Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2017

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2017 (pdf)

DRS Success: Making It Work Together

"My Success Can Be Your Success" - Robin Stockard, Owner - North Star Marketing and Merchandising Inc.

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

Message from the Chair...

On behalf of the members of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), we are pleased to provide in tandem with our DRS partners, the Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The update provides an overview of progress made this year in program services and identifies outcomes and trends.

Council members are particularly pleased to report the following points of focus in their FY2017 efforts:

  • The VR Quick Reference Guide was designed to increase consistency of service levels throughout the state. The Guide will be piloted in select field offices by the end of 2017 and we are looking forward to evaluating the outcomes and using the feedback to identify new opportunities to support the success of customers and counselors across the State.
  • We are working closely with DRS Administration to develop and deploy the different stakeholder satisfaction surveys: Transition Age Youth, Adult VR Customers, Employer Partners and DRS Staff. Once conducted, we will analyze survey data to prioritize areas for service improvement. 
  • We held an annual strategic planning session with DRS to identify strategic goals aimed at growing VR outcomes by increasing outreach and referrals. 
  • We are working with DRS to help develop meaningful business partnerships and promote employment of people with disabilities.
  • We are looking at marketing ideas and increasing awareness of VR programs and services through stakeholder contacts and IDHS social media platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).

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.

It has been an honor to serve on the SRC and to Chair it. 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.


Bryan Dallas, Chair
Illinois State Rehabilitation Council

Success Story - Robin Stockard

Robin was referred to the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) by his local Center for Independent Living (CIL) after losing his vision from glaucoma at the age of 41. Initially, he was interested in building the skills that he would need to conduct activities of daily living and did not have employment goals as he could not think of any work that he could do.

Robin began working with the DRS Bureau of Blind Services (BBS) to meet his goals and attended the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education on Wood Street (ICRE-W) in Chicago to participate in their short-term, residential program which included activities of daily living, courses in mobility, communication, keyboarding and technology to access computer systems. 

In addition, the ICRE-W staff worked with Robin to develop vocational goals as well and informed him of the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind (BEPB) which provides business ownership opportunities to individuals who are legally blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind in the vending, retail and food service industry.

To read more of Robin's story and learn how his success can be your success, please go to

The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Update

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) made significant changes to the Rehabilitation Act which governs the VR program. This includes an emphasis on pre-employment transition services (PTS) to students with disabilities, which is accomplished primarily through the longstanding Secondary Transitional Experience Program or STEP. DRS is expanding the reach of PTS by arranging for vendors including independent living centers to provide independent living and advocacy training services.

WIOA places a major emphasis on services to employers in addition to serving people with disabilities. DRS has worked with the national Job Driven VR Technical Assistance Center to develop and provide training to over 60 VR counselors to improve their skills in reaching out to businesses and making them aware of what the VR program has to offer. In addition, a new business engagement model was created within the WebCM data system to track business contacts and relate those efforts to successful job placements for VR customers.

In addition, DRS managers participated on 22 local workforce boards to ensure the smooth operation of the workforce system at the local level.

Message from the Secretary and Director...

As we embark on a new fiscal year, we are assured of two things: there will be new challenges to address and new opportunities to explore!

In FY 2017 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017), DRS assisted 4,990 individuals with disabilities in achieving their Employment Outcomes. That represents a 9.8 percent decrease from last year's total of 5,538. While we always strive to serve the most individuals that we can, this decline provided an opportunity to analyze our current recruiting efforts and processes. We have approached FY 2018 with a fresh set of goals and anticipate that to be reflected in our FY 2018 outcomes.

Responding to new challenges and taking advantage of new opportunities to better serve our customers will require gathering new data and to that end, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) are developing satisfaction surveys focusing on four distinct customer groups - Transition Age Youth, Adult VR Customers, Employer Partners and DRS Staff.

Organizations that are committed to continual improvement are successful because they share a Vision - Healthy, independent people of Illinois living in safe, strong communities - that incorporates a strategic plan with a mission and goals. While the Mission - Strengthening Illinois by building up lives and communities - defines what we are here to do, the Core Values - Human Dignity, Teamwork, Learning, and Integrity - become the guiding principles.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) are committed to the above Vision, Mission and Core Values and our Motto "treating people the way we wish to be treated" will help ensure we are putting our mission and values into action every day.

We sincerely thank you for the hard work and dedication that you put forth in FY 2017. Let's build upon the work we accomplished and continue to improve the health and human services that we provide for the State of Illinois as we commence FY 2018.


James T. Dimas
Illinois Department of Human Services

Quinetta L. Wade
Division of Rehabilitation Services 

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

IDHS/DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program

FY 2017 Final Data Summary

Service Data

Category Referrals Applications New Plans Total Served Outcomes
BFS Region 1 6,533 4,445 3,620 13,218 1,377
BFS Region 2 4,865 3,444 2,729 9,377 1,305
BFS Region 3 2,949 2,258 1,675 6,503 958
BFS Region 4 2,064 1,600 1,161 4,246 588
BFS Region 5 2,438 1,722 1,204 4,325 581
BBS 902 544 459 2,271 181
Statewide Total 19,751 14,013 10,848 39,940 4,990

Customers By Service Category

Category STEP Non-STEP Transition SEP College
BFS Region 1 3,656 232 3,888 551 583
BFS Region 2 2,823 393 3,216 375 293
BFS Region 3 1,245 231 1,476 157 326
BFS Region 4 801 155 956 71 151
BFS Region 5 728 155 883 93 181
BBS 31 79 110 13 139
Statewide Total 9,284 1,245 10,529 1,260 1,673

Customers By Age Group

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
< 20 years 23,204 2,240 44.9 58.1
21-30 years 5,202 929 18.6 13.0
31-40 years 3,269 569 11.4 8.2
41-50 years 3,536 600 12.0 8.9
51-60 years 3,606 547 11.0 9.0
61 or more years 1111 105 2.1 2.8
VR Total 39,928 4,990 100.0 100.0

Earnings Data

Average Earnings Weekly Monthly Annually
Case Opening $51.64 $223.77 $2,685.26
Case Closure $301.41 $1,306.10 $15,673.20
Avg. Increase $249.77 $1,082.33 $12,987.94
Total Increase $1,246,352 $5,400,818 $64,809,821
Effective Tax Rate 8.8
Increased Taxes Paid $5,709,097

Customers by Disability Category

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
Blind-Visual Impairment 2,327 184 3.7 5.8
Deaf-Hard of Hearing 2,334 419 8.4 5.8
Physical Disability 2,720 283 5.7 6.8
Mental Illness 4,984 867 17.4 12.5
Intellectual Disability 6,023 708 14.2 15.1
Learning Disability 12,196 1,417 28.4 30.5
Alcohol-Drug Abuse 15 3 0.1 0.0
Brain Injury 438 54 1.1 1.1
Other Condition 8,891 1,055 21.1 22.3
VR Total 39,928 4,990 100.0 100.0

Customers By Race/Ethnic Group

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
White  22,735 3,180 63.7 56.9
African American 10,685 1,156 23.2 26.8
Hispanic/Latino  5,072 501 10.0 12.7
Asian 701 77 1.5 1.8
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 51 4 0.1 0.1
American Indian 84 5 0.1 0.2
Multi Racial 600 67 1.3 1.5
VR Total 39,928 4,990 100.0 100.0
All Minority Categories 17,193 1,810 36.3 43.1

Comparison of Data by Race/Ethnic Group FY 2012 to FY 2017

Competitive Employment Outcomes

Race/Ethnic Group FY2017 FY2012 Percent Difference
White 3,180 3,556 -10.6
African American 1,156 949 21.8
Hispanic/Latino 501 330 51.8
Asian 77 70 10.0
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 4 10 -60.0
American Indian 5 6 -16.7
Multi Racial 67 32 109.4
Total 4,990 4,953 0.7
All Minority Categories 1,810 1,397 29.6
Minority Percent of Total 36.3 28.2

Average Monthly Earnings

Race/Ethnic Group FY2017 FY2012 Percent Difference
White $1,345 $1,327 1.4
African American $1,212 $1,239 -2.2
Hispanic/Latino $1,232 $1,224 0.7
Asian $1,431 $1,377 3.9
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander $912 $1,707 -46.6
American Indian $2,038 $1,247 63.4
Multi Racial $1,322 $1,048 26.1
Total $1,304 $1,303 0.1
All Minority Categories $1,233 $1,242 -0.7

Rehabilitation Rate

Race/Ethnic Group FY2017 FY2012 Percent Difference
White 55.1 61.9 -11.0
African American 47.5 41.1 15.5
Hispanic/Latino 43.8 48.8 -10.3
Asian 47.6 52.5 -9.3
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 44.4 45.3 -2.0
American Indian 45.5 43.8 3.9
Multi Racial 53.6 47.3 13.3
Total 51.6 55.1 -6.4

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY2017 FY2012 Percent Difference
White 23,937 26,067 -8.2
African American 11,170 11,756 -5.0
Hispanic/Latino 5,073 3,949 28.5
Asian 755 583 29.5
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 43 67 -35.8
American Indian 85 99 -14.1
Multi Racial 595 463 28.5
Total 41,658 42,984 -3.1
All Minority Categories 17,721 16,917 4.8
Minority Percent of Total 42.5 39.4

Home Services Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY2017 FY2012 Percent Difference
White 14,250 17,701 -19.5
African American 15,851 17,438 -9.1
Hispanic/Latino 2,965 2,616 13.3
Asian 562 524 7.3
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 32 44 -27.3
American Indian 686 116 491.4
Multi Racial 431 215 100.5
Total 34,777 38,488 -9.6
All Minority Categories 20,527 20,787 -1.3
Minority Percent of Total 59.0 54.0

Data Summary

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

In FY2017 the DRS vocational rehabilitation program assisted 4,990 people with disabilities in achieving a competitive employment outcome, a decrease of 9.8 percent over the previous year. These individuals earned an average of $15,673 at case closure, an increase of $12,988 over earnings at case opening. Taken together, this equals annual increased earnings of $64.8 million, which resulted in an estimated additional $5.7 million in taxes paid as a result of employment.

A total of 2,240 outcomes were achieved by individuals who began receiving services prior to age 21, or 44.9 percent of all outcomes. This demonstrates the continuing emphasis of the DRS VR program on serving transition age youth with disabilities. Transition youth represented 58.1 percent of all persons served in FY2017.

Demographic changes in Illinois are reflected in the competitive outcome data, with 36.3 percent of competitive outcomes achieved by minority customers, an increase of 29.6 percent compared to FY2012. Notable increases in this time period were seen for African American (+21.8%), Latino (+51.8%) and Asian (+10%) groups, as well as those individuals in the Multi-Racial category (+109.4%). In contrast, during this time period the number of outcomes achieved by White customers decreased by 10.6 percent.

Home Services Program

A total of 34,777 persons were served by HSP in FY2017 which was essentially unchanged compared to the prior year. The number served in the General waiver program increased by 0.4 percent to 29,071 individuals. The number of persons served in the AIDS waiver increased by 0.5 percent to 1,579, while the number served in the Brain Injury waiver declined by 5.8 percent to 4,127. Some of this reduction is due to continued transfer of cases to the General waiver based on reduced need for specialized services.

A total of 54 individuals were moved from nursing homes into the community through reintegration efforts of DRS contractors. This number is 27 percent less than the number for the previous year.

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.

DHS 4195 (N-02-18) DRS Annual Report 200 copies

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