Disability Support Professionals Demand Better Pay

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Pat Kline, along with several other Illinois residents, are frustrated over the lack of funding she believes the state is providing to Disability Support Professionals (DSP). “It is not a living wage, it doesn’t come close to what the state was paying their union employees,” said stateline resident Pat Kline. “The difference in that is horrendous turnover,” she added.

Her son Tom was born with cerebral palsy and several other physical ailments, he relies on the care of DSP’s to perform his daily routine. Kline says such a high turnover rate from low pay affects the level of care Tom and several others receive.

“If I put myself in his shoes and I didn’t know who was going to walk into the room in the morning, who’s going to do his personal care? Who’s going to give him a bath?,” Kline said. “That’s, in my view, dehumanizing, not knowing who that person is,” she added.

Kline’s concerns are why families and support professionals are demanding the state to raise their wages from nine dollars an hour to 15. Support professional Susie Giddens says such a move would be long overdue. “If you don’t pay somebody what their worth, they are going to leave, and they are going to look for greener pastures,” Giddens said.

State Representative Joe Sosnowski says he wants to provide the best care possible, but with the current condition of the state budget, he thinks such a decision would actually hinder providers. “What really happens at the local level, a lot of these providers have to cut back, reduce services or reduce staffing,” Sosnowski said. “On a long term basis it may not be the best decision,” he added.

Kline however thinks regardless of the state’s financial condition, DSP’s who want to help those that are disabled, deserve to be compensated more fairly. “If they want to help people and they have it within them to provide services and we don’t support that financially, they can’t live a decent life,” Kline added.

Families and DSP’s plan to be in Springfield May 10th. Many will deliver letters to Governor Rauner in hopes that he supports their cause. A vote is set to be made on the house floor.

 

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