR: Would amend the GATA Act to provide that the amount of money allowed to be spent for fringe benefits could be limited.

Status: Assigned to State Government Administration Committee. Hearing on March 1.

HB 3811 (Rep. Burke) - SUPPORT: Provides that any entity may make contributions to an ABLE account. Provides that the ABLE Account Program may also be referred to as the “Senator Scott Bennett ABLE Program.”

Status: Referred to Rules Committee

SB 339 (Sen. Joyce) - SUPPORT: An Arc of Illinois initiative that removes the 14(c) requirement for State Use Programs.

Status: Assigned to Subcommittee on Procurement

SB 1558 (Sen. Murphy) - SUPPORT: Develops a model program of study for DSPs. 

Status: Passed Higher Education Committee unanimously, placed on calendar for 2nd reading.

SB 1674 (Sen. Fine) - SUPPORT: Provides that DHS must establish Short and Long-term Stabilization Homes Programs.

Status: Assigned to Behavioral and Mental Health

SB 2026 (Sen. Murphy) - SUPPORT: IARF initiative that provides for a $4/hr DSP Wage Rate Increase

Status: Assigned to Appropriations – Health and Human Services

Lastly, if you have not yet signed the letter to Governor Pritzker urging him to address the safety of residents at Choate Developmental Center by closing it down, please consider doing so here!


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Founded in 1953, The Arc of Iroquois located in Watseka, IL and led by CEO Christine McTaggert, serves Ford and Iroquois counties in East Central Illinois. Their mission is to inspire and empower individuals to pursue opportunities to live their lives to the fullest. Community centered services allow individuals to remain active members of their family as long as possible and to participate in the life of the community. Each person may choose to receive services in their own home, a community setting, or one of The Arc of Iroquois settings. Services include respite, day and vocational, family support, transportation, and Community Integrated Living Arrangements.

In the Spring The Arc of Iroquois operates a greenhouse that sells annuals, succulents, and a few vegetables. Our goal is to provide hands on experiences and work opportunities for the people we support, utilizing the various tasks associated with running a greenhouse. We also feel this is an excellent resource for the people we support to integrate with members of the community. We partner with amateur and master gardeners from the county, invite local elementary classrooms for field trips, and have community contact during retail hours of the selling season.

March 1, 2023 will be our 70th year in business!

Detailed information about The Arc of Iroquois can be found through their website.


Voting Stories with Self Advocates

The Arc of Illinois was awarded a REV UP grant through The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). REV UP is a nonpartisan national voting initiative focused on advancing the power of the disability vote.

Listed below is a Voting Story from Matty Schultz with Carole Rosen, Advocacy Program Specialist at The Arc of Illinois. Thank you Matty for Registering, Educating others, Voting, and Using Your Power!


Matty's Voting Story

If you are a self-advocate and would like to do a video presentation with Carole Rosen on the importance of registering to vote and voting or if you would like to schedule a voter registration presentation, please email Carole@thearcofil.org or call 815 464-1832 extension 1027.

“Vote as if your life depends on it because it does!” - Justin Whitlock Dart Jr.


Opportunity to Attend Virtual Webinar: 



Register for the COVID-19 Webinar on February 28th

Join us for an informative discussion about COVID-19 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the ones who love them.


FREE Virtual Conference on the Future of the Field
Thursday, March 16th

10AM - 12PM and 1PM - 3PM CT

The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities, funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD), is pleased to offer a FREE Virtual Conference on the future of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities field.
This conference is open to Illinois disability service providers, legislators, ICDD Council members, people with developmental disabilities and self-advocates, family members and anyone else in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field. Join us for this free event with presentations by national disability sector leaders.


Attendees will leave the training with:

  • Increased knowledge related to current trends and directions in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field nationally.
  • An understanding of how these trends affect the future of the services that providers offer.
  • Examples of strategies and resources that will be helpful to improve the quality of services offered in Illinois. 

Register soon to secure your spot! For more information, click here.


Chicagoland DPOCC (Disabled People of Color Coalition) kicks off the new year with the first public meeting in 2023!! 

For now on, between now and April, public meetings will be virtual and take place every last Wednesday of the month from 4 to 5:30 pm. 

For this meeting, come with ideas for events, webinars, or campaigns that you would like to see DPOCC plan or join. 

Meeting link: https://go.uic.edu/Public_DPOCC_Meeting.


Opportunities to Provide Input:


On Wednesday, March 1st, the disability community will gather across the nation to remember these disabled victims of filicide – disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers.

In the past five years, over 550 people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents, relatives or caregivers, and in the year since our last vigil, our community has lost over 60 more people to filicide. These are just the cases that we are aware of – since we began monitoring this issue, we learn about more murders every week. We read the victims’ names, see their photographs, and gather what information we can about their lives.

The criminal justice system has continued to give lighter sentences to parents and caregivers who murder disabled children. And we have seen both news and entertainment media continue to portray these murders in a sympathetic light. We hold the Day of Mourning vigils to draw attention to these injustices, to commemorate the lives of victims, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities.

Since 2012, ASAN and other disability rights organizations have come together to send a clear message that disability is not a justification for violence. Our site coordinators have been hard at work planning virtual events that bring their local disability community together safely and significantly for this important day. Find one close to you, pick one whose time fits into your schedule, or join us for our Virtual Vigil.


Call for Promising Practices: Supporting Adults with I/DD and Family Caregivers

Brandeis University, in partnership with the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), is gathering information to identify promising practices and policies that support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and aging family caregivers. The number of adults with I/DD living with aging caregivers is significantly increasing. The majority of families are unknown by the formal service system. There is a need for greater communication and collaboration between aging and disabilities systems to support these families. They are interested in successful practices at local, state, and national levels such as:

  • Future Planning: Future planning is a process that assists families in planning for the future when aging caregivers may no longer be able to provide care. Key aspects of future planning include financial planning and benefits; living arrangements; employment and vocational preferences; decision-making supports; and healthy aging.
  • Services and Supports: This might include outreach, systems navigation, respite, training, and other family supports.
  • Bridging Aging and Disability Networks: This might include initiatives at the local and state level that promote collaboration between the aging and developmental disabilities communities.

Brandeis and NACDD will share this information with aging and disability advocates across the country. This project is supporting a community at practice of state teams that are bridging aging and disability. It will help inform their work and future work in other states.

Please help with this information gathering by taking the survey linked below. Complete the survey by March 1, 2023.

Contact joecaldwell@brandeis.edu for more information.

The 21st Annual Convention Art Exhibit and Contest

During the Annual Convention, The Arc of Illinois hosts an Art Exhibit and Contest. This year, the Annual Convention will be hybrid with both virtual and in-person attendees.

All Artists must submit a picture of their artwork for the virtual exhibit. Artists are welcome to have their work displayed at the Convention, if able, but is not a requirement to participate in the contest.

Click on the link below for the complete contest rules. Artwork is due to by March 24, 2023. 


The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. 

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

To find free tax preparation assistance through VITA and TCE, click here: Get Free Tax Prep Help (treasury.gov)

Ladder Up offers a free, in-person Tax Assistance Program in Chicago, Aurora and Plainfield.  Tax Assistance Program (TAP) - Ladder Up (goladderup.org)

AARP provides in-person and virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50 and have low to moderate income. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Service


Beginning 03/01/2023, all active SNAP households will only receive their regular monthly benefit amount.  

The extra SNAP Emergency Allotments issued during the COVID-19 Pandemic Health Emergency will be eliminated. The Arc of Illinois has compiled a list of resources that may help families dealing with the high cost of food. For a list of resources in English click here, for a list in Spanish click here.


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The Arc of Illinois
9980 190th St, Suite C  | Mokena, Illinois 60448
815.464.1832 | info@thearcofil.org

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