Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2016

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2016 (pdf)

DRS Success: Making It Work Together

"My Success Can Be Your Success" - Jim Brown, Child Support Specialist

To learn more about Jim 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 2016 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 FY2016 efforts:

  • Working closely with DRS administration to pilot the Best Practices Guide for VR in select field offices and will evaluate progress towards increasing consistencies of service levels throughout the state.
  • Assisting in the development of an online satisfaction survey that when combined with the annual needs assessments will serve to aid and identify where priority areas for service improvement lie. 
  • Supporting DRS to increase the scope of work-based learning experiences for youth with disabilities, including internships, apprenticeships and other non-traditional experiences that increase the knowledge and capability of the individual and enhance future opportunities for competitive integrated employment. 
  • Establishing a strategic approach for the VR program in cooperation with DRS and look forward to what promises to be an annual strategic planning session.
  • Continuing to encourage DRS to create a Workforce Development Unit within VR to work with employers and promote the hiring of qualified individuals with disabilities.

We invite you to visit the DRS SUCCESS website at and to enjoy the wonderful stories from our customers 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.


Marco T. Lenis, Chair
Illinois State Rehabilitation Council

New Job Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JDVRTAC)

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), was one of eleven states recently chosen to receive Technical Assistance from the newly created Job Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center who will provide guidance through the Institute on Community Inclusion.

This is a very exciting time for Illinois DRS as we are a mandated core partner as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which will give us a greater ability to leverage our relationships, skills and knowledge with our workforce partners and services to both employers and individuals with disabilities.

This "Dual Approach to Customer Service" enables DRS to form partnerships with employers and individuals with disabilities to create an effective workplace and enables our staff to develop strategic approaches to interacting with businesses and engaging employers.

The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA)

In FY2016 DRS continued the implementation of changes brought about by WIOA. In the VR program this included implementation of pre-employment transition services (PTS) through contract arrangements with high schools as part of the Secondary Transitional Employment Program (STEP). Another key effort has been outreach to individuals working in subminimum wage settings to encourage them to pursue competitive integrated employment through the "Real Work for Real Pay" initiative.

DRS also continued its efforts to develop an effective business engagement strategy working with national experts to conduct training and skill development with VR field staff. Other notable activities focused on planning: participation in the first statewide WIOA Summit; development of local and regional workforce plans; and completion of the State Unified Plan for WIOA, involving DRS as one of four core partner agencies along with numerous other state, local and private entities.

Message from the Secretary and Director...

The Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services (IDHS/DRS) remains committed to continuous quality improvement and partnering with employers and customers to create an effective workplace.

Our "Dual Approach" to customer service begins with valuing our partnerships. Through our partnerships DRS can provide qualified applicants with disabilities that meet the needs of employers and valuable on-boarding services ranging from access to no cost job accommodation experts to information regarding tax credits and incentives.

It is important to understand that our commitment to the continuous improvement process is not limited to organizational strategies or implementing new initiatives. It goes beyond metrics and encompasses customer and employer relationships.

Creating rapport and building trust with our partners is a key component to our shared success. Fiscal year 2016 marked the fourth year in a row that DRS assisted more than 5,000 customers in achieving competitive employment outcomes, and the fifth consecutive year with positive growth in the number of outcomes. As an example, we are very proud to share that two customers of our VR program recently received offers to work as software developers at Microsoft and will receive a base salary well over $100,000 per year.

With over 5,000 new tax payers in Illinois, it is important to note that they will contribute upwards of $6 million in new revenue to the state. However, not every benefit of our programs can be represented with figures. The impact our relationships have on our customers and the social and economic impact they have on the businesses that hire them and the communities they now can fully participate in is immeasurable.

As we look at the economic picture for fiscal year 2017 and beyond, we are encouraged by the workforce partnerships we are developing and our staff's ability to engage with employers to build on the history of SUCCESS for our customers.


James T. Dimas
Illinois Department of Human Services

Quinetta L. Wade
Acting Director
Division of Rehabilitation Services 

IDHS/DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program

FY 2016 Final Data Summary

Service Data

Category Referrals Applications New Plans Total Served Outcomes
BFS Region 1 7,028 4,536 3,534 13,419 1,501
BFS Region 2 5,166 3,525 2,999 9,756 1,454
BFS Region 3 3,072 2,392 1,722 6,834 993
BFS Region 4 2,218 1,850 1,462 4,419 668
BFS Region 5 2,270 1,771 1,242 4,521 745
BBS 1,260 887 666 2,721 177
Statewide Total 21,014 14,961 11,625 41,670 5,538

Customers By Service Category

Category STEP Non-STEP Transition SEP College
BFS Region 1 3,319 304 3,623 567 553
BFS Region 2 2,776 417 3,193 321 298
BFS Region 3 1,115 223 1,338 168 333
BFS Region 4 706 188 894 54 157
BFS Region 5 664 153 817 88 185
BBS 29 82 111 13 134
Statewide Total 8,609 1,367 9,976 1,211 1,660

Customers By Age Group

Category Served Outcomes % Outcomes % Served
Less than 20 years 23,116 2,358 42.6 55.5
21-30 years 5,600 1,108 20.0 13.4
31-40 years 3,558 617 11.1 8.5
41-50 years 4,091 718 13.0 9.8
51-60 years 3,990 613 11.1 9.6
61 or more years 1,303 124 2.2 3.2
VR Total 41,658 5,538 100.0 100.0

Earnings Data

Avg. Earnings Weekly Monthly Annual
Case Opening $54.27 $235.17 $2,822.02
Case Closure $295.65 $1,281.14 $15,373.68
Average Increase $241.38 $1,045.97 $12,551.66
Total Increase $1,336,762 $5,792,593 $69,511,112
Effective Tax Rate 8.8
Increased Taxes Paid $6,123,234

Customers by Disability Category

Category Served Outcomes % Outcomes % Served
Blind-Visual Impairment 2,787 196 3.5 6.7
Deaf-Hard of Hearing 2,522 471 8.5 6.1
Physical Disability 3,055 356 6.4 7.3
Mental Illness 5,143 912 16.5 12.3
Intellectual Disability 5,881 718 13.0 14.1
Learning Disability 12,512 1,677 30.3 30.0
Alcohol-Drug Abuse 26 6 0.1 0.1
Brain Injury 479 84 1.5 1.1
Other Condition 9,253 1,118 20.2 22.3
VR Total 41,658 5,538 100.0 100.0

Customers By Race/Ethnic Group

Category Served Outcomes % Outcomes % Served
White  23,937 3,569 64.4 57.5
African American 11,170 1,275 23.0 26.8
Hispanic/Latino  5,073 523 9.4 12.2
Asian 755 102 1.8 1.8
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 43 5 0.1 0.1
American Indian 85 4 0.1 0.2
Multi Racial 595 60 1.2 1.4
VR Total 41,658 5,538 100.0 100.0
All Minority Categories 17,721 1,969 35.6 42.5

Comparison of Data by Race/Ethnic Group FY 2011 to FY 2016

Competitive Employment Outcomes

Race/Ethnic Group FY 2016 FY 2011 Percent Difference
White 3,569 3,200 11.5
African American 1,275 891 43.1
Hispanic/Latino 523 310 68.7
Asian 102 43 137.2
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 5 5 0.0
American Indian 4 9 -55.6
Multi Racial 60 26 130.8
Total 5,538 4,484 23.5
All Minority Categories 1,969 1,284 53.3
Minority Percent of Total 35.6 28.6

Average Monthly Earnings

Race/Ethnic Group FY 2016 FY 2011 Percent Difference
White $1,304 $1,258 3.6
African American $1,178 $1,254 -6.1
Hispanic/Latino $1,185 $1,182 0.3
Asian $1,193 $1,331 -10.4
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander $819 $1,384 -40.8
American Indian $1,103 $2,034 -45.8
Multi Racial $1,402 $1,250 12.1
Total $1,262 $1,255 0.6
All Minority Categories $1,186 $1,245 -4.7

Rehabilitation Rate

Race/Ethnic Group FY 2016 FY 2011 Percent Difference
White 54.8 61.9 -11.4
African American 44.1 42.1 4.7
Hispanic/Latino 40.3 51.4 -21.5
Asian 49.1 46.3 6.1
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 48.2 47.6 1.3
American Indian 23.8 60.0 -60.3
Multi Racial 50.4 55.8 -9.6
Total 50.1 54.1 -7.4

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY 2016 FY 2011 Percent Difference
White 23,937 26,100 -8.3
African American 11,170 11,555 -3.3
Hispanic/Latino 5,073 3,730 36.0
Asian 755 556 35.8
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 43 64 -32.8
American Indian 85 96 -11.5
Multi Racial 595 368 61.7
Total 41,658 42,469 -1.9
All Minority Categories 17,721  16,369 8.3
Minority Percent of Total 42.5 38.5

Home Services Program

Race/Ethnic Group FY 2016 FY 2011 Percent Difference
White 14,483 18,059 -19.8
African American 15,857 17,092 -7.2
Hispanic/Latino 2,855 2,517 13.4
Asian 529 480 10.2
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 33 41 -19.5
American Indian 757 108 600.9
Multi Racial 399 191 108.9
Total 34,913 38,488 -9.3
All Minority Categories 20,430 20,429 0.0
Minority Percent of Total 58.5 53.1

Data Summary

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

In FY2016 the DRS vocational rehabilitation program assisted 5,538 people with disabilities in achieving a competitive employment outcome, an increase of 1.8 percent over the previous year and the fifth consecutive year with positive growth in outcomes. These individuals earned an average of $15,374 at case closure, an increase of $12,552 over earnings at case opening. Taken together, this equals annual increased earnings of $69.5 million, which resulted in an estimated additional $6.1 million in taxes paid as a result of employment.

A total of 2,358 outcomes were achieved by individuals who began receiving services prior to age 21, or 42.6 percent of all outcomes. This demonstrates the continuing emphasis of the DRS VR program on serving transition age youth with disabilities. Transition youth represented 55.5 percent of all persons served in FY2016.

Demographic changes in Illinois are reflected in the competitive outcome data, with 35.6 percent of competitive outcomes achieved by minority customers, an increase from 28.6 percent 5 years ago. Notable increases in this time period were seen for African American (+43.1%), Latino (+68.7%) and Asian (+137.2%) groups, as well as those individuals in the Multi-Racial category (+130.8%). In contrast, during this time period the number of outcomes achieved by White customers increased by only 11.5 percent.

Home Services Program

The total number of persons served in FY2016 increased by 1.1 percent compared to the prior year. The number served in the General waiver program was essentially unchanged, increasing by less than 0.1 percent to 28,959 individuals. The number of persons served in the AIDS waiver decreased by 1.8 percent to 1,572, while the number served in the Brain Injury waiver declined by 6.2 percent to 4,382. 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 74 individuals were moved from nursing homes into the community through reintegration efforts of DRS contractors. This number is 14.9 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-01-17) DRS Annual Report 200 copies

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