Client Assistance Program (CAP)

Posted 3/1/2022

Written Notice of Proposed Redesignation of Illinois Client Assistance Program to Equip for Equality

Federal law requires that a state or territory, under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act, must establish a Client Assistance Program (CAP) to assist individuals who apply for or receive vocational rehabilitation or independent living services under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 732.

The purpose of the CAP is to advise and inform clients and client-applicants of services and benefits available under the Rehabilitation Act, as amended and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), including students with disabilities under section 113 and individuals with disabilities employed at subminimum wage under section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act. In addition, applicants and eligible individuals may be provided advocacy and representation to ensure their rights in their relationship to projects, programs, and services to protect their rights provided under the Rehabilitation Act.

The Illinois CAP is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) - Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). DRS administers programs under the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities Act, which includes the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program, as well as other services directly related to facilitating employment for applicants or eligible individuals. Illinois is one of only a few states in the country in which the state VR agency administers the CAP program. DRS has been allowed to continue as the designated state CAP agency because it held that status prior to 1984 (34 CFR § 370.2(d)). The Illinois CAP program advises and informs client and client-applicants of all services and benefits available under the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, including:

  • Advising clients and client-applicants of their rights and responsibilities as participants of the VR program and Title I of ADA.
  • Assist clients and client-applicants with the appeal process when requested if a client disagrees or is denied VR services.
  • Referring clients and client-applicants to other agencies (public or private) when a client may not be eligible for VR services.
  • Identifying problem areas in the delivery of VR services to clients with disabilities and suggesting methods and means of making systemic changes.

The Governor has determined there exists good cause to redesignate the CAP Program to the State's protection and advocacy agency, Equip for Equality (EFE). Federal law created the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system in every state. P&A systems are designed to advocate for persons with disabilities. Since 1985, EFE, an independent not-for-profit corporation, has been the P&A agency in Illinois. EFE's mission is to protect the rights and interests of persons with all types of disabilities, including intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, mental illness, and physical disabilities. Federal regulations, 34 CFR § 370.2(c), indicates that this designation should be to an agency independent of any agency that provides treatment, services, or rehabilitation to individuals with disabilities. This letter provides notice to the IDHS-DRS, the State Rehabilitation Council, and the Statewide Independent Council, as required under federal law of the intent to redesignate the CAP program to EFE. This Notice will be posted on the IDHS' website.

The IDHS - DRS has at least 30 days from receipt of the notice of proposed redesignation to respond to the Governor. That response must be in writing.

Persons wishing to comment upon the proposed action of the Governor may participate in scheduled virtual public hearings. Persons wishing to address their comments, data, views, or arguments, in written form, may also do so via email. E-mail:

Only comments and oral testimony will be heard during each virtual public hearing. Questions will be documented and posted on the IDHS' website at the conclusion of each virtual public hearing for public viewing.

Written submissions must be received on or before March 31, 2022. The Governor intends to fully consider all public comment before issuing a written decision regarding redesignation. In addition, the Governor will issue to the IDHS - DRS a written decision to whether to redesignate the CAP program to Equip for Equality on or after April 15, 2022.

The estimated effective date of the proposed redesignation is July 1, 2022.

Copies of this notice will also be mailed to members of the public upon request.

Virtual Public Hearings

Monday, March 28, 2022

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Central Time
Join link:
Webinar number: 2468 740 4132
Webinar password: FQrda3uZJ45 (37732389 from phones)
Join by phone: 312-535-8110 OR 415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 246 874 04132

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM Central Time
Join link:
Webinar number: 2464 881 5339
Webinar password: uwRKxwri226 (89759974 from phones)
Join by phone: 312-535-8110 OR 415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 246 488 15339

Thursday, Mar 31, 2022

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Central Time
Join link:
Webinar number: 2465 704 9183
Webinar password: juFJi7mcn32 (58354762 from phones)
Join by phone: 1-312-535-8110 OR 415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 246 570 49183


Individuals who require special accommodations to participate in the virtual public hearings should notify Carmen Dodd, via email on or before March 21, 2022.

Call the DRS Client Assistance Program (CAP) for help, advocacy, or questions about Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services.
Phone: 1-800-641-3929 (Voice) 1-888-460-5111 (TTY)