SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr., D-Elwood, is cosponsoring legislation ensuring that direct support workers for disabled citizens receive a fair wage.
“These are working people who provide a vital service for our communities, helping those who are disabled live their life with independence and remaining in their homes,” Walsh said. “We need to make sure they are paid a decent wage to take care of themselves and their families.”
Senate Bill 3508 requires a fair wage for Direct Support Persons (DSP) helping people with disabilities. The current average starting wage for a DSP is $10.59 per hour, and many work below the poverty line. The Walsh backed legislation calls for a wage of at least $15.00 per hour by 2020. This applies to personnel working on the front line in residential and day programs paid by Medicaid for people with developmental disabilities.
“We need to be offering a living wage to bring good, caring folks in to fill these openings,” Walsh said. “There is no reason these hard working folks should be working full time and still be below the poverty line.”
SB 3508 passed the Senate with strong bi-partisan support and has been assigned to the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee.