Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2015

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Message from the Chair...

As I leave the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), it is my privilege to report on behalf of its membership who are appointed by the Governor to represent all individuals with disabilities in Illinois as a liaison, advisor, monitor and support to the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services (IDHS/DRS) our achievements from the past year. The SRC's relationship with DRS Administration continues to be stronger with significant input sought and used from both sides of the partnership.

Council members are particularly pleased to report the following points of focus in its efforts in 2015:

  • Coordinating with the Bureau on Hearings to assure that Hearing Officers appointed to hear VR cases have appropriate background and training to best serve our clients. We are also routinely reviewing appeals filed regarding demographics, purpose and outcome.
  • Working closely with DRS Administration regarding the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) including our participation in and approval of the Unified State Plan.
  • Assessing and working with ADA Coordinators in State agencies to assure that opportunities for persons with disabilities employed by the State or candidates for employment by the State are able to work up to their abilities.
  • Supporting the Strategic Planning process as a partnership between the SRC and DRS Administration.

We invite you to visit the DRS SUCCESS website at and enjoy the wonderful stories from our customers and community and business partners that will encourage and educate on how to make successes happen at your home and in your community. Numerous helpful resources are also provided for your use.

It has been my 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.


Diane M. Crutcher, Chair
Illinois State Rehabilitation Council

The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act

Effective July 1, 2015 the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) became law, superseding the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amending the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which authorizes the vocational rehabilitation program), with the primary goal of streamlining the statewide workforce development system and increasing participation of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

WIOA requires a Unified State Plan for workforce development from all workforce partners in the state. The Plan will take effect July 1, 2016. Final federal regulations for WIOA programs are expected in June 2016 from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education.

DRS will be actively engaged working with other workforce partner agencies, the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and stakeholders across the state in developing and implementing the Unified Plan over the next four years.

The Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) and the National Employment Team (NET)

TAP is an online job development and placement tool that includes a national talent pool of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) candidates looking for employment; and a job posting system for businesses looking to hire individuals with disabilities at the local, state, and national level.

This Dual Customer system is supported by the National Employment Team (NET) which includes VR Business Consultants from each of the 80 publically funded VR agencies across the country.

Through these partnerships, VR customers in Illinois will gain greater access to businesses and employment opportunities while businesses will have greater access to the VR talent pool, NET VR Business Consultants, and the ability to post job opportunities in TAP reaching all VR customers, staff and partners!

Message from the Secretary and Director...

The State of Illinois is in an unparalleled period of transition and while we both can be considered "new" to our respective positions, we are no strangers to the Mission and Vision of the Illinois Department of Human Services or the Division of Rehabilitation Services (IDHS/DRS). Having served in many different capacities within the Department and the Division over the years, we are working hard to assemble a leadership team that is invested and passionate about our work and committed to the individual SUCCESS of our staff and ultimately the customers we serve.

We are proud to share that the fiscal year that ended this past June (FY 2015) marked the fourth year in a row the IDHS/DRS has increased the number of individuals with disabilities they have worked with to achieve competitive employment outcomes. It is also the third consecutive year that DRS staff assisted more than 5,000 customers in achieving their employment dreams.

It is important to know that we don't highlight the past in order to simply recognize and reward prior achievements; we highlight past SUCCESS in order to challenge ourselves to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities seeking assistance through our programs and services. And as we redesign, develop, and implement more effective and efficient methods of providing programs and services, we understand the only way for us to do this is to work both HARDER and SMARTER!

With the recent passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and participating in the online services of the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP); we will be strengthening partnerships with workforce investment, education, economic development systems and businesses throughout the local, state and national levels to streamline workforce service delivery approaches.

Making it Work Together, we will build on our history of SUCCESS for our customers!


James T. Dimas
Illinois Department of Human Services

Kristine A. Smith
Division of Rehabilitation Services

IDHS/DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program

FY 2015 Final Data Summary

Service Data

Category Referrals Applications New Plans Total Served Outcomes
BFS Region 1 7,440 4,768 3,661 13,059 1,399
BFS Region 2 5,052 3,570 2,820 9,759 1,391
BFS Region 3 3,378 2,447 1,792 7,109 974
BFS Region 4 2,241 1,689 1,101 4,503 740
BFS Region 5 2,270 1,734 1,260 4,737 721
BBS 1,294 846 659 2,865 217
Statewide Total 21,675 15,054 11,293 42,032 5,442

Customers By Service Category

Category STEP Non-STEP Transition SEP College
BFS Region 1 3,504 317 3,821 542 523
BFS Region 2 2,777 422 3,199 260 296
BFS Region 3 1,035 233 1,268 185 330
BFS Region 4 628 228 856 55 151
BFS Region 5 605 190 795 109 183
BBS 37 69 106 17 146
Statewide Total 8,586 1,459 10,045 1,168 1,629

Customers By Age Group

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
< 20 years 22,121 2,295 42.2 52.7
21-30 years 5,893 1,045 19.2 14.0
31-40 years 3,846 646 11.9 9.2
41-50 years 4,573 695 12.7 10.8
51-60 years 4,265 624 11.5 10.2
61 or more years 1,313 137 2.5 3.1
VR Total 42,011 5,442 100.0 100.0

Earnings Data

Avg. Earnings Weekly Monthly Annual
Case Opening $55.64 $241.10 $2,893.26
Case Closure $291.39 $1,262.68 $15,152.16
Avg. Increase $235.75 $1,021.58 $12,258.90
Total Increase $1,282,951 $5,559,412 $66,712,939
Estimated Taxes $5,737,313
Estimated Tax Percent 8.809

Customers by Disability Category

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
Blind-Visual Impairment 2,930 231 4.2 7.0
Deaf-Hard of Hearing 2,678 468 8.6 6.4
Physical Disability 3,327 361 6.6 7.9
Mental Illness 5,248 876 16.3 12.5
Intellectual Disability 5,672 655 12.0 13.5
Learning Disability 12,203 1,606 29.5 29.0
Alcohol-Drug Abuse 37 8 0.1 0.1
Brain Injury 516 84 1.5 1.2
Other Condition 9,400 1,153 21.2 22.4
VR Total 42,011 5,442 100.0 100.0

Customers By Race/Ethnic Group

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served
White  24,492 3,614 66.4 58.3
African American 11,319 1,188 21.8 26.9
Hispanic/Latino  4,829 491 9.0 11.5
Asian 696 82 1.6 1.7
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 42 6 0.1 0.1
American Indian 85 8 0.1 0.2
Multi Racial 548 53 1.0 1.3
VR Total 42,011 5,442 100.0 100.0
All Minority Categories 17,519 1,828 33.6 41.7

Comparison of Data by Race/Ethnic Group

Competitive Employment Outcomes

Race/Ethnic Group FY2015 FY 2010 Percent Difference
White 3,614 3,338 8.3
African American 1,188 911 30.4
Hispanic/Latino 491 340 44.4
Asian 82 53 54.7
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 6 4 50.0
American Indian 8 14 -42.9
Multi Racial 53 27 96.3
Total 5,442 4,687 16.1
All Minority Categories 1,828 1,349 35.5
Minority Percent of Total 33.6 28.8 4.8

Average Monthly Earnings

Race/Ethnic Group FY2015 FY 2010 Percent Difference
White $1,302 $1,256 3.6
African American $1,174 $1,271 -7.6
Hispanic/Latino $1,224 $1,171 4.5
Asian $1,051 $1,325 -20.7
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander $1,334 $1,823 -26.8
American Indian $1,256 $1,384 -9.3
Multi Racial $1,274 $1,073 18.8
Total $1,263 $1,235 2.2
All Minority Categories $1,186 $1,183 0.3

Rehabilitation Rate

Race/Ethnic Group FY2015 FY 2010 Percent Difference
White 56.6 63.8 -11.3
African American 43.9 47.1 -6.8
Hispanic/Latino 46.5 54.2 -14.2
Asian 56.5 51.8 9.1
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 51.3 44.4 15.5
American Indian 50.0 63.6 -21.4
Multi Racial 49.2 58.0 -15.2
Total 52.1 58.7 -100.0

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY2015 FY 2010 Percent Difference
White 24,492 26,073 -6.1
African American 11,319 11,806 -4.1
Hispanic/Latino 4,829 3,674 31.4
Asian 696 538 29.4
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 42 61 -31.1
American Indian 85 78 9.0
Multi Racial 548 304 80.3
Total 42,011 42,534 -1.2

Home Services Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY2015 FY 2010 Percent Difference
White 14,625 18,770 -22.1
African American 15,666 17,215 -9.0
Hispanic/Latino 2,817 2,525 11.6
Asian 527 474 11.2
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 34 40 -15.0
American Indian 836 117 614.5
Multi Racial 392 165 137.6
Total 34,897 39,306 -11.2

Data Summary

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

In FY2015 the DRS vocational rehabilitation program assisted 5,442 people with disabilities in achieving a competitive employment outcome, an increase of 5.6 percent over the previous year and the fourth consecutive year with positive growth in outcomes. These individuals earned an average of $15,152 at case closure, an increase of $12,259 over earnings at case opening. Taken together, this equals annual increased earnings of $66.71 million, which resulted in an estimated additional $5.7 million in taxes paid as a result of employment.

A total of 2,295 outcomes were achieved by individuals who began receiving services prior to age 21, or 42.2 percent of all outcomes. This demonstrates the continuing emphasis of the DRS VR program on serving transition age youth with disabilities. Transition youth represented 52.7 percent of all persons served in FY2015.

Demographic changes in Illinois are reflected in the competitive outcome data, with 33.6 percent of competitive outcomes achieved by minority customers, an increase from 28.8 percent five years ago. Notable increases in this time period were seen for African American (+30.4%), Latino (+44.4%) Asian (+54.7%) and Hawaiian-Pacific Islander (+50%) groups, as well as those individuals in the multi-racial category (+96.3%). In contrast, during this time period the number of outcomes achieved by white customers increased by only 8.3 percent.

Home Services Program

The total number of persons served in HSP declined by 1.7 percent in FY2015 compared to the previous year. The number served in the General waiver program decreased by less than .05 percent to 28,628 individuals. The number of persons served in the AIDS waiver decreased by 4.2 percent to 1,600, while the number served in the Brain Injury waiver declined by 8.9 percent to 4,669. This is the result of the transfer of individuals to the General waiver based on reduced need for specialized services.

A total of 87 individuals were moved from nursing homes into the community through reintegration efforts of DRS contractors. This number was 35.6 percent less than the number for the previous year.

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-1-16) DRS Annual Report 250 copies

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