Illinois state home health caregivers protest for additional benefits

Illinois state home health caregivers protest for additional benefits

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - A group of Home health care workers held a rally on Thursday in Jackson County, Ill. to lobby for extensive benefits.

They say their goal was to convince area lawmakers to convince Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign a set of bills that would benefit state-funded medical caregivers.

The measures would do things like ensure a 15 dollar minimum wage for those workers, as well as maintain their training services.

Another measure advocates were discussing was a relatively new state regulation preventing some workers from providing daily care.

Department of Rehabilitation services Caretaker Jeffery Poole says people like his client  Casey Cavinder, and Cavinder's friend Dean Reece need around the clock care.

Both young men suffer from similar forms of cerebral palsy, which limits their motor function.

A federal law was went into effect with the start of 2016 requiring the state pay caregivers time and a half for any hours worked over 40.

In response, State republicans passed a measure forbidding those workers from working any overtime at all.

Even though those clients can pursue additional help funded under the same program, the change means Pool can't legally take care of Casey every day.

"If I can get him to laugh every day… because he's trapped. He can't do anything. Then that's worth its weight in gold." Pool said Thursday.

"A life altering disability could strike anyone at any time." Reece said. "You really need to choose your cuts carefully."

Pool says finding another caregiver to fill in the gaps is a tough process, and could mean Casey and Dean are on their own until they find more help.

Protesters singled out State Representative Terri Bryant of Murphysboro for supporting the money-saving measure to crack down on overtime pay.

Bryant could not be reached for comment on this story.

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