Chapter Update

Monday, February 28

Budget Cuts Would Devastate Human Services

Phil Milsk, NASW Illinois Government Affairs Consultant

Proposed cuts to mental health, prevention and treatment of alcohol and substance abuse, youth services, older adult services and other human services both this year and next would severely impact the availability of human services in Illinois.

On February 17, 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his annual budget address and released his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2011. Despite the recently enacted increases in both the personal and corporate income tax, cuts were necessary because increase in revenues will only fill part of the budget hole. Human services will take the brunt of the cuts for next year. On top of that, the Department of Human Services (DHS) late last week announced that there will be additional cuts for the current fiscal year of over $200 million.

The following cuts were proposed by the Department of Human Services for the current fiscal year:

  • Reduce Child Care Program eligibility from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 185% FPL
  • Review client caseload and utilization of services to ensure that eligible clients are receiving the appropriate amount of services
  • Cut $14 million out of non-Medicaid grants for persons with developmental disabilities
  • Cut spending on discretionary (non-entitlement) programs, including many programs under the Division of Community Health and Prevention
  • Cut funding for non-Medicaid alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs
  • Cut funding for non-Medicaid mental health services

Since these cuts were announced, the Illinois Senate Human Services Committee has held a hearing in Chicago, and the department has agreed to reduce the cuts to $100 million or so. The specific nature of those cuts have not been announced.  

Department of Human Services cuts include:

  • Limit new applicants for the Home Services Program to those who are Medicaid eligible
  • Eliminate the Division of Community Health and Prevention and transition its programs to Public Health, Juvenile Justice, DCFS, and the Violence Prevention Authority
  • Reduce Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers of services to persons with developmental disabilities by 6%
  • Cap enrollment in the Child Care Program to 165,000 children per month from July 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012, when the cap will increase to 170,000
  • Eliminate funding for State Transitional Assistance and Children and Family Assistance (formerly known as General Assistance)
  • Cut funding to Centers for Independent Living and the Community Reintegration Program

Department on Aging cuts include:

  • Community Care Program eligibility for new applicants limited to those who are Medicaid eligible
  • Eliminate the Circuit Breaker Program
  • Reduce non-Medicaid programs by 20%

Department of Children and Family Services cuts:

  • Would be spared major service cuts because it is under a federal court order

Department of Healthcare and Family Service

  • Eliminate the Illinois Cares Rx Program
  • Reduce Medicaid Reimbursement Rates by 6% for hospitals, nursing homes, and many non-institutional providers

Opposition to these cuts has been strong and loud as targeted constituencies muster advocacy efforts to restore funding for these programs. The outcome of the FY2012 budget will not be known for about three months. We are still awaiting further word on the FY2011 cuts at DHS.

Posted on 02/28/11 at 10:28 AM


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