Public invited to submit comments on proposed changes
This month, the public has the opportunity to send input to the State of Illinois regarding the Client Assistance Program (CAP). The purpose of CAP is to provide assistance to people who are clients or applicants of the Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS-DRS). In most states, CAP is run by an independent organization to avoid ethical conflicts with the agency running vocational rehabilitation services. Currently, DHS-DRS itself runs CAP, but the Governor has proposed to move the Illinois CAP program to Equip for Equality (EFE), the federally designated Protection and Advocacy Agency for Illinois. The State would like to know what YOU think of this proposal.
What does CAP do?
- …Advises clients and client-applicants of their rights and responsibilities as participants of the Vocational Rehab (VR) program and Title I of ADA.
- …Assists clients and client-applicants with the appeal process when requested if a client disagrees or is denied VR services.
- …Refers clients and client-applicants to other agencies (public or private) when a client may not be eligible for VR services.
- …Identifies problem areas in the delivery of VR services to clients with disabilities and suggesting methods and means of making systemic changes
Why does CAP need to be independent?
Because CAP helps advocate for/with DHS-DRS clients who have issues with vocational rehabilitation services, and CAP is currently under DHS-DRS itself, CAP cannot truly independently represent or serve the clients of DHS-DRS. Thus, it is important that the CAP program is housed in a different agency, independent from the State of Illinois. This is why the Governor is proposing to move CAP to EFE, which is already required to be independent.
How to Comment
The public notice of the proposal is at this link. You can send a written statement by email to DHS.CAPcomments@illinois.gov by March 31. You can also provide oral comment by testifying at one of the three upcoming virtual public hearings:
- Monday March 28 from 2:00-4:00 pm
- Wednesday March 30 from 10:30 am-12:30 pm
- Thursday March 31 from 6:00-8:00 pm
The links for each of these virtual meetings are also at the public notice page.
If you choose to testify orally, please know that when you speak, there will be no questions asked of you or comments made to you. You will not be able to ask questions. When it’s your turn to speak, your statement will be recorded, transcribed and sent to the Governor for review.
Please share this advocacy opportunity with fellow Illinois disability advocates. Thank you.