Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2018

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2018 (pdf)

DRS Success: Making It Work Together

"My Success Can Be Your Success" - Raeshetia Cook, Line Cook - Panera Bread 

To learn more about Raeshetia and other success stories, please visit

Message from the Chair...

On behalf of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and with our Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) partner, we are pleased to provide the Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The update reviews this year's progress in program services and identifies outcomes and trends.

In an on-going effort to strengthen the working relationship with DRS staff and the SRC members; the 4th Annual Strategic Planning session was conducted and discussion regarding priorities for inclusion in the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation included the following:

  • Achieve and exceed 6,000 competitive employment outcomes
    DRS reported 5,114 successful employment outcomes in FY2019. This marked the fourth time in five years the agency has helped over 5,000 customers achieve competitive, integrated, employment outcomes and a goal of 6,000 for FY2020 has been set;
  • Expand the Individual Placement Services (IPS) model to reach a wider range of individuals with disabilities
    Research has shown that IPS principles and methods can be beneficial to not only individuals with mental illness; but to additional populations including youth with disabilities, individuals with intellectual  disabilities and autism;
  • Move at least 100 individuals per year from 14(c) employment into competitive integrated employment
    Continue to provide Career Counseling training to individuals with disabilities working for less than minimum wage; work with employers to implement usage of customized employment and collaborate with employers  to develop new business models;
  • Increased emphasis will be placed on outreach & education
    DRS has recently developed the Planning and Business Development Unit (PBDU) and with new staff - Business Consultants - will be reaching out to establish and maintain working relationships with employers, address workforce challenges and expand competitive employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Please be assured that your Council members are hard-working and devoted to the ongoing partnerships with IDHS/DRS, consumers and community stakeholders to better ensure that the services that DRS provides are those that people with disabilities need and that they are delivered in a fashion that is most useful for them.

We invite you to visit the SRC website at to learn more about the Council and to engage in our process by attending future SRC meetings.


LaDonna R. Henson, Chair
Illinois State Rehabilitation Council

Success Story - Raeshetia Cook

Raeshetia is a young women who like many others, is eager to join the workforce. Unlike many others, Raeshetia manages a mental illness and is also deaf and wondered if she would ever be able to secure employment.

With a referral to Thresholds, Inc., Raeshetia was introduced to the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model which has proven to be very effective in empowering and supporting individuals with mental illnesses in attaining and maintaining sustained competitive employment with as much or as little support as needed.

The IPS team had been engaging with her for two months when Panera Bread offered her a job as a Food Prep worker. In collaboration with the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and Kim Mokris, a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor, Raeshetia received sign language interpreter service to help with her training on the job. In addition, Kim made an appointment with the appropriate state audiologist in her area and in less than 2 months Raeshetia received hearing aids to help her manage better on the job.

Raeshetia's employer was so impressed with her abilities that they promoted her from Food Prep to Line Cook during her 90-day probation period. Raeshetia's outlook on her future is brighter thanks to the support and partnership between DRS VR services and the Thresholds IPS Team.

Success Story - Bryce Weiler

Bryce Weiler has been blind since birth and has always been interested in history and in sports as well. He especially liked reading and his earliest ambitions were to become a History teacher. As he got older, Bryce began to think that teaching history may not be the best career path for him as working with large maps, globes and such could be awkward and he was developing a great interest in sports at the same time!Not a bad start you might say until you meet him and realize he is blind! Bryce Weiler has been blind since he was four years old and while some may say life has taken away a lot of opportunities from him, Bryce never bought into the line of thinking that he couldn't have a career in sports broadcasting or that individuals with disabilities couldn't play sports.

Bryce was about to graduate from high school and his mother told him about the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). They made an appointment at the local office in Olney to find out what programs and services they had to offer. Bryce met with Lisa Brink, a vocational rehabilitation counselor and they discussed his affection for sports and developed a plan where Bryce could go to college with supports from DRS and obtain a bachelor's degree in Sports Management and Communication. This would allow him an opportunity to work within a college or university Athletic Department which was his vocational goal.

Through his experience, Bryce found that most of the positions in collegiate athletic departments were in the arena of graphic design and social media and not hands-on opportunities at sporting events and related activities.

To read more about Bryce, other success stories or to learn more about vocational rehabilitation programs and services please go to the success website at:

Message from the Secretary and Director...

"Increasing meaningful work opportunities for people with disabilities has to be a priority at IDHS, … every month of the year," said Grace Hou, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) on October 17, 2019. The IDHS' mission is to provide equitable access to social/human services, supports, programs and resources to enhance the lives of all who we serve. As part of the IDHS, the Division of Rehabilitation Services connects Illinoisans with disabilities to resources they need to lead independent lives with self-determination.

Last year, IDHS helped 5,000 people through vocational rehabilitation programs, placed 1,000 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in supported employment, and helped an additional 3,400 people with mental health conditions find and keep meaningful work through the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services program. We will not stop there, as all Divisions of the IDHS understand the importance of a meaningful day for people with disabilities in Illinois.

As we look to the next year, the IDHS|DRS commits to engaging 100,000 youth with disabilities in pre-employment transition services, plus assuring inclusion of people with all types of disabilities and backgrounds into vocational services and independent living.


Grace B. Hou, Secretary
Illinois Department of Human Services

Rahnee K. Patrick, Director
Division of Rehabilitation Services 

We invite you to visit the Division of Rehabilitation Services SUCCESS website at and enjoy the wonderful stories from our customers and community business partners that will encourage and educate on how to make success happen at your home and in your community. In addition, there are numerous helpful resources provided for your use as well.

If you require this information in Braille or large print, please inform us of this preference.

IDHS/DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program

FY 2019 Final Data Summary
Service Data

Category Referrals Applications New Plans Total Served Outcomes
BFS Region 1 6,031 4,160 3,502 13,190 1,537
BFS Region 2 4,604 3,079 2,584 9,071 1,276
BFS Region 3 2,841 2,134 1,628 5,913 950
BFS Region 4 2,062 1,546 1,173 4,094 556
BFS Region 5 2,473 1,813 1,354 4,431 621
BBS 895 644 469 1,705 174
Statewide Total 18,906 13,376 10,710 38,404 5,114

Customers By Service Category

Category STEP Non-STEP Transition SEP College
BFS Region 1 3,935 167 4,102 567 567
BFS Region 2 2,704 299 3,003 322 247
BFS Region 3 1,213 119 1,332 98 306
BFS Region 4 871 102 973 68 160
BFS Region 5 750 62 812 141 174
BBS 52 53 105 26 137
Statewide Total 9,525 802 10,327 1,222 1,591

Customers By Age Group

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
less than 20 years 24,355 2,549 49.8 63.4
21-30 years 4,717 890 17.4 12.3
31-40 years 2,840 551 10.8 7.4
41-50 years 2,815 504 9.9 7.3
51-60 years 2,816 473 9.2 7.3
61 or more years 859 147 2.9 2.2
VR Total 38,402 5,114 100.0 100.0

0Earnings Data

Average Earnings   Weekly Monthly Annual
Competitive Outcomes 5,114
Case Opening $50.36 $218.22 $2,618.70
Case Closure $324.11 $1,404.47 $16,853.59
Average Increase $273.75 $1,186.24 $14,234.89
Total Increase $1,399,958 $6,066,436 $72,797,230
Effective Tax Rate 8.8
Increased Taxes Paid $6,412,708

Customers By Disability Category

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
Blind-Visual Impairment 1,417 152 3.0 3.7
Deaf-Hard of Hearing 2,095 419 8.2 5.5
Physical Disability 2,382 284 5.5 6.2
Mental Illness 4,819 854 16.7 12.5
Intellectual Disability 6,251 732 14.3 16.3
Learning Disability 12,264 1,574 30.8 31.9
Brain Injury 414 55 1.1 1.1
Other Condition 8,760 1,044 20.4 22.8
VR Total 38,402 5,114 100.0 100.0

Customers By Race/Ethnic Group

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
White  21,827 3,121 61.0 56.8
African American 9,690 1,212 23.7 25.2
Hispanic/Latino  5,367 590 11.6 14.0
Asian 824 94 1.9 2.1
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 62 16 0.3 0.2
American Indian 64 7 0.1 0.2
Multi Racial 568 74 1.4 1.5
VR Total 38,402 5,114 100.0 100.0
All Minority Categories 16,575 1,993 39.0 43.2

Comparison of Data by Race/Ethnic Group FY 2014 to FY 2019

Competitive Employment Outcomes

Race/Ethnic Group FY2019 FY2014 Percent Difference
White 3,121 3,471 -10.1
African American 1,212 1,104 9.8
Hispanic/Latino 590 418 41.1
Asian 94 72 30.6
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 16 6 166.7
American Indian 7 7 0.0
Multi Racial 74 77 -3.9
Total 5,114 5,155 -0.8
All Minority Categories 1,993 1,684 18.3
Minority Percent of Total 39.0 32.7

Average Monthly Earnings

Race/Ethnic Group FY2019 FY2014 Percent Difference
White $1,456 $1,278 13.9
African American $1,342 $1,258 6.7
Hispanic/Latino $1,342 $1,208 11.1
Asian $1,638 $1,484 10.4
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander $1,794 $1,145 56.6
American Indian $1,642 $793 107.0
Multi Racial $1,354 $1,211 11.8
Total $1,419 $1,269 11.8
All Minority Categories $1,361 $1,251 8.8

Rehabilitation Rate

Race/Ethnic Group FY2019 FY2014 Percent Difference
White 51.1 57.4 -6.3
African American 41.9 40.8 1.1
Hispanic/Latino 42.9 45.0 -2.1
Asian 51.6 50.9 0.7
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 50.7 49.6 1.1
American Indian 41.2 38.5 2.7
Multi Racial 48.1 71.4 -23.4
Total 47.5 51.4 -3.9

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY2019 FY2014 Percent Difference
White 21,827 24,948 -12.5
African American 9,690 11,542 -16.0
Hispanic/Latino 5,367 4,476 19.9
Asian 824 654 26.0
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 62 51 21.6
American Indian 64 88 -27.3
Multi Racial 568 543 4.6
Total 38,402 42,302 -9.2
All Minority Categories 16,575 17,354 -4.5
Minority Percent of Total 43.2 41.0

Home Services Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY2019 FY2014 Percent Difference
White 14,646 15,152 -3.3
African American 17,896 15,581 14.9
Hispanic/Latino 3,340 2,914 14.6
Asian 704 520 35.4
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 38 38 0.0
American Indian 559 894 -37.5
Multi Racial 412 394 4.6
Total 37,595 35,493 5.9
All Minority Categories 22,949 20,341 12.8
Minority Percent of Total 61.0 57.3

Data Summary

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

In FY2019 the DRS vocational rehabilitation program assisted 5,114 people with disabilities in achieving a competitive employment outcome, an decrease of 1.1 percent over the previous year. These individuals earned an average of $16,853 at case closure, an increase of $14,234 over earnings at case opening. Taken together, this equals annual increased earnings of $72.8 million, which resulted in an estimated additional $6.4 million in taxes paid as a result of employment.

A total of 2,549 outcomes were achieved by individuals who began receiving services prior to age 21, or 49.8 percent of all outcomes. This demonstrates the continuing emphasis of the DRS VR program on serving transition age youth with disabilities. Transition youth represented 63.4 percent of all persons served in FY2019.

Demographic changes in Illinois are reflected in the competitive outcome data, with 39 percent of competitive outcomes achieved by minority customers, an increase of 6.3 percent compared to FY2014. Notable increases in this time period were seen for African American (+9.8%), Latino (+41.1%), and Asian (+30.6%) as well as those individuals in the Hawaiian/Pacific Islander group (+166.7). In contrast, during this interval, outcomes for White (-10.1%) and Multi-Racial (-3.9%) groups.

Home Services Program

  • total of 37,595 persons were served by HSP in FY2019 which saw an increase of 4.6 percent compared to the prior year. The number served in the General waiver program increased by 5.2 percent to 32,481 individuals. The number of persons served in the AIDS waiver decreased by 3.5 percent to 1,539, while the number served in the Brain Injury waiver increased by 1.9 percent to 3,575. Some of this reduction is due to continued transfer of cases to the General waiver based on reduced need for specialized services.
  • total of 113 individuals were moved from nursing homes into the community through reintegration efforts of DRS contractors in FY2019. This number is 62 percent more than the 70 from FY2018,marking a significant increase.

IDHS/DRS: Empowering People with Disabilities.

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.

IDHS 4195 (R-12-19) DRS Annual Report 204 copies

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