Understanding PUNS - DHS 4313

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Understanding PUNS

A Guide to Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services

About the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities

The Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities will provide quality, outcome-based, person-centered services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The system of services and supports in Illinois will enhance opportunities for individuals to make real choices and receive appropriate, accessible, prompt, efficient and life-spanning services that are strongly monitored to ensure individual progress, quality of life and safety.

Enroll in PUNS to Apply for the Services You Need

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PUNS and how is it used?

  • PUNS (Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services) is a statewide database that records information about individuals with developmental disabilities who are potentially in need of services
  • The State uses the data to select individuals for services as funding becomes available, to develop proposals and materials for budgeting, and to plan for future needs

Why enroll in PUNS?

* To assist with identifying service needs and, if necessary, to enroll on a waiting list

Who can enroll in PUNS?

* Children, teens, and adults with developmental disabilities who need services or supports

What can families expect during the PUNS enrollment process?

  • The individual with the developmental disability (along with guardian/caregiver/family) meets face-to-face with an Independent Service Coordination Agent (ISC)
  • The ISC Agent will work with the individual and their family to identify the need for services, explain services and identify the urgency of need


  • At least annually the ISC Agency will contact families
  • Anytime a need for service changes
  • When contact information changes, such as address or telephone number
  • When caregiver information changes

How does the PUNS selection work?

  • The selection is an open and fair process using criteria such as length of time on database, urgency of need and geographic area of the state


  • PUNS selections are based upon funding availability and ability to fill program vacancies

How do people know if they get selected?

  • Individuals selected from the database will receive a letter directly from the Department of Human Services announcing their selection and inviting them to apply for services by contacting their ISC Agency

What do families do if a crisis emerges while enrolled in PUNS?

  • Families should contact their ISC Agency immediately for available options in their area
  • Individuals who meet the crisis criteria do not have to wait on PUNS

Please Note: Enrolling in PUNS does not confirm that you are eligible for services nor guarantee that services will be provided. It does ensure that the IDHS' Division of Developmental Disabilities knows about an individual's need for services.

Contact the Illinois Department

of Human Services' (IDHS)

24 hour automated helpline:

1-800-843-6154 or

1-800-447-6404 (TTY)

You may speak with a representative between:

8:00 am - 5:30 pm

Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

The following is an automated number directing the caller to local DD service information:

1-888-DDPLANS or

1-866-376-8446 (TTY)

Contact us via mail at:

Illinois Department of Human Services
319 East Madison, 4N
Springfield, IL 62701

Visit our website at:


Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4313 (N-09-09) Understanding PUNS

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